On March 16, Brock Film Group (BFG) presented its annual Short Shorts Film Festival. The festival featured 14 short films made by Brock students that ranged between two and 12 minutes. Filmmakers were required to submit films that explored the festival’s poll voted theme – “Is This It?”. The event was held in Brock’s David S. Howes theatre, and guests were treated to the movie theatre experience — complete with popcorn — to enjoy the student made films.
“We received 14 submissions, which is two higher than what we received for the Fright Night Film Festival, our horror themed festival held back in October,” said BFG co-president Heidi Epp. “The overwhelming support from the Brock film students in their passion for creating spectacular short films is what convinced us to continue the tradition of the Short Shorts Festival.”
“We were really pleased with the submissions we received, and as it was two more than our first ever Fright Night Festival, I find that the success of that festival helped promote Short Shorts,” added fellow co-president Ellen Freeman.
Brock Film Group is a student run group that is backed by the Brock University Student Union (BUSU). BFG’s goal is to take everything film students learn in lecture and apply them. BFG provides a diverse range of opportunities to get involved in consisting of camera work, cinematography, acting, writing, technician work, post-production editing, audio mixing and recording, and marketing.
“We started as a group that produced short films. Over the years it has evolved into a group that provides an outlet for the filmmakers to showcase their work,” said Epp. “We were asked by many of the third year students to put together a festival for them to share their work, not only with their peers, but with the department and members of the community. We would not exist without the support from the students and the support from members of the CPCF department.”
It is evident that the work BFG does is something that students want to see and be a part of. Participants were eager to share their work with fellow attendees as they shared trailers and teaser images for their submitted films on BFG’s Facebook event page, and while the D. Howes theatre did not fill to capacity, a large number of people made it out to the event, showing the continued support of Brock’s film and arts departments.
Working with such an open-ended theme was a clear, creative motivator for the filmmakers, as each film portrayed a greatly different take on what “Is This It?” meant to them than the next person.
“We wanted the theme to be as broad as possible, and not restrict the students from any specific genre. ‘Is This It?’ is a theme that can belong to many types of plots, generic conventions, and more,” explained Freeman.
Each of the submissions showcased just what Brock students can do, with films including material that ranged from mental thrillers to comedic mysteries to handheld camera journeys. A few even seemed to answer the festival’s theme question with their film itself, producing short films that upon their endings left audiences wondering, “was that it?”
Once the 14 submissions had concluded — which ran a whopping hour and 50 minutes — audience members were asked to vote for their favourite film to determine who would take home the audience choice award of the night. As well, three more prizes were handed out that were based on more technical merits like cinematography, sound mixing, story, etc. These prizes were ranked first, second, and third, and were decided by three judges: Patrick Gagliardi — former BFG president, Zachary Black — special effects artist, and Bohdan Nebesio – Brock film professor.
Overall, the festival was an amazing way to showcase Brock student talent, and a great way to attract an audience to experience that talent. Each of the films screened were notable expressions of the vision and passion that goes into creating a movie. BFG’s mission statement was in full effect during the festival, as members of the Brock community came to celebrate their love of film. The successful year that BFG experienced with both their Fright Night and Short Shorts Film Festivals indicate that a love for film and a desire to get hands-on experience is a need that their initiatives are successfully fulfilling.
“Our main focus is to get the students involved, and working on stuff that they want to work on,” said Freeman. “There is a lot of debate happening in the film program about the lack of hands-on work within the courses, and the Brock Film Group is there primarily to allow students to get the experience that they desire. I think it’s important that the process stays as positive as possible, while also allowing responsibility with regulations that the students can expect to follow in the real world. Having positivity means a lot for [BFG], and also for the Brock Film Department – it promotes friendship, and community that our department has always strived for.”
“By hosting festivals through the Brock Film Group we are inviting members of [the arts] departments to work together to create something that benefits both parties,” added Epp. “In the two festivals that we have hosted this year, the filmmakers were able to experience working with trained actors and actresses from the Dramatic Arts program and the dramatic arts students gained experience by acting in a short film. We hope to see an increase in the relationship between the departments in the future.”
Short Shorts Film Submissions and Winners:
1. Contravention – Daniel Cutajar (SECOND PLACE)
2. Be a Man & Home – Jade Robertson
3. The Woods – Michael Achtymichuk (THIRD PLACE)
4. The Resumé – Arijit Dasgupta and Mazin Mohammed (AUDIENCE CHOICE WINNER)
5. The Jacket – Gregory David Pereira and Imtiaz Mollah
6. The Pineapple – Nicholas Janzen
7. No Blood In Hell – Dante Del Papa
8. The Beetle – Matin Vatankhahi
9. Straight Outta Brock – Dominic Kawei
10. Robbie – Redmond Barry
11. Thrombus – Dawson Bowen (FIRST PLACE)
12. Uber? – Ethan Gillis and Ronald Sanchez
13. Paint it Red – Zander M
14. B.A. B.S. – N/A
Assistant Arts & Culture Editor