Edmonton Short Film Festival is short and sweet by nature
A retirement home food fight, a lonely housewife, and Mr. Lahey and Randy talking candidly about getting paid to work without a shirt—there’s really no shortage of options with short films. With each piece being less than 15 minutes, it’s sort of like a buffet.
Now in its fifth year, the Edmonton Short Film Festival is returning to present audiences with a whole new slew of trailers, music videos, commercials, and of course short films. With over 150 submissions sent in to this year’s event, festival directors Sharlene Millang and Daniel Foreman reflect on the festival’s beginnings.
“We had an idea that there was kind of an opening for local and community films in particular in Alberta, and to give them a showcase,” says Foreman. “We put our nickels and dimes together and we rented a theatre at Concordia University, invited our friends and family … We ended up selling out the theatre.”
The festival is a weekend-long affair. The kickoff begins on the Saturday with a red-carpet gala, the film screening, hors d’oeuvres and live music by local musician Olivia Rose. The Sunday is a family day affair, which features animated shorts, a scavenger hunt, and is free to the public.
Edmonton-born actor Josh Emerson, who’s appeared in such films as Jennifer’s Body and The Tooth Fairy, will be acting as one of this year’s adjudicators. He says that short films are becoming more essential to the movie industry.
“Specifically, in the last five years it’s become a much bigger thing,” says Emerson. “Even Toronto and Cannes have short film categories. A lot of what I see in Hollywood is they get used for almost like video resumes. If someone has a feature script and they really want to get a point across to studio, they’ll do a really good short that has a very quick and concise beginning middle and end. And the person gets the point, they get a visual.”
Emerson’s short film, Tide of Whispers, will be screened during the Sunday event.
The Edmonton Short Film Festival got its start in 2013, and received just 50 submissions its first year. Millang and Foreman screened 20. Since then, the festival has added a 48-hour mobile film challenge, a director’s skills class, and moved from Concordia University to the Royal Alberta Museum, nearly doubling their seat count.
“We winged it,” says Foreman. “We improvised a lot of it. We’d had an idea, but now we have minute-by-minute scripts, and it’s very organized, and we’ve got a big team with us. But at the time it was just Sharlene and myself. We thought it would be great if people could come in and they smell popcorn as soon as they walk in.”
With the popcorn machine popping and the film projector running, the Edmonton Short Film Festival is once again ready to award and celebrate Alberta filmmakers and actors. With five years under their belts, Millang and Foreman have learned a few lessons to make this year’s festival the most successful one yet.
“The biggest lesson is that you need to plan all year,” says Millang. “We are already working on next year’s festival and every year we have to start working earlier and earlier. We’ve learned you can’t do it by yourself. Started with the two of us … We’ve learned that we need to trust others in the community to come along with us.”
Sat., Oct. 14 – Sun., Oct. 15
The Edmonton Short Film Festival
Royal Alberta Museum
$45 at the door