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Short film festival returns despite lost funding

The Jasper Short Film Festival takes place Sept. 26.

The Jasper Short Film Festival takes place Sept. 26.

With films screened at the Cannes Film Festival and Nuit Blanche, this year’s selections for the Jasper Short Film Festival promise to expose audiences to flicks beyond Hollywood’s realm.

Despite missing out on a $5,000 grant from Alberta Culture Days, the festival’s organizers hope to build on last year’s success, offering 16 short films Sept. 26 at the Chaba Theatre.

The films range in length from one minute to 27 minutes, and amount to about six hours of programming in total.

“Last year some people actually sat through six hours of shows,” said Marianne Garrah, an organizer with Habitat for the Arts.

One of the most anticipated films this year is 2.57k directed by Edmonton filmmaker Eva Colmers.

The 14-minute film is about sound and motion and was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in France this year.

“Eva has a history in dance and her sound guy has a history in sound engineering so it’s an amazing combination of dance and visuals,” said Garrah.

Other films that have been garnering attention include, Under the Overpass by Vancouver director Ulla Laidlaw, who also submitted a film for last year’s festival.

“It’s a delightful little film about two young men who have finished high school and one of them is going to go off and join the army and the other one isn’t comfortable following him because he’s gay and the army would frown on that,” said Garrah.

The selection committee also picked several local films, including a film by Parks Canada that premiered during the Jasper Dark Sky Festival last year and a one-minute silent film called Animus Exitus produced by Garrah and David Baker, another member of Habitat for the Arts.

Animus Exitus is designed for the one-minute film festival in Edmonton and it’s for commuters,” said Garrah.

Without giving too much away, Garrah said the film is a single monochrome shot of people enjoying an iconic area of Jasper National Park.

“It’s quite peaceful,” she said, adding the film will also be shown at Nuit Blanche in Edmonton on Sept. 26.

Following the program, Ava Karvonen founder of Reel Girls Media in Edmonton and Frank Hadfield founder of Dinosaur Valley Studios in Drumheller will be at Pine Bungalows to talk to budding filmmakers about the ins and outs of filmmaking.

Although last year’s festival was by donation, this year organizers will be depending on the community to support the event, by purchasing a $10 ticket to make up for their lost funding.

“We didn’t receive Culture Days money this year, but I think we had good luck last year with the door and we’re going to hope that all those people come back and support it,” said Garrah. 

For the past five years the non-profit organization has received a $5,000 grant, making this year especially hard. 

“It’s rough. Five-thousand dollars is a big deal in this community,” said Garrah, adding it will impact the number of free events and activities the organization can host during Culture Days.

Garrah said she doesn’t know why she didn’t receive the grant this year, saying she was told her application was fine, but with the new provincial government the money was given to the region rather than individual municipalities. She said it’s not clear where the money went after that.

Paul Clarke

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