Reaching great cinematic heights  

Student works shine at the Montreal World Film Festival

By Anna Sarkissian

Once again, Concordia was strongly represented at the Canadian Student Film Festival, part of the Montreal World Film Festival.

The festival, which is ongoing until Sept. 7, saw 17 films by Concordia students screened between Aug. 29 and Sept. 1.

“It’s one thing for your friends and family to appreciate your work. If you have strangers in a room recognizing your film for what it’s worth, then that’s something else,” says Roy Cross, head of the undergraduate film production program.

Mirek Hamet
S’oublier, 10 minutes

Mirek Hamek understands the value of promoting himself at festivals – he lugged a backpack full of copies of his short film, S’oublier, to the Fantasia Festival to hand out to people he met.

Mirek Hamet’s award-winning film <em>S’oublier</em> was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival Student Film Showcase, the Fantasia Festival, and most recently the Montreal World Film Festival. Magnifying glass

Mirek Hamet’s award-winning film S’oublier was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival Student Film Showcase, the Fantasia Festival, and most recently the Montreal World Film Festival.

“At first, I thought I hated networking,” the film production student says. But while presenting his work at the Toronto International Film Festival Student Film Showcase last April, where he won the prize for best live action film, he started changing his tune.

The film is not a straightforward narrative: the main character is an actor playing the role of a hospitalized patient who in turn thinks of herself as an actor.

Writer Adam Nayman from Toronto’s Eye Weekly described S’oublier as “a rare example of serious student filmmaking that doesn’t trip over its own ambition.” Not bad for a film that was written, produced, directed and edited by Hamek for his second year filmmaking class. He even wrote the score.

“I love passion, I love theatre, I love poetry. For me, cinema is the medium that has it all. It’s the modern opera,” he says.

If you missed S’oublier when it screened at the National Film Board earlier this week, you might also catch it while you’re in the air. It was recently selected for Air Canada’s enRoute Film Festival. Hamek is heading up.

Check out the S’oublier trailer:

Sonya Stefan
Concatenare, 5 minutes

Professional contemporary dancer Sonya Stefan is already an MVP in Montreal’s performing arts scene, according to Hour. Dance happens to be the inspiration for her award-winning film work too.

The emerging filmmaker was selected for the Sandra and Lee Colber Scholarship and the Astral Media Scholarship at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. Her films have been screened in London and Japan and will be featured in Montreal’s Transatlantique dance festival later this month.

Whether she’s on the stage or behind the camera, Stefan’s creative process is the same. “I know what I want to shoot but I leave it open to some improvisation,” she says.

Stefan presented her film, Concatenare on Sept. 1 at the Montreal World Film Festival.

Mixing multiple film stocks and processing techniques, the film is an experimental look at body percussion, in which performers use their bodies to create the rhythms.

“I hope people will see that not all dancers are 20-years-old like those on So You Think You Can Dance,” Stefan says “Dancers can be all ages, all sizes, all shapes.”

Ultimately, Stefan wants to capture dance in a unique way and admits that she is still searching and asking questions.

“You’re an artist for life. Just because you turn 50 doesn’t mean you have to stop.”

Check out a clip from Concatenare:

Angie-Pepper O’Bomsawin
Curtain Call, 10 minutes
Snake’s Poker, 15 minutes

A full-time student with three jobs and a five-year-old son, Angie-Pepper O’Bomsawin is so caught up in the daily grind that she doesn’t have time to submit her work to festivals.

Luckily, a friend stepped in and sent it off on her behalf. As luck would have it, two of her films were selected for the Montreal World Film Festival.

Curtain Call, which documents the world of a circus performer, was created in collaboration with other communications students. Snake’s Poker, co-directed by Lisa Purisima, is the story of a poker club in Kahnawake, Que., which has broken down barriers between natives and non-natives.

“Aboriginal people are flourishing left, right and centre,” O’Bomsawin says, adding that the abundant negative news coverage frustrates her. “If I can help someone see native people in a different light, that would be amazing.”

A knack for storytelling seems to run in the family. Her father’s second cousin is legendary filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin, who has produced over 30 films about aboriginal issues in Canada.

“We capture our stories and traditions through oral narrative. Film allows us to explore a new skill set so we can continue sharing our stories,” she says.


Concordia University