Interview with Festival Directors Daniel Foreman & Sharlene Millang (Edmonton Short Film Festival)


The Edmonton Short Film Festival (ESFF) is dedicated to the elevation of Alberta Independent film. The ESFF showcases Alberta filmmakers outside of the “normal” festival market and features diverse projects (newly created or “dusted off” favourites) including: trailers, music videos, web series, commercials, short films … as long as it’s less than 15 minutes, we’ll accept it! There are two main screening events: a Red Carpet Gala on October 14 and a Family Fun Film Fest on October 15.


Matthew Toffolo: What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers? ​

Daniel Foreman & Sharlene Millang: We are a jumping point to take emerging Alberta filmmakers and help them progress in their careers. A lot of them have only known YouTube as an audience and never played in a sold out theatre or networked with industry professionals. We give them the opportunity to move forward professionally with a filmmaker skills class (included in each submission), and we offer cash prizes for best of category. We also bring them up on stage to be recognized.

What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year

Saturday night Gala:

As a film lover, you will be greeted by ushers at the door and directed to the ticket table, refreshment bars and to volunteers serving free, fresh, hot popcorn. There is a selection of pre-gala movies playing on the screens in the lobby and many opportunities to network and interact with other filmmakers and film fans. There is a silent auction where you can bid on exciting prizes. If you prefer, you can relax in the theatre and experience the pre-show on the big screen. We encourage our patrons to become engaged by tagging #ESFF2017 and
seeing their posts live on our Twitter wall.​

The first batch of films run for about 45 minutes and the audience will experience documentaries, commercials, comedies, dramas, animations and more. The maximum length of each film is 15 minutes so if someone doesn’t like what they’re seeing, they can just wait a few minutes and they will experience something new​

At the intermission, you will be entertained by live music by Olivia Rose and be fed hot food served by Drift Food Truck, which is all included in your ticket price of under $20. Free popcorn and bars serving local beer (as well as wine and soft drinks) give you get a great chance to meet new people and have fun in our festive atmosphere. Take a moment to have your photo taken on the red carpet!​

The second act has another 45 minutes of film and then the audience votes on the their choice from all the films that have been screened. ​

Sunday afternoon Family Fun Film Fest​

This FREE event includes a variety of activities for younger children including virtual reality demonstrations, facepainting, green screen backgrounds to play against, a GPS scavenger hunt, a photobooth with costumes and more. ​

The movies in the theatre include many excellent student films and family friendly shorts, and will showcase a special presentation by Edmonton born Hollywood actor Josh Emerson.

Filmmakers in attendance will also be recognized.​

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

The only mandatory requirements are Alberta-created, under 15 minutes, screenable content (e.g., no pornography, extreme violence or extreme language). We accept all genres and any date of creation. Our selection process is based on production value, story and performance. Then the program is pulled from the best technical films to create an awesome audience experience.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival? ​

Our biggest motivation is to help emerging Alberta filmmakers move their careers forward. It is a great feeling to have the filmmakers on stage beside us at the end of the evening and celebrating with them in front of a packed house.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?​

This was our first year on Film Freeway and it has been fabulous. It’s been a great way to supplement direct submissions on our site and opened a whole new group of Alberta filmmakers who may not otherwise have found our festival.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

We see it including the western provinces and territories in Canada: BC, Yukon, NWT, Nunavut, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. It will be a week-long festival with speakers from across Canada, industry professionals and agents buying films. The short film section will still be the focus but we will expand to features as well.

What film have you seen the most times in your life? ​

Dan: Ghostbusters. I saw it at least 10 times in the theatre and countless times on video after. I still own and watch the original VHS tape which has held up remarkably well.

Sharlene: Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

In one sentence, what makes a great film? ​

A great film comprises of compelling story and interesting characters all woven together with fantastic visuals and stellar sound.

How is the film scene in your city? ​

Edmonton has a dynamic, vibrant film scene that is very, very indie. We don’t get a lot of big productions here currently but we make up for it with rich grassroots filmmaking. ​

Here’s a tidbit just for your information (not part of our official response):​
The newly-created Edmonton Screen Industries Office includes the full range of
screen-based entertainment, education and training – from mobile, television, Internet streaming and theatrical release inclusive of live action, animation and interactive video games.​

With the creation of this new organization Edmonton is poised to become a leader in digital entertainment across Canada, North America and the globe.

Edmonton Short Film Festival.jpg


Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

SUBMIT your TV PILOT Screenplay or TV SPEC Script
Voted #1 TV Contest in North America.
Screenplay CONTESTSUBMIT your Short Screenplay or FEATURE Script
FULL FEEDBACK on all entries. Get your script performed

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