Bright lights from cinema  

By Anna Sarkissian

Magnifying glass

In the archetypical student film, waking up never gets tired.

Many shorts have opened with the following sequence: alarm clock buzzing, groggy sleeper rising, toothbrushing, Cheerio consuming, and so on.

While there’s no guarantee that you won’t witness anyone’s morning routine, talented students at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema have plenty more to offer at the Concordia Film Festival this weekend.

“Seeing your work on the big screen – it’s a long time coming,” says Roch Thibault, president of the Cinema Students’ Association. For the past year, undergrads have been working steadily on their projects, looking forward to the opportunity to share their creations with their peers, he adds. “It’s not the same as watching it on a TV or a computer. It’s what cinema is all about.”

On April 30 and May 1, the CSA will present works from both film production and animation at Ex-Centris and Cinéma Parallèle.

MFA student Nilesh Patel was one of several people to help narrow down some of the first year films for inclusion in the festival.

“The first years are new to working with film, so evaluating principally on aspects like cinematography, sound design or editing was not the best gauge for me,” he says. He was looking for work with a solid tone and flow. “I forgave technical gaffs when I felt the film as a whole stood out.”

Art history student Ali Moenck got involved in the festival last year through a friend and came back for more as a member of the programming committee. “As filmmakers are starting their careers, they make work about what they know. We have a whole range of subjects: family, friends, happiness and loss,” she says.

The screening of third-year films on Friday night sold out within a week. For die-hard fans, Thibault recommends showing up anyway in case some seats open up.

If choosing from eight screenings is too tough, the Best of the Fest at 9 p.m. on Saturday will present a solid sampling of short films. The lineup was pre-selected by a four-member jury and will be shown in both theatres simultaneously.
Before the fest kicks off, the school will be awarding more than $85 000 worth of prizes to some of the top students in film studies, production and animation at a reception on April 29. This also marks the inaugural year for the Pierre Jasmin Award for Excellence in Animation.

Thibault says the importance of Concordia’s contribution to the world of Canadian cinema should be highlighted. “We have one of the best film schools in Canada.
We need to support young artists who are trying to make a name for themselves.”
Find out more about the Concordia Film Festival or send organizers a message. Regular screenings are $5, the Best of the Fest is $8.


Concordia University