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The 8 Fest is celebrating its 4th year in 2011 with another weekend of small gauge films (like 8mm, Super 8 and 9.5mm) at Trash Palace from January 28 to 30th. Its first program selection comes from the “$100 Film Festival” in Calgary all curated and hosted in person by Melanie Wilmink, entitled “Go East, Young West, Go East!” Filmmakers from this program include Luke Black, Kyle Whitehead, Lauren Simms, Liz Pimie, Alexander Sakarev, Steven Kajorinne, Yaz Arima, James Reckseidler, Cara Mumford, Alex Mitchell, Spencer Estabrooks, Hernan Moreno, Doreen Wood, Vincent Varga and Caitlind Brown.

There was no particular theme to the evening, but some interesting threads that ran between most of the films. A large selection of the screenings dealt with examinations of the physical world around us, as well as the nature of film itself. Eight-millimeter film has such a tactile quality to it that it makes it the perfect medium to examine these qualities in the world. Here are some of the highlights from this presentation:

Elevenses.. – Lauren Simms, 2009, 3min.

A film of a woman having tea in a very stylized set, asking the question is she drinking the tea or is she actually the tea itself?

The Runner – Liz Pirnie, 2009, 3 min.

The film is broken into three brief acts. The first section is a young girl running through a field, the second is paralleled by a man running through the same area and getting lost. The third section shows how the two stories come together as one.

one eight-challenge – Alexander Sakarev, 2010, 3 min.

This film tells the story of a sad girl with her head literally covered in 8mm film. She encounters various people in the streets and has a very negative reaction to each of them. The girl goes home and cuts off pieces of film from her head to view the experience again, but in a whole different way.  The film is an interesting concept that was unfortunately hampered by poor audio. The concept of a film-within-a-film and how we are all cameras as window into our own lives, is certainly worth exploring further.

Fall Game ““ Steven Kajorinne, 2009, 3 min.

Fall Game starts off as a disturbing image of a man beaten in the woods by another young man with a bat. The situation isn’t quite what it seems when it turn into a very funny moment of black humour.

Oil City Showdown ““ James Reckseider, 2007, 5 min.

A group of campers fight some big city folks looking to get their oil. The film’s humour is very much in the “Trailer Park Boys” vein but done to a very good music score it has a nice rhythm to it.

3rd Law Billy ““ Yaz Arima, 2009, 3.5 min.

A funny take on personal space shot much like an instructional video. A man walks down the street and trips over a man on the street losing his cel phone in the process. After the business man yells at the man on the street, the man on the street gets his revenge. The film   is less about personal space and more about the results of bad karma.

Coda in G Minor ““ Cara Mumford, 2007, 2.5 min.

A beautiful vignette of a woman in a room played against a haunting classical musical score. Completely breathtaking.

I Hate Popcorn ““ Spencer Estabrooks, 2006, 3 min.

I Hate Popcorn is a commentary of the connection between the act of making popcorn and how Hollywood operates. A brilliant concept of connecting the immediate gratification of big Hollywood films with how we taste and feel about popcorn. Not only did it not make me hate popcorn, however, it actually made popcorn sexy in its depiction as well.

The Gift ““ Hernan Moreno, 2009, 3 min.

A humourous little spoof of a man receiving a super-8 camera in the mail and then using it to film himself around the house.

I’ll Never Let Go of Your Hand ““ Doreen Wood, 2009, 7 min

A reflective journey back to Bosnia, acting as a look back at the landscape and the war that was left behind, mirrored with the upcoming loss of a spouse. A touching mix of abstract and personal filmmaking.

The Plant ““ Vincent Varga, 2010, 3.5min

A science fiction film of a man who has survived some kind of an apocalypse, with the promise of starting anew through the fostering of a small plant. This film was made by a 14-year-old first-time filmmaker and was one of the best of the evening.

Wake ““ Caitind Brown, 2009, 2.5 min

Wake is a quick surreal experience with a couple (and the viewer) left to decide if the film’s subjects are in a dream or are they awake. A very fitting way to close the program.