Indie film lovers in Airdrie will have a host of short films to watch this month at the fourth annual Airdrie Film Festival (AFF), which is taking place throughout September as part of the city’s ARTember celebrations.
According to Airdrie Film Society (AFS) President Kim Cheel, the festival will screen more than 60 short films on Sept. 11, 18 and 25. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she said most of the festival will be virtual this year. Only the third evening will take place in person, with a viewing held at the Bert Church Live Theatre (BCLT).
“In saying that, we’re streaming that online as well, if people can’t attend due to health restrictions or if they just don’t feel comfortable being in public with a larger group of people with their cohort, or if they’re from another part of the world,” she said.
Links to sign up for the festival’s digital screenings are posted on airdriefilm.com and on AFS’ social media pages.
The films are all independently made and run less than 15 minutes, Cheel said. Submissions include local, Canadian and international selections.
“Statistically speaking, we get more international film submissions than not, but that’s because it’s a larger pool of films to choose from,” she said, adding the genres also vary.
“We’re getting better and better submissions [every year], so the ones you are seeing are the best of the best that we’ve received. Unfortunately, that does mean some great films have to be cut for time.”
The festival kicks off Sept. 11 with a showing of international submissions. Cheel said the second night of the festival Sept. 18 will feature animated films, while the final evening Sept. 25 will include Canadian titles. Screenings start at 7 p.m. each night.
The festival also includes four awards that filmmakers can earn, based on audience polls. Categories include best submissions from youth and post-secondary filmmakers, in addition to best short film and an audience choice award.
What makes AFF special, according to Cheel, is that it’s the only festival of its kind in Airdrie.
“In Calgary, you have a bunch of festivals that coexist – you have the [Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF)], the [Calgary Underground Film Festival], [Calgary Horror Con] and all those things,” she said. “But AFF kind of encompasses everything.
“I think it also brings something to Airdrie that people would normally have to leave Airdrie to experience. It’s all about bringing it to the people and making Airdrie a [place] for people to stay or visit.”
Another great aspect of the festival, she added, is the opportunity to support directors or producers who may be in the early stages of learning their craft.
“Unless you know the filmmaker, there’s not going to be a name you recognize like you would at larger festivals, like CIFF or Toronto International [Film Festival],” she said.
For more information or to sign up for the digital or in-person screenings, visit airdriefilm.com