This week is great for movie buffs, with two film festivals going on in Lethbridge.
The sixth annual University of Lethbridge Film Festival, formerly the domain of the university’s New Media department, has expanded to include submissions from the community.
The two hour showcase of Lethbridge independent film makers takes place March 24 at 8 p.m. in PE250.
“ It was previously only open to the university students,” observed Caleb Gordon, one of the organizers of this year’s festival as well as the MC for the evening.
“We just wanted to see the creativity of Lethbridge’s film-makers, paticularly the Lethbridge College multi-media program,” Gordon said.
He also acts in two of the submissions. He plays an extra in ‘Gamerz’, a sitcom about video game developers dealing with the addition of a third member. He also does a voice over in a trailer for a new video game being developed by new media students called ‘Blood Arms.’
There are five categories: narrative under five minutes; narrative over five minutes; documentary; experimental and a new category for animation.
Ten submissions had been received before the March 14 deadline, however Gordon noted the judges were expected to edit down submissions to fit them into two hour program.
“We have two or three for most of the categories,” he said.
A panel examined approximately 30 films from around the world and chose these eight films.
Judges include Lethbridge film-maker Gianna Magliocco, University of Lethbridge New Media professors Deric Olsen and Aaron Taylor plus Lethbridge photographer Rod Leland.
The festival is part of the new media studio program events exhibition and design course, for which students have to organize an event and put it into action in four months.
While there won’t be public adjudication of the films, the judges will be available to talk to the film makers afterwards to offer constructive criticism if they want to take advantage of it.
“ I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the integration of new technology, not just into film media, but beyond that,” Gordon said.
Tickets are available for five dollars at the University of Lethbridge Box Office. There will be refreshments for sale as well.
The other film festival happening in Lethbridge March 19-24 is a more serious, issues orientated festival designed to inspire discussion about relevant issues.
The 27th annual International Film festival features six days worth of films exploring topics including fracking, climate change, industry, investment, human rights in Myanmar and technology. They will be screened at the Lethbridge Public Library every night at 7 p.m. to be followed by a question and answer period with experts. It is a joint effort between the Lethbridge International Film Festival Committee and the Lethbridge Public Library.
“ A lot of these are films Lethbridge audiences may not have had a chance to see before. And it’s always better to see them on a very large screen with superior sound,” said Sheila Braund, one of the event’s organizers.
On Monday, March 19, Noel Dockstrader’s film ‘the Collapse?’ explored how our modern industrialized civilization will look 200 years from now. It follows a hypothetical team of scientists in 2212 as they explore what lead to the collapse of present day society. Dr. Bryson Brown will be discussant.
If you were among those who lost a lot of money in the stock market crash a few years ago, you will be interested in “Breach of Trust,” a film by Lethbridge born insider Larry Elford on March 20. His film investigated how and why many ordinary investors lost money. Larry Elford will be speaking at the end of the film.
The festival goes to Myanmar on March 21 for “They Call it Myanmar: Lifting the Curtain.” The film, shot through the eyes of Filmmaking instructor Robert Lieberman shot this film clandestinely while teaching in Yangon, the capital of Burma, the second most isolated country in the world. It takes a look at the everyday lives of the people and features Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. Judith Whitehead will be the discussant.
“He shot it clandestinely because they have a military government and people can’t just talk,” Braund said.
If you’ve ever wondered what goes into making the components of your cell phone, “ Blood in the Mobile” will answer a lot of questions and hopefully inspire a lot more as it follows director Frank Poulson’s attempts to speak to the management of cell phone company Nokia and goes to the Congo to explore the connection between the civil war, illegal mining and the exploitation of children and your cell phones.
Friday, March 23’s films hit close to home as the three short films , “Untested Science” from Global Television, “Bloodland” and “Oil In Eden ” examine the effects of fracking in Southern Alberta. Dr. Alexander Darku will be speaking after.
The series winds up March 25 with a 2 p.m. matinee at the Library of “ The People the Rain Forgot,” which explores the effects of drought in Northern Kenya and the farmers and nomads who move there from Somalia and Ethiopia, as they grapple with a land that no longer feeds their families. Robin and Marian White will be speaking.
“ The topics explore what’s happening in the twenty-first century. A lot of them started in the twentieth century,” Braund summarized.
“We’ve been reviewing the films since December. We put a lot of work into choosing the ones we felt were the best,” she said adding the fracking series is especially relevant to southern Albertan audiences.
“Last year we ran films on fracking in the United States, but people don’t realize it’s happening close to home, so we have three short film pointing that out,” she said.