A showcase of the CapU community’s diverse cinematic projects


Excitement was in the air. The seats were full of a buzzing audience, waiting for the lights to dim. The RISE Film Festival was about to begin. 

On March 2, in collaboration with Capilano University, Arts and Entertainment Management students hosted a night of cinema. The festival was created to celebrate and connect local student filmmakers through a series of short films and Q&As. Held in CapU’s Bosa Theatre, the event featured six short films, all written, directed and produced by Capilano students and alumni. The films showcased unique stories and perspectives. They covered a variety of different genres. The quirky comedy, The Onion Effect, directed by Malka Martz-Oberlander, explored the absurdity of self-help books, while the art documentary FIONN, directed by Joscha Burger, featuring the creative exploits of an American exchange student in Germany. 

The wide range of films shown at RISE are representative of the diverse community and talent that is being fostered through events and festivals around the CapU campus. The films that were presented were passionate and unique, and the overall experience was polished and professional. It was immediately apparent in the attention to detail, great editing and the power behind each story. 

Other films featured at the festival included the drama Deadbeat, produced by Montse Vega, and dark comedy Staff Meeting, produced by Shelby Stadnyk. It Gets Dark too Early, directed by Rebecca Spiegel and produced by Brooke Fusick and Mario Herrera Lira tells a fun yet tragic story, while Peter Siskos: In the Midst of the Greek Civil War, is a documentary interview directed by Nickolas Papadopoulos.

At this year’s RISE festival, one of the main objectives of the organizers was to make the event as accessible as possible. In this spirit, admission to RISE was free. The choice was made to allow as many people as possible to appreciate the films shown. This is ultimately the primary goal of any film festival; to connect people and stories through film.

For Nickolas Papadopoulos, director of Peter Siskos: In the Midst of the Greek Civil War, family is everything. The short film delves into the oral history of his grandfather, Peter Siskos, and his life story as he faced the horrific realities of the Civil War in the Greek countryside that took place between 1946 and 1949. The film is told through a conversation between grandfather and grandson in a mixed-media documentary.

Papadopoulos noted the difficult emotional experience of putting together his documentary. Since the story was so personal, there was a strong sense of responsibility. “[My grandfather] has passed away, so the only thing that remains is his stories, what’s preserved, the film, the memories. It’s not about documentation, it’s about evoking that similar emotion so that you can go through it with him.”

To Papadopoulos and the other filmmakers, this was more than simply a submission to the film festival. The films shown at the festival allow the audience to learn from the different places and people that are portrayed within these stories. CapU has a reputation for excellence in the B.C. film industry, and continuing events like this one can benefit the community, while also promoting the work of students and industry workers alike.

For many newer directors, student actors and the ensemble of producers and crew, this film festival was the first time they could see their work on the silver screen. The festival not only created a place for those who love cinema to come together and celebrate it, but also  provided emerging filmmakers with a platform to showcase their work and build experience. As the legendary actor and proud Canadian Keanu Reeves once said, “The whole of cinema and film should be a moment to come together and celebrate art and humanity.” 

RISE Film Festival was much more than just a fun event — it was a reminder about how important it is that CapU promotes a space that connects people and the stories they want to tell. As for myself, I’m already excited to attend the festival next year.

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