Storytelling the heart of film fest

A dream-like film about two alternate realities and a short flick about a talking microwave are part of the Red Deer College Motion Picture Arts Film Works 2009 lineup.

Cast of Mirror

A dream-like film about two alternate realities and a short flick about a talking microwave are part of the Red Deer College Motion Picture Arts Film Works 2009 lineup.

Expect to see films that are imaginative, daring and completely different than the standard Hollywood blockbuster when up to half-a-dozen third- and fourth-year student works premiere on Oct. 15 at the Galaxy Theatre in Gasoline Alley, south of Red Deer.

“There are many different kinds of stories to tell,” said Lori Ravensborg, interim head of acting for the RDC Motion Picture Arts program, and this latest batch of RDC film students each tell theirs in less than 20 minutes, using great creativity and aplomb.

While some of the works are experimental, they are all highly watchable, said Don Armstrong, the program’s head of production. “Our students (many who have theatre backgrounds) very much understand the need to entertain.”

In fact, he predicts some of these local short film will be shown at various film festivals across North America after premiering at the Galaxy.

Mirror Mirror, directed by Rivera Reese and written and produced by Ryan “Sticks” Sutton, “is a real world unto itself,” said Ravenborg, of the stylized fantasy set in two alternative realities — a world of lightness and a world of dark.

The film, starring Sutton, as well as Alex Mihill, Kelsey Johnson and Richard Meen, was shot on a set created from scratch on a college “soundstage” — actually an old theatre studio.

It draws on fairy tales, such as the magic mirror from Snow White, but takes the concept in a fresh, new direction, said Armstrong.

Ravensborg added, “The art direction is really great.”

For something completely different, there’s Power Setting High, about a microwave with its own personality.

The quirky film, written and directed by Dustin Clark, is hard to categorize, being a comedy, an action film with stunts and a crime thriller. “The microwave is used as a weapon, at one point,” said a wry Armstrong.

The flick was shot in downtown Red Deer when a street was closed off for filming last spring. “It definitely has a bit of a comic twist,” said Ravensborg.

Meen is also in this one, along with Whitney Grace.

Insomniac’s Handbook, produced, written and directed by Matt Orobko, is about a guy who can’t sleep, who has a preoccupation with sticky notes. “It’s a romantic comedy, because the guy eventually finds a girl who can’t sleep,” said Armstrong.

The film stars Johnson, Sam Stewart and Darren Hopwood, and was shot last winter in Houlihans Classic Restaurant.

Another short that Ravensborg believes will be part of Film Works is Breakup Breakdown, written and directed by Kyle Mosonyi.

The drama focuses on somebody who’s having a hard time coping after the breakup of a long-term relationship. “There’s no alternate realities, no toasters or microwaves,” jokes Ravensborg — just an honest look at the slow recovery process.

Breakup Breakdown stars Zach Nash, Steve Charlton and Johnson.

Ravensborg knows some people are skeptical about the value of seeing short films, but she thinks they shouldn’t be.

“Audiences shouldn’t be afraid of these films because they think they are overly artsy. These students deeply understand that films are meant to entertain.”

She believes audiences will find the Film Works presentations play on their emotions as well as their imagination. “They will feel and be entertained.”

The RDC Motion Picture Arts program presents Film Works 2009, a collection of short student films, at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the Galaxy Theatre in Gasoline Alley, on Hwy 2 south of Red Deer. Tickets are $5 at the door.

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