The Edmonton Indie Filmmakers Night showcases local filmmakers and producers
Brandon Rhiness sounds like he’s the kind of busy that can make you sick. He’s a local writer, director, producer, and co-founder of Higher Universe Comics. When he’s not writing comic books like Ghoul Squad, Misfits, or The Boy with a Balloon for a Head, he’s working on a whole chain of film projects in various stages of production.
Now Rhiness and fellow filmmaker and actor Michael Schaar-Ney are busy helping uncover the odd and underexposed elements of Edmonton’s independent film scene with the Edmonton Indie Filmmakers Night.
“Come out to meet people,” Rhiness says. “Every week I’m getting hit up by actors and stuff that want to get involved. Come to this thing and you can meet the people. That’s the easiest way.”
The evening features six films to be shown, each with sinister titles like My Shadow is Trying to Kill Me, Under the Bed, and Who Killed Mary Sue? All six were created by local directors and production companies, including Rhiness and Schaar-Ney.
The longest film of the night clocks in around the 15-minute mark, so the screenings only take up about an hour. The rest of the night is reserved for a meet and greet with the filmmakers and a performance by songstress and actor Skylar Radzion.
“You get to see things made in Edmonton,” says Rhiness. “There are ways to see [that] but if we have a film festival [then] it’s international. Every film here was made in Edmonton, with people in Edmonton. You basically get to see what the community is putting out.”
While the Edmonton Indie Filmmakers Night is meant to showcase the work of local artists, it’s also an opportunity to invest in upcoming works. The night doubles as a chance for Rhiness and Schaar-Ney to raise money for their upcoming feature project, Motel 13.
Rhiness says there is something special about seeing your city on the big screen.
“If you lived in L.A., then you wouldn’t care if the movie was set in L.A,” says Rhiness. “Every movie is set there. You’re used to it, whereas here, how many movies can you name that take place in Edmonton? Two maybe, and they’re not very good. To be able to see like ‘Hey, that’s the High Level Bridge’ or ‘that’s City Hall. I live there.’ It makes you proud.”
Rhiness has been writing since grade four, when his teacher let him read a story to the class about getting kidnapped and held hostage in a skyscraper. He says that events like the Edmonton Indie Filmmakers Night have the potential to not just showcase talent, but to help foster even greater filmmakers, producers, and talent still to come.
“We’re encouraging aspiring actors, writers, filmmakers, that maybe don’t know where to start,” says Rhiness. “Come to this thing and meet people, the people that are actually making movies in Edmonton. The best you can do is introduce yourself, shake their hand, and volunteer yourself for their next project. Just get involved.”
Sat. Nov. 18 (4 pm)
Edmonton Indie Filmmakers Night
Metro Cinema, $13