This year Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Short Film Festival (VISFF) received a record 127 submissions from 19 countries but only 18 films, including three local productions, made the cut.
Earlier this month the festival announced the 18 films that will be screened at the 13th edition of the VISFF, at Vancouver Island University’s Malaspina Theatre on Friday, Feb. 2 and Saturday, Feb. 3.
This year’s festival will feature a trio of Nanaimo entries: Princess Syndrome by Zachary Tannar, Small World by Raymond Knight and Happy Thoughts by John Gardiner. As the festival is gaining “international momentum,” VISFF director Karla Duarte said that this year organizers reserved at least two spots for local filmmakers.
“We have quite the talent on Vancouver Island and they stand out every year,” Duarte said.
“This year we chose three and they’re high in quality, they have a really good story, they’re funny and they’re also beautiful … so we’re really excited to host our local filmmakers as well and it’s always important for us to support them.”
The other Canadian contributions that will be shown are Cuba no Vaca by Erik Anderson, Just one Word by Jani Lauzon, The Contender by Isaiah Berra, This is Inala by Daniel Kooman, Trying by Shauna Johannesen and Methodic by Colin Williams.
From the United States, #Fafatl by Sean Osorio, Real Artists by Cameo Wood and Do no Harm by Marielle Woods made the list as well as a trio of French films, Breakdown by Greg Tudéla and Occulus Malus and Creature from the Lake, both produced by Isart Digital.
Two British submissions, Films to Break Projectors by Tim Grabham and Lemon and Elderflower by Ilenia Cotardo will be screened, as will the lone Australian film, Sophia Bender’s Behind Barres.
The films were chosen by the VISFF’s five selection committee members based on how they score when it comes to writing, originality and creativity, production value, sound and music and editing.
Duarte said the increase in submissions — there were only 47 two years ago — is a result of word of mouth and the use of film festival submission website, Film Freeway, which makes it easy for filmmakers to send their work to festivals all over the world.
“We had more diversity in genre this year, which was interesting,” Duarte said, adding that this year there were more documentaries submitted than she’s seen in her three years as director.
“There’s just all kinds of films out there and so we want to represent that in the show.”
Duarte said she hopes to see this growth continue into the future.
“Ideally, it would be nice to extend the festival — maybe it’s four days instead of two — but baby steps for now,” Duarte said.
“And hopefully it will grow into something where people come and stay for a few days and enjoy the festival and everything that there is to do around town.”
WHAT’S ON … The 13th annual Vancouver Island Short Film Festival returns to Vancouver Island University’s Malaspina Theatre on Friday, Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 3 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students.