A reel good time
Regina hosts two independent film festivals
The past week saw two film festivals hit the screens of the Queen City within a day of each other. The 10th annual One Take Super 8 Festival and as well as Exported! Seven Short Films from Here & There festivals took to the Regina Public Library and Royal Saskatchewan Museum screens, respectively.
The Exported! Seven Short Films from Here & There film festival featured short films from all over North America. It started when Regina native and Montreal-based filmmaker Adrian Bobb, an alumni of the U of R, placed an ad on Craigslist looking “for anyone that was interested in showing their film in a joint screening.”
As Bobb explains, “The whole idea of the festival was essentially to bring films that aren’t from where I’m at or from any of the cities necessarily that they were going to be screened in, but at the same time, familiar as well. The idea was to [see] films from where we’re from, but at the same time see films from everywhere else.” The immense response then led the way to multiple screenings in multiple cities. Bobb was surprised when he received “over fifty responses. It was really overwhelming,” but he assures that “it’s definitely something that will keep going on”.
The films range in genre from sci-fi, romance, action, drama, thrillers, and comedy. “That’s kind of the thing that I was very conscious of. I wanted to see what people were doing in general with film. There’s a nice variety.” However individual each film may be, they are all short films, ranging from five to twenty-six minutes in length. Bobb believes that “there are some things that shorts do so well. You have to be very precise and very concise when telling a story in a short film because you can’t afford to linger. I think by watching these films you can see that – you can see that they’re all different ideas and different ways of getting across messages in a smaller amount of time.”
Lesser lengths of films means that more films can be shown and more filmmakers can exhibit their work. Moreover, the greater ease of filmmaking in the modern technological present enjoins something independent filmmaking. “It couldn’t exist in any other time; it’s definitely a product of the Internet age that in the technological age which we live in anyone can pretty much make a film,” Bobb explains.
The One Take Super 8 Film Festival also focuses on filmmaking accessibility. Each filmmaker shoots a single reel of Super 8 mm film and all the action is shot in one take, with no editing or even viewing by the filmmakers themselves prior to the movie premiering.
“If we were allowed to edit them, it would barely be worth going to,” states Gerald Saul, a professor in the Department of Media Production and Studies at U of R and a ten-year participant of the festival. One Take Super 8 is unique in the fact that it’s filled with so much tension and anticipation. “To me what’s special about [One Take Super 8] is the sense of surprise and risk. [My film] could be the worst thing I’ve ever made – I don’t know yet. It might be nothing, or it might be the best thing I’ve done all year,” says Saul.
With both festivals being within a day of each other, one could wonder if this is a sign of a growing film community in Regina. “I hope so,” says Saul. “There’s interest in non-mainstream film – film as art, film as expression.” Seeing as how large of a response the Exported! festival has received, it’s not out of the question to wonder if will soon grow into the Ten or Twenty Films from Here and There festival. “I think that filmmaking in Regina is definitely getting somewhere,” Bobb affirms. It’s also possible that there could be more events like One Take Super 8 or Exported! popping up around our city as well.
“There’s something communal about going into a small theatre with a few people shoulder to shoulder and watching, sharing that experience at the time – every viewing experience is different,” Saul says. “People go for an experience [and] something that they can take away from [it],” elaborates Bobb. “It’s a great networking experience. I’ve met so many people that I would definitely keep in mind for future projects and future collaborations, and because film is one of the ultimates when it comes to collaborative art forms, the more people you know, usually the better your craft becomes. It becomes a really interesting network of talents that amplify each other. It celebrates the craft and shows what can be done.”
Hopefully, the recent success of these two festivals will turn out to just be the trailer for the feature presentation of Regina’s filmmaking community.