The Reel Shorts Film Festival returns this week, with 90 films from 22 countries playing from May 9th to 15th. They’re packaged into 14 groups, and provided they’re not taking part in the Filmmaker Insights Symposium next weekend, film buffs could see every film picked this year.
This year’s picks were narrowed down from more than 5,000 submission from 131 countries. Festival Director Terry Scerbak says it’s a way to travel the world without leaving your seat.
“We have several films that sort of related to refugees and immigrants and from different perspectives; there’s a documentary about a volunteer who helps at a refugee camp in Greece and a drama that takes place in the Mediterranean Sea.”
Some packages are targeted at the 2,500 children that will be coming through in school groups, and others are more adult with coarse Language, violence, and gory scenes. Following the Best of the Fest showing on Sunday will be the Frantic 4, short films shot by locals over just two days in April.
The festival has grown from 38 films screened in its first edition in 2007, to 90 in its 11th edition. Scerbak says it’s something people need to experience to understand.
“A person doesn’t really know what it’s like until they actually come and see a package of short films and then realize that they like it so much they keep coming back, and that’s how we’ve grown every year.”
The Filmmaker Insights Symposium at the Reel Shorts Film Festival has also grown to three days this year. From May 13th to the 15th, acclaimed filmmakers will be putting on workshops and panels for local film buffs. Scerbak says they decided to expand the workshops with the help of the Peace Region Independent Media Arts Association.
“Last year it was a one day filmmaker insights day, and then we made it two days this year so we called it a symposium, except one workshop we thought would be so popular we’re also doing it on the Monday night.”
There are still some spots open to take part in the symposium. Tickets for the festival are also available through the Grande Prairie Live Theatre. Screenings are being held at the GPLT and GPRC’s Douglas J. Cardinal Performing Arts Centre, with the symposium at the Ernie Radbourne Pavilion in Muskoseepi Park. A full schedule can be found on the festival’s website.