The Vancouver Island Short Film Festival returns for its 15th year in February, and this year it’s bigger than ever.
After receiving a record 227 entries, it was announced today that 25 films from North America, Europe and Asia will be screened at the VISFF, almost twice as many as the 13 movies shown last year. Canada is most represented with 14 films, followed by two from the United States, two from France and one each from China, Denmark, Iran, Israel, Italy, Mexico and the United Kingdom.
Raymond Knight is the lone Nanaimo-based filmmaker showing this year. He’s back for the fourth time to present the debut screening of his new short fishing documentary River Therapy, which he finished the day before submissions were due. The film is a portrait of Knight’s fishing buddy Richard. He said it’s a film he’s wanted to make for a while.
“I just like to follow characters and Richard’s a character and we just have a ton of fun and he’s got a great love for fishing and has great stories and history doing it his entire life,” Knight said. “So it’s just a little film about him and his river therapy, which is something I witnessed fishing with him. So I just really wanted to capture this very quiet piece about him and relaxing on the river.”
Knight will be joined by fellow Islanders Shane Book and Jeremy Lutter of Victoria and their films Dust and Giltrude’s Dwelling. This is Lutter’s third VISFF appearance. Giltrude’s Dwelling, which has already been screened at more than 30 festivals, tells the story of a girl who lives in a house that teleports to a new place every morning but she is reluctant to step outside and explore each new world.
“All these new places are supposed to be adventures that could happen that she doesn’t take,” Lutter said. “So every day you’re presented with a thing that could happen, but Giltrude is going to not try any of them and then just stay in her house. And I think a lot of people go through life like that.”
The rest of the films are Bargain Bin Bed by Vancouver’s Rob Shaw, Asteroid Season by Vancouver’s Earthstar Smith, Going Up by Vancouver’s Forman Howes, The Girl/La Fille by Burnaby’s Keegan Connor Tracy, Laura by Abbotsford’s Kaayla Whachell, Tampon by Toronto’s Erica Orofino, Wawatay by Toronto’s Mark Jones, Nothing to Say by Toronto’s Aubry Mintz, Peete by Toronto’s Simon Madore, Such a Small Thing by Hamilton’s Juno Rinaldi, Bark by Calgary’s Ryan Irving, Minor Accident of War by American Diane Weis, Rust Bucket by American Morgan Wynne, Always Dani by Mexico’s Rosa Carranza, Safety by France’s Fabrice Joubert, Sheep by France’s Théo Chasson, Osuba by Italy’s Federico Marsicano, Square One by the U.K.’s Emily Sargent, Deepness of the Fry by Denmark’s August Niclasen, Twinless by Israel’s Ronalee Israel and Sapir Danan, Mandatory by Iran’s Javad Khorsha and Sonatina by China’s Wong Hoi.
The selections were made by a committee composed of local filmmaker Todd Jones, screenwriter Mallory Gibson, writer and VIU scriptwriting instructor Frank Moher, videographer Jocelyn Matwe and former host of ArtsNow on Shaw TV Alexandria Stuart. Becuase of the number of selections, the films will be split into two lineups and each screened twice.
“We received 227 entries and because the number keeps increasing and partly because people, when they come to the festival, they want to see more films, we decided to try programming it this year and have two programs,” VISFF director Karla Duarte said. “We just feel the more films the better.”
WHAT’S ON … The 15th annual Vancouver Island Short Film Festival comes to VIU on Feb. 7 at Malaspina Theatre, VIU Bldg. 310, at 7 p.m. and VIU Bldg. 320, Room 105 at 7 p.m., and at Malaspina Theatre on Feb. 8 at 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets $18 for one show, or $28 for both. Available starting Thursday, Dec. 12 from the Port Theatre box office.