Talent on screen at VFF

When the 19th annual Victoria Film Festival hits local movie screens between February 1st and 10th, Fine Arts students will once again have their work seen alongside more than 150 tantalizing Canadian and international films.

Connor Gaston's Bardo Light

Connor Gaston’s Bardo Light

Primary among them is Department of Writing graduate student Connor Gaston, who made local news late last year when his short film Bardo Light was accepted into the Toronto International Film Festival and another of his shorts, Stuck, screened at the Whistler Film Festival. (TIFF programmer Magali Simard described Bardo Light as “a modern-day chiller that merges Mary Shelley with the Tibetan Book of the Dead, [this] is a bold and unique experience.”)

Victoria audiences will now have the opportunity to see Bardo Light—which stars Department of Theatre grad Shaan Rahman and features a cameo by Writing chair Bill Gaston—as part of the “Little Horrors” shorts program at 9:30pm Saturday, February 9, at the Vic Theatre.

Emily Piggford in Frost

Emily Piggford in Frost

You can also see Department of Theatre grad Emily Piggford as part of that same “Little Horrors” night when she takes the lead in the short film Frost, created by Pacific and Asian Studies alumni Jeremy Ball. Frost has been described as “stunning” and “epic,” thanks to its barren, snow-covered landscapes and dystopic sci-fi edge. (Check out this article about Ball by Michael Reid, film writer for the local Times Colonist).

Catch a video interview with Piggford here from when Frost also played at TIFF, or you can read an interview with her here. And proving that not all filmmakers come out of Writing or Theatre, recent UVic biology grad Julia Hostetler has her own short film Quiescence on view as well. Catch it as part of the shorts program “Kids Amok!” at 2pm on Sunday, February 10, also at the Vic.

Maureen Bradley

Maureen Bradley

Also of note is the work done behind the scenes by student jurors Charles Wagner, Caitlen Jessen and Max Johnson, as well as busy local filmmaker and Writing prof Maureen Bradley, who was once again on the VFF programming committee and will be doing a workshop as part of the annual Springboard industry discussion series. She’ll be participating in “The Drama Workshop” session, which runs from 2-3:30pm Saturday, February 2 at the Vic. “I’ll be presenting work and discussing narrative filmmaking for emerging filmmakers,” says Bradley.

UVic at VFF

A scene from Katherine Walkiewicz's A Brief Moment

While this year’s Victoria Film Festival program isn’t exactly brimming over with UVic content this year, there are a few films of note worth catching over the festival’s February 3-12 run:

• Department of Writing student Katherine Walkiewicz’s 20-minute movie, Une Mémoire Courte (A Brief Moment), which we wrote about when it was appearing at the Cannes International Film Festival earlier this year, will be playing as part of the “A Human Touch” shorts program, at 2:45 pm on Sunday, Feb. 12, at the Odeon.

Jeremy Lutter

•   Writing alum and busy emerging director Jeremy Lutter will be screening his short film, Joanna Makes A Friend (co-written by fellow Writing grad and childhood friend Ben Rollo) as part of the “Beyond the Playground” shorts night, at 9:45 pm on Tuesday, Feb. 7, at the Capitol 6. Find out more about Jeremy from our recent blog post, or catch this recent interview with him and CVV Magazine‘s Leanne Allen and John Threlfall. (Threlfall, our Fine Arts communication honcho, will also be helping to cover the VFF as part of his side-gig as a writer for CVV Magazine.)

Dan Hogg

• Our own film production/screenwriting/cinematography/digital media staffer Daniel Hogg will be presenting his brand new short film, Standard of Living, at 7:15 pm on Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Capitol 6 before the screening of the documentary, The Ailing Queen. Hogg’s film came out of a partnership between the Victoria Film Festival and the Victoria Foundation to commission short films exploring the connection between arts and other aspects of our community. Described in the VFF program guide as one of “eight films with eight different perspectives in eight different styles,  all united by the idea that arts and culture are not isolated from other aspects of daily life and community living,” Hogg’s Standard of Living is part of the “Behind the Scenes: Victoria” program spread throughout the festival.

Scott Amos

• Another “Behind the Scenes: Victoria” offering is Transportation by MFA student and noted local experimental filmmaker Scott Amos. (Amos is also very busy behind the scenes himself this year as the VFF’s communications coordinator.) Transportation plays before Foreverland at 12:15 pm Sunday, Feb 5., at the Odeon.

• Also appearing as part of the Victoria Film Festival programming, is Zurich-born director Reto Caduff. The co-director of award-winning doc A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash, Caduff is coming to Victoria this year to promote his current documentary The Visual Language of Herbert Matter, about the highly influential mid-century modern design master. He will be speaking at UVic at one of our Lansdowne Lectures at 7 pm Tuesday, February 7, in room C122 of the David Strong Building.

Maureen Bradley

• Finally, it’s worth noting that Department of Writing graduate advisor and associate film prof Maureen Bradley was one again on the Victoria Film Festival’s programming committee. As well as shepherding the recent Leo Award-winning student success Freshman’s Wharf, Bradley has directed over 40 short films of her own, and her award-winning productions have screened at the likes of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. A member of the Directors Guild of Canada, Bradley reached her largest audience of over 12 million viewers on the CBC TV series Road Movies.