About Reel Shorts
The Reel Shorts Film Festival celebrates short films and the filmmakers who make them by screening gems of storytelling brilliance from around the world, across Canada, and here in the Peace Region. We entertain audiences, and inspire, develop, and showcase Peace Region filmmakers, thus helping to grow a filmmaking community in northwest Alberta and northeast British Columbia.
In 2006, Terry Scerbak attended the Edmonton International Film Festival as the Writer/Producer of a short film programmed in the Our Own Backyard series. She came back to Grande Prairie inspired to share some of the great short films she’d seen. As a volunteer with Grande Prairie Live Theatre, one of Canada’s largest nonprofit community theatres, she founded the Reel Shorts Film Festival with the first fest taking place in March 2007. It bounced around in April in 2008, 2009, and 2010, but finally found a home on the calendar starting in 2011 when it opened on the first Wednesday of May where it has remained.
In 2007, the fest screened 38 films over 3 days. In 2012, we screened 101 films from 26 countries over 5 days which was the largest program of short films presented by a film festival in Alberta.
Since 2010, audiences have chosen their favorite film. Winners of the Audience Choice Award have been:
- 2012 – Sugar (Suiker) directed by Jeroen Annokkée
- 2011 – The Legend of Beaver Dam directed by Jerome Sable
- 2010 – Multiple Choice directed by Michael Goode
The school program of screenings, workshops, and class visits have been a big part of the film festival since the beginning. School screenings introduce Grade 1-12 students to short films from around the world that help to broaden their world view while providing a basis for further classroom discussion. Over the first six years of the fest, filmmaking workshops for junior high and high school students introduced them to the most collaborative art form in the world and to the experience of sharing their films with an audience. Filmmaker class visits give students the opportunity to meet a filmmaker, watch his/her short film, and then participate in a discussion of the film and the filmmaking process.
Workshops offered to the public have included screenwriting, directing, and acting, as well as a variety of others.
In the summer of 2012, the festival produced a short film as part of Shoot for Reel, a 2-week internship program that was a collaboration between the festival, GPRC (Grande Prairie Regional College), and Ricebrain Media, a Vancouver film company whose president (Scott Belyea) grew up in Grande Prairie. Every year of the fest, Scott returns to his home town to screen his films, teach youth and aspiring filmmakers, and visit classes. The Horizon Project, the short film that he directed during the 11 days of Shoot for Reel, will have its world premiere on May 1st, 2013, the opening night of the 7th Reel Shorts Film Festival.
In the spring of 2013, the festival will produce another short film as part of the Youth Film Mentorship Project, a new initiative that will award a production package worth over $10,000 to an Alberta Peace Region production team (writer, director, producer, cinematographer, and editor between the ages of 13 and 25) as they develop, shoot, and edit their own short film in or near Grande Prairie while receiving mentorship from Scott Belyea and other industry professionals. The 8-week mentorship project will end with the screening of the film in the Best of the Fest film package on Sunday, May 5, the last day of the festival.