Saguenay, Quebec’s outstanding international short film festival REGARD drew 400 filmmakers, critics and industry reps last week from the farthest corners of the world. China, Madagascar, Iran, Estonia, Canada, Switzerland, and more were represented and bound together by a common passion for the mighty short.
Films at REGARD are carefully curated to be of superior quality, artistic merit and emotional weight; the creators gathered in Saguenay’s astoundingly beautiful far north setting, frigid temperatures and snow-up-to-here, to share, screen, reflect, sell and strategize.
I attended as a member of the FIPRESCI jury which included Shy K. Segev from Tel Aviv and from Paris, Leo Seosanto. We based our choice on 36 short films and after spirited discussion picked Quebec filmmaker Adib Alkhalidey’s Va Jouer Dehors. While there I took the opportunity to learn more about the short film art form.
Short films are generally considered to be less than thirty minutes, and tend to be more experimental, playful, extreme and unpredictable than features. They don’t have to adhere to the exacting rules and regs of commercial theatrical films; their existence doesn’t depend upon box office returns. Making a short film is a labour of love, and a risk, and is close to pure art for art’s sake.
Paige Murray, Development Manager, Comedy and Drama and Canadian Reflections Programmer attended REGARD there to buy films for broadcast and to inspire and support filmmakers. “In a world where content is packaged in smaller and smaller portions and attention spans are shrinking, short films are paving a new road for content creators. Short films challenge writers and directors to keep only the best parts of their art”.
Murray encourages audiences unaccustomed to the short film format to dive right in. “Short films challenge the audience to re-imagine what the cinematic experience is and how stories are told. They are an integral creative step that I would encourage everyone to seek out and partake in.”
Years ago, Canadian theatregoers had the great privilege of screening a selection of short films, mostly from the National Film Board of Canada before theatrical main features. Today those shorts are replaced by car, electronics and soda ads. Thankfully, tech has brought shorts into our homes. They are readily available online on dedicated sites as well as social media, at speciality film festivals like REGARD and Palm Springs.
Murray admits shorts are tough to find but it’s getting better. “Amazon Prime, YouTube and Vimeo are leading the way in short film digital watching, with VUCAVU and Fandor right behind them. Instagram and Facebook are also great resources for short film with TIFF and Instagram partnering during the 2017 festival and hosting a short film competition. Festivals are a great place to find shorts and find out about creators that are moving up in their careers. There are blogs and Instagram accounts dedicated to highlighting great shorts like Short of the Week and Film Shortage.”
Murray’s weekly CBC series Canadian Reflections offers a wide selection of short films Thursdays at 11:30 local time across the country. It is the longest running short film showcase on broadcast television. “We also have regional shorts like Absolutely Canadian and have an annual narrative short film competition, Short Film Face-off. We aim to bring the best talent to our viewers, from excellent student films to festival calibre content. It’s important to invest in creators and give them a platform.”
Take look at award winning short films that screened at REGARD.
REGARD 2018 International Short Film Festival Winners:
GRAND PRIZE – LIGNE NOIRE by Mark Olexa Francesca Scalisi, Switzerland
CANADIAN GRAND PRIZE –FAUVE by Jeremy Comte Québec, Canada
JURY PRIZE – SOVDAGARI by Tamta Gabrichidze, Georgia
AWARD BEST ANIMATION SHORT FILM – MIN BÖRDA by Niki Lindroth Von Bahr, Sweden
AWARD BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILM – REWIND FORWARD by Justin Stoneham, Switzerland
AWARD SHOOT NO MATTER WHAT! – L’APPARTEMENT by Justine Gauthier, Quebec, Canada
AWARD QUEBEC CRITICS AQCC – MADRE – by Rodrigo Sorogoyen, Spain
AWARD INTERNATIONAL FIPRESCI CRITICS – VA JOUER DEHORS by Adib Alkhalidey, Quebec Canada
AWARD BEST YOUTH SHORT FILM – FAUVE by Jeremy Comte, Quebec, Canada
AUDIENCE AWARD – TROIS PAGES by Roger Gariépy, Quebec, Canada
BEST REGIONAL CREATIONS – CRÈME DE MENTHE by Jean-Marc E. Roy Philippe David Gagné, Quebec, Canada (shot in beautiful Saguenay!)
BFCA BTJA AWFJ TFCA FIPRESCI