29th annual Living Skies Student Film Festival wraps up in Regina

Two films made in Regina took home awards at the 29th annual Living Skies Film Festival this weekend. 

The festival — which received more than 1,500 submissions, less than 30 of which made the cut — wrapped up on Saturday. The two films, Home Sewn and Dreamers, walked away with awards. 

The Best of Saskatchewan went to Dreamers, written and directed by Kolby Kostyniuk, who convocated from the U of R in 2016.

Non-linear storytelling 

Kostyniuk, who now lives in Saskatoon, described the film as a psychological science fiction piece, with a non-linear story structure.

The story structure, which he said felt fragmented, was designed to mirror the main character's thoughts and point of view. 

The story follows an older man whose daughter had gone missing from a park when he was younger.

"His mind is confused," Kostyniuk said of the main character, Arthur, as he struggles to distinguish the line between reality and dream. 

"It's a little experimental. It's not a film for everybody," Kostyniuk said. "But if you enjoy a puzzle, it's something you might really like."

Kostyniuk began working on the idea during the summer of 2015. He estimates the entire process from principal photography to the final cut was a process of about 10 months.

"It was a great learning experience," Kostyniuk said. "It really helps the students experience what a somewhat larger production is like. Trial by fire. You have to make the film, get it done."

Local talent going worldwide 

Harvey Michael, one of the festival's organizers, said the festival's diversity is one of its strengths.

Submissions are accepted from students across the world, he added. 

Films from Indonesia, Hungary, South Africa, Spain and Kosovo, among several other countries, were screened at the festival.

"I think people people have the idea that 'oh, well, it's just Regina' or 'it's just Saskatoon,'" Michael said, adding he thinks that attitude is the wrong approach to take.

"It is Regina, it is Saskatoon but we have all these great, talented people here and great, talented people who were willing to send their work out across the world in the hopes of getting it seen by someone who will appreciate it."

The festival took place over three days. A gala capped it off on Saturday. 

"I think it's really fun. It's a good way to network if you're interested in getting involved in film," Michael said.

"You get to meet lots of really awesome, creative, high energy people who are just very passionate about what they do and you get to really see a wonderful showcase of talent."

Festival winners 

- Best Actor/Actress - Fabio Rosenstein for Fragments (Argentina)

- Best Cinematography - Sean Stiller for Kéwku (Canada)

- Best Director - Nikita Trocki for Maxime and Marie (Belgium)

- Best Experimental Film - Evolve, Discover, directed by Giuliana Cascardo (United States)

- Best Documentary Film - Kéwku 

- Best Animated Film - The Box, directed by Merve Cirisoglu Cotur (United Kingdom)

- Best Fiction Film - Welcome Brother, directed by Juan Carlos Rivera (Mexico)

- Viewer's Choice Award - Home Sewn, directed by Morgan Jones (Canada)

- Best of Saskatchewan - Dreamers, directed by Kolby Kostyniuk (Canada)