National Canadian Film Day is coming up on April 20th. Schools, theatres and libraries will be screening Canadian films in honour of the nation’s rich filmmaking industry. Thanks to Reel Canada and the generous of support of a wide number of partners and sponsors, Canadians will have a chance to view a wealth of Canadian cinema titles that they may not otherwise have access to.
Along with feature-length movies, Canadian short films will also have their chance to shine. Under the title Great Canadian Shorts, fans can go online to see if a short film screening will take place in their community on that day.
As you make your way to that theatre or library, ask yourself this question: why do you like Canadian short films? Specifically, what is it about Canadian short films that attracts and keeps your attention? What motivates you to go out of your way to search for and watch Canadian short films? What is in a Canadian short film that you like so much that you can’t find in any other movie or film?
Short Film Fan recently put the question “Why do you like Canadian short films?” out to a few of the participating community partners of National Canadian Film Day. Here is what they had to say:
Susan Baues, Innisfil Library & ideaLAB: “Canadian short film is the perfect vehicle for succinctly encapsulating the essence of what makes us Canadian. The stories range from an expression of the national obsession with hockey, as in the classic The Sweater, to First Nations interpretation of an extraterrestrial encounter in Lisa Jackson’s The Visit, to an examination of class relations in Runaway by animator Cordell Barker. The common element in these diverse themes is the Canadian perspective and humour we bring to them. Canadian short film tells the Canadian story through our own lens. One of my favourite Canadian shorts is A Sea Turtle Story which beautifully illustrates the sea turtle life cycle, as well as the variety of hazards faced by these endangered creatures. Innisfil Public Library is pleased to participate in Canadian National Film Day and to have the opportunity to bring these films to a wider audience.”
Chantale Boileau, Barrie Public Library: “I am always surprised by the quality of short films both locally (BFF Shorts) and from the NFB, but I shouldn’t be! As consumers, we are exposed to a lot of feature length films and film trailers while we have to actively seek out short films to watch. The NFB Film Club provides our library the opportunity to screen NFB shorts for teens, children and adults, exposing our community to short films. Short films are perfect for screening in open spaces in the library, allowing customers to sit and watch one without having to stay to watch them all. We use our Xbox and TV in our teen area, as well as our Smartboard in the public spaces for this purpose. The films we are screening for National Canadian Film Day are all National Film Board short silent films. My favourite short in our series is The Railrodder (1965). Buster Keaton’s humour mixed with an almost non-stop cross-Canada adventure makes for a captivating cinematic experience. From his unbelievable arrival in Canada to his accelerated and civilized tour by ‘speeder’, a railway maintenance vehicle, you are guaranteed to be belly laughing. I want one of those endless red boxes, he has everything he needs for this trip.”
Jack Blum, executive director of Reel Canada, also contributed his thoughts about the draw of Canadian shorts:
“Short films have played an incredibly important role in Canada’s cinema history, particularly in the field of animation where the National Film Board was a consistent innovator in the field and garnered so many Oscar wins and nominations for its work over the years. Pioneers like Norman McLaren, Ryan Larkin and more recently Cordell Barker, Chris Landreth, Wendy Tilby & Amanda Forbis, have burnished Canada’s reputation around the world with their brilliant work. On another level – and this is true in any country – short films provide a critical entry point for young filmmakers trying to learn their craft and establish their creative voice, and as such it will always be important to help these films reach an audience that can provide the artist with that all-important dialogue about their work.”
There are definitely a lot of reasons why Canadian short films are so appealing to many of us. They reflect our diversity and our humour. They have a certain quality about them and their short length can be enjoyed at one’s convenience. They have trailblazed Canadian cinema and helped launch careers of many Canadian filmmakers past and present.
What are your reasons for liking Canadian shorts? Think about them as you sit back and enjoy them on April 20th. Tweet out your thoughts or leave a comment below.
Happy National Canadian Film Day!