The Concordia Film Festival is on

We spoke to festival director Jade Fraser about the growth of the university’s student-film fest.

Quelqu’un d’ extraordinaire

The Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema is hosting their 41st Concordia Film Festival this week, from May 8–10, featuring works from up-and-coming Montreal talent. The festival will take place at the beautiful Imperial Theatre on Bleury, and this year the MHSoC is making extra efforts to give the event more exposure.

cff41red“We decided to promote the festival in a way that had never been done because we wanted to reach a broader audience, so the films can live through the eyes of people who don’t necessarily know the filmmakers,” says Jade Fraser, director of the Concordia Film Festival. “This contact and this exchange between the film, the artist and the public is so rich and crucial that we decided to establish promotion as a huge priority. Because in the end, we create films so they can be seen.”

The festival’s focus is to present the work of the students, but in addition to that, there are free events in order to attract more film enthusiasts. The fest kicks off today (Thursday, May 8), at 2 p.m., at Parc de la Petite Italie where there will be a free concert in collaboration with POP Montreal, featuring Montreal bands Dear Criminals, Syzzors and Hugo Bourcier.

There will also be three free conferences taking place at the Imperial: When Is Cinema?, a roundtable featuring new media artists Dominic Gagnon, Sabrina Ratté and Vincent Morriset, who will discuss new and alternative ways to enrich the film experience. “It was important for us to do a conference on new media and new practices because this year is the first year the cinema program stopped doing film with celluloid. The whole school switched to digital, and some people are feeling nostalgic about it, but we think this opens the door to amazing new ways to create cinema,” explains Fraser.

postereventfb (1)On Friday, there will be a conference about the role of women in the industry, and on Saturday, a behind the scenes Q&A with Monia Chokri and Magalie Lepine-Blondeau about their short film Quelqu’un d’ extraordinaire, winner of this year’s Jutra Award for best short film.

Most of the films featured in the festival are by students of the university, but Fraser says that this year there will also be a special screening outside of the regular program. “We called it our ‘Open Bar Screening’ and it is the result of an open competition that we organized among other Canadian colleges, CEGEPs and universities. Through this initiative, we want to discover the great work that other institutions are doing while increasing the feeling of community for the upcoming filmmakers, which is crucial,” she adds.

The Concordia Film Festival closes on Saturday May 10, at 10:30 p.m., with a party at the Espace MASSIVart, with River Lance, Babi Audi and Cadence Weapon DJing the event. ■

For more information about the Concordia Film Festival, head to their website.