The mini-Oscars

We have our own Oscars, guys! Sorta.

We have our own Oscars, guys! Sorta.

Living Skies Film Festival kicked butt

Article: Destiny Kaus – A&C Writer

[dropcaps round=”no”]W[/dropcaps]hat up U of R students? Did you know there was a film festival here this past weekend? The Living Skies Student Film Festival has actually been going on here annually for the past 27 years, so surprise, surprise.

I took it upon myself to go to some of the festivities, and honestly, I have never been in the presence of so many film students at once. I loved it.

For all of you who are like, “what the heck is this film festival?” Let me explain. Living Skies notified about 100 film schools across the world regarding their upcoming festival.

Approximately 40-50 film submissions came in from schools worldwide, and Living Skies screened the 21 student films that were up for awards.

In addition to this, the festival held workshops by Emersen Ziffle and Lowell Dean from Wolfcop (Goodness gracious, some famous people from Wolfcop presented? Yep.) and Josh Strait from the esteemed Corner Gas series.

Jessica Gaube, a film student at the University of Regina and one of the organizers of the event, says that the overall purpose of the festival is “to get students to notice other students’ films from around the world.”

Sounds legit to me.

Gaube says “We got lots from Singapore, we got some from Australia, and we got lots from New York.”

Heck, I went to the screenings and in films from Singapore, for example, there were even subtitles so that us little old Canadians could follow along.

But, seriously, I could not help but be amazed that students who are not professional Steven Spielbergs made these films.

I mean for goodness sake, there were animated films! I didn’t even know people outside of Hollywood, let alone students in a film school, could create these things! So cool.

Unfortunately, many students who submit these films from the far reaches of the earth don’t actually come to the festival here in Regina. I wonder why…

Nevertheless, Gaube says, “If lots of people win [awards] from out of town, we’re sending their awards to them and trying to get them to come in the future years.”

Isn’t that nice? And it’s a great way to promote this festival.

While submissions come from around the world, they tend to lack from the University of Regina’s Film Department.

Lucas Frison, a University of Regina film student and another Living Skies organizer, says, “I would encourage more to just submit. It seems like a lot of the students are a little tentative, a little worried about having their stuff seen by an actual audience outside of the classrooms.”

Ah, yes, showing your work to an audience may seem intimidating. But, it really shouldn’t considering that your entire audience will either be film students, professors, or family and friends of film students. Chances are no tomatoes will be thrown.

Frison actually directed the short narrative film Queen City Blues and submitted it in hopes of winning an award at the Film Gala.

“If it’s going to win an award or anything, you want it to just be because it’s deserving not just because it’s from here,” says Frison.

And, Queen City Blues did just that when the judges awarded it for “Best Cinematography” and when the audience voted it in for “Viewer’s Choice.” Atta be U of R talent.

Jason Rister and Jordan McKenzie, who are also film students at the University of Regina, picked up a total of 4 awards at the Film Gala (aka: the Mini Oscars) for their film Isaiah.

Ah, but did Isaiah clean house in the awards department just because it was from Regina? Heck no! The judges aren’t dumb. They picked it because it deserved those awards. There’s nothing else to it.

Clearly, these films, and the other 8 films by University of Regina students that were up for awards, stood up to the bigger schools in Singapore, New York, the Czech Republic, New Zealand, and Germany.

As Frison says, “Everyone that goes has a great time. It’s always very successful. The films are great, the food is good, and the drinks are fantastic.”

Mmmm, can’t get much better than that. See you next year, Living Skies Student Film Festival!

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