On April 30th I had the pleasure of attending the "31st Annual" SFU Grad Film screening at Granville Cinema 7. The event showcased the creative talent of the last crop of students to use the old gear on the Burnaby Mountain campus. The evening offered an entertaining melody of 19 mini-movies which in turn charmed, dazzled and sometimes bemused. SFU Film Instructor Colin Browne admitted up front that they're not exactly sure this was the "31st annual screening" (the department flew by the seat of its pants in the late '70s), but they're pretty sure.
My ticket came courtesy of my son, a third year film student who worked on four of the films I would enjoy - as a sound designer, grip/dolly grip, a cast member or as sound recordist. I enjoyed every film, but I wouldn't be human if I didn't compare and sort my viewing into mental folders. That's part of the fun.
CATECHISM, by Jessica Moorhouse, was an obvious crowd-pleaser. It is the story of a young lass who struggles to reconcile her carnal urges with the dictates her "Catholic" upbringing. (The Ten Commandants are reduced to four ... it's a West Coast thing.) While I was a tad bemused by the mixing of the Catholic confessional with frequent dissolves into a Baptist-style angst over "what the Bible sez", I found CATECHISM a genuine laugh fest. The entire audience loved Jessica's casting of a Bobble-Head Jesus.SQUADRON 5 was a brave attempt at a Science Fiction epic, and the hard work of Director Barry Liu shows throughout. Squadron 5 was also the only story film not produced in English. It was my first exposure to a Cantonese S.F. movie (with English subtitles) and it is evidence of the multicultural flavour of the Simon Fraser campus, although not enough Chinese youths choose film making. Mr. Google tells me that Al Leung, one of the actors featured in SQUADRON 5, has a webpage.
BOXED IN could have been produced by American International Pictures in the 1970's. Instead the splatter-comedy script had to wait for Kial Natale to be born and to choose film school. The movie a real hoot and the audience loved it. I don't know if the old guy who played Santa Claus was a professional actor or a talented rubby-dub the Director found on Hastings Street, but he was sure fun to watch.
There is a perky trailer posted for the Grad Film Screening. It's found at: http://www.sfufilm.ca/4thyear/ There can be no doubt that several of the 2009 graduate films are going to be entered in film festivals, where I hope you will encounter them.