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Film society screening Oscar shorts in Okotoks

"Short films surprise me continuously, and I still see a hundred films every year that I’ve never seen anything like before."
SCENE-Katie Fournell BWC 9848 web
For Okotoks Film Society director Katie Fournell, short films offer a variety and creativity not found in longer feature films. (Brent Calver/Western Wheel File Photo)

Okotoks is getting a taste of the Oscars this month.

Brought to town by the Okotoks Film Society, Okotoks Cinemas will be screening the Oscar-Nominated Shorts.

“They are phenomenal filmmakers, and they’re really telling us a full story in only ten minutes,” said Film Society director Katie Fournell.

“It’s something to be commended for sure, especially with these films, they’re nominated because they’re the best made this year.”

The films, put out by Magnolia Pictures and Shorts HD, is a collection of three short film category packages: live action, animated and documentary.

Over three days, Feb. 25-27, the three packages will be shown at Okotoks Cinemas.

The assortment is sure to please various tastes, Fournell said.

“One of my favourite things about short films is if you don’t like it, stick around for five minutes and they’ll change completely different stories,” she said.

While the modern amenities of the Internet often spoil for choice, that isn’t always the case for these cream of the crop offerings.

“With the Oscar shorts, these are the films that got nominated for the Oscar, and they’re often really hard to find,” said Fournell, adding the creators are often low profile.

“At the actual awards, the category comes up, they come up, they thank their mom for catering, and they take off, but these guys are the next ones to go make the next big feature films — this is a big step in their careers.”

The digestibility of the shorts made that portion of the Oscars more interesting for Fournell.

“It went from being the category I cared the least about to the category I cared the most about, because I’ve actually seen everything in that category,” she said. “You see all of them so your decision for who you want to win is actually fully invested.”

Being connected to the local independent film community has created a natural draw, as many start out making shorts.

“Knowing so many independent filmmakers and working with so many, especially with the main (Okotoks Film) Festival has led a lot to my attachment to short films,” Fournell said. “But at the same time, I think it’s because short films seem to have so much more variety.

“They tell their stories in a different way, there’s oftentimes a more artistic take. Some of them are completely silent, some are only talking, but it keeps you captivated for that whole ten minutes of film.”

That creativity born from necessity, Fournell added, breaks a lot of the usual formulas feature films follow.

“With the feature films, as much as I absolutely love our feature films because they make some really great stuff, their stories kind of fall into the same sort of patterns, because that’s the nature of a feature film,” she said.

“Whereas short films surprise me continuously, and I still see a hundred films every year that I’ve never seen anything like before.

“The restriction of making a short film makes them more creative and there’s more variety.”

This year’s crop of Oscar-nominated shorts are divided into the Animated, Live Action, and Documentary categories. Tickets for a single screening/category are $10, and a multi-screening pass runs $15.

For specific showtimes and tickets, visit

Brent Calver

About the Author: Brent Calver

Award-winning photojournalist for the Okotoks Western Wheel and
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