Metro Shorts Memories: Oliver Lessard


*Metro Shorts was a quarterly film competition hosted and curated by Mostly Water Theatre and produced by The Metro Cinema Society located in the historic Garneau Theatre. It gave Edmonton filmmakers the chance to get their work screened live, adjudicated by professionals, get paid, win prizes, and be forced to make more shorts. It ran for 10 seasons, screened over 400 shorts, and ended in 2019. These stories are a celebration of some of the filmmakers that crossed our paths. 

Metro Shorts Memories:

Oliver Lessard

Metro Shorts had many, “where the hell are they going with this” moments, and Oliver Lessard delivered one of my favourites. Here it is:

Growing up he and his friends didn’t have access to a video camera but as he put it, they did have access to classic Shaw Bros/Golden Harvest action films and reckless enthusiasm. “While saving up for a VHS camera, (my friends and I would) spend recesses staging our own elaborate action sequences on the playground until a rash of injuries and detentions challenged everyone’s resolve to continue in the hobby,” says Lessard.

That did not deter him of course. Many years later he eventually got into filmmaking working as a PA for low budget feature films, and then directing his first short film ‘Poop Joke’ in 2012, which is where our paths crossed at Metro Shorts. Here he is with long time collaborator Jamie McRae second short film ‘DÉPÔT’ in 2016:

“Although the film would go on to screen at a few festivals across Canada, garnering reviews such as ‘Like a Christopher Guest Short’, ‘Profound’, ‘Unambitious’, and ‘meh’, the most rewarding screening came courtesy of Metro Shorts in 2016,” Lessard said in a successful attempt at flirting with me. “The opportunity to screen alongside talented local filmmakers, receive live adjudication, and be forced to produce another short film for the next instalment, prevented another four year period of procrastination and also provided valuable feedback to use for the next film.”

This is and will always be (because Metro Shorts is no more duh) one of my favourites we ever had the privilege to screen at Metro Shorts. And a big shout out to Shane Labelle in this, solid chops. Here is ‘Seconds’:

Currently he spends most of his time as a cinematographer, loafing around watching kung fu movies, developing his first feature film, and probably being funny.

Special thanks go to The Metro Cinema Society and all the awesome people we (Mostly Water Theatre) worked with along the way. Without them all, none of these memories would be so vivid and brilliant. If you wish to support the Metro Cinema Society, visit their site and peruse their offerings. Here is the link HERE.


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