Cinevic executive director David Geiss announces the finalists for the Cinespark short film competition at a gathering at Frankie’s Diner in Victoria. The contest is part of the annual Short Circuit Pacific Rim Film Festival, happening May 4 to 6. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

FAB FILMS: Short Circuit Pacific Rim festival expands international flavour

Victoria event also gives boost to fledgling Island-based filmmakers

Grassroots filmmaking will be celebrated and incubated during the sixth annual Short Circuit Pacific Rim Film Festival.

Cinevic, a non-profit society devoted to independent filmmaking, is hosting the event May 4 and 5 at various downtown sites, with all film screenings at the Vic Theatre.

Cinevic executive director David Geiss is excited about this year’s festival, noting that it attracted a record 107 short film submissions from around the world. That group was whittled down to 28 films, from 12 different countries, to be screened over the weekend.

“We’ve got everything from documentaries to drama and narrative fiction,” he said, adding that one night will be specifically dedicated to B.C. films.

While the completed films are a major focus of the weekend, Geiss is equally pumped about this year’s Cinespark finalists. Cinevic solicits short film scripts from writers on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. The winner receives $1,000 to assist in producing a short film, with the aim of premiering it at the following year’s festival.

“One of the gems we’ve got in this year’s festival is actually the winner of Cinespark last year; they did end up shooting their film and got it completed,” Geiss said.

Her Name is Destiny, by Luke Connor, Alex Miller and Darlene Tait, will be screened at Short Circuit on May 4.

Lisah Smith’s script, entitled Norman, about a curmudgeonly man who reunites with his estranged daughter, Alberta and the dynamics between them, is one of the 2018 Cinespark finalists.

“It’s pretty cool, but pretty nerve-wracking, the thought of pitching to an audience of people is making my anxiety go up right now,” said Smith, who works locally in the film industry as a co-ordinator in set decoration.

Her story emerged from thinking about relationships, especially those within a family.

“I basically took my own family dynamics and I switched the genders and I added some personality traits they didn’t have … They turn into their own people and creatures, they are entities unto themselves,” she said.

Fellow finalist and local novelist Claire Mulligan was shortlisted for The Still Life of Annika Myers, which sees an older man help a woman secure a still life painting she claims was taken during the Nazi occupation of Holland during the Second World War.

Mulligan wrote the piece for a short story contest where the theme was food, which led to her thinking it could be a good base for a novel. She ultimately received a Canada Council grant to do so and expand upon the original story.

“It’s become a much bigger project now, it will be a novel,” she said, noting a short film would be a good calling card for the larger project. “They won’t be quite the same, but the ending will be in the novel.”

Other finalists include Out of Sound (Julia Dillon-Davis), Fade out (BD Young), Willow Tree (Arnold Lim) and You’re A Damn Fine Cop, McGee (Piper Gordon).

For more information on the festival, visit cinevic.ca.

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