Festival screening Oscar-nominated short films
Wednesday, Feb 21, 2018 06:00 am
Film fanatics across the region can sit back, munch on popcorn and view dozens of short films that were short-listed for the Oscars next weekend.
The Okotoks Film Festival is screening Oscar Nominated Short Films at the Rotary Performing Arts Centre Feb. 23 and 24, just days before the March 4 Academy Awards. The screening, a partnership with Short HD and Magnolia Pictures, will feature animated films Friday at 6 p.m. and live action at 8:30 p.m. and on Saturday live action films at 6 p.m. and animated shorts at 8:30 p.m.
“I’m a huge short film fan,” said Katie Fournell, Okotoks Film Festival director. “I love the idea of telling a story in such a short span of time. I like the surprising things you get to see at the Oscar shorts.”
Fournell brought the Oscar-nominated short films to Okotoks for the first time a year ago.
“The reason we show them is actually selfish,” she laughed. “I went to the Oscar shorts every year when I lived in Edmonton. It was a date for me and my sister. We would sit there all night and eat a lot of popcorn.”
Fournell said the Edmonton International Film Festival had been showing the shorts for years and the two would go every year to watch them together.
Now her sister drives to Okotoks to help Fournell host the event before sitting back and watching the films.
For the three-day International Film Festival in the spring, Fournell watches all of the films beforehand. When it comes to the Oscar-nominated short films, she only watches the trailers and waits until the actual screening.
“For the Oscar shorts I deliberately do not view them until the first night of the screening,” she said. “I like the surprise.”
The screenings run about an hour and a half and each short film ranges from five to 23 minutes.
Fournell said hosting the film shorts gives people in the region an opportunity to view films from around the world that they wouldn’t otherwise see.
“The reason I want to show it in Okotoks as part of the film festival is we have a goal to bring films that won’t be otherwise seen to Okotoks and also to show really good quality films in Okotoks to have unique film experiences that’s not always the big blockbuster movies,” she said. “This fits perfectly with our mandate.”
A short film that sticks out in Fournell’s mind from past years is about a woman leaving her abusive husband. She said it was real-time storytelling and she was at the edge of her seat as she watched the woman preparing to leave her husband and her husband showing up unexpectedly.
“Your heart was pounding the while time,” she said. “It was terrifying.”
Fournell expects a similar experience with a short film this year called Decalb Elementary. She said the trailer shows a man walking into a reception office at a school and pulling out a semi-automatic rifle.
“That’s all that’s in the trailer,” she said. “That’s pretty powerful. I’m getting goose bumps just thinking about it.”
Twenty-five to 30 people attended each screening last year and Fournell hopes to see even larger crowds this weekend.
“I’ve never been disappointed by the quality of stories that’s told at the Oscar shorts,” she said. “I’ve always been surprised.”
Tickets cost $15 per screening or $25 for both. They can be purchased at okotoksfilmfestival.ca
Those who purchase tickets are invited to guess which film they think will win an Oscar in each of the two categories for an opportunity to win two free passes to the Okotoks Film Festival on June 8 to 10.