The 15-minute short film Platypus directed by Gimli filmmaker Trevor Kristjanson, garnered a major award for its lead at the Gimli Film Festival, which took place from July 24 to 28.
Nancy Sorel was awarded Best Female Performance on the final day of the festival for her role as “the world’s premier human taxidermist” Jensen Murphy in the dramatic short. The film was created by Bifrost Films, a production company created by Kristjanson and his friend Bjorn William Jakobson, also from Gimli, in 2011. While Bifrost Films’ previous works, mostly comedies, have received awards at other film festivals, this is the first time any of its films received an award from GFF.
“It’s an amazing feeling, especially being recognized in my own backyard,” Kristjanson told The Interlake Spectator. He added that he enjoyed the whole GFF experience this year and was complimentary of the festival’s manager Aaron Zeghers and its board of directors. “They’re really making it a great experience for filmmakers, especially, as well as audiences.”
Platypus was released last year and won the jury prize at the 2018 Reel Pride Festival in Winnipeg. Kristjanson describes the short as a drama/dark comedy where the lead character struggles to find human connection between the worlds of the living and the dead.
Sorel, whose credits include The X-Files, Da Vinci’s Inquest, Heaven is For Real and A Dog’s Journey, met Kristjanson when she was teaching an acting class and he was a student. Sorel told Kristjanson she was interested in being in the short, her first in a nearly 30-year career and he was impressed with her performance.
“She made my job easier, that’s for sure,” Kristjanson said. “She’s pretty sharp and that’s the sign of a skilled and experienced actor. Just how easily she can adapt to any direction I give her.”
Another one of Bifrost Films’ shorts, the comedic Party Animal, was released last year and received the People’s Choice Award at the Canadian International Comedy Film Festival last February and was nominated for another award at the Yorkton Film Festival in April. Kristjanson is currently waiting on funding for a feature-length film in the works and is working on a documentary recounting his time in a stunt group with his friends.
“I haven’t filmed anything in a long, long time. But now I’m finally putting a documentary on the group. That should be out sometime next year,” he said.
Another filmmaker with Interlake connections was honoured at GFF. Mike Maryniuk, who has family in Arborg, received the Best Manitoban Director award for his short film The Goose.