Telus Storyhive competition showcases projects including Sharkasaurus and Tale of the Riff Riders


After an intense journey, five Calgarians are about to premiere their short films as part of a competition sponsored by Telus.

The competitors had just five weeks this past spring to produce a multimedia application which included their film idea, their production plan and details on how they would spend $10,000 if chosen as one of the 10 Alberta winners.

Competitor proposals were uploaded April 28 and then community members chose their favourites.

Once funding was handed out on May 26, the winners then had 10 weeks to finish their films.

The whirlwind journey will reach its conclusion for the Calgary winners with their films debuting tonight at the Plaza Theatre starting at 6 p.m.

Calgarians opt for offbeat creations

The Calgary-produced short films can be best described as out-of-the-box and in some cases downright weird.

Olaf Blomerus produced Hello World, a film about an android that moves beyond its original programming to intervene in an abusive household. Sean Edwards’ Tale of the Riff Riders follows the quest of four cosmic nomads trying to discover the secrets of immortality through the use of time travel.

Sharkasaurus, created by Spencer Estabrooks, tells the tale about how paleontologists and creationists united in the Badlands of Alberta to try to defeat an ancient evil.

Davis Aurini’s Lust in the Time of Heartache utilizes martial arts action scenes and narration to reflect on how society is losing touch with meaningful interpersonal communication.

James Barry—the lone winner to produce a documentary feature—tells the story of his friends Adrian and Martinus Poole¬¬¬—in a film entitled Adrian & Martinus Make Some Things—whoWorldHelloThis is a still shot from the short film called Hello World produced by Calgarian Olaf Blomerus. This film sees a Social Services Android gain a sense of right and wrong by being present in a home with a father and a son. The father is abusive towards the son. The droid goes beyond its original purpose to intervene.

Photo courtesy of Hello World Facebook page build furniture and art pieces using old skateboard parts.

Seven of the 10 winners—including four out of five in Calgary—in Alberta produced fictional pieces, compared to four out of 10 in B.C.

Barry offers up this explanation as to why so many people in Calgary opted to produce fiction instead of a documentary: “I don’t know if it’s just because of the location or something else. It can get pretty dreary in Calgary so you get more inspired to create something or have more creative control.”

Facing production problems

The filmmakers faced unique challenges as they struggled to make their artistic vision an on-screen reality.

“Special effects was the hardest just because it’s hard to make good special effects on a low budget,” says Edwards. “We kind of ran out of money and I ended up spending the (grant) money on costume design and makeup as well as food. I didn’t realize how quickly the money would go.”

sharkdinoIn this trailer for his short film Sharkasaurus, Spencer Estabrooks opted not to give viewers a full glimpse of his titular character. The monster will be revealed at the film’s premiere tonight at the Plaza Theatre.

Screenshot courtesy of Sharkasaurus movie trailer One of Estabrooks’ production challenges during the making of Sharkasaurus came in the form of an ice cream truck.

“There was one moment, where David Lawrence (one of the actors) had one line and as soon as he went to do that line there was suddenly this ice cream song from an ice cream truck that was circling around the area. That little song just rippled through the valley so loud. We had that one line left and we were wrapping the shoot. So one of our production assistants rips off and he got the driver to turn off the song for 60 bucks or something.”

Future of the Calgary film industry

Estabrooks says the creativity of the films produced by Calgarians for this competition signals a bright future for the Calgary film industry.

“I think we look at the five that were picked and it says that there is a lot of new young talent there capable of doing short films and I think that’s awesome. I think Calgary filmmakers are going to push the envelope since there’s a lot of young talent there.” 

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