2020 will not kill film: Regina’s “One Take Super 8” film festival is alive and well

Tomas Jonsson, manager of the Regina Public Library Dunlop Film Theater, sits in the seats and is grateful they will be filled with filmmakers for the “One Take Super 8” film festival on Oct. 22. Photo by Rose Mansbridge-Goldie.

The “One Take Super 8″ film festival is celebrating its 20th year. Launched in 2000 in Regina by Alex Rogalski, this independent film festival has inspired similar events across cities in North America.

Ian Campbell, co-organizer and past participant in the original Regina event said he likes the event for a number of reasons.

“The biggest thing for me is being able to shoot on film,” Campbell said.

Cinema shown at the festival has been shot on old-school Super 8 film cameras.  Introduced in the 1960’s, Super 8 cameras are outdated in terms of today’s technology, but still attract cinema lovers who appreciate the vintage process and look.

The festival’s Facebook page states filmmakers each shoot a single reel of Super 8 film which then premieres to an audience without the filmmakers seeing their work. All films are shown as shot, with no edits. The element of surprise is a big attraction for the filmmakers who participate.

“No one has seen these films before, it’s a surprise for everybody,” Campbell said.  “It’s not a very long event, but it’s a lot of build up because you don’t know what your film looks like.”

“It is often the same people who participate every year” making it a recurring place for Regina-based filmmakers to connect with each other. “It’s just a really good idea that happened to get started here, and it keeps going even though there is less and less film production every year,” Campbell said.

Campbell estimates that five film rolls did not get returned for developing this year, making the film count slightly lower than last year.

The “One Take Super 8” film festival takes place annually at the RPL Dunlop Film Theater. This year, seats are limited to 30 which will accommodate physical distancing protocols in place due to COVID-19. Photo by Rose Mansbridge-Goldie.

Jacob Farrell is a part of Regina’s film community and works at the Saskatchewan Film Pool Cooperative.  Farrell participated in the “One Take Super 8” in 2018 and will participate again this October.  With the option of black and white or colour film, Farrell shot his project in colour. He is glad the nature of the festival and his project allowed for an opportunity to create film amidst COVID-19 restrictions.

“Because of the pandemic your options were slightly limited,” Farrell said.   “I decided to book out a camera and a tripod and go and revisited my hometown of Foam Lake. It is a small farming community of about 1,000 people so it is already very quiet and socially distant just because of the nature of the small town. I went around, shot my roll of film, and ended up making an experimental documentary about my hometown.”

Farrell said he will attend the screening at the Regina Public Library Dunlop Film Theater and like Campbell, is excited and anxious to see how his project turned out.

The 20th Anniversary screening will take place Oct. 22 at 7p.m. Since the in-person screening will only leave room for filmmakers and their plus-ones, Campbell said those who wish to view the films should keep an eye on social media for a live stream of the event.

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