The final episode of the 10th season of CBC`s Short Film Face Off was broadcast on July 29th and it all came down to three excellent filmmaker finalists waiting to hear who the winner was of a handsome $40,000 film production prize made possible by Telefilm Canada and William F. White International. New this season, William F. White contributed an extra $2,500 to each runner-up.
On tonight`s episode, the viewing audience had one more chance to see Roman Tchjen (Parent Teacher), Renuka Jeyapalan (A Bicycle Lesson) and Koumbie (Hustle & Heart) all reassembled onstage before the big winner was announced.
After each short was rescreened, Telefilm Canada’s Francesca Accinelli and host Steve Patterson presented this year’s $40,000 filmmaking prize award to Koumbie. Congratulations, Koumbie! Congratulations also goes out to Roman and Renuka for each picking up $2,500 from William F. White.
It is hard to believe that another season of Short Film Face Off has come and gone. It felt like the contest had just started last week. This is perhaps a testimony to the amazing caliber of short films that were in this year`s competition. Watching a short film can be compared to reading a short story, and the shorts on this year’s Short Film Face Off prove that Canada is truly blessed with creative and skilled storytellers. Timeliness and relativity in their content can also make short films attractive to an audience, and this season’s featured short films certainly had no problems with reflecting the rich diversity that makes up Canada`s population.
Rest assured that after watching this 10th season of Short Film Face Off, Canada`s filmmaking and storytelling future is in very good hands. Looking forward to Season 11!
The third installment of Short Film Face Off‘s 10th season aired on July 22nd. Three more filmmakers hit the stage in their quest to take home a $40,000 film production prize made generously possible by Telefilm Canada and William F. White. Viewers were also asked to cast their ballot for the winning film, which will be announced on next week’s season-closing episode.
Tonight, Koumbie was first up with her film, Hustle & Heart. Mike Fly’s short Come To Bed was next followed by Noel Harris’ Touch. Hustle & Heart looked at the relationship between two football players; a frustrated couple argues about a weeknight routine in Come To Bed; a single mom in Touch needs a babysitter for her kids so she can go to work and avoid being evicted.
Hustle & Heart garnered 12.0 points to advance to the final, while Come To Bed and Touch tied at 11.5 points.
Hustle & Heart was a good insight into the stresses and fears that could potentially happen when an attraction to someone is not reciprocated by the other. The friend who rebuffed the advance handled the situation well, considering that the two friends played in a macho sport like football.
Come To Bed was a cheeky poke at how routine a couple’s life can get. It was funny to see the husband/boyfriend speak in frustrated garbles and there was a nice nod to today’s technology when the wife/girlfriend suggested he look at his ‘Fitbit’ instead of his watch.
Touch was an intense examination of poverty and family. It was hard to see the mother struggle with trying to find a babysitter, but it was gratifying to see her get help in the end. It was at first difficult to determine what the man’s relationship was to the family, but the daughter made it clearer later on. The caress of the girl’s back by the uncle was a bit tough to watch and was of some concern with the show’s panelists Mohit and Nadia. However, Noel explained his backstory to that scene very well. In the end, the caress could be seen as an uncle’s affection for his niece as he faces an uncertain future the next morning.
Short Film Fan’s Prediction: With three films that were powerful and well-made in their own right, it is difficult to pick just one winner. However, Short Film Fan predicts Renuka Jeyapalan’s A Bicycle Lesson to win next week.
Tonight’s episode of Short Film Face Off was broadcast on July 15th and featured the second round of Canadian filmmakers vying for the $40,000 film production prize from Telefilm Canada and William F. White. While two of the films focused on experiencing a key moment in human life, the third film looked more at the experiences of two dolls’ not-so-pleasant lives.
Letter To My Future Self by Robert Randall was the first on the bill, followed by Renuka Jeyapalan’s A Bicycle Lesson and Trevor Kristjanson’s Boy Toys. In Letter To My Future Self, a teenager struggles with disappointment after reading a letter that she wrote to herself as a child; a young woman teaches her mom to ride a bicycle in A Bicycle Lesson; two dolls in Boy Toys feel the abuse and manipulation caused by their female and male handlers.
A Bicycle Lesson won tonight’s round at 13.5 points, with Boy Toys coming in second place with 12.5 points and Letter To My Future Self taking third place with 10.5 points.
Letter To My Future Self was mostly serious with some humorous moments about that one key stage in life many of us experience: a breakup of a teenage dating relationship. It was heartwarming to see the teenager open up and share her thoughts to her younger self. The conversation’s tone between the two girls felt good as they were speaking to each other not as elder against younger, but more as equals.
A Bicycle Lesson also dealt with a life stage, but this time it is the stage when aging parents need help from their older children. The film did a great job at highlighting the struggle the young woman had with this situation: how do you juggle your own personal life with the need to help your parents? It would be a question that could not be easily answered as it was evident that the relationship between the two women was obviously strained.
Boy Toys offered a hilarious revelation into the life of two “Ken” dolls as they experience all sorts of abuse and embarrassing situations caused by the kids who play with them. It was especially funny to see the awkward positions the dolls took after being thrown onto the ground; that scene in particular could make anyone cringe and should make a kid think twice before treating his or her toys so roughly.
Ten years seem like a long time, especially in the world of television. But for short film fans, ten years of watching Canadian shorts on TV has become a cherished tradition. The tradition continues this weekend when the 10th season of CBC’s Short Film Face Off will be broadcast for the next four weekends in July. The show’s slogan nicely sums up what viewers can expect this month: “four nights, nine films, one winner, you decide.”
At the end of this tenth season, a $40,000 film production package will be awarded to the winner of Short Film Face Off. The package is split up two ways: $30,000 is contributed by Telefilm Canada with an additional $10,000 from William F. White International Inc.
The first episode of Season 10 aired on July 8th, with Steve Patterson returning as host and Nadia Litz, Mohit Rajhans and Eli Glasner resuming their roles as panelists.
On tonight’s episode, we were introduced to Gavin Seal (Case Claus’d), Roman Tchjen (Parent, Teacher) and Jessie Short (Sweet Night). In Case Claus’d, a young boy investigates the true giver of his Christmas gift; a teacher and a parent disagree on how a student should defend himself in Parent Teacher; a young Metis woman begins a journey of cultural reconnection and personal exploration in Sweet Night.
Parent, Teacher moved on to the final round with 13.5 votes, Case Claus’d garnered 12.0 votes, while Sweet Night picked up 10.5 votes.
This tenth season of Face Off started off with three very profound shorts. The message in Case Claus’d that ‘facts don’t matter when you want to believe in something’ can easily be adapted into the adult world just as much as a child’s world; believing in a goal when the odds (i.e. facts) are against you is common in adult lives.
Parent, Teacher was in a sense a clash of cultures and parenting styles. For years, schools and parents have argued over the best way to teach a child to fend off bullying and mistreatment. The argument between the teacher and parent in this short made felt intense and realistic.
Sweet Night was a very timely film in its themes of Aboriginal cultural reconnection and sexual identity exploration. It felt like the LRT ride symbolically represented Andy’s journey down these two paths.
For Canadian short film fans, perhaps one of the most anticipated yearly television broadcasts is CBC’s Short Film Face Off. Taped in front of a live studio audience in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Short Film Face Off features nine Canadian filmmakers and their short films in which one winning filmmaker is awarded a generous filmmaking prize package. Hosted by Steve Patterson, the shorts are judged by a studio panel of three Canadian film professionals and the final winning short film is voted by the show’s viewers across Canada.
This year marks Short Film Face Off’s tenth year of showcasing these diverse and talented filmmakers’ short films to a vast Canadian television viewing audience. This is a huge milestone for the show; especially since it is unique in its format, niche in its content and is on-air for just four weeks of the year.
Short Film Fan reached out to Peter Hall, Senior Manager, Production Services at CBC Atlantic to get some insight into the history of Short Film Face Off, the reason for its longevity, and how the show has been received by the filmmakers and the viewing audience.
Short Film Fan: How did you come up with the idea of Short Film Face Off?
Peter Hall: At CBC Halifax, we were working closely with quite a few short film producers and directors. We supported several awards in the region to help emerging filmmakers get their films produced. There were so many great films being made that we wanted to give them greater exposure and we knew the CBC audience would be the perfect place. We also knew this would be fresh programming because most people have few opportunities to see short films.
SFF: What were you hoping or expecting to achieve with Short Film Face Off, and were those hopes and expectations met?
PH: We have far exceeded our expectations. Here we are ten years later and we have broadcast close to one hundred short films on television and introduced that many emerging Canadian directors to a whole new audience. Our intent was to showcase short films and provide a platform for directors to tell their stories from communities across the country. I am thrilled we are still doing that.
SFF: Short Film Face Off is now in its 10th season. How do you account for this milestone?
PH: Short Film Face Off is a very accessible program. Our host, Steve Patterson, does a great job to make filmmaking easy to understand and to appreciate for the television audience.
But really, the single most important aspect of the program is the quality of films that directors bring the program. They tell unique stories about Canadians and Canadian life and where else are you going to find that?
We also have had terrific support from Telefilm Canada over the years. This program fits perfectly into their mandate, and they have been an integral part of the show’s success.
We also have industry support from William F. White who offers an equipment rental package to our winning filmmakers.
SFF: How has the program changed since its first season, and what kinds of changes to the show do you foresee in the future?
PH: The program itself has not changed very much. Our format is pretty well the same; really the biggest change that we have seen is in the quality of films that are submitted every year. Typically there are close to two hundred films that are sent to our juries across the country and every year it seems they get better and better. Technology has certainly been part of that with the development of computer animation and effects but I think we are seeing films from some very talented filmmakers who know and love their craft.
SFF: Do you have a memorable moment from the show, either on or off camera?
PH: I always love to see the directors interact with Steve for the first time on the set. Steve can be somewhat unpredictable (in a nice way) so understandably it can be unnerving to anticipate what he may say or do. Once a director was describing in detail how, with much difficulty, they had borrowed a Volkswagen to shoot a scene. It turned out to be quite a long story and at the end Steve laughed and said, “Well that story was longer than the whole film”.
SFF:What has the feedback about the show been like from the filmmakers and viewers?
PH: For the most part, filmmakers who come to Halifax for the program love the experience. They really appreciate having their film shown to a national audience and talking about it with industry professionals. But we have noticed the friendships that are made between the filmmakers.
When in Halifax the directors are able to meet others from across the country and there are great conversations and discussions about filmmaking. It is a singular opportunity for them to together and they do so in the studio and after hours in the pub. I think some lasting friendships have begun at Short Film Face Off.
Our best viewer feedback comes from the voting. I am always amazed to see the number of votes and the fact that they come from every province and territory.
SFF: How do you visualize Short Film Face Off’s role on CBC 10 years from now?
PH: I would like to see the program expand into a longer series. Film is the dominant art form of our time and that is unlikely to change in the next 10 years and beyond.
SFF: Do you have any other comments or thoughts you would like to share about Short Film Face Off or Canadian short films, in general?
PH: I would like to tell film and television audiences that there are many fantastic Canadian short films being made in this country. Not only are the films wonderful to watch but the people making them are the future of filmmaking in Canada; they will be the ones to protect and celebrate the future Canadian culture.
Short Film Fan Commentary:
Indeed, there is an incredible wealth of short films out there made by Canadian filmmakers. These shorts are fun to watch with memorable and relatable story lines that add to an already rich Canadian film and television culture. Although they may be found on the Internet and at film festivals, Short Film Face Off is perhaps the most interesting, informative and exciting place to view Canadian shorts.
Viewers who have never seen a Canadian short film before will be impressed with the quality and variety that make their way onto Short Film Face Off each year. If you are not a Canadian short film fan now, you will be after watching the show. It will be exciting to see how this 10th season will unfold. Catch the first episode on July 8 at 7 p.m. local time.
Thank you to Short Film Face Off for connecting Canada together through short films, for bringing Canadian filmmakers into the spotlight and for making Canadian short films more accessible for everyone to enjoy and appreciate. Congratulations on your 10th season!