Silver Wave Film Festival: Beer, half-abandoned malls and sour gummies

The 16th annual Silver Wave Film Festival has come and gone, featuring roughly 89 films from around Canada and internationally.

With such a variety to choose from, there is something at Silver Wave for everyone. Films ranged from documentary style to edgy art film and music videos.

The festival opened with the Manatee’s Alex Vietinghoff’s debut documentary Beerocracy, and closed with the Atlantic feature film Singing to Myself.

Saturday afternoon the New Brunswick Short Film Spotlight Sour World was screened at University of New Brunswick’s Tilley Hall.

The Sour World screening was opened with a six-minute short titled Brookside Mall. The short featured a collection of long, empty, static shots of Northside Fredericton’s Brookside Mall.

While the audience let out a big laugh at a shot of a miniature carousel in the mall’s empty corridor, the film felt like an inside joke I just didn’t get. There were no characters, no dialogue and the soundtrack was weird, random beeping that was vaguely reminiscent of the Mario Kart theme. Those six minutes left me bored and confused and hoping Sour World had more to offer.

Sour World was more engaging, but it wasn’t quite what I expected. The story follows a lonely homebody who tries going out into the world to cement a friendship, but is stood up and ends up wandering aimlessly around her town. The plot got strange though, as “Sandy” gets a ride from a strange man without any indication from the dialogue as to whether she knew him beforehand. She then hangs out at the tennis court at night watching a young man on rollerblades, only to see him fall and split his head open and die.

Overall, Sour World left me feeling like it was trying to achieve a Wes Anderson-type storytelling without enough of the whimsy to back it up. It was rough and edgy and interesting, but left me with more questions than answers.

While my experience wasn’t the greatest, I feel Silver Wave screenings are hit or miss. Luckily tickets are cheap enough that if you go to one thing and don’t like it, odds are you can still see something else and hope that it’s better.

The 2016 Silver Wave Film Festival award winners. (Submitted)
The 2016 Silver Wave Film Festival award winners. (Submitted)

Benjamin Dugdale is a filmmaker who graduated from UNB and has been attending Silver Wave for five years. He said he doesn’t know if the number of films being shown has actually increased, but the growth of the festival is apparent to him.

“I’m accumulating friendships, so every year I see more work and I recognize more work and I see more growth in everybody’s work, and it seems like every year there’s slightly edgier films,” Dugdale said.

The Beautifully Drowned by Jon Dewar won Best NB Short Drama or Comedy. Women Building Peace won Best Documentary, Ingrid and the Black Hole won Best Canadian or International Short, and Fourth Door won Best Horror/Sci-Fi Short.

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