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Competition and creation

Five teams take part in Canon Hi5 Short Film Challenge at the Whistler Film Festival


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Whistler filmmaker Sharai Rewels is on a deadline.

She is on the homestretch with her short film, Binary Lullaby, one of the contenders for the Whistler Film Festival's (WFF) Canon Hi5 Short Film Challenge.

"It's a very quick competition. We're in post-production and the deadline is tomorrow, so we will be handing it in then," Rewels says.

The Canon Hi5 Short Film Challenge is one of three new professional development events at WFF; the others are the Doc Lab and the Digital-First Lab.

Five finalists, including Rewels, were selected to pull together teams to shoot a five-minute short in five days between Oct. 20 and Nov. 15.

The finalist films will premiere online starting Nov. 28 on the WFF YouTube Channel. They will be judged for overall film quality, creativity and originality, as well as the number of likes received by fans.

On Dec. 4, the films will also be presented at WFF's ShortWork Showcase, with the winner being screened prior to WFF's Closing Gala film, Shades of Winter: Between on the same day.

The winning film will receive a Canon E05 C100 Mark II camera valued at $6,800.

Rewels is the only local filmmaker taking part. The others include Krista Rand and Orsy Szabo with Authentic Kids, Athena Russell with Hi Five Goodbye, Joel McCarthy with Fathers and Sons, and Michael Chen with The Moon & the Stars.

Rewels describes Binary Lullaby as "almost like telling a joke."

It stars Vancouver actors Laura Adkin and David Lewis and tells the story of how the artificial intelligence inside a first responder's computer believes it is telepathically experiencing the lives of humans and animals while it "sleeps."

"It sounds quite intricate, but you don't find out you are a computer until the end of the movie," she explains.

"It's fast paced and ends a with punchline."

This is the first time Rewels has directed a film. She previously wrote and acted in The Twisted Slipper, which was accepted into the Cannes Metrage Short Film Corner and recently shown on CBC.

"I love being in front of a camera. It is one of my happy places, but I got so excited about controlling the vision and framing the shot. It was my entire focus and I wouldn't have wanted to dilute that by acting," she says.

Rewels adds she was terrified at first.

"I really wanted to be a producer and I had someone in mind to be the director, but they had some scheduling conflicts. So I stepped into the role and ended up surprising myself and growing as an artist," she says.

"I really enjoyed it; the actors were great to work with and my team were amazing. I had a lot of pride and confidence in them. It's important. That is really the director's job, building the right team."

Binary Lullaby is on Facebook as binarylullaby.



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