Rail City Roadshow: Filling Shorts

Local filmmaker and man-about-town Adam Reider talks about the inaugural edition of his travelling short film festival, launching tonight at Théâtre Ste-Catherine.

Adam Reider: Kubrick on the arm, cinematic glory on the brain

Montreal independent filmmaker Adam Reider is coming to a town near you with his first-of-its-kind travelling film festival, the Rail City Roadshow. In basements, community halls, art galleries, and any space of sufficient darkness, the festival screens a two-hour program of films. “We even have a popcorn machine,” Reider says. “It’s awesome.”

The Rail City Roadshow highlights short film. “We show three or four films at a time and then stop for a Q&A with the directors,” says Reider. “This gives audience a chance to internalize what has happened and a chance to react. It’s also a chance for the filmmakers to talk about their films.”

He further adds, “It’s the ideal venue for people working in film to network and meet. They can ask specific questions about how things were done, discuss budget constraints, and how they pulled off camera work.”

The project began when Reider wanted to take his own short films to a larger audience. He claims that film festivals offer limited benefits. “Sure, if you are accepted to a festival, it means your film appears and you can put the laurels on your poster or website,” he says, “But the audience shows up in one of those two-hour bombardments of shorts and the film gets lost. There’s a greater chance of being seen on YouTube or Vimeo than at a film festival.”

It’s not that Reider is opposed to these contemporary ”venues.” “I watch films on my iPhone and my TV all the time. Watching a film on the small screen is great, but a projector is better,” he says. “There’s no comparison with the collective experience of seeing a film live on the big screen.

“In the end you want your film to be seen,” he adds.

Reider believes the festival fills a need for independent film. He compares the situation to that of independent music. “U2 is a big band and plays at a giant venue. But if you’re the Zit Remedy [note Degrassi band reference], you’ll play at a 50-person venue. Film doesn’t have anything equivalent to that. We’re trying to offer that smaller space, and we don’t need a typical venue.”

If the number of interested applicants is any indication, Reider’s festival addresses a deep need.  “I didn’t do much,” he says. “I put the word out on Facebook and other social media outlets in August. Films came from all over the place. There were a lot of submissions.”

The 15 films were chosen by Reider himself. “Some are dark, some are really funny. Some are animated. There’s one with puppets that defies explanation. Some have high production values. Some are made on zero budget.”

Overall, though, he chose each film because of its own merits. “Each one shows a blossoming artistic voice and professionalism. They did the best with what they had. If that shines through, I want to support them.” ■


Catch the first stop of the Rail City Roadshow’s Pilot Tour on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at Théâtre Ste-Catherine (264 Ste-Catherine E). Doors open 7:30 p.m., films screen at 8.

Leave a Reply