Arts & Entertainment
1 min

New festival director at Calgary’s queer film fest

Jessica Dollard at the helm as Fairytales expands its mandate

Fairytales' new festival director, Jessica Dollard. Credit: photo is courtesy of Jessica Dollard & the Fairytales Presentation Society

Fairytales Film Festival is a cultural anchor for Calgary’s queer community. Now in its 12th year, the film festival has expanded into a 10-day media arts extravaganza. New festival and programming director, Jessica Dollard, has ambitious plans for the organization’s future.

“We are working on expanding to become a total cultural arts festival — film will always be at our core, but we want to expand into visual arts, theatre, music, you name it,” Dollard enthuses.

Dollard, who has been in the job for three months, came with high regard from Calgary’s theatre community. In 2005, she founded the feminist theatre company, Urban Curvz, and most recently worked as a publicist at local heavyweight, Alberta Theatre Projects.

Outgoing festival director, Matt Salton, moved to Ontario to run Kingston’s Reelout Film Festival.

“The Fairytales job is an awesome mix of right and left-brain activities,” says Dollard. “I have learned so much about film and filmmaking. Now I feel like I can talk about shot composition, character development and film distribution, with some degree of understanding.”

Her newfound programming prowess will be put to the test Tue, Nov 10, with a special event called Shorts for all Sorts: Queer Film Quickies, followed by a dance party with four celebrated local DJs.

“Shorts for all Sorts is meant to be inclusive and accessible film screening that will satisfy both mainstream and art house audiences,” says Dollard. “The event is special because we are also launching our new logo — a reflection of where we are headed over the next few years.”

Dollard’s list of strategic goals is weighty: raise the national profile of the festival, increase audience numbers, increase support for queer filmmakers, create a mentorship program and foster the next generation of queer Canadian filmmakers.

“Fairytales is a very developed organization, with an amazing team of volunteers and community support,” says Dollard. “We should really step up and embrace our role as social convener. The organization is a vehicle for building community that at times, in Calgary, is a bit fragmented or splintered off. This is what I want to do.”

Shorts for all Sorts: Queer Film Quickies
Tue, Nov 10.
7:30pm screening.
9pm dance party
The Uptown Stage & Screen and the Marquee Room.
612 8 Ave SW.