Dive into local shorts with Pool Party
By Sheroog Kubur, April 21 2023—
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Calgary Underground Film Festival (CUFF) and the lineup includes feature and short films from local filmmakers. This year features a short from an upcoming director who’s bound to become a household name.
Pool Party is a short film to bring a chill down your spine. The film follows Freya, a teenage girl at her best friend’s 17th birthday party trying to make it through the night without uncovering her secret. The short is premiering as part of the Chilling Encounters collection alongside other horror shorts.
“I enjoy blending the whimsical with the grotesque to tell stories about outsiders and others,” said director Ellie Stewart about coming up with the concept of the film. “I gravitated towards the visual horror elements and worked my way backwards from there.”
Stewart’s experience with filmmaking started closer to home with NUTV. Starting as a volunteer, she gained much of her practical knowledge and experience through their workshops and found a community of aspiring filmmakers like herself.
While creating a horror film can be a daunting task, Stewart accepted the challenge with open arms. Through funding grants from Calgary Arts Development and the Alberta Foundation of the Arts, she was able to fully realize her vision of the macabre. Aided by the special and practical effects work of Chase Cardinal and the energy brought by the cast and crew, the product ended up being exactly the short film needed for CUFF this year. Despite the intensity of the process, Stewart prioritized a mutual respect of all involved in the film.
“I really wanted to prove to myself that I could create a space where every member of the cast and crew felt respected, heard, and important,” Stewart said about the environment created on set.
Pool Party will be playing as part of the Chilling Encounters film pack alongside eight other international shorts. Tickets for the event can be purchased online through the CUFF website.