Emerging moviemakers given leg up at Short Circuit Pacific Rim Film Festival

Victoria festival that offers prospect of funding through prize worth $17,500 receives entries from far and wide

ON SCREEN

What: Short Circuit Pacific Rim Film Festival

Where: The Vic Theatre, 808 Douglas St.
When: Friday and Saturday, May 3 and 4
Tickets: $10-$20 (including some free events) at eventbrite.ca
Information: shortcircuitfilmfestival.com

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The impact of what the Short Circuit Pacific Rim Film Festival offers local filmmakers can be summarized by the recent success of Victoria writer/director Jim Knox, who will turn a loss at last year’s festival into a win this weekend.

In addition to screening several films written and produced by Victoria filmmakers, the CineVic Society of Independent Filmmakers — which produces the festival — also offers emerging filmmakers a chance to win a lucrative package that effectively covers the costs of making a short film.

Knox did not win the CineSPARK competition or the $15,000 production package in 2018, but eventually received funding from the B.C. Arts Council to make Miriam, the film he pitched to a jury before a live audience alongside four other hopefuls last year.

The wonderful short film about a woman with Down syndrome (the excellent Sue Anthony) who lives in a homeshare has since been shown at film festivals in New York and Idaho. That it will also screen at this year’s Short Circuit festival gives CineVic executive director David Geiss a real-life success story heading into the festival’s seventh edition.

“That’s part of our hope with the CineSPARK program,” Geiss said.

“Only one of them can get the production package, but that isn’t to say the other four aren’t worthy. Even if they don’t win, maybe that ignites a passion in the filmmaker about the work, enough that they can go make it on their own.”

The event gets underway Friday with a variety of programming at the Vic Theatre. Films From Near & Far is a showcase for films across the Pacific Rim, including entries from New Caledonia, South Korea, California, and Washington, followed by this year’s CineSPARK pitch session, which now comes with a prize of cash, equipment and services worth a total $17,500. Friday’s festivities will be closed out by an opening-night party at the Chateau Victoria.

Events set for Saturday include a filmmakers’ panel discussion at Chateau Victoria and selections of films from Victoria and around the province at the Vic Theatre, including the première of Norman, the 2018 CineSPARK winner directed by Graham McDonald and written by Lisah Smith. The festival closes Saturday night with a free karaoke wrap party at The Mint (1414 Douglas St.).

Geiss said he loves what the festival has done for filmmakers in the past, and what it will do for many more in the future. It provides a bridge for creators who want their film made, but do not have the resources or connections in which to do it. “Artist support is our essential reason for being at CineVic. It helps filmmakers do what they want to do with their career and life, and gets them an audience for that.”

mdevlin@timescolonist.com

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