Erika Ulrich nabs Gimli Film Fest’s pitch prize

The Manitoba fest awarded Ulrich's Palm House (Eternal Youth) $10,000 in production funds, and also honoured filmmaker Guy Maddin.

GimliErika Ulrich snagged the top prize at the Gimli Film Festival’s seventh annual RBC Emerging Filmmaker Competition on July 28.

The filmmaker (pictured) walked away with $10,000 in production funds towards her short film Palm House (Eternal Youth). As part of the prize, Ulrich will receive mentorship from the National Screen Institute (NSI), a one-year membership with On Screen Manitoba and a $2,5000 gift certificate for William F. White International. Her film will also make its premiere at next year’s fest.

Ulrich’s winning pitch, Palm House (Eternal Youth) follows a young girl who shares a secret with an aging horticultural observatory, which is set to be demolished. Other finalists selected for the pitch competition included Josh Benoit and Kayla Jeanson for the project Melaleuca, Broken Glass from Sage Daniels, Frances Koncan’s Trick or Treaty and Ryan Steel’s Louis ‘David’ Riel.

The 2018 jurors for the pitch included TV producer/writer/director Andrew Blicq, NSI manager, programs and development, Joy Loewen and APTN manager of programming, central region, Shelley MacDougall.

Meanwhile, the Best of Fest film award went to the U.S. documentary Minding the Gap, from director Bing Liu. Produced by P.O.V., Chicago’s Kartemquin Films and San Francisco’s ITVS, the doc follows three young men who bond over their love of skateboarding.

Best Manitoba director award went to Shelagh Carter, whose film Before Anything You Say, screened at the fest. Produced by Carter’s production banner Darkling Pictures, Before Anything You Say tells the story of a married couple who struggle to maintain their marriage in the midst of a life-altering decision.

Meanwhile in Gimli’s audience choice category, Run as One: The Journey of The Front Runners (Canada) from director Erica Daniels, picked up the short film award. Run as One follows 10 Indigenous boys who ran the 1967 Pan Am Games torch from Minneapolis, MN to the opening ceremonies in Winnipeg.

Gimli also recognized Guy Maddin with the Alda Award, honouring his career in the film industry. The Winnipeg-based filmmaker’s recent credits include The Forbidden Room, which made its world premiere at Sundance 2015  and The Green Fog: A San Francisco Fantasia. The Green Fog was one of four Canadian films that headed to the Berlinale for the fest’s Forum lineup this year.

The NSI’s manager, programs and development ,Elise Swerhone was presented with the Jack Clements ‘Livin’ The Dream Award’ for her contributions to Manitoban cinema.

At the fest’s WFG 48 Hour contest, a competition where participants shoot and edit three-minute films over the course of 48 hours, director Taylor Brown’s Refraction Sector scored best film, best director and best actor. Other award winners included Shiba from director Tyrone Tolentino for best cinematography and Ryan Steel picked up the prize for best editing for Cease and Desist. Best score went to Ross Budgen for director Alex Petroff’s Love, while director Sara Bulloch’s Scroll walked away with best sound.