Metro Shorts was a quarterly film competition hosted and curated by Mostly Water Theatre and produced by Metro Cinema Society. It gave Edmonton filmmakers the chance to get their work screened live, adjudicated by professionals, get paid, win prizes, and be forced to make more shorts. It ran for 10 seasons, screened over 400 shorts, and ended in 2019. Metro collaborator and all-around awesome guy Trent Wilkie shares their stories, a celebration of some of the filmmakers that crossed our paths. Connect with Trent via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Jump to artist:
“I began experimenting with abstract images and film in the late sixties and later worked for two years as the principle operator at Merlot Scanimation, a computer animation studio in London, England. The studio’s novel hybrid analogue computer was used to make some of the first computer animated television commercials in the UK.
In 1975, I returned to Canada and began a 30-year career with a large multinational company but continued my interest in the visual arts. In early 2000, I returned to the computer as a creative tool and began experimenting with mathematical algorithms to generate patterns and abstract images. I began to animate these images to music, which I often composed myself. To compliment this activity and to explore more traditional animation themes, I began working with After Effects.
In general, I am interested in the relationship between sounds and images and exploring those through computer and video techniques. Over the last few years I have had films shown at festivals in North America and Europe.”
Here is John Osbourne’s Pulse:
“When I was a kid I found an old JVC VHS-C camcorder in the basement. My friends and I started creating short films; editing in-camera and spicing up the stories with generic sound loops from a keyboard placed just off-screen. Throughout grade school, university, and my early career in Environmental Science, I continued my film journey with a focus on experimental and comedic ideas. I eventually started working for local film production companies, received my first grant through TELUS Storyhive for my sci fi short film MAGIC CRAFT, and continued on to my current role of creating digital content in the gaming industry.
Over the years, Metro Shorts was an absolute dream. I loved that it gave myself and fellow filmmakers a community, an audience, and a chance to learn from our mistakes during live adjudication. With my persistent resistance to posting my videos online, Metro Shorts was the primary place that I would share new work. Not to mention that the Garneau Theatre itself is one of my favourite places in Edmonton, so having a film on that big screen was extra exciting.”
With that said, here is Seehagen’s Magic Craft:
Growing up he and his friends didn’t have access to a video camera but as he put it, they did have access to classic Shaw Bros/Golden Harvest action films and reckless enthusiasm. “While saving up for a VHS camera, (my friends and I would) spend recesses staging our own elaborate action sequences on the playground until a rash of injuries and detentions challenged everyone’s resolve to continue in the hobby,” says Lessard.
That did not deter him of course. Many years later he eventually got into filmmaking working as a PA for low budget feature films, and then directing his first short film ‘Poop Joke’ in 2012, which is where our paths crossed at Metro Shorts.
“Although the film would go on to screen at a few festivals across Canada, garnering reviews such as ‘Like a Christopher Guest Short’, ‘Profound’, ‘Unambitious’, and ‘meh’, the most rewarding screening came courtesy of Metro Shorts in 2016,” Lessard said in a successful attempt at flirting with me. “The opportunity to screen alongside talented local filmmakers, receive live adjudication, and be forced to produce another short film for the next installment, prevented another four year period of procrastination and also provided valuable feedback to use for the next film.”
Here is Lessard’s Seconds: