Monthly Archives: September 2014

‘Jesse’ Earns Two Perfect Scores, Moves On To Final Round Of CBC’s Short Film Face Off

This weekend, the last remaining three competitors on CBC’s Short Film Face Off vied for the final chance at winning the Telefilm Short Film Face Off grand prize of $45,000. Three more fascinating shorts by Canadian film makers were featured on September 27, with one even earning perfect scores from two of the panelists.

Courtesy of Short Film Face Off
(Courtesy of Short Film Face Off)

In Round 3, we were introduced to James Stewart (‘Foxed!’), Adam Goldhammer (‘Jesse’) and Lisa Rose Snow (‘Two Penny Road Kill’). The films had themes that can hit home for many. The animated ‘Foxed!’ looked at the frustrating relationship between children and parents; ‘Jesse’ examined a young woman’s life impacted by her autistic brother; ‘Two Penny Road Kill’ focused on how good relationships can happen even to lonely people. If you missed the episode or would like to watch it again, please click on the CBC Player link here:

‘Jesse’ by Adam Goldhammer was the third and last film to move on to the final round coming up on October 4th. It garnered a stunning 15.0 stars, including perfect scores of 4.0 from Michelle Latimer and Eli Glasner.  According to host Steve Patterson, no other single film in the show’s history had ever earned two perfect scores from a panel. ‘Foxed!’ by Stewart garnered 13.0 stars, while Snow’s ‘Two Penny Road Kill’ finished third with 11.0 stars.

In each of these films, you could really feel for the characters. The little girl in ‘Foxed!’ wanted so desperately to communicate with her mother, just like many adults who struggled with their parents as a child or who still struggle with them as adults. ‘Jesse’ revealed how one family member can have a deep influence our lives and how we cope with those influences. ‘Two Penny Road Kill’ showed that it’s OK to let new people into one’s solitary life.

During the scoring and review of ‘Jesse’, panelist Mohit Rajhans suggested the film could have been “two or three minutes shorter”. This was met with objection from a baffled Michelle Latimer.  It would have been interesting to know where he would have made those cuts. According to the rest of the panel and an audience member, everything in the film was where it should have been.

The viewing audience had the chance at picking the grand prize winner by voting via telephone or through the show’s website at until the end of Sunday. We won’t know which film won until the show’s broadcast on October 4.

A big congrats goes out to James, Adam and Lisa for making these films. Good luck goes to Adam, as he moves on to the final round of Short Film Face Off.

Want to know what inspires a short film maker? Check out this link (courtesy of Short Film Face Off):–dpA&v=iUwtTvDihuM


Alan Powell’s ‘Sunday Punch’ Makes A Hit On CBC’s Short Film Face Off

What do rock formations, a tube of glue and a sports network have in common with Canadian short films? They were found in three competing short films in the September 20th broadcast of CBC’s Short Film Face Off.  Tonight’s episode was Round 2 of the program’s short film competition, in which the winner will be awarded with the Telefilm Canada Short Film Face Off Award cash prize of $30,000, as well as $15,000 in equipment rentals from PS Production Services and Sim Digital.


Tonight, we were introduced to Michal Lavi (‘Glue’), Ruth Lawrence (‘Talus & Scree’) and Alan Powell (‘Sunday Punch’). Just like the shorts in last week’s episode, their films also dealt with serious themes. ‘Glue’ looked at a woman’s sticky approach to her troubled relationship; ‘Talus & Scree’ examined a woman’s painful memory of her sister’s accident; ‘Sunday Punch’ transformed a couple’s argument into a television sport spectacle.

Clockwise: SFFO audience has fun with host Steve Patterson; film makers Lavi, Lawrence and Powell, SFFO panel Rajhans, Latimer and Glasner share their thoughts and a pose with Patterson
Clockwise: SFFO audience has fun with host Steve Patterson; film makers Lavi, Lawrence and Powell, SFFO panel Rajhans, Latimer and Glasner share their thoughts and a pose with Patterson

After all the voting by the panel and studio audience was complete, Alan Powell won with ‘Sunday Punch’ and advanced to the final round. His film won a combined total of 12.0 stars. Lawrence’s ‘Talus & Scree’ came second at 11.0 stars, and Lavi’s film ‘Glue’ won third spot with a total of 9.5 stars.  If you’d like to see the show or each film again, click on this CBC Player link :

These three films were all enjoyable to watch. ‘Glue’ was fun and unpredictable because no one could have known what Sophie was going to do with that tube of glue. ‘Sunday Punch’ made me smile and laugh; the concept of turning a couple’s argument into a spectator sport with Rod Black and his colour commentary was a work of genius. ‘Talus & Scree’ was a very powerful look at a woman’s hard childhood memory. I have to defend Ruth’s use of the voice over. I actually thought it fit in with the film very well. In my opinion, although the majority of ‘Talus & Scree’ focused on the little girls, it was the grown sister who introduced this tragic moment to us and who finally found closure in the end.

Congratulations to Michal, Ruth and Alan for appearing on SFFO, and good luck to Alan’s run at the $45,000 prize!

Hey short film makers! Here’s some film making advice and tips from tonight’s contestants:


(Images and links courtesy of CBC Short Film Face Off)




Short Film Face Off Panel And Audience Make A Jump for ‘In Passing’

For short film producers and fans in Canada, September 13th, 2014, was a highly-anticipated date. The first episode of the newest season of Short Film Face Off aired that evening on CBC Television. In this episode, we met the first three film makers who were competing for a chance to win a film production package grand prize of $45,000.

(Graphic courtesy of CBC Short Film Face Off)
(Graphic courtesy of CBC Short Film Face Off)

Steve Patterson introduced us one-by-one to directors Alan Miller (‘In Passing’); Madison Thomas (‘Out of Reach’); and Harmony Wagner (‘Queen of the Crows’). Each film maker shared with the audience some interesting tidbits about his or her film, such as production quirks. Each film was rated by the three-member panel of Mohit Rajhans, Michelle Latimer, and Eli Glasner. The studio audience also had a chance at rating each film. The final combined ratings tally would wind up picking the first finalist.

All three films had a serious and deep tone about them. ‘In Passing’ dealt with the story of two people who decided to end their lives by jumping off a building, but yet found love at the last minute. ‘Out of Reach’ looked at a struggling young woman locked in her apartment. ‘Queen of the Crows’ examined how we view and deal with mental illnesses in our society.

In the end, Miller’s film ‘In Passing’ won a total of 13.5 stars and moved on to the final face off round.  His film received positive praise from the panel, including a perfect score rating from Glasner of 4.0 out of 4.0 (something that ‘rarely’ ever happens on SFFO, according to Patterson). Wagner’s ‘Queen of the Crows’ came in second at 11 stars and Thomas’ film ‘Out of Reach’ finished third at 10.5 stars.

If you missed the first episode’s premiere broadcast, find it as well as each of these films at this link:

Although the tone of each film was quite serious, everyone on the program had fun. The audience members were smiling, Steve Patterson was his usual funny self, the directors were enjoying the spotlight, and the panel gave good praises and great constructive criticisms of each film.

I liked each one of these films, and I appreciated learning more about the behind-the-scenes information from each director. These little bits of information can help viewers to better understand the challenges that directors face in putting together a short film.  This, in turn, makes all of us appreciate the genre so much more.

Congratulations goes out to Harmony, Madison and Alan for making it to this round of SFFO. Best of luck goes to Alan in his quest for the $45,000 grand prize.

For an in-depth interview with all three of these film makers, have a look at this video (courtesy of Short Film Face Off):


Undelivered Postal Items Have Fun In ‘Not Delivered’ (2013)

Everyday, a multitude of parcels are sent to homes across the world each day. Letters and postcards still go through our postal systems, despite the increased use of email communication these days. But, do you ever stop to wonder what happens to a letter or parcel that gets lost in the mail, or is for some reason not deliverable? The stop-animated film, ‘Not Delivered’ (2013), is a fun look at a storage room full of unclaimed parcels, packages and letters when the working day is done and the lights go off.

This film was put together by students at UQAM in Montreal, QC:  Cynthia Carazato, Ariane Filiatre, Philippe Lacroix, Samuel Pineault and Vincent René-Lortie.

There was so much to enjoy in this little short. I liked watching the boxes open up and all the contents would come out to play, such as the toy cars. It was hilarious to see the little toy boat sail on a rolled-out map of the world. I also liked the little action figure man who wore a shoe string as a scarf and walked through Styrofoam stuffing as if it was snow. He sure knew how to drive the toy boat and sail the ‘hot air balloon’.

‘Not Delivered’ is a nice, creative film put together by imaginative students. It must take much patience and skill to put together stop-action animated films. Let’s hope this talented group make more of these films in the future.

Watch New & Current Canadian Short Film Makers at TIFF’s Short Cuts Canada, September 5th – 12th

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is up and running this year from September 4 to 14th.  A wealth of short films from various established and upcoming film makers will be featured as part of its Short Cuts Canada programming event between September 5 and 12th.

Among some of the film makers featured will be Michelle Latimer (one of the hosts of CBC’s Short Film Face Off), Torill Kove (maker of such NFB classics as The Danish Poet and My Grandmother Ironed The Kings’ Shirts) and a restored Norman McLaren short from 1951. Check out the link for more information on the films, times and venue locations:

Have fun at the festival, everyone!

 (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)
(Image source: Wikimedia Commons)