Getting your film into the Edmonton International Film Festival (EIFF) isn’t getting any easier.
EIFF board member Christian Zyp (who is also involved DEDfest, Edmonton’s premier horror film showcase) is part of the nucleus that helps shape the festival. This year it runs from September 29 to October 8 and is diverse in it’s offerings. While not someone who has the final say of what stays and goes, he does play a role in making the festival what it is. And what it is, is getting bigger.
“Submissions are at an all time high,” says Zyp. “Especially now that we are an Oscar qualifying festival.”
While submissions are a main part of the festival line-up, Zyp points out that some films have to be sought out. Especially local and Canadian films. Most of the films in contention for a screening at the festival are helped by representation or a distributor. But Zyp points out that some of the gems have to be hunted down.
“The good stuff we actively go out and find it,” he says. “You have to support local stuff too. I like getting out there and the whole idea of watching something from somebody who I’ve maybe never heard of before. That is what, for me, is exciting.”
While the final say is usually left up to a collection of others—EIFF producer Kerrie Long included of course—that doesn’t mean they don’t look for outside opinions. Long surrounds herself with those in the know and routinely asks for their views. Zyp was sent to a film festival in Austin, Texas a few years back to scout out possible entrants. It is in these types of situations that Zyp feels the magic happens.
“It’s like the grab-bag at a kid’s party,” Zyp explains. “What is in that fucking bag? You don’t know and you can’t wait to find out.”
In the end, it is just a group of like-minded people watching a bunch of movies according to Zyp. There is a loose idea of what they are looking for, but there isn’t some clandestine panel with a hidden agenda. It is just a group of people who love films.
“It is funny,” he says, laughing. “Most of the time we are just picking things that we like.”
Thu, Sept 29 – Sat, Oct 8
Landmark Cinemas 9 at City Centre Mall, $15 – $149