TVM: McGill’s Annual Fokus Film Festival Celebrates its 10 Year Anniversary

On March 18th TVM held its annual film event at Cinema du Parc to celebrate 10 years of independent student filmmakers. Fokus Film Festival is the only student-organized event dedicated to showcasing student filmmakers and creators within the McGill community. The festival also held a 72-hour competition where participants were tasked with writing and producing a themed film surrounding the concept of “navigation”.

Festival attendee Madeleine Stinson remarked that “the event was well run and was a cool setting to see talented filmmakers within the McGill community showcase their work”. Of all the films on display this year, the film “Rebelion” stuck with Madeleine for its exploration of the radical hip-hop scene emerging in Cuba.

The distinguished panel of judges, including the founder of Fokus Film Festival, Victoria Lean, Professor Ned Schantz, PhD Candidates Josie Torres-Barthes and Case McCormick, Tamraa Greenidge of TV1, and Ben Soussan of Niveau2 Productions collectively selected films within the categories of “overall best”, “documentary”, “avant garde”, “fiction”, and “best 72-hour film”. There was also an audience-elected People’s Choice award. The winners for each group were as follows:

Overall Best

“Rebelion”, directed and produced by Juliette Deshormes, Sophie Ruigrok, Astrid Jensen and Douglas Henry, centers around the relationship between hip-hop and political and social revolution in Cuba. It follows the life of an artist, Raudel, and the struggles of poverty he’s encountered by actively speaking out against the government. 


“Waterway to Stardom”, directed by Lou Gatti and Harry Turner, takes a satirical look into the infamous “Flood Girl” of McGill, a video that went viral in the winter of 2013 after a reservoir above campus burst. The girl can be seen struggling to cross the treacherous stream, eventually getting caught in the current and dragged down the length of McTavish.  

Best Avant-Garde

“Humanshape”, directed by Kaelan Doyle Myerscough, plays with the restrictions of documentary and film to explore the objectification and commodification of the human body. Dubbed over with personal interviews, dolls and toys are utilized to act out each individual story.

Best Fiction

“Disappear”, directed by Natasha Fontaresky, is a cinematic short film focused on the bittersweet nature of young love as a couple makes its way to California. Check it out below to see the shocking twist ending.

Best 72-hour Film and winner of The People’s Choice award:

“Karma Police” is a humorous mockumentary, directed by Ben Koring, that follows the work of two angels within the Lost and Found department. Filled with unexpected anecdotes and great dialogue, Karma Police was an overwhelming crowd-pleaser.

The festival was deemed a success, with a turnout of over 200 students and members of the McGill community attending an after-party held at Blue Dog Motel on St-Laurent. Director Pam Austin summed up the energy of the festival when she said that “film has the unique ability to orient, map, or redirect our assumptions within the spaces that we inhabit…and each film in the [Fokus Film] festival navigates the geography and experience of living in Montreal”.

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