REGARD – Saguenay International Short Film Festival was held in the city of Saguenay, Quebec Province, Canada over a period of five days from March 16th (Wed) to March 20th (Sun). Established in 1996, this film festival celebrated its 20th edition this year and took place at various venues throughout the city. Saguenay is located about 200km directly north of Quebec City and sits on the Saguenay River. All signage throughout this small city, which only has a population of just over 70,000, is in French. However, throughout the festival period much English could be heard thanks to the large volume of international guests in attendance at this vibrant festival.
Pacific Voice Inc./Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia’s Jessica Jane Howard was invited to participate in the festival and film market, which is hosted alongside the festival screenings and other events. The film market offers the opportunity for unique encounters between filmmakers, institutions, producers, distributors, buyers and programmers from Quebec and further afield. Working in Content Sales & Acquisitions, Jessica was there primarily to meet with local distributors from the province, and to discuss the short film market in Japan and promote Japanese short films to international industry professionals.
One of the main events at the film market was the Distributor’s Pitch, which took place in the morning of March 17th (Thu). The panel of five buyers, Pacific Voice Inc. included, began by introducing their company to the local distributors. Following this, the distributors presented their organizations and yearly catalogs to the panel of buyers. Influential buyers invited to this event included Inga Diev of Ouat Media (Canada), Constanza Tagliaferri of Turner International (Argentina), Lisa Landi of KQED (USA) and Christine Davila of Warner Bros. (USA).
In addition to this, and the private meetings that took place throughout the week, there was also a Pro Networking Breakfast held on March 18th (Fri). This was a two-hour event attended by international film festival programmers, filmmakers, producers, buyers and other industry leaders. Held in one of the restaurants below Hotel Chicoutimi, where the festival headquarters were located, the room was filled with the enthusiastic discussions taking place between the 100 or so attendees. With tea, coffee and delicious pastries on offer, the atmosphere was relaxed yet buzzing, and full of friendly, first time encounters. It was a fantastic chance for filmmakers to meet directly with industry representatives and promote their works.
It was great to see so many people excited about short film gathered in this small city that really comes to life throughout the festival period, regardless of the sub-zero temperatures outside. With both a regional launch event, held on March 16th (Wed), and an official opening night, on March 17th (Thu), there were numerous parties and optimum occasions for casual socializing throughout the festival.
With so many short film programs on offer, it is hard to catch everything you want to see. In order to alleviate this problem, there is a screening room for use by all registered professionals located in the festival headquarters. Here professionals can privately view any film of their choice – not only those selected for the festival but also all those submitted – whenever is convenient for them. In addition to this, there was also a presentation of VR technology organized by the National Film Board of Canada. Four different projects were on offer, some of which had previously travelled to festivals such as Sundance Film Festival (USA).
The awards ceremony was held on the eve of March 19th (Sat), the penultimate day of the festival. Following on from a screening of one of the competition programs, this was a lively and highly entertaining event that opened with a dance performance and live band on stage!
12 awards were announced, and two special mentions given. For the full list of winners, please see below:
Regional Prize: The passage (Dir. Alexa Tremblay-Francoeur)
Audience Choice Award: La Voce (Dir. David Uloth)
Best Young Audience Award: The Painter of Jalouzi (Dir. David Darg & Bryn Moser)
Film Critic’s Special Mention of the Jury: La Voce (Dir. David Uloth)
Film Critic’s Award: The Sniper of Kolbani (Dir. Reber Dosky)
Best Short Film Shoot No Matter What: Papa Trouble (Dir. Cécile Gariépy)
Shoot No Matter What Audience Choice Award: Finger Night (Dir. Mars Joly)
Best Documentary Special Mention of the Jury: Elle Pis Son Char (Dir. Loïc Darces)
Best Documentary Award: Bacon and God’s Wrath (Dir. Sol Friedman)
Best Canadian Script: Jean-Marc Vallée (Dir. Annie St-Pierre)
Best Quebec Director Award: Viaduc (Dir. Patrice Liliberté)
Best Animation Award: Sunday Lunch (Dir. Céline Devaux)
International Grand Award: Alles Wir Gut
National Grand Award: La Voce (Dir. David Uloth)