London Community News
By Sean Meyer/London Community News/Twitter: Newswriter22
Organizers of the London Short Film Showcase will be rolling out red carpet for the final time in a few days.
The fifth annual — and last — showcase will take place on Saturday, Nov. 3, with a gala event at Museum London. This year’s event will see 14 short films, 12 of which are locally produced, being exhibited, starting at 7 p.m.
A wide-range of film genres will be exhibited, such as comedy films, Red Light and Smugglers Alley, and documentaries, Elegance & Rage and The New School of Colour. Five awards will be distributed after the screenings, including best story, best cinematics, technical achievement, committees’ choice, and peoples’ choice. New this year are two additional awards that will honor the best actor in both male and female roles.
For Jason Clarke, who co-founded the showcase along with Darryl Callcott, the final festival is something of a bittersweet celebration.
“It’s been an amazing five years and we are really going to miss serving the community in this capacity, but we’ve decided it’s time to say goodbye. It feels good to be going out on a high note." Clarke says. “We have a great lineup of films this year, which really show the talent that exists in and around London.”
Showcasing that talent is the whole reason Clarke helped found the festival in the first place — as an outlet for local filmmakers to both show their works and network with their community.
Back in 2007 when the showcase was started, Clarke recalls there being only a couple of small festivals, other than ones filmmakers had to be students to enter. When it came to being an independent filmmaker, Clarke says they were left “out in the cold.”
By starting up the festival, those same filmmakers were given the chance to come together, both as artists and members of the community. Sixty percent of the revenue generated from the London Short Film Showcase is given back to the filmmakers as a reward for their hard work and an effort to facilitate more film creation.
“We have seen the growth because the community has come together, are more aware of each other, are working together, and helping to share each other’s art form,” Clarke said. “It has been great, we have seen additional film festivals created, new collaborations, that kind of thing.”
The success of the showcase not only brought the local short film community to new heights, but it also brought Clarke to a new level of success as well. Working on the showcase led Clarke to quit his job, go back to school, and eventually find himself in what he calls “his dream job” at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.
“Essentially, I make videos and short films for the festival. I get to make videos and digital content all day,” Clarke said. “When I got into filmmaking, I never thought I would be able to do it professionally. So it’s been really great.”
But with a young daughter, another on the way, moving his family to St. Mary’s, and starting up a new career, Clarke said it felt like the right time to move on. And with other board members having similarly busy lives — and no new blood signing up — it was decided this would be the right time to bring the curtain down on the showcase. After all, unlike when the showcase was started, there are many new initiatives taking place across the Forest City.
Clarke points to the film contest run by London Fringe, as well as festivals by Fanshawe College (one) and Western University (three) as examples of how many new avenues local filmmakers have available to them.
“We have seen a lot of growth and we know of other things that are coming. We aren’t the only game in town anymore and we should let other people take over and grow too,” Clarke said. “We have seen a lot more activity by filmmakers, collaborations, which is where we wanted to be from day one.”
It is his hope, Clarke said, the showcase helped give the London community a better appreciation for the art of film and the struggles that an often overlooked group of artists have to go through. However, that isn’t the only legacy Clarke said he hopes the showcase will be remembered for.
“And just the fact that from a simple idea of mine and Darryl saying let’s show some films,” Clarke said. “We grew into a large organization that offered films to the public, offered a venue for filmmakers to show their work, that whole thing came from one idea. Hopefully we will see even more community support, more festivals, more art being done in London.”
Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Advanced tickets can be purchased online at www.lsfs12.eventbrite.com. Last year's London Short Film Showcase sold out, so Clarke said prospective attendees are encouraged to purchase tickets online in advance.
For more information visit www.londonshortfilmshowcase.com or follow on Twitter @LSFSinc.
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