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Festival of short films making a big noise

FILM What: Short Circuit Where: Vic Theatre, 808 Douglas St.; CineVic, Ticket Rocket, Yates St. Taphouse, 759 Yates St.
A scene from Reproductive Cycles, directed by John Gardiner, one of the Short Circuit entries.


What: Short Circuit
Where: Vic Theatre, 808 Douglas St.; CineVic, Ticket Rocket, Yates St. Taphouse, 759 Yates St.
When: Friday to Sunday
Admission: Screenings, $5 advance, $10 at door
Speed Pitching: $5 at the door
All other events: free
Information:, 250-389-1590



What a difference a year off makes, as film buffs will discover this weekend when Short Circuit rolls at the Vic Theatre and other downtown venues.

While the fifth annual cinematic showcase, presented by CineVic Society of Independent Filmmakers, celebrates the art of visual brevity, the festival itself has become bigger than ever.

“We skipped last year’s edition so we could revamp it,” said CineVic’s executive director, David Geiss. The festival’s organizing committee received a record number of entries from around the world for this year’s event. Sixteen films, from places including Victoria, Vancouver, Portland, Oregon, Alaska, California and Singapore will be shown.

Opening night entries include The Backyard Project, Kat Craats’ film about a young adventurer who shares what living on Vancouver Island means to her; All the World is a Stage, Singaporean filmmaker Hannes Rall’s short animated adaptation of the Shakespeare poem; Darts, Peter Faint’s film about a struggling professional darts player’s odd experience; and The Orchard, Vancouver filmmaker Darcy Van Poelgeest’s film about an unsolved homicide in a small town that unearths a dark secret shared by two former police investigators.

“Ultimately, the board and committee and [Geiss’s predecessor] Bryan Skinner wanted a higher profile, and the first step before I started was to expand to films from the Pacific Rim,” Geiss said.

What began as a modest annual screening of shorts from B.C. and the Pacific Northwest has become an event that now resembles a bona fide festival.

In addition to to screening programs showcasing the diversity of regions bordering the Pacific Ocean, the three-day festival that opens Friday will feature several events. Highlights include a filmmaking panel moderated by Victoria-based filmmaker and photojournalist Arnold Lim, a speed-pitching session and social events, including the Pacific Rim Party, with Psychedelic Soul, at 9 p.m. on Saturday at Ticket Rocket, 101-804 Broughton St.

Another highlight is Cinespark, the inaugural short film competition that will launch the winning script into production along with $10,000 in cash and in-kind equipment rentals and services for its producers.

The speed-pitching session gives writers, directors, producers and filmmakers five minutes to pitch projects in a pub environment.

“The trick was trying to squeeze more results out of the same amount of funds,” said Geiss, whose non-profit society receives funding from Canada Council for the Arts, the B.C. Arts Council, the province and the CRD Arts Development Service. Partly to fulfil some of the funding requirements, this year’s festival features a number of free events in addition to low-cost screenings.

Advance tickets to the main screening showcases at the Vic are $5, half what you’d pay at the door.

“It was a bit of a gimmick to bump up advance ticket sales,” Geiss said. “It’s a great marketing tool and in this town people tend to do things at the last minute.”

Offering a wide range of affordable options also ensures the arts are accessible to more consumers, he said.