The UWpg Film Festival is more than an exhibition of short films. For many young filmmakers, it’s a launch pad, a platform that takes their work from one realm into the next. Eric Peterson, the festival director, says the event is usually students’ first chance to show their work to a larger audience.
“It’s a really important component of filmmaking, getting the butterflies of dusting off and showing to a bunch of people. But when you do it, it’s just a wonderful experience of sharing something that you’ve made in front of an audience,” he says.
As the festival director, Peterson has come full circle, returning to where his filmmaking journey first began.
In 2019, Peterson was a film student at the University of Winnipeg and an active contributor to the festival. His film Big Things went on to screen at the Gimli International Film Festival and Vancouver International Film Festival.
The UWpg Film Festival brings a community of like-minded individuals together. It allows a variety of filmmakers, both the experienced and amateur, and the young and old, to come together and share ideas.
The fest introduced Peterson to many of the people he works with today. He describes it as an introduction to the tools the province offers creatives.
“It’s a great way to combine the local film industry, the local independent film scene and show students what is available in Manitoba in terms of making your own movies, but also the job opportunities that exist after post-secondary education,” he says.
Nish Joshi, a student from the University of Manitoba, is showing his film One Shot. A love of sharing stories first drew Joshi to film. “I accidentally took a filmmaking class in high school, and that was the best accident that happened to me. I found a whole new way to tell my stories, in a larger-than-life manner,” he says.
Joshi describes One Shot as a story about courage. “A young man is determined to pursue a basketball career and faces his father’s disapproval and, on top of that, his own fears of failure. He must find the courage within himself to take that one shot,” he says.
One Shot will be screened at the Toronto International Film Festival Bell Lightbox theatre in 2023.
For Joshi, this is just the beginning. In the future, he hopes to hone his filmmaking skills and take his stories to a greater audience.
“I love storytelling, and I (want to) tell my stories in a larger-than-life manner, show (them) to more and more people and evoke an emotion in them,” Joshi says.
It has been 20 years since the first UWpg Film Festival was held on campus. The festival moved online for two years during the COVID-19 pandemic but will run in person this year from Oct. 19 to 22.
The event will commemorate local film legend Howard Curle, who died in August. The Audience Choice Award was renamed the Howard Curle Audience Choice Award in his honour.
More information about the festival, including its official selection and showtimes, is online at uwpgfilmfestival.com.
Published in Volume 77, Number 06 of The Uniter (October 20, 2022)