Three Algonquin-affiliated groups submitted short films to a moviemaking festival hosted by the Ottawa International Film Festival.
It was the sixth year of OIFF’s 72-Hour Film Challenge, where movie teams submitted short films they created within a three-day time frame.
“You don’t need much more than 72 hours to show what you’re capable of,” said festival director Nina Bains.
The top 10 films were announced at a celebratory event held at Lansdowne Park on Feb. 27, where the films were screened and music was performed by local artists including Loon Choir.
None of the Algonquin teams won, but the three groups from varying levels of experience enjoyed the experience all the same.
One of the groups submitted a film called Ideas, Ideas for the festival. The group was composed of three bespectacled 24-year-olds, Nikonas Davis, Moe Malik, and Rathana Pen, who call themselves the Four Eyed Focus. Malik is a current student in Algonquin’s interactive multimedia development program and both Davis and Pen attended Algonquin but didn’t graduate.
They decided to make a short film about them thinking of the film, where they introduce each of their stories. They joined the festival for the learning experience. The group generally had great dedication.
“We filmed, edited, and didn’t eat all day,” said Malik. “We were so involved we didn’t even feel hungry.”
The team did not make it into the top 10 films.
The winning film was also a behind-the-scenes short called The Making Of. A movie about puppets called Sylvie Sunshine was the runner-up and a film of divorce called Undertow closed out the top three.
The grand prize included the winning film being screened at OIFF’s festival in October. The teams were given wild cards of locally produced songs to use in their films, as well as props and themes. This year’s theme celebrated Canadian culture.
Some filmmakers had more experience than others. Nick Wilson, 26, a professional accounting graduate, placed ninth for his film, Elders to Ourselves. This is his third year participating in OIFF’s 72-Hour Challenge.
His film was a story of personal loss. The lead actor Shaun Elie’s grandfather had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and Elie was cleaning out the house, finding pleasant memories as he went along.
Jared Galley and Stephen McReynolds, both 19 and former Algonquin students, submitted a film for consideration and were awarded eighth place in their first attempt at the festival.
Their submission, Cold Breath, was ironically filmed on the coldest day of the year, Feb. 15. It was planned to be a remake of their earlier short film, Jonathan, but they simply borrowed elements and recycled a shot for safety reasons and weather conditions. They would have liked winning, but it drives them to work harder next time.
“For a first-time experience,” said Galley, “being in the top 10 was still satisfying.”