The CineCentral Filmmakers Society’s annual Cinefest film festival is returning this year, but instead of being held at the Avalon Theatre the entire festival will be streamed online. (Photo courtesy Dirk Heydemann)

Nanaimo’s Cinefest film festival to be held online this year due to COVID-19

CineCentral Filmmakers Society’s annual festival to feature films made in 48 hours

The CineCentral Filmmakers Society’s annual Cinefest film festival is back and this year’s festival will feature films made in the two days leading up to the event.

For the past two years, Cinefest, presented by CineCentral, formerly the Hub City Cinema Society, has taken place at the Avalon Cinema. Because of COVID-19, the 2020 edition of the festival will be streamed online, but CineCentral president Zachary Tannar said he wanted the festival to be something more.

“Just showing films people made over the past year online as a stream isn’t very exciting because eventually every filmmaker is going to put their film on YouTube or somewhere online where everyone can watch it…” Tannar said. “What would make it more exciting for me, personally, is if these films were completely brand new.”

This year’s festival, taking place on Oct. 4 at 7 p.m., will feature not only the 15 films submitted to the CineCentral One-Minute Mobile Movie Challenge, but also films that were made as part of the society’s inaugural 48-Hour Filmmaking Challenge.

“It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for several years now and the conditions of the time just made it feel right,” Tannar said.

CineCentral opened the competition to 10 teams of four and it took fewer than 48 hours for 10 teams to sign up. To ensure the teams aren’t writing their scripts ahead of time, the they will receive special criteria on Oct. 2 at noon and by Oct. 4 at noon they must submit their finished product. Each team will get $100 to go toward their production thanks to a grant from the B.C. Arts Council.

The entries are being judged by Victoria-based filmmaker and videojournalist Arnold Lim, actor and filmmaker Harrison Houde of Parksville and Vancouver TV and film producer Leah Mallen. At Cinefest’s conclusion the Top 3 films will be announced as well as the audience pick for winner of the One-Minute Mobile Movie Challenge.

Tannar said with all things considered, he’s looking forward to this year’s incarnation of Cinefest.

“If you had asked me four months, six moths ago, ‘So, what’s our plan?’ I was not very excited about doing anything,” Tannar said. “But now the fact that it’s all come together and the fact that there is such excitement in the community to be doing this, I’m very happy what we’re doing and excited to see what more comes out of it.”

WHAT’S ON … CineCentral Filmmakers Society presents Cinefest on Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. Details regarding the stream are still being finalized. Check for updates on the CineCentral Facebook page.

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