Film society ready for festival
Week long celebration starts Tuesday
By: Scott Hayes
| Posted: Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 06:00 am
March 25 to March 29
All events are admission by donation.
Tuesday, March 25
• Burgers, Beer & Gear - Trade Show
6 to 8 p.m.
Ortona Room at FAVA
• A Toast To Rick Gustavsen – Outstanding Achievement Award recipient
Ortona Room at FAVA
Wednesday March 26 and Friday March 28
• Best of FAVA screenings
Ortona Room at FAVA
Friday, March 28 at 8 p.m.
• Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour
Ortona Room at FAVA
A rare chance to see a 93-minute collection of eight short films from the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. For a complete list of films, visit www.Sundance.Org/Calendar/Event/7897/
Saturday, March 29 at 6 p.m.
• FAVA Gala
Metro Cinema (in the Garneau Theatre), 8712 109 St.
FAVA is located at 9722 102 St. in the Ortona Armoury.
Call 780-429-1671 or visit www.fava.ca for more information
Lights… camera… action!
There’s a big week of celebrations planned for everyone to enjoy and it all comes courtesy of the Film and Video Arts Society of Alberta.
FAVA Fest is the not-for-profit co-operative’s third annual chance to promote itself to the community at large and end off with a gala event that praises some of its members and their recent works.
“There’s nothing better than seeing your film huge on a screen in front of 250 people and then they come and chat with you after about your work,” said David Morgan.
The local man is the vice president on the board of directors and works as a production co-ordinator. He also works in fund development for other non-profits
He has been involved with FAVA for more than a decade, and it all started when he was working as an audiovisual technician while doing film studies. His friends led him to the organization’s historic home at the Ortona Armoury near Edmonton’s river valley.
It was originally established in the fall of 1982 as a place for burgeoning filmmakers to pool their collective resources, build connections and get better educated on techniques and technologies in their crafts. Today it serves approximately 400 members who are interested in being directors, cinematographers and screenwriters of local film projects.
“It’s critical, both where people develop their skills and develop their community,” Morgan said of the importance of the co-op, adding that access to equipment and studio facilities helps him and many others.
Morgan is also an independent filmmaker. He’s currently working on a documentary about the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. Principal photography is finished, he explained, and he is now working on the post-production.
This is the kind of thing that also makes good use of the many marketing skills that he has picked up through non-profits. These kinds of low budget labours of love typically require the assistance of angels and other investors.
“It’s all about the fundraising. I’m close but I’m far away at the same time.”
Last year, he was one of the fortunate few who had their films screened at the gala. Moments like that have a lasting impact towards confidence building and skill development for the filmmakers. As for the audience, he continued, there’s a film for every taste.
“The diversity of the work that people make is astounding.”
FAVA Fest starts with a Tuesday evening trade show event called Burgers, Beer and Gear where attendees can check out some of the co-op’s newest pieces of filmmaking equipment. This is followed up by a salute to Rick Gustavsen, one of FAVA’s founding members and an important fixture in Edmonton’s film community.
“He’s been around since the first time anybody mentioned that maybe we should have a film and video co-operative in Edmonton,” Morgan said, adding that he has worked extensively with the man. “I’ve done 21 different things with him. He is my go-to cinematographer.”
Gustavsen is a nearly 40-year veteran of the Alberta motion picture industry whose work as an independent documentarian has had him shoot footage on every continent except Antarctica. He has created seven features and more than 1,000 short films, videos and alternative art projects.
Thursday will give people the opportunity to attend a talk by FAVA members Niobe Thompson and aAron Munson as they give an exclusive preview of their upcoming CBC Nature of Things documentary series called The Human Odyssey and offer stories from their experiences in filming in exotic and far-off places such as Siberia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, and Namibia.
The last night is FAVA Gala night. Guests can attend the Metro Cinema and watch organizers toast local independent media artists. The co-op will also be handing out $17,000 in cash awards and commissions plus $11,500 in services to its membership. Entertainment will be provided by local filmmaker Wes Miron and classical pianist Cameron Watson.
In between, there are the films. FAVA will host screenings of works submitted for its awards of excellence. These take place on both Wednesday and Friday.
As well, there is a new online initiative called FAVATV. People can visit http://www.fava.ca/30th/resources/fava-tv to view 13 videos on different channels, with many more to come, he said.
“We are trying to expand our reach out via the Internet. The Internet is the new distribution medium,” Morgan said.
“We’re starting to move towards online distribution and doing work with other community groups, other non-profits, which we’ve done for years and years, partnering with them. Hopefully, we’re going to be able to put our 30 years of archives up for people to watch.”
Morgan added that FAVA is also getting ready to hype its Got a Minute Film Festival in which five short films will be commissioned for screening on advertising space in LRT stations. The announcement will occur at the gala finale.