The documentary Leave it on the Water tells the story of members of the Penelakut Tribe from Thetis Island near Chemainus travelling to Hawaii for a canoe race.

B.C., local shorts making waves at Pacific Rim Film Festival

CineVic’s seventh annual Short Circuit festival spotlighting films made close to home

Felicia Santarossa

Monday Magazine contributor

It’s a celebration of all things short – film that is.

CineVic Society of Independent Filmmakers is hosting its seventh annual Short Circuit Pacific Rim Film Festival May 3 and 4 at the Vic Theatre, with 25 films from Victoria to Korea to be screened.

While the list of films still represents the Pacific Rim, says CineVic executive director David Geiss, “we did want to put a little bit more focus on B.C. this year, since there were so many good films.”

One of the Saturday screenings centres on B.C. films (7 p.m. start), while the 9 p.m. screening features Local Films. Friday night’s opening screening (7 p.m.) entitled Films From Near and Far, focuses on films produced in locales elsewhere around the Pacific.

Short Circuit: Pacific Rim Film Festival 2019 (trailer) from CineVic on Vimeo.

In the inaugural year 2012, the Pacific Northwest Festival only accepted films from B.C., Yukon, Alaska, Washington and Oregon, but the Society decided to open it up a bit, Geiss says.

“I guess there’s always a push and pull (between) showing the local work and the artists here, and also international content, so we’re doing quite a bit of both this year you could say,” he adds.

One example of this is the documentary Leave it on the Water, about a team from Thetis Island’s Penelakut Tribe travelling to Hawaii for a canoe race.

“We use things like that to structure the screening as well,” Geiss says. “It’s like that film says we’re starting here at home with Vancouver Island, and then we’re going to let them take us on a journey around the Pacific Rim and take us to Hawaii. Then we hop around to Korea, then back to California and Washington … I think that’s kind of a nice tie-in with the actual plot of the (Penelakut) film and including our indigenous filmmakers as well.”

Along with the screenings, festival-goers can take in the annual screenplay pitch competition CineSPARK. Audience members watch the top five submissions pitch their ideas to the filmmakers’ jury panel, with the winner receiving $15,000 in production funds to help produce their project.

“Some people will think ‘Oh, well, that’s not as exciting as watching films, but sometimes it’s even a bit more exciting,” Geiss says. “The audience gets to watch them sweat a little.”

Short Circuit fans may remember Lisah Smith’s 2018 CineSPARK-winning screenplay for Norman, about a daughter reconnecting with her estranged elderly father. Since winning the prize, Smith teamed up with director Graham McDonald to create a 14-minute film that will have its world premiere during the Local Films screening. Geiss wouldn’t say too much about the piece, other than it’s “unexpected, not quite what you would expect.”

For schedule and other information on the festival or to buy tickets, check out cinevic.ca.



editor@mondaymag.com

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