“Saguenay is really the world’s most short-film friendly city.”
The REGARD Short Film Festival in Saguenay, Quebec, features film from Canada, the U.S. and around the world. Films are screened with both English and French subtitles. REGARD collaborates with several other Canadian festivals, and the Saguenay community. The festival hosts workshops, conferences, roundtable discussions and has its own short film Market, Marché du court métrage. The objective of REGARD is “to be a gateway of the Americas for short cinema and an international launching pad for Canadian cinema.” Festival director Ian Gailer tells us more about this short film festival.
Q: What is the story behind this festival and your involvement with it?
A: The festival has been running since 1996 in Chicoutimi and Jonquiere. These two towns merged in 2003 under the name of Saguenay. It was founded by young filmmakers who wanted to share their work and was first dedicated to features, docs and shorts made by emerging Quebec filmmakers. For the 7th edition in 2003, the festival evolved to focus only on national and international short films of less than 45 minutes.
I was a savvy festival-goer since my first encounter with REGARD in 2001. I had never been in contact with shorts or film film festivals. And then boom — I was totally into it. I was hired as the general manager in 2007. At that time, the festival was still somewhat small, but already showed an amazing sense of community and respect toward the artists. We try to give back now by helping more than a dozen festivals each year by sharing advice, budget models, counseling, subtitles, and more.
Q: What is unique and exciting about REGARD Short Film Fest?
A: REGARD is special in a lot of ways. The artists and the community are in the center of our concerns. Our festival must be very helpful for them. The festival creates tons of opportunities for filmmakers to meet influential people and film enthusiasts. REGARD has massive screening venues that are always full of loud and enthusiastic town folks that aren’t directly tied to the business. It has a very fresh and particular energy.
We collaborate a lot with local art centers and artists. REGARD also has a university course in translation and a college course in event managing via our student film fest “De l’âme à l’écran,” which is lead by students and the help of our team.
The festivals are LOUD and full of people really curious about cinema. Saguenay is really the world’s most “short film friendly” city there is! The people who attend the festival don’t have time to sleep. There are parties after hours, happy hours, and meetings, and workshops, and screenings, and parties and so on!
Q: What is the most fulfilling part of working with REGARD?
A: Working with the filmmakers and artists. Having the chance to work for them is a real honor. To know that they choose our event for their premiere or a screening of their work and that they drive or fly all the way to Saguenay which is 300 miles north of Montreal, always makes me feel lucky.
REGARD’s call for entries opens on August 15. The next festival is held March 11-15. To find out more, visit their website.