Ottawa goes back for seconds with Stiff Quickies, an Ottawa Fringe Festival fundraiser this Thursday night. The cheeky title titillates ones interest, and I asked Greggory Clark to give some background into the event. “It started last year. It was a pretty good time, so we thought we’d do it again.” Clark says referring to the success the fundraiser had last year. The event boasts short films, tall drinks and deep pockets with the alluring tease of being able to meet the filmmakers and actors themselves.
“What we did was we put out a call for submission inviting film makers to submit their short films. And of course the name ‘Stiff Quickies’: ‘Quickies’ for the film, and ‘Stiff’ for the drinks and for the fundraising because there is a ticket price for it.” Clark says. “We’re not shy about it; it’s a stiff price because it’s a fundraiser.”
The price hardly seems stiff at all when you take into account what the fundraiser is for. The Ottawa Fringe Festival, which celebrates its 18th birthday this year, is unique in its way of turning its profits back into the hands of the artists. 100% of the ticket sales go to the performers. The festival itself relies on grants and donations from fundraisers like these to cover venue costs and overhead. The tickets for Stiff Quickies are $15/ea or two tickets for $25, a very reasonable event cost for two people. They also secured the Arts Court Studio for separation between people there for the fundraiser and people there strictly for the films.
The Arts Court Theatre boasts an ideal locale for the screening; there’s a division of theatre/bar space so the films can run with little interruption. These separate rooms allow guests to leave the room for a conversation so that the audience can enjoy the film in silence, while still allowing frequent breaks. Small details like frequent intermissions ensure that the audience has the best possible opportunity to absorb the films, and allowing the audience to take their drinks to their seats ensures no need to get up and roam.
Not that you’ll want to anyway, Stiff Quickies promises to have enough variety to keep you entertained. Everything from music videos to dramas will be shown, and a few of the shorts are fresh off the Ottawa International Film Festivals 72 Hour Challenge that took place in early February. Films like ‘Domino’ created by local talent Ray Besharah (along with Garkin Productions) were created in a 72 hour span, but you would never know it from the quality. “It’s a pretty slow paced, quiet movie with some stunning imagery. It has a very loose plot behind it, so it’s more ‘artistic’ than I usually do. Gregg saw it online when I posted it and he was a big fan of it so he asked me to contribute it to the festival and I was more than happy.” Besharah says. He went on to say that the biggest appeal of the fundraiser is the ability to meet up with old friends within the arts community, and meet new people. “It’s kind of a big gathering for us; everyone you know is going to be there, and you meet a ton of new people every year whether they’re local or international.”
This is Besharah’s second year submitting a film to Stiff Quickies, his cyclical story ‘Victor Perpetual’ was part of last years show. The ability that his videos have to grab your attention and engage you in the story, all while being less than ten minutes long is astounding. And it doesn’t stop with his. “Some of the names I think you’ll recognize that are screening at Stiff Quickies are Lucas Fiore, Craig Conoley, Pascale Huot and a few of the others that you’d see on the OIFF circuit every year.” Clark says alluding to the fact that Ottawa has no shortage of notable talent.
“We hope to indirectly find some gigs for them,” Clark says. Stiff Quickies originated as a fundraiser for the Fringe Festival that doubled as an opportunity for local theatre companies to meet talented filmmakers within the community. “Let’s get the artist here and show them these awesome films, most of which are by local filmmakers, and say ‘They do great work, they know what they’re doing and Oh, by the way, they’re right here.’” Many local artists have much the same problem as festivals within the city, which is the lack of exposure. By having an informal meet-and-greet with the public, both the artists themselves and Fringe are able to benefit.
We are happy to have one pair of tickets to give away to this event. To enter, email firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday April 16 at 5pm with the subject line “Stiff Quickies.” We will randomly pick a winner.
Stiff Quickies is happening on Thursday, April 17. Bar opens at 7pm, screenings start at 8pm. Tickets are $15/ea or two for $25 and can be bought in advance online. To learn more about, or to donate to the Ottawa Fringe Festival, click here.