‘The Toll’ Gets The Green Light To Advance On ‘Short Film Face Off’

Autumn in Canada can mean only one thing for fans of Canadian short film:  the highly anticipated eighth season of Short Film Face Off on CBC-TV. For new fans of the genre or for those who are curious about the show, Short Film Face Off is the kind of program that will greatly influence your admiration of and desire for Canadian shorts.

As in previous seasons, you will see well-crafted films, meet the creators and vote for a prize winner. For four weeks, nine filmmakers will vie for a substantial filmmaking prize of $30,000 from Telefilm Canada and an additional $15,000 from SIM Digital and PS Production Services. A panel of three judges will choose three finalists to advance to the final round on October 3rd. The winner will be announced in the fourth and final episode after all audience votes are tallied.

The first episode of this newest season aired on September 12th from coast to coast. Steve Patterson returned as host, while Mohit Rajhans, Michelle Latimer and Eli Glasner resumed their roles as panelists.

SFFO_2015_Poster1Tonight’s contestants were Scott Simpson (The Toll), Anna Sikorski (W-A-L-K) and Joshua Demers (Emily) and they competed with three very powerful shorts. In The Toll, a lone tollbooth operator’s dull night becomes unexpectedly eventful after a car crash; a 12-year old girl learns to handle high heel shoes in W-A-L-K; a young boy in Emily has to decide whether or not to join his sweetheart in the afterlife.

While Emily garnered 10.5 votes from the panel, both The Toll and W-A-L-K earned 12.5 votes. A tie-breaking decision was required from the panel. After a quick huddle, The Toll was selected to advance to the final round.

Each of the films had their own special qualities that drew you in and made you focus. The Toll was dark, grim and suspenseful with a surprise ending. Using smartphone text message bubbles was clever and reflected the reality of today’s phone communication. It was nice to see a mix of English and French dialogues in W-A-L-K. Although the girl wanted to be grown-up with high heels, eating ice cream was a great way to take time getting there. Emily showed us that letting go of the past is a hard decision for anybody to make. By letting go, the boy showed maturity; preferring life over death.

Steve’s reference to the band Trooper at the beginning was funny; it was also cute to see Anna wear the high heel shoes on the show.

Congratulations go out to Joshua, Anna and Scott. We wish Scott all the best as he advances to the final round in October for the $45,000 production award. Visit http://www.cbc.ca/player/tv/Short%20Film%20Face%20Off  to watch the entire episode and each film separately.

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