Monthly Archives: October 2015

Have Fun On Halloween With Three Spooky Canadian Short Films

Halloween is just around the corner in Canada. It’s a night of fun and celebration for all who enjoy the tradition. Kids of all sizes will be running through their neighborhoods on the search for candy treasure. Adults will have an opportunity to go out for costume parties, but only after they’ve taken their kids out for trick-or-treating!

Fans of Canadian short film also have a way to join in the Halloween fun. Here are three that have a spooky, suspenseful theme to them:

The Last Halloween by Marc Roussel and Mark Thibodeau. In this 2013 film, four young trick-or-treaters make their Halloween rounds in a devastated neighbourhood. They visit one home where the occupant attempts to chase them away. But what’s the result?

 

Foxed! (2013) by James Stewart and Nev Bezaire. This is an animated short about a girl who is trapped and enslaved by foxes to work deep in their mines. Can she successfully contact and be saved by her mother, who is on the other side of the wall?

 

The Toll by Scott Simpson. A suspense thriller from 2014. A toll booth operator’s seemingly dull evening shift gets very interesting with a car accident, a deceased woman and two armed men. How does he handle the situation?

 

All three films will keep you on the edge of your seat, give you a jolt and leave you wanting more. Once the little armies of costumed children have gone home, or before you head out to that Halloween party, take the time to watch The Last Halloween, Foxed! and The Toll. They’re fun and keep the Halloween spirit alive in Canadian short films.

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Rearview (2015) Follows Auto Accident Aftermath, Tests Driver Convictions

What would you do if you accidentally killed someone in a car accident?

This is the question that the new 16 minute short film Rearview attempts to answer. Directed by Jon Mann and starring Rob Ramsay, Rearview takes a hard look at the critical hours after a young man accidentally hits and kills a young girl with his car. With no spoken dialogue in the film, the young man goes on a painful journey of disbelief, fear, anger and resignation. Throughout the film, we watch him struggle with the situation in his own way while attempting to own up to the tragedy with his family and the police.

When asked why he wanted to make this film, Jon wanted the audience think openly about how a person would really react in the wake of a tragic event like an accident.

Rearview Poster“A big part of writing this film came from always wanting to write a story told from the point of view of someone who had just committed a hit-and-run,” said Jon. “Rob has always been fascinated by stories that are told wholly through action. The two ideas came together perfectly. One thing I really like about Rearview is that unless you’ve been in this type of situation, you really have no idea how you would react. I think it’s really easy to sit back and say that you would do the right thing, but we really have no idea.” 

“I’ve always thought it was so interesting that when an everyday hero does something, they always say something like: “Well, I did what anyone would do,” or “You would have done the same.” It’s like they deflect; it becomes like an embarrassment of riches – almost. With Rearview, I wanted to take the heroic story, turn it on its head with an anti-hero and see what would happen in the other extreme. I hope people see the film and ask each other what they honestly think they would do if they were to hit someone with their car.”

In order to prepare to play the character of the driver, Rob combined his love of physical roles together with his interpretation of the negative emotions that one would or should expect to experience after such an event.

“Portraying this character was a welcomed challenge,” stated Rob. “I’ve always enjoyed watching an actor’s physical interpretation of a character and that’s all this role is. With no text to convey his range of emotions, I had to rely on his internal monologue and do my best to emote that through his body language. I love watching characters think and there’s a lot of thought involved in this guy’s journey.”

“Fortunately, I’ve never experienced what this character goes through, so it was a matter of pulling pieces from different situations. The disbelief when we get in an accident, the feeling of grief we go through when we lose someone, the helplessness when we have no one to talk to and the acceptance of your circumstances. This character goes through an emotional roller-coaster to say the least.”

 

The accident and the young man’s behaviour in the aftermath were shocking to watch in Rearview. The story has the power to open up one’s eyes to a man’s agony and desperation. Rearview definitely has the ability to make someone dig deep inside themselves and question his or her own ability to act rationally after going through a stressful situation. This film should have no problems picking up awards at national and international film festivals.

Go to Popular Demand Pictures’ Facebook page for news and information about the film and give it a ‘like’: https://www.facebook.com/populardemandpictures.  More film details are available at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4661854Rearview opens to the public in November.

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Young Filmmakers Get 24 Hours To Show Their “Perfect Toronto”

October 2nd and 3rd was a busy weekend for 11 teams of young Toronto filmmakers at the 7th annual T24 Project hosted by Toronto Youth Shorts Film Festival.  In this contest, the teams were presented with one essay question from which a 6-9 minute film had to be produced in 24 hours that answered the question. The goals of the contest were to push the filmmakers’ creative boundaries, impress upon them the real stresses of filmmaking and to encourage them into making a unique social statement.Toronto Youth Shorts logo

This year’s essay question focussed around the concept of “Your Perfect Toronto”. All films will be screened October 7 at 8:00 pm at CineCycle. Although nine films were produced, seven of them will be reviewed by a panel of judges. Members of the panel will include Karen Tsang, Manager of Development for Comedy and Drama Content at CBC, Inga Diev, programmer from Sundance Channel Canada and Alex Kingsmill, who led the winning team in 2012 and is now a cinematographer and VFX artist. The winner of the contest will pick up the Visual Thesis Award.  A winner for the Audience Choice Award will also be selected.

The seven films in competition are Cooper & Cooper by Jessie Zus; Empty Places by Bibiana Loh; Interceptors by Greg Fox; Take Me In by Jonny Micay; The Other by Darik Maurice; The Sixx by Rebecca Whitaker; and Toronto The Good by Kyle Mackenzie.   Upon review of the seven films, each of them creatively answered the essay question. From experiencing Toronto life as a bicycle courier to changing the city from two different perspectives, the films made by these young directors revealed their own unique take into what a perfect Toronto would look like. In summary, there is no Utopian Toronto – it includes the bad as well as the good.

Short Film Fan Pick: Take Me In directed by Jonny Micay, along with Ryan Bobkin and Aidan Tanner. A young man catches a thief trying to rob his home. After catching her in pursuit, he attempts to take her to the closest police station. Along the way, animosity gives way to friendliness. The film underscores the fact that imperfect cities are made up of imperfect people. But, getting to know someone who does wrong can make living life in the city a little bit better.  The film also had a nice mix of scenery from different parts of Toronto and the background music was enjoyable.

Good luck to all the filmmakers at Wednesday night’s screening and awards!

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BJ Verot, Brad Crawford Win $45,000 Prize With ‘Loss of Contact’ On ‘Short Film Face Off’

Good things definitely come in threes, especially when it comes to Canadian short films. For three weeks, Canadians from coast to coast watched and cheered on a brilliant assembly of short filmmakers on CBC’s Short Film Face Off. During these three weeks, three short films went head to head for a grand production prize of $45,000. On the 3rd of October, three filmmakers remained.

Only one would walk away as this year’s winner.

SFFO15_Post_VoteOn the last episode of Short Film Face Off this season, we were reintroduced to Scott Simpson, Allison Coon-Come and BJ Verot (with co-director Brad Crawford in the audience) along with their respective films The Toll, Eddie and Loss of Contact. Each film was shown one last time to the viewing public, while the panel of Mohit Rajhans, Michelle Latimer and Eli Glasner shared some of their final thoughts.

We were also treated to some updates from Short Film Face Off alumni Kyle Rideout, Jordan Canning, Madison Thomas and Alan Miller. They brought the audience up to speed on what kind of projects they were working on and how Short Film Face Off helped their filmmaking careers.

SFFO15_Winner_Loss_of_Contact (1)The $45,000 prize is a combination of the Telefilm Short Film Face Off Award of $30,000 and $15,000 in equipment rental from SIM Digital and PS Production Services Ltd. With viewer voting results from last weekend tabulated, the time had arrived to make the big announcement. Francesca Accinelli, Telefilm Canada’s Director of National Promotion came on stage with cheque in hand while host Steve Patterson withdrew the winner’s name from a sealed envelope. BJ Verot and Brad Crawford were declared the winners! Congratulations BJ and Brad!

Congratulations also go out to Allison and Scott for qualifying as finalists. Watch tonight’s season finale, the prior three episodes and all competing films at CBC Player: http://www.cbc.ca/player/tv/Short%20Film%20Face%20Off

It was a pleasure to watch Short Film Face Off’s eighth season on CBC-TV. We met and connected with a group of talented short film makers from diverse regions of Canada. We viewed nine unique, fascinating and well-made short films that were humorous, thrilling and thought-provoking. We heard commentary and analysis from an experienced film industry panel. We had a chance to vote for our favourite short film and support Canadian filmmakers in the process. Canada has an excellent film industry and the short films that competed on Short Film Face Off this season are a testimony to that. Hats off to everyone involved at Short Film Face Off for bringing these films to our televisions and mobile devices. Looking forward to Season Nine!

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