The five-member Selection Committee for the 12th annual Vancouver Island Short Film Festival has a monumental task at hand. With over 70 films already submitted and more rolling in every day, VISFF is on track to receive the most submissions in its 12-year history, including a record number of international films.
“I can’t wait to delve into the eight-plus straight hours of short films,” says Reb Stevenson, co-creator of Pancake Manor, a wildly-popular series of puppet-infused pop music videos for kids that boasts half a billion YouTube views. “I have popped a lot of popcorn in advance!”
Stevenson is joining the Selection Committee for the first time, along with filmmaker and past VISFF award-winner Paul Whittington, and Vancouver Island University scriptwriting instructor Frank Moher, who served as a VISFF judge in 2015.
“It’s exciting to see arts-centred events like this flourishing here,” says Stevenson, recently lured from Victoria by the growing number of young artists settling in the hub city. “I was honoured to be asked to be on the Selection Committee, especially as a newcomer to Nanaimo. For me, it’s an invitation into the arts scene here, and it also enables me to give something back to the community right away.”
Returning to the Selection Committee are storyteller and film critic Sarah Schwartz and cinephile Paul Arnell.
“Cinema’s power is that it can help us understand and know ourselves more deeply,” says Arnell, who shared movie recommendations with fellow film fanatics from behind the counter of Van Isle Video for more than a decade. “But if we only experience mainstream movies or just what’s available on Netflix, we run the risk of becoming culturally homogenized. I think Nanaimo needs VISFF because it helps create a sense of community among local film lovers, and it broadens our horizons by showcasing unique visions from our own community and around the world.”
While the majority of films submitted so far were shot and produced either on Vancouver Island or in Canada, more than ten other countries are represented among the entries, including China, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Finland, Lebanon, France and Iran. They’ll be whittled down by the Selection Committee based on their score in five categories: Writing, Originality/Creativity, Production Value, Sound/Music and Editing.
VISFF submission guidelines can be found online at www.visff.com and the deadline is November 12th. The 2017 Vancouver Island Short Film Festival is set for February 10th and 11th Vancouver Island University’s Malaspina Theatre.
Media contact: Hilary Eastmure 250-327-4240 (cell)