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Film festival crowns Edmonton student

Bellerose holds third annual Obelisk Film Festival

By: Scott Hayes

  |  Posted: Saturday, Jun 14, 2014 06:00 am

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  • AWARD-WINNING FILMMAKER – Student filmmaker Bryce Grimes of Lillian Osborne High School shows off his awards for best film and best use of sound, which he captured at the third annual Obelisk Film Festival at St. Albert's Bellerose Composite High School.
    AWARD-WINNING FILMMAKER – Student filmmaker Bryce Grimes of Lillian Osborne High School shows off his awards for best film and best use of sound, which he captured at the third annual Obelisk Film Festival at St. Albert's Bellerose Composite High School.
    Supplied photo
  • WATER DANCER – Bryce Grimes' film The Water Dancer is
    WATER DANCER – Bryce Grimes' film The Water Dancer is "an ambiguous take on depression" that highlights the complexity of the issue.

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Bellerose Composite High School’s third annual Obelisk Film Festival opened itself up to a wider film community for the first time this week by sending its big prize to a student from a south Edmonton school.

Bryce Grimes won the trophy for best film for his poetic short work called The Water Dancer. The Grade 12 student from Lillian Osborne High School in the Carter Crest neighbourhood near Terwillegar Drive called it his first independent film and he was clearly thrilled with the end result.

He was inspired to create the piece as a sombre study of mental illness.

“It’s an ambiguous take on depression and the consequences of that,” he began.

“It aims to make you realize through the ambiguity that no issue like depression is ever as easy as saying ‘it’s bad.’ For some people, it is like a necessity. I just wanted to raise awareness about the issue and demonstrate the complexities of it.”

It was a heavy and difficult topic to tackle, one that he also completed with an art school esthetic, a non-linear plot and considerate technical choices including an ominous and poignantly thematic clock.

The film ends with a prolonged silence, the heightened effect of which brilliantly forces the audience’s attention on the images.

Those choices helped to garner the film another win for best use of sound at the festival.

Grimes is no stranger to accolades. His experiences in film have also recently seen him with a first place win in the Just Drive Canada contest, an insurance company-sponsored video competition about the dangers of distracted driving.

He, along with fellow Lillian Osborne students Rostyslav Soroka, Austin Affleck and Matthew Fok, won for their work called Distracted Driving is a Killer. The win included a $1,500 prize to the winners plus $1,000 to their school.

Despite these early achievements, he has no plans to follow past Obelisk winner Jesse Platt’s education pathway to the prestigious Vancouver Film School. Grimes said he intends to attend the University of Alberta School of Business but he does have a film still in production that he hopes will be accepted into this fall’s Edmonton International Film Festival.

Filmmaking, he said, isn’t something that’s necessarily at the top of his list for studies but it’s still very close to his heart.

“It’s definitely a passion. I’ll continue to make films.”

His think piece was one of several contenders that also included a mysterious tale of a young man haunted by a shadow that he couldn’t outrun, a tainted love story, a music video of sorts that involved some frenetic seated dance moves, and a humorous pseudo-reality show with a “typical Canadian” who sure does love his cheese and butter and definitely seems atypical in many other ways too.

Other winners included Simple Days by Bellerose student Mitchell Peyton for best screenplay and Moment by J. Percy Page student Everett Sokol.

Organizer and Bellerose’s film studies teacher Dave Edwards was pleased overall with the slate of contenders. He especially sees the win from outside St. Albert as a sure sign that the competition itself will have “legs,” as they say in the film business, continuing on into the future and expanding its reach even farther afield.

“We were really happy with the variety of submissions,” he stated, mentioning that entrants came from five different area high schools, three of which are in Edmonton.

“We spread the awards around nicely, which is good. Really, we were happy with the overall quality of the films. I think the quality from top to bottom was improved this year from last year.”


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