Observers will notice that the ninth edition of FAVAFest is a bit different, and not just because it’s online only. Keeping the mathematically poetic digits of the current year in mind, organizers with the Film and Video Arts Society in Edmonton figured that there was a ripe opportunity to be mined based on an old adage about the clarity of looking back in time.
“This year we’re playing off the idea of it's 2020,” began Sylvia Douglas, director of marketing, communications and events, referring to FAVAFest Hindsight 2020, as it’s officially known.
It means they’re holding off on showing new works until they can be shown properly at a moviehouse.
“We're feeling nostalgic. We're looking back on the last eight years of FAVAFests. We have put as many of those projects up online as we are able to. There are 150 films all on FAVATV right now to look back at all the FAVAFests that we've had.”
The two-week online film festival features more than 200 works from nearly 100 of the organization’s members since the fest commenced in 2012. Look for an intriguing variety of dramatic works and documentaries, not to mention animated shorts, music videos, experimental films and even a few educational reels thrown in there for good rounding.
The festival typically would show many of these at the Metro Cinema and would also feature artist talks, gear demonstrations and art installations that would all culminate in the grand finale with the awards gala.
“It's usually at least a few nights of screenings of dozens of films. It's the best of our members’ work that they submit – all juried. Typically it's done in-person, and we have a big bash at the end of it.”
All of that glory, fun and elbow-to-elbow schmoozing is – ahem – put on pause until the pandemic blows over and the theatre can pull back the curtains once more.
“One of the goals of the festival is to support our members by promoting their work and their websites and their social media through this online film festival. But also, we're paying them all artists’ fees for every film. Hopefully, it's our way to contribute a little bit of financial support to these artists during this difficult time because a lot of them have projects that are on hold, films are getting rescheduled ... We're doing what we can to support our members.”
Now and until May 1, anyone can view the incredible retrospective for free on the non-profit charity and artist-run centre’s streaming service called FAVATV. Titles are sorted by year but if there’s a specific film or filmmaker in mind then the Search function will bring your selection right into focus.
Douglas, a filmmaker herself, has her works called The Brink and Stay participating. For her viewing tastes, she also suggested some wondrous other works that she loves, the first being a gorgeous stop motion animated short from 2017. It’s called Sophia by Zsofia Opra-Szabo, and it presents as a modern fairy tale with puppetry and a glorious soundscape, telling the timeless tale of being unable to escape your own dreams and illusions.
“It's outstanding. It's really beautiful ... really outstanding. She has a background in production design and so this was her really delving into filmmaking. It was really, really great.”
There’s also the experimental experimental dance-based film called 2.57k by Eva Colmers, with St. Albert’s aAron Munson mastering the high res/slow mo cinematography, and Gary James Joynes as the exceptional sound artist. It’s a mesmerizing contemporary and balletic pas de deux, though only slightly NSFW. It's really something too, Douglas said.