Monthly Archives: July 2015

Canadian Shorts Pleased, ‘Intrigued’ Audience At Vaughan Film Festival

Film festivals take place in various cities in Canada all year and are lots of fun to attend. In the background of each festival, programmers are busy sourcing and securing enjoyable films to screen for their audiences. Certain criteria are carefully considered when making a final decision for choosing the shorts that eventually appear on the screen. But as Canadian short film fans might wonder, what are these criteria that programmers use?

IMG_9145This year, Vaughan Film Festival was held from May 25th to 28th and featured a variety of Canadian short films among shorts from other countries. Short Film Fan caught up with Antonio Ienco, one of the festival’s co-founders and chairs, to learn more about how the Canadian shorts were chosen and how they fared with the audience.

Short Film Fan: Why were these Canadian shorts chosen, in particular?

Antonio Ienco: The Canadian short films that were chosen for Vaughan Film Festival 2015 (VFF) were ‘Lines’ (directed by Amy Jo Johnson of ‘Flashpoint’, ‘Felicity’ and ‘Power Rangers’ and featuring Enrico Colantoni), ‘Reunions’, ‘Temperature Drop’ and ‘The Present’. These films were chosen from over 200 international films submitted to this year’s festival. They were chosen because they were able to tell their stories in an engaging way. When we selected films for VFF, the panel looked at all aspects of film making – acting, directing, cinematography and writing. But what it comes down to is this: “Is the story going to engage the audience?” Once that is accomplished, then we narrowed down our selection.

SFF: How were they received by the audience? Did any of them resonate with the viewers in any way?

AI: The audience was very pleased to see the number of Canadian submissions increase year after year. With this year’s lineup, ‘The Present’ was nominated for two awards in the category of Best Film and Best Director, whereas ‘Temperature Drop’ and ‘Lines’ were nominated for Best Cinematography and Best Actress. I would have to say that ‘Reunions’ resonated most with the audience as film maker Naomi Wise was available for the screening and answered an abundance of questions during her Q & A from a very intrigued audience.

SFF: What are your plans for next year’s Canadian shorts? Will you be adding more to the lineup, for example?

AI: We are looking forward to next year’s submissions as we doubled from our second to third year. I can only imagine how many we are going to receive for 2016. Regarding Canadian films for 2016, it all really depends on how many are submitted. The more Canadian shorts submitted the more likely we are to screen more than the previous year. For all Canadian and international filmmakers looking to submit to VFF 2016, submissions open on Sept 1 2015 and close on Jan 31 2016. Visit vaughanfilmfestival.com to submit.

Congratulations goes out to Antonio and everyone at Vaughan Film Festival for a such a successful showing of Canadian short films this year. All the best for next year’s festival, including receiving a record number of Canadian shorts entries for 2016.

Besides finding information about them on their website, you can ‘like’ Vaughan Film Festival on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @VaughanFilmFest

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‘Period Piece’ By James McLellan Wins $1,000 Short Film Award At Gimli Film Festival

Manitoba film maker James McLellan won the $1,000 Manitoba Film & Music Audience Choice Manitoba Short Film Award with his short film, ‘Period Piece’, at Gimli Film Festival on July 25.

His film was featured along with nine other short films made by fellow Manitoba film makers at the Manitoba Short Film series program. The theatre, Gimli Lutheran Church Theatre, was well-attended with a cross-section of ages. At the end of the screening, a brief Q&A session took place where the audience got to know the film makers and their skills a little bit better. There was also an opportunity for the audience to vote for the winner which resulted in ‘Period Piece’ picking up the prize.

‘Period Piece’ is about Renee, a film maker trying to make a good-news story film despite all sorts of adverse situations that disturb her and her film crew. His film previously won the Best Canadian Short Film Audience Choice Award (Gold) at the 9th annual Toronto After Dark Film Festival.

If you missed seeing ‘Period Piece’ at Gimli, you can catch it on CBC-TV’s ‘Short Film Face Off‘ this fall.

Congratulations goes out to James on his win. A big ‘thank you’ also goes out to the crew at Gimli Film Festival for putting on all of the Manitoba and Canadian shorts this weekend.

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15th Annual Gimli Film Festival To Screen Shorts July 24th And 25th

The month of July is upon us and that means one thing: Gimli Film Festival is back!  In many of the Canadian short films presented this year, Manitoba will have played a part in them in some form or another. You will even have a chance to see former household tools that have taken on new lives as musical instruments.

Gimli FiGimli FF logolm Festival will take place July 22-26, 2015 in Gimli, Manitoba. This year marks the festival’s 15th year in operation and is Manitoba’s premiere film festival. It is best known for its feature film showings on Gimli Beach. On July 24, a variety of Canadian shorts will be held at the Gimli Lutheran Church Theatre from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  For more of a Manitoba focus, the theatre will also host the Manitoba Short Film Series on July 25 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., as well as Manitoba Youth Short Films along with TIFF Top 10 Student Films earlier that day from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.

Short Film Fan caught up with Aaron Zeghers, the festival’s film programmer, to get some more insight into the shorts planned for the weekend. For a list of the scheduled shorts, click on this link: http://gimlifilm.com/calendar/online/?filter-1735=9284

 

Short Film Fan: Why were these six Canadian short films chosen, in particular?

Aaron Zeghers: The six Canadian films were culled from our open call.  We had tonnes of films submitted from all corners of the country and it was a difficult job to narrow it down to just one single program.  Many of the films have a Manitoba connection, which I thought would be interesting for the local audience; even though all but one of the films are made by filmmakers living elsewhere.

  • Vancouver film maker Catherine Parke will be in attendance at the screening with her film Very Good Dirt. Her film sifts through the sentimental memories of a long-lost Manitoba town and contrasts them to the practical life of the farmer who now owns and works the land. The resulting film is a poetic meditation on the meaning of place, all set in the great emptiness of the Canadian prairie.
  • Back again is Calgary-based film maker Cameron Macgowan whose film Liebe played as part of our Canadian program last year.  His latest film Backstreets follows a young drag racer who has to choose between his love of racing and his love for a young woman.
  • Former Winnipegger Megan Turnbull has what I think is her best and certainly most personal film to date: Of Them.  When both her grandmothers are diagnosed with early dementia, Turnbull felt a strong compulsion to return to Winnipeg and make a film about their lives. And the resultant film is a truly beautiful and touching piece of personal cinema.
  • From the NFB comes a world-class animated film Me and My Moulton by Norwegian-born Canadian film maker Torill Kove, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2015. In the film, a seven-year-old girl whose parents are hopelessly unconventional modern architects envies other normal Norwegian families of the sixties. There is unexpected drama the summer she and her sisters ask her parents for a bicycle!
  • Newfoundland director Justin Oakey crafts a truly east coast tale of two rival fishing communities forced to take shelter from a storm together for one night. In Flankers, tensions boil but the rival east coasters are forced to set aside their disputes when a conflict arrives.
  • Closing out the program will be Manitoba power house film maker Mike Maryniuk’s latest film that premiered at the last TIFF. Home Cooked Music profiles Lorne Collie, an imaginative inventor and craftsman from the Interlake region who makes whimsical stringed instruments out of unlikely items: shovels, rakes, baseball bats and stop signs become beautiful and functional guitars, violins, banjos, and fiddles. Through weathered doc footage and hand-crafted animation, this film offers a folksy, one-of-a-kind portrait of Collie’s spirit and talent. Both Mike Maryniuk and Lorne Collie will be present for the screening and available for questions and demonstrations of his musical instruments after the screening!

SFF: Will there be any discussions about these six shorts or a ‘fan choice award’ of some kind?

AZ: There is no Audience Choice prize this year for the Canadian shorts (there is for the Manitoba shorts). But, yes; Catherine Parke, director of Very Good Dirtand Mike Maryniuk and his subject Lorne Collie will all be in attendance and available after the screening for a Q&A!

SFF: Will any of the Manitoba short film makers be on-hand for the Manitoba Short Film Series?

AZ: Guaranteed there will be a number of Manitoba short film makers in attendance for the Manitoba Short Film Program. I know Jaimz Asmundson (Ed Note: of the Winnipeg Film Group) will be there. But, guaranteed most of the film makers will probably be there for a Q&A after the screening.

 

We wish Aaron Zeghers and everyone involved at Gimli Film Festival all the best. For more information about the programming, ticketing or accommodation, go to their website at www.gimlifilm.com. You can also like them on Facebook and follow the festival on Twitter @GimliFilm for instant updates.

Enjoy the shorts and have fun at the festival!

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Explore A Man’s Final Thoughts On War And Love In ‘Zsófika’ (2014)

What do you get when you combine a short film, a Quebec film maker and the Hungarian language? You get the 14-minute film ‘Zsófika’, produced and directed by Maxime-Claude L’Écuyer and starring Georges Molnar as an aged Hungarian man who finds himself alone in his house with this thoughts and memories of a past war. With a voice-over spoken entirely in Hungarian (yet translated and subtitled for the audience), the gentleman thinks back to his war experiences with the love of his life. With his time running out, he has one last conversation with her and to himself in order to reconcile everything that had happened.

‘Zsófika’ was filmed entirely in Montreal and the monologue was written by Jean Barbe. The film won a Special Jury prize at the 5th annual CineramaBC International Film Festival in Brazil; a Special Jury mention at the Cinema on the Bayou Film Festival in Lafayette, Louisiana; and has appeared at the 2014 Cannes Short Film Corner as well as a ‘Short N Sweet’ film session at the Centre Culturel Canadien de Paris.  Check out the trailer below:

This film had a definite European look and feel to it. The language and the music certainly made that happen. To me, the gentleman’s old record player represented his one and final connection between the present and the past. My favourite part was when he removed the lid of the record player and slipped on a 78-speed record to listen to. Maybe the song was something he and his lady danced to before the war began. I also appreciated the fact that the entire dialogue was spoken in Hungarian; it reminds us that everyday European people (especially from the East) were hit very hard by the tragedies and horrors of war.

A big ‘merci’ goes out to Maxime-Claude for approaching Short Film Fan with the opportunity to view ‘Zsófika’ online!

You can check out Maxime-Claude’s website at http://maximeclaudelecuyer.com/ as well as follow him on Twitter @MC_LEcuyer

You can also can like ‘Zsófika’ on Facebook –  https://www.facebook.com/zsofikafilm

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