A collection of independent short films produced by Alberta artists will be displayed this month as part of the 16th Prairie Tales Film Festival.
Prairie Tales is a traveling exhibition that is produced by Metro Cinema Society out of Edmonton and the Alberta Media Arts Alliance Society (AMAAS), which is based in Calgary. Red Deer College Motion Picture Arts Instructor James Wilson has brought the festival to the City.
The films will be presented at the Welikoklad Event Centre (WEC), formerly known as City Centre Stage. The event is free to attend and will take place on Nov. 14th and 15th from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on both days.
“It’s a really good cross-section of what kinds of short films are being made in Alberta in the last year or so. There are some music videos in there, some documentaries in there – it’s a real hodge-podge of stuff. The philosophy is that there is something for everyone,” said Wilson.
“It’s open to the public and it’s free. We wanted to make it as accessible to everyone as we could. Donations are welcome, but it’s free to attend. We actually have RDC alumni Trevor Anderson, who has a film in the festival, speaking but only on Friday night.”
According to the AMAAS web site, works presented can be of any theme, and may take place in any locale and shot in any language. Usually, the artists are from Alberta, even if they have relocated here from another country or province.
The web site also says that in any given year, the program features all genres and films made from conventional, hand-made, computer-generated or stop motion production techniques.
“I think people should be open to new types of films,” said Wilson.
“This isn’t going to be a Transformers or Ninja Turtles type blockbuster movie –it’s going to be a little bit more diverse, and will broaden what people can see. It certainly helps support the show industry in Alberta for independent filmmakers.”
Anderson will be attending the event where one of his productions will be screened, a music video shot for his band The Wet Secrets. Actor and comedian Joe Flaherty, most famous for his work on SCTV, appears in Anderson’s video as his character Count Floyd.
“Flaherty is reprising his character as Count Floyd for this music video. For anyone who remembers that character, this event will be a real treat for them,” said Wilson.
“Anderson has gone on to have some real success since leaving RDC. He has had films in both the Sundance Film Festival and the Berlin Film Festival.”
Wilson said that now that the College has the available cinema space downtown, he and his peers are hoping to make the film festival an annual occurrence in Red Deer.
“Over the 13 years that we’ve been running the Motion Picture Arts program at the College, we have run Prairie Tales off and on. It’s been difficult some years, where we didn’t have the time or space to accommodate. Now that we have the cinema downtown, we have the ability to program more events and host them down there,” he said.
Wilson added that this solution works much better than hosting the event in an empty foyer or classroom at the College and that now RDC can plan for more events like this.