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October 24, 2002 Students showcase work in quirky vid-fest





by Craig Stein

Theatre 5 at the AMC Forum was packed to capacity on April 3 in support of the first annual Montreal Student Video and Film Festival.

Conceived and produced by three Concordia communications students, the festival showcased 18 short films by students in just under two hours. The audience was treated to a variety of styles, including public service annou-ncements, mini-docs, narratives and experimental films.

Blossom Stephens, Shanna Parisien and Jasmine Goyer were the festival producers. Stephens said, “The festival grew out of our desire to get credit for an internship program,” but instead of working for a company, they felt they could learn more by filling a niche in the film community.

Stephens secured the AMC Forum as a venue because she used to be a supervisor. The organizers added corporate sponsorships, savvy advertising, TV and radio spots, a knack for shrewd budgeting and a grand prize: an all-expense paid trip to the Toronto Film Festival.

Sarah Arruda won awards for best public service announcement and best documentary. In the short doc Something Spectacular, Arruda and Cate Cadbury profile a day in the life of impersonator Jimmy Faille.

Life presents challenges of a different nature for the main characters in A Luge Son, by Bobby Shore and Darren Curtis, which picked up the prize for best narrative. The film tells the story of a father who imposes his own dreams on his son. The tone is comic and poignant, with the filmmakers drawing inspiration from the absurdities of their own lives. Shore and Curtis began collaborating artistically in Grade 5, when Darren’s mother gave them an old VHS camera.

The award for best overall film was presented to Mark Lomond for his animated short Alright. The film is a whimsically surreal, visual interpretation of the song Alright by the band Pilot, and the protagonist is a ghost who documents city life from the back seat of a taxi. The film has been selected for festivals in Ireland, France, England, and the Czech Republic.

At the post-festival party, Goyer encouraged fellow students to “take advantage of these festivals, submit your work, and keep going,” and Stephens advised them to “go beyond what is required in the classroom.”