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Living Skies: foundations of Saskatchewan film

author: nicole garies | our contributors

Living Skies Film Festival was held in March/Courtesy of Film Student Association

A look at the recent Living Skies Film Festival held at the U of R

Despite the frosty weather and the build up of the mid-term madness in this winter 2018 semester, I had the privilege of attending the 2018 Living Skies International Student Film Festival, held here at our own University of Regina. With over 1700 submissions from over 90 countries around the globe, this U of R-born festival celebrated its 30th anniversary of proficiency in student film-making. This non-profit student led festival provides students from every country with not only a platform to showcase their work, but the opportunity to attend a number of workshops hosted by distinguished film production professionals to get an inside look at what film-making can be.

Thirty-eight films from all over the globe were screened at the University of Regina as a part of this festival, a number of which came from the University of Regina’s very own film department. Stemming in four categories – animation, documentary, experimental and fiction – these films exposed the hard-working and passion-filled hours these students live for. I had the opportunity to sit down with three of the five students involved in the organization of this event. Festival organizer and third year film production major Jessica Davidson comments on the work showcased this past weekend.

“We had an incredibly diverse selection to chose from. There were some pretty stellar films with material that we haven’t seen a lot of. Some pretty easy stand-outs in all categories. We were looking for a greater student audience to come out and support not only our faculty, but also the Saskatchewan film industry itself.”

Each film was separated into different categories and subsequently qualified for awards given out on the last night of the festival at the Living Skies Film Gala. A team of four jurors was selected to delegate for these 38 films, including working Saskatchewan film professionals Adrienne (Sunny) Adams, Jason Britski, Trudy Stewart, and Karen Henders. The judges’ biographies can be found on the Living Skies website. A special congratulations goes out to the University of Regina’s Ella Mikkola for the film Waves being awarded the Living Skies winner for Best of Saskatchewan.

The University of Regina’s department of film has much to be proud of this year. Students from the U of R are strongly encouraged to showcase their work at film festivals such as this one, and what an honour it is to play host here in Regina to such an expansive festival. Festival organizer and third year film production major Luke Halyk worked on the communications and advertisement of Living Skies.

“Capitalizing on the success of this year, one of our goals [for next year] is to promote the festival in a way that will bring out a larger audience from Regina.”

The Living Skies has proven its success in this year’s festival and gives us much to look forward to for years to come.

Submission for the Living Skies Film Festival is completely free of charge and open to students both here in Regina and from around the world. Any films under fifteen minutes are eligible for this festival as long as they were made within the last year of submission. Festival organizer and participant in the festival, Morgan Jones in her third year of film production encourages the students to apply for next year’s festival.

“We have all of our submissions through Film Freeway. They’re always free. Our Facebook page and the website are the best places for information.”

Students from the university, my message to you is this: if it is any interest of you to view a work of art in the area of film, this is the festival to be at. I had a wonderful time seeing creative and artistic expression from countless hours of work put into a brief fifteen minutes of viewing. A wonderful festival to be at, I was able to speak with festival participant and third-year film production major Jacob Farrell, whose encouraging words speak for any and all with a passion for film making.

“Even if you think that your film isn’t that great, submit it anyway. Incorporating films from Saskatchewan is so important, it’s free, and we make films to show them to the world even though that can be nerve-racking at times. You want to make this art to show it off and have people respond to it, and Living Skies is a great platform for that.”

Congratulations to the University of Regina Department of Film for their success in the 30th anniversary of the Living Skies Film Festival, and best of luck for next year.

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