Student film festival celebrates its 30th anniversary with more films than ever

By Costa Maragos Posted: March 5, 2018 12:00 p.m.

Meet the student coordinators of The Living Skies Student Film Festival (l-r) Morgan Jones, Luke Halyk, Leo Su, Jessica Davidson, and Matt Ripplinger.
Meet the student coordinators of The Living Skies Student Film Festival (l-r) Morgan Jones, Luke Halyk, Leo Su, Jessica Davidson, and Matt Ripplinger. Courtesy of Living Skies Student Film Festival

The Living Skies Student Film Festival is celebrating its 30th anniversary and it’s bigger than ever.

The three-day event, March 8 - 10, received more than 1700 student-film submissions from 99 countries in addition to those produced locally by film students. Choosing a mere handful of the hundreds of submissions was a daunting task for festival judges and coordinators.

“Although there’s no way we could show them all, we have a very diverse lineup, both in terms of theme, genre and country of origin,” says Luke Halyk, festival coordinator who is a film production student with a minor in Arts Administration. “Watching these films both expands your horizons and gives you a kind of mosaic of how students from across the globe are viewing the world. It’s pretty inspiring.”  

This student-run film festival started in 1988 and in 2012 was renamed the Living Skies Student Film Festival.

The event continues to be a treat for local film buffs who take in the festival filled with film screenings. This year’s offerings include films from Europe, the US, Australia, Quebec and from U of R students.

“The festival provides a unique platform for film students to showcase their work to a larger audience, in many cases, for the first time,” says Halyk. “Students are afforded the opportunity to screen their works alongside other student films from around the world, exposing them to new ideas and offering invaluable experience.”

ella Mikkola

Student Ella Mikkola is nominated for
'Best of Saskatchewan' award for Waves.
U of R Photography

dianne ouelette

Student Dianne Ouelette is nominated for
'Best of Saskatchewan' for her film Cry Wolf.
U of R Photography

In keeping with tradition, festival organizers have organized workshops with people who are working in the field.

That includes Ian Toews, who earned a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Film Production in 1999. He’s produced and directed over 70 television episodes and five feature-length documentary films. He’s received six Canadian Screen Awards nominations and won once.

Toews is also this year’s recipient of the Department of Film’s Distinguished Alumni. He will be honoured March 9 at 7:00 p.m. at the Campion College Auditorium.

Also presenting at the festival will be Regina-based artist and the co-creator of the popular Wolfcop film franchise, Emersen Ziffle. He will do a workshop on practical effects and special effects make-up.

“He started his career amid a whirlwind of horror films where he cut his teeth making blood, gore, and monsters. He thrives on the creative challenges and tight deadlines often posed by these projects whether it be fun schlocky gore for a friend’s indie film to highly polished creature FX for feature films," says Halyk.

There’s something for almost every film fan. The festival wraps up with its Awards Gala March 10 at the Fifth Parallel Gallery.

Event:   Living Skies Student Film Festival
Dates:   March 8 – 10
Venue:  All films will be screened at the Campion College Auditorium.
For more information please visit www.livingskiesstudentfilmfestival.com