The Vancouver Island Short Film Festival features 16 films including Lemonade Mafia by U.S. filmmaker Anya Adams. The festival runs from Friday and Saturday (Feb. 10-11) at Malaspina Theatre.

The Vancouver Island Short Film Festival features 16 films including Lemonade Mafia by U.S. filmmaker Anya Adams. The festival runs from Friday and Saturday (Feb. 10-11) at Malaspina Theatre.

Vancouver Island Short Film Festival screens flicks

Vancouver Island Short Film Festival held in Nanaimo at Malaspina Theatre Feb. 10-11.

Films from around the globe will be showcased during the 12th Annual Vancouver Island Short Film Festival.

This year, the festival received a record-breaking number of entries and features 16 films.

Karla Duarte, director and sponsorship coordinator for the Vancouver Island Short Film Festival, said it was “really tough” for the committee to narrow down the films and make selections.

“It was a record-breaking number of entries from 14 different countries, but still a strong Canadian representation – over 50 per cent from Canada,” said Duarte.

Given the growth of entries, Duarte said festival organizers are contemplating making changes next year, but are still researching options. The organization is looking into how to continue to support Vancouver Island Filmmakers and give them a platform to showcase their work. Duarte said options could include a quota or creating a category for Vancouver Island filmmakers, but nothing has been decided yet.

Duarte said the film festival offers people the opportunity to see “very high-quality films.”

“We want to really encourage people to come out for a night of diverse films,” she said.

Helena Marie, one of this year’s VISFF judges, said she likes to watch the films once through to get the theme. Usually this evokes “automatic feelings.” She then watches the film several more times to evaluate aspects, such as writing and technique, depending on what category she is judging at the time.

“Judging is a difficult process,” said Marie. “It’s really about applauding the hard work that people put into it. Truthfully every one of the films have their own beauty.”

Marie said she likes to look at judging as less of a criticism and more of recognizing something that has hit that next level. She explained it’s like going to an art exhibit and being able to put a bid on a piece.

She said short film festivals are important because short films can get lost, “they are applauded in their own way, but easily cast aside.” Events such as the Vancouver Island Short Film Festival bring short films into the spotlight and to a larger audience, she said.

“It’s incredibly helpful and beautiful to bring a community together through film,” said Marie.

This year’s judging panel includes Gavin Michael Booth, an award-winning filmmaker, producer and writer who recently created The Scarehouse; Erin Linn McMullan, a screenwriter and editor who created the screenplay Lotus; and Marie who co-founded What’s On Tap Productions and produced, co-wrote and starred in the short film Crazy Love, which won Best Technical, Best Writing, Best Film and Best Performance during last year’s Vancouver Island Short Film Festival. She has also appeared on Supernatural, A Wife’s Suspicion and First Response. Marie recently had a supporting lead role in Stagecoach:The Texas Jack Story.

To learn more about this year’s judges, please visit http://visff.com.

The Vancouver Island Short Film Festival is Friday and Saturday (Feb. 10-11) at Malaspina Theatre. On Feb. 10 screenings begin at 7 p.m. followed by a Q-and-A with filmmakers. On Saturday there are two screenings at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., which is followed by the awards ceremony.

Tickets are $16.50 or $11.50 for students, which includes ticket order fees, and are available by calling 250-754-8550 or by visiting www.porttheatre.com.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com