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https://www.concordia.ca/content/shared/en/news/finearts/2018/04/concordia-film-festival-turns-45.html

Concordia Film Festival Turns 45

North America’s Oldest Student Film Festival runs May 3 to 6
April 30, 2018
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By Felipe G.B.

Marc-Antoine Lemire’s short film Pre-Drink (2017), named Best Short Canadian Film 2017 at tiff, will be shown May 4. Marc-Antoine Lemire’s short film Pre-Drink (2017), named Best Short Canadian Film 2017 at tiff, will be shown May 4.

With 3000 people expected to attend over the course of its four-day run, the Concordia Film Festival (CFF) is not your usual end-of-the-year student showcase.

The largest and oldest student-run film festival in North America–turning 45 this year–is seen as a reliable preview for up-and-comers in Canadian and international fiction, animation and documentary film.

“Montreal is a film city that punches above its weight in so many ways. So many students from Mel Hop have gone on to be successful in their careers, so watching these films it’s like watching the filmmakers of tomorrow,” says Max Holzberg, the festival’s marketing coordinator and a first-year student in Film Studies.

This year’s festival offers a wide-ranging program: 106 shorts from Mel Hoppenheim’s Film Animation program and 32 from Film Production students; The Moving Image seminar with presentations from film studies students on their academic works; a conference on media and transgender representation; and an industry discussion on issues of film distribution hosted by Stephanie Berrington from the Winnipeg Film Group.

Celebration, representation, and competition

Shadow, an animation directed by Lei Lei (China), is one of the international films in the open competition. Shadow, an animation directed by Lei Lei (China), is one of the international films in the open competition.

Watching over a hundred and thirty short-form animated and live-action films back-to-back on the big screen can be a little overwhelming, but the selection is eclectic and caters to all tastes says Holzberg.

“I see these screenings as a celebration of people’s work. This is what students have been working towards in their classes all year long.”

Screenings are so well attended by peers, family and the general public that the festival has booked the large Alumni Hall (H-110) to accommodate packed houses.

7 national and international films in competition

<i>Paupière mauve - Iris</i>, a short film by Gabrielle Demers, will be shown as part of the Open Competition. Paupière mauve - Iris, a short film by Gabrielle Demers, will be shown as part of the Open Competition.

Apart from the festival’s student showcase, there will be seven national and international films shown in Open Competition. The Grand Jury is comprised of students, working filmmakers, critics, and scholars from Montreal, Canada, and around the World.

Open Competition programmer Antoine Demeule (BFA’18 Film Studies) picked a few can’t-miss films presented in the Open Competition Programme.

Shadow is a haunting yet beautiful piece of animation that goes into the psyche of a young girl who suffered from sexual violence. Vitamin C is a Wes Andersonesque tale with great performances from its young actresses, contributing to the film’s overall charm. Paupière mauve - Iris is a non-linear narrative with beautiful cinematography which serves its tale of attraction between two women very well.”

Focus on Transgender and LGBTQ films

Documentary film <i>Graham and Zeke</i> directed by Cheryl Monique will be screened as part of the Visions program. Documentary film Graham and Zeke directed by Cheryl Monique will be screened as part of the Visions program.

Marc-Antoine Lemire’s short film Pre-Drink (2017), which was named Best Short Canadian Film at TIFF 2017, will be shown May 4th to kick off the MEDIA+GENDER conference. The conference will include transgender actresses Pascale Drevillon and Gabrielle Boulianne-Tremblay who will lead the discussion.

Outside of the Open Competition Programme, seven more films will be screened as part of the Visions showcase whose goal this year is to highlight the work of LGBTQ+ and racialized filmmakers.

“We do have a responsibility to show a diverse array of voices. It’s such an important issue that people want to know more about. Educating people is part of our Visions program,” says Holzberg.

Visions programmer Catherine Sliltay (BFA’17 animation and current MFA film production student) highlights three films:

The Mariachi Woman is a short documentary about a female mariachi working in Mexico City, as she shares an unapologetic love for her art, her wife, and her son.”  

Tsanizid (Wake Up), a dance film created by Two-Spirit artist, performer and director, Beric Manywounds, masterfully draws the viewer into an intimate two-spirit transformation.”

Cheryl Monique documents the loving relationship of two transgender men in her short documentary film, Graham and Zeke, as the they share insightful perspectives on identity, masculinity, gender, and love.”

'They inspire us with their enthusiasm'

Overall, it’s a four-day marathon of 153 films for an army of volunteer undergrad and graduate students from the School of Cinema’s three sections. It’s a passion project that the Festival team has worked on since early November.  

"It’s a labour of love and people are really dedicated to it,” says Holzberg.

The strong leadership by Festival Directors, Elizabeth Prati and Alexandre G. Vermeil (both in their final year of Film Studies) explains the team's tight cohesion explains Holzberg.  

"They treat the festival like a full-time job. They inspire us with their enthusiasm – that’s why we’re so committed."

Concordia Film Festival: How to attend

The Concordia Film Festival runs from May 3 – 6 in Concordia’s Alumni Auditorium (H-110) and the Cinema de Seve (LB-125), both located on the Sir George Williams Campus downtown.

  • Opening Night cocktail party, May 3, 9 p.m. in the Hive Café.  
  • Closing Night Awards cocktail, May 6, 9 p.m. at Itali.co.  

All film production and animation screenings are ticketed events. Admission is $5 per screening, or $20 for a festival pass. All other festival events are free admission. For more information you can visit the festival website: concordiafilmfestival.com.

 



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