Filmies unite at the Living Skies Student Film Festival


It just keeps getting bigger and better!

Oh look, an octopus attended the festival, too. Such fun. / Destiny Kaus

Oh look, an octopus attended the festival, too. Such fun. / Destiny Kaus

For those of you out there who may think the University of Regina’s annual Living Skies Student Film Festival (LSFF) is just a small local festival with little filmie nerds watching their own low-budget films on a big screen, you are completely wrong.

The LSFF is, in fact, a weekend of watching films by crazy-talented students from around the world and listening to talks from Regina-born film legends, such as Adrian Dean and Gabe Hordos.

Adrian Dean is an animator from Regina who is known for his work on the kid’s show, Doowett and I Heart Regina, and Gabe Hordos is an animator from Regina who has been working at DreamWorks Animation Studios in California for about 12 years. Hordos has worked on some big-name films, including How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda, Rise of the Guardians, Shark Tale, Flushed Away, and the list goes on!

Since the LSFF had some killer sponsors this year who donated money to the festival, the LSFF committee was able to fly in Hordos from good ol’ Cali.

Rory Dunn, one of the festival organizers, stated, “[Hordos] was completely on board. He was really excited from the very start.”

Personally, I think it’s pretty dang sick that a DreamWorks animator would come to little ol’ Regina to give some talks on film. I think this definitely elevates the festival. And, not only does the LSFF bring in crazy-awesome speakers, but it’s been running for a crap load of years, despite being re-branded four years ago as the Living Skies Film Festival.

“We’ve actually had a student film festival since 1990,” Dunn said. “It’s actually the world’s longest running student-run film festival for 25 years.”

My goodness gracious that is deeply impressive. But wait! There’s more. This year, the LSFF got over 70 submissions – which is up from last year’s submissions of about 55 – from around the world. Yes, I said, “From around the world.”

Dunn, who was in charge of contacting schools to submit films, receiving the submissions, and getting the films ready for the judges to critique, says, “We had [submissions] from Belgium, Japan, Russia, Scotland, and Wales.”

The U.S and many U of R students also submitted films in a variety of genres: narrative, documentaries, experimental, animation. In fact, the three documentaries selected for the festival were all from the U of R. Woooo! Atta be U of R. Atta be.

lise Beaudry-Ferland another organizer of the festival, also submitted a film, but it

didn’t get selected for the festival (boo hoo…so sad). Nevertheless, she was pumped to help coordinate the event and listen to Hordos speak, stating “Gabe was the thing I was looking forward to the most.”

On Saturday, the festival also included a little mini Oscars night where the committee presented awards in categories such as Best Documentary, Viewer’s Choice, Best of Saskatchewan, Best Animation, Best Actor, and Best Cinematography.

While U of R films cleaned up on the awards, receiving Best Documentary, Viewer’s Choice, and Best of Saskatchewan, students from Concordia University, Edinburgh College of Art, Columbia College of Chicago, and many more also picked up awards.

“After we give our [award] presentation and give prizes, we can celebrate,” says Beaudry-Ferland.

And celebrate they did! With music, dancing, and booze! Yeahhhhh boiiiiiiii.

All in all, Beaudry-Ferland says the festival, especially the talks from Dean and Hordos and the screenings, went very well, even though they did not get as many people as they expected, especially during the weekend.

Dunn sums everything up by stating, “I love the festival just because it helps re-establish Regina as a film community. After the tax credit got cut of course it kind of fell apart and we’re trying to re-establish that. We’re trying to build a community up and it’s just something that we want to continue building on every year to establish Regina as a film hub.”

Boom. Personally, I think this film festival is super cool and gets better every year. I mean, if bringing in a DreamWorks animator from Cali doesn’t show the filmie haters or doubters out there that the film program at the U of R and this festival is more than legit, I don’t know what will.

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