Volume 96, Issue 88
Tuesday, March 18, 2003

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Talented Western filmmakers strike gold at the Rainbow

By Nicole Laidler
Gazette Staff

Film Festival Results

Grand Prize
($1,000) winner

Beyond the Gaze directed by Bryan Atkinson and Michael Thede


Overall Impression
($350) winner

Framed directed by Brent O'Hagan


Achievement in Narrative
($350) winner

Flash/Interrupt directed by Nick Haffie-Emslie and Ryan Marr


Technical Achievement
($350) winner

ANM8-TD Commandolls directed by Mark Campbell and David Hustler


Viewers' Choice
($150) winner

ANM8-TD Commandolls directed by Mark Campbell and David Hustler


Special Mentions
Black Fire directed by Daniel Besharat – for achievement in the avant-garde

Arthur Lipsett: Poet of Film directed by Amelia Does – for achievement in documentary portrait

 
 

London movie fans filled the theatre at Rainbow Cinemas for opening night of the ninth annual UWO Film Festival on Friday. If the enthusiastic round of applause given to the young filmmakers at the end of the screening was any indication, no one in the audience left disappointed.

The 16 short films displayed a remarkable variety of stylistic and technical approaches, from the jarring minimalist soundscape of Anne Sinclair's Gate 17 to Brent O'Hagen's humourous narrative thriller, Framed.

Festival organizers Tannisha Lambert and Jordan Poppenk invited everyone to join the participants at a post-show party in the Galleria mall. Many in the audience took advantage of this opportunity to enjoy some free food and have their festival posters signed by the up-and-coming filmmakers.

Flash/Interrupt co-directors Nick Haffie-Emslie and Ryan Marr brought family and friends along for support. Their film was shot around London on a mini-DVD camcorder and edited on the family computer. With an original musical score by Haffie-Emslie, the duo's evocation of a defining moment was one of the most sophisticated and moving films of the evening.

Haffie-Emslie's mother, Raven Emslie, was clearly delighted to have seen her son's work up on the big screen.

"I'm really, really proud of him," she said, "but I think filmmaking is just something they are doing for fun right now."

Marr may have other ideas. Only 17-years-old, he has already been accepted to study film at the International Academy of Design and Technology in Toronto.

Daniel Besharat, on the other hand, is in his third year of a biology degree at Western. He just finds it "cathartic to make something unique." His submission, Fire, was created by carefully scratching a single piece of unexposed eight millimetre film with a medical scalpel. This silent film brings the cinematic medium back to the elemental interplay between darkness and light, and would be just as likely to be seen in an art gallery.

The stop-motion ANM8-TD Commandolls, by Mark Campbell and David Hustler, lies at the other end of the animation spectrum. The Barbie doll adventure story elicited many giggles from the audience, much to Campbell's relief.

"It's always nerve-racking to attempt humour. It's hard to tell if people will laugh," Campbell admitted.

The short film represented four months of hard work, with each scene taking up to 10 hours to film and 20 hours to edit. Costs were kept down by taking advantage of Toys R Us's generous three-month, money-back policy – "actors" were simply returned when they were no longer needed.

The festival also boasted two documentaries. Arthur Lipsett: Poet of Film by Amelia Does, a third-year Western film student, was inspired by one of her classes.

"We saw Very Nice, Very Nice in one of my first-year classes, and I was immediately moved and attracted by Lipsett," she explained.

Beyond the Gaze, by Bryan Atkinson and Michael Thede, was also influenced by academia, specifically by the term "scopophilia," a made-up word adopted by critics that kept turning up in their film textbooks. They went one step further and created a spoof documentary around this non-existent illness.

This year's festival truly offered something for everyone. If you weren't there, you missed some delightfully creative films, and the not-so-enjoyable ones were over fast. For many of these film students, the UWO Film Festival is just the beginning.


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2002 THE GAZETTE