2 min

Little Pink Shorts

Filmmaker Valerie Thomas launches short film fest

Credit: Capital Xtra files

It appears that necessity is indeed the mother of all invention.

Just when it appeared that Ottawa’s queer community would lose one of its precious few artistic outlets, a local artist has stepped forward in an attempt to put together a new film festival.

Little Pink Shorts Film Festival is the brainchild of Valerie Thomas.

Thomas, the festival’s director, says the new collective is looking to screen independent, innovative and edgy short films and videos.

Thomas says she began working on putting the project together about four months ago, after it became apparent that Making Scenes was in trouble, and might be folding.

But Thomas is quick to add that Little Pink Shorts is not an attempt to pick up the pieces or replace Making Scenes.

“You say film festival, and people automatically say Making Scenes, and I think it is because it was such a huge presence in the community,” says Thomas. “But the one thing we’d like to make clear is that what we are doing, the only thing similar [to Making Scenes] is that we are screening films.”

One of the biggest differences between the two is that Little Pink Shorts will not be screening any feature-length films or videos. Thomas says she sees this as a great way to keep the content fresh, innovative and interesting.

“The short programs have always been very successful. And the reason for that is, I think, that you can basically put 15 to 20 films into a program, which are almost always guaranteed to hit your cross-section,” says Thomas. “With a shorts program, you can really get a wide cross-section of people, and really get something for everybody.”

Although the festival currently is focussing its energies on programming for a lesbian audience, Thomas says that does not necessarily mean an edgy or entertaining film that was not made by a lesbian filmmaker would not be included in the festival.

“My priority directive is to get good programming, that is at the top of my list. But I had to focus, I had to streamline it because right now our group is too small,” explains Thomas.

The collective already has a handful of award-winning films, including selections from artists based in Toronto and New York, but has yet to set a timeframe for the festival’s first screenings.

“We are tossing around ideas about dates – and I don’t want to be too ambitious – but I would love to be able to ride the wave of Pride, and be able to say this is a community event,” she says.

And even though the group has yet to secure a venue or outside sponsorship, Thomas is confident the festival will continue to move forward, screening films sometime in the near future.

“We are in a good position, in that we can see what happened in the past and we can learn from that. So, right off the bat, we can say, ‘Okay, this didn’t work, how can we approach that and do it better,'” she says. “We’re doing this because our little collective has a huge passion for film and the development of film in the community.”

* For more information about how you can submit your film or video, or to become a volunteer, log on to, or e-mail festival director Valerie Thomas at