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Okotoks Film Society screening Oscar short films

Various screenings March 3-5 at Okotoks Cinemas for live action, animated and documentary short films.

One of the Okotoks Film Society's staple events returns this week.

The Oscar-Nominated Short Films will be screened by the Okotoks Film Society (OFS) at Okotoks Cinemas from March 3-5.

“It’s one of my favourite things we do,” said OFS Festival Director Katie Fournell. “It’s really cool to see the short films, which are always labours of love.”

The short format means when you sit down in the theatre, there is a guaranteed variety of compelling content.

“The cool thing about a short film package is you’re going more for the movie experience than for an individual movie,” Fournell said. “When you go watch a feature film, you’re looking for a synopsis before, whereas the short films you’ll find out as you’re watching, which is a cool way experience some stories.

“There’s some beautiful lovely emotional stuff, there's some really thrilling things you’ll see, you’ll see something ridiculous and weird, and then you'll also see a film that’s beautiful and wonderful for children.”

The shorts screening was actually the inaugural event of the OFS, first screening in February 2017.

“That was the first time we were really showing what we are and what we’re doing,” said Fournell, adding the society has been lucky enough to hold screenings each year, even virtually during COVID.

“It really shows what we’re trying to do and also, it’s a great way for people to get into short films.”

In order for a short film to be nominated, it must have won awards at an Oscar-qualifying film festival, Fournell explained, but that doesn’t mean these are big league productions.

“These aren't made by studios, these are just made by filmmakers that have a really cool idea,” she said. “If they have a big-name celebrity in their film, it means that they have a story that the celebrity cares about.

“It's really just a labour of love across the board, which is really beautiful and exciting to see.”

The Oscar-Nominated Short Films are divided into three categories — live action, animated, and documentary — with the classification of short-film meaning they run under 60 minutes, however most are much shorter.

The Oscar package was actually Fournell’s first exposure to the format, and ever since, she’s a believer.

“Now I’m all about the short film packages going, ‘Where’s the short films? Where's the weird stuff?’” she said.

Watching an assortment of self-isolated stories within the same runtime as a feature film also makes for a different experience, with Fournell joking that if you don’t like something, just wait 20 minutes.

She isn’t the only one looking forward to the screenings, as the yearly tradition has become a must for many Okotoks movie buffs.

“The reception, people have been really excited to see it," Fournell said. "One of my favourite things I heard an audience member say is they now care more about that category than any of the other (Oscar) categories, because they’ve seen all the films in the other categories.”

Most of the films are rated PG-13, but one animated short shown at the end of a segment is rated 18+.

Screenings for different packages run at varied times as follows:
Documentary - March 3 at 4 p.m.
Animated - March 3 at 9 p.m.
Animated - March 4 at 4 p.m.
Live Action - March 4 at 9 p.m.
Live Action - March 5 at 4 p.m.
Documentary - March 5 at 9 p.m.

For tickets and information visit

Brent Calver

About the Author: Brent Calver

Award-winning photojournalist for the Western Wheel newspaper covering Okotoks and the Foothills region.
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