Producer: Sharlene Millang

Sharlene Millang is one half of Groove Solider Productions, an Edmonton company and a recent recipient of the $10K STORYHIVE grant. Sharlene and her Co-Producer Daniel Foreman are also the creators of the Edmonton Short Film Festival (ESFF), which takes place October 4th with an amazing new initiative for participants. Here’s Sharlene in her own words…

Why did you want to organize your own film festival?

Edmonton is a city of festivals.  Yet, when the Edmonton Short Film Festival was created in 2013 by local independent filmmakers, we were often asked “why”.  As emerging independent filmmakers, we found it challenging to have our films screened in a suitable venue.  Edmonton has a fantastic film community and this is our way of helping other filmmakers who may not be quite ready for the major festival circuit to have their films shown on the big screen.

Another frustration we experienced with traditional festivals was the lack of feedback on our work (and we heard this from other filmmakers as well).  Our festival is designed specifically to support and assist independent, emerging filmmakers learn and grow in their craft.  For EVERY film that is submitted, we provide feedback on the projects.  Finally, we have kept the ESFF as open as possible, in that we will accept ANY short project into the festival, regardless of genre, how old the project may be, whether it is already publicly posted or screened elsewhere. Our only “rule” is that it must be 15 minutes or less (this is necessary so that we are able to screen more projects by more filmmakers).

Dan  Sharlene on stage

An amazing turnout for the first Edmonton Short Film Festival (2013).

We ran the first ESFF entirely on our own, but were fortunate to have (then Alberta Film Commissioner) Jeff Brinton and Edmonton Film Commissioner Brad Stromberg attend the event (who were there in an official capacity). Both of these men were very pleased with the initiative we had taken and recognized the ESFF as something that held great potential and was a totally unique event.  Mr. Brinton asked us to help coordinate a meeting with the filmmakers who had projects screened in 2013 and invited all of us to attend at his office so he could talk with us about our work.

For 2014, Groove Soldier Productions was encouraged to take this to a new level.  The Edmonton Short Film Festival was incorporated as a non-profit and we are grateful for the enthusiastic response we have had from Alberta Film, AFA, Edmonton Enterprise, the Edmonton Arts Council; industry organizations including Digital Alberta, FAVA and AMPIA; private companies such as Pixel Blue College and TELUS; and other grassroots filmmaking communities such as #yegfilm.  These ten groups will be presenting as part of our Filmmakers’ Panel Event.  Every filmmaker who submitted to the ESFF has received an invitation to attend the Panel Event at no charge (including lunch); for anyone else who would like to attend the cost is $20 (or 2/$30) which will help to cover the cost of lunch.  It takes place at Concordia University College of Alberta from 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM, Saturday, October 4.  (The main festival is the same day, same venue … doors open at 6 and the screening is at 7; tickets are $15 at the door.)

What can your filmmakers expect from the industry panel?

We know that every filmmaker who attends the panel event will benefit from the information they receive about funding, networking, training and production supports offered through these ten diverse organizations. In addition to the information being shared, the filmmakers will have an opportunity to ask questions of the entire panel and then enjoy a short time of personal networking to meet the decision makers and senior representatives who are sharing their time with us.

3) Being the recipient of the $10K grant from STORYHIVE – how important are funding initiatives for new artists?

For Groove Soldier Productions, the biggest difference in receiving funding was that we were able to pay our cast and crew at a rate that was much closer to market rates than we have been able to do with self-funded projects.  We were also able to use technology, equipment and resources that have been unavailable to us previously due to limited budget.  And, of course, this is good for Edmonton’s entire film community as we involved more people in the production!

Sharlene with Director Daniel Foreman and actress, Stephanie Harpe. “A Raven’s Song” was Edmonton’s Season 1 Winner of STORYHIVE and is available now on Telus Optik TV. Photo courtesy of STORYHIVE.

We are screening three of the Edmonton films that received StoryHive funding at the ESFF.  One of these films is an extended version of their StoryHive project.  The audience will be treated to some very high production values as they enjoy the screenings of these films!

The Edmonton Short Film Festival will be held on October 4, 2014 at Concordia University, Tegler Auditorium, 7128 Ada Boulevard. Doors open at 6:00PM and the Festival begins at 7:00PM. Parking on site is $3.
Visit the official Edmonton Short Film Festival Page to secure your tickets!