Category Archives: Canadian culture

Editorial: Short Film Fan Surpasses Total 2016 Views And Visits

Hey, short film fans!

Did you hear the news?

Short Film Fan has officially surpassed last year’s total viewership and visitor numbers! In other words: Short Film Fan has been read and visited by more people this year than last year and we have 3.5 more months to go!

I want to thank all of you for making this milestone possible. I appreciate all the shares and likes of all the posts through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn which helped in reaching new readers. I also appreciate everyone who has attached links to the posts on their personal and professional webpages. I want to thank everyone who has mentioned Short Film Fan to your family, friends and colleagues and encouraging them to check out all the cool Canadian shorts being talked about here!

The content on Short Film Fan is definitely resonating with the readers out there. Canadian short films are probably some of the most brilliant, creative and fascinating films to watch out there, so who wouldn’t want to come back to the site to read more?

Let’s keep this momentum going for the rest of the year! Let’s get more people turned-on and tuned-in to news, reviews and information about Canadian shorts with Short Film Fan!

Thanks again! 🙂

 

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See The Lighter Side of Canadian Immigration In ‘Yes I Canada’

It has been said that Canada is a nation built through immigration. For decades, people from all over the world have made Canada their country of choice to make their new permanent home. For many fleeing war or poverty, Canada gives newcomers a chance to start over and to live as peacefully and happily as much as possible. As recent news reports have shown, though, people will sometimes go to great lengths to be a part of this nation, including dangerously crossing borders via land or sea as refugees. As some also find out, immigrating to Canada is not a sure thing as successful applicants must also meet a number of requirements as set out by the federal government.

While immigration is no laughing matter, Katarzyna Kochany’s short film presents a quick and lighter side to this life-changing event. Based on a true story, Yes I Canada (2017) stars Florian François as the immigration candidate and Dan Willmott as a Canadian immigration agent. Upon entering the door of the immigration office, the candidate enthusiastically makes his case to immigrate to Canada. Not only has he brought official documents for review, the candidate has also gone so far as to bring other personal effects to make his case, including his old teeth. Before the agent has a chance to say anything, the candidate continues by making references to various aspects of Canadian culture. When the agent finally gets to speak, the candidate is in for a surprise. Find out what happens by watching the whole film below:

 

Short Film Fan spoke with Katarzyna to find out more about Yes I Canada, including the background behind the film and how Canadians, both immigrants and natural-born, have reacted to it.

Short Film Fan: What was the inspiration behind Yes I Canada?

Katarzyna Kochany: The film is adapted from a stage monologue written by Florian François, a Toronto actor who hails from Paris, France.  The inspiration came from Florian’s own experiences of applying to become a permanent resident of Canada.   Every good comedy is grounded in truth.  As a director, I was immediately attracted to this project because of its truth.

SFF: It was surprising to see the candidate trying to use a boom box to play the national anthem. Why was a boom box used instead of a smartphone?

KK: The candidate is trying to do whatever he can to make himself stand out from all other applicants, hoping that when the immigration officer sees how badly he wants to stay, his efforts will be rewarded.  Alas, the boom box doesn’t quite work out the way he had hoped.

SFF: What has been the reaction been like by Canadians immigrants who have watched Yes I Canada?

KK: The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.  We’ve received comments from strangers that even though the film is obviously comedic, it is very accurate.

SFF: Have you been able to screen it to anyone who works in government, such as the immigration office?

KK: Though we haven’t had a chance to screen it specifically for Immigration Canada, the film was featured in Canadian Immigrant Magazine and several newspapers: Hamilton Spectator, The Record, and Mississauga News.

SFF: When a natural-born Canadian watches this film, are they surprised at the huge effort that this gentleman took to try to immigrate here?

KK: Immigration is such a huge part of Canadian identity that the story resonates with the general audience.  Those who can’t relate to the process of immigration can certainly relate to the challenges of dealing with any sort of bureaucracy.   Any surprise in the reactions we’ve encountered is more of the emotional kind: the comedic gags, the heart-wrenching twist at the end.

 

Short Film Fan Review:

Yes I Canada is a funny little film that is reminiscent of similar one-on-one skits from the comedy troupe, Monty Python. The candidate’s hard work at becoming a Canadian, including apologizing at the beginning and making hockey references, will easily put a smile on your face. Perhaps the agent could have tried to interrupt the candidate a few more times in the film and have those attempts be ignored by the candidate; that may have added a little more humour into the mix. The use of the French translation at the bottom was a great addition to the film; maybe Yes I Canada could be adopted by Canada’s immigration office as a fun little ‘what not to do’ film when considering immigrating to Canada.

Yes I Canada was Katarzyna‘s first time at adapting a stage piece onto film and it was an excellent effort at that. The film was also nominated for Best Comedy and Best Actor at the 300 Seconds Film Festival. We wish Katarzyna all the best in her future short and feature length film work!  To learn more about Katarzyna Kochany, check out her website at: http://katarzynakochany.com/

‘Hustle & Heart’ Makes $40,000 Touchdown On ‘Short Film Face Off’

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.

Season 10 SFFO Finalists With Panel.

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.

You can catch all of this season’s episodes and films at http://watch.cbc.ca/short-film-face-off/season-10/d611d09a-6397-4a86-a91b-7632cfe86a9a.

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!

‘Hustle & Heart’ Throws Long For ‘Short Film Face Off’ Final Appearance

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 HarrisTouch. 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.

Koumbie, Fly and Harris on SFFO

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.

It was a pleasure watching Koumbie, Mike and Noel and their films compete on Short Film Face Off. Good luck to Koumbie as she makes a play for the $40,000 on next week’s episode. To watch tonight’s entire episode or to see any of the three shorts separately, visit http://watch.cbc.ca/short-film-face-off/season-10/d611d09a-6397-4a86-a91b-7632cfe86a9a

For the next 24 hours, you can vote for the short that you think should take the prize by going online at http://shortfilmfaceoff.isivote.com/ or by calling 1-877-876-3636.

 

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.

‘A Bicycle Lesson’ Rides On To Advance To ‘Short Film Face Off’ Finals

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.

Second Round Contestants With Panel

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.

Kudos to Robert, Renuka and Trevor for appearing on Short Film Face Off with such amazing short films. All the best goes to Renuka as she bikes her way to the final round on July 29th. To watch tonight’s entire episode or to see any of the three shorts separately, visit http://watch.cbc.ca/short-film-face-off/season-10/d611d09a-6397-4a86-a91b-7632cfe86a9a

‘Parent, Teacher’ Takes First Round In Season 10 Of ‘Short Film Face Off’

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.

Filmmakers Seal, Tchjen and Short

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.

A big congratulations goes out to Gavin, Roman and Jessie for sharing their films with us. All the best to Roman as he waits to see who he’ll compete with for the $40,000 production prize package. Go to http://watch.cbc.ca/short-film-face-off/season-10/d611d09a-6397-4a86-a91b-7632cfe86a9a to view the first episode of Season 10 again or to watch each of tonight’s films separately.

Mike Fardy Wins $45,000 Prize With ‘Moving On’ On ‘Short Film Face Off’

It has been a hot summer so far in Canada, and this season’s Short Film Face Off on CBC definitely played a part in the rising heat levels. For the past three weeks, fans of Canadian short films tuned in to the program and witnessed nine sizzling filmmakers burn their way up the points scale for a chance to win a $45,000 film production prize generously sponsored by Telefilm Canada and William F. White International.

This season’s fourth and final episode of Short Film Face Off began with the re-introduction of the three finalists: Mark Slutsky (Never Happened), Mike Fardy (Moving On) and Hector Herrera (The Ballad of Immortal Joe). All three films were re-screened for the viewers and studio audience, the directors spoke briefly about the production of their films, and panelists Mohit Rajhans, Nadia LitzTwiiter_Posters_Finals and Eli Glasner shared their parting comments to Mark, Mike and Hector.

Three alumni of Short Film Face Off were also featured in small interview clips throughout the show. James Stewart, Stephen Dunn and Ashley McKenzie let the audience know about what new projects they were working on and how appearing on Short Film Face Off was a boon to their filmmaking careers. Last year’s Short Film Face Off winners BJ Verot and Brad Crawford were also interviewed and shared the exciting news that one of their recent film projects had made it all the way to Cannes.

Viewers from coast to coast had the opportunity last weekend to vote for their favourite film and the ultimate winner of the $45,000 prize. To present the award to the winner, Francesca Accinelli, Telefilm Canada’s Director of National Promotion & Communications, joined host Steve Patterson to make the exciting announcement. In the end, this season’s winner was Mike Fardy! Congratulations, Mike!

Kudos also goes out to Mark and Hector for making it to the final round. You can catch tonight’s season finale, the three previous episodes and all nine shorts at CBC Player.

Short Film Face Off logo w-wordsThis season’s Short Film Face Off had an excellent variety of professionally-crafted shorts produced by filmmakers from across the country. It is good to have a program like Short Film Face Off available to Canadian audiences. Not only is it an unique platform Canadian filmmakers to be seen and to get a boost in their careers, it also gives fans and admirers of the genre access to a vast array of shorts that they may not otherwise get a chance to see. The show’s intimate format brings the audience and producer closer together and having the films accessible on the website makes it easier for fans to find them and to watch them again and again.

Next year is Short Film Face Off’s 10th anniversary. It will be interesting to see which films will be featured and if any special events will take place around its milestone year. Maybe some special award will be handed out on the show, such as a People’s Choice Award or a 10th Anniversary Award for an alumnus of the program. Looking forward to Season Ten!

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Question: Who Would You Like To See In A Canadian Short Film?

The gears at Short Film Fan were turning lately.

With the recent blockbuster superhero movie releases of ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ earlier this year and ‘Captain America: Civil War’ last month, an idea came up.

Which Canadian character, real or imagined, would you like to see in a Canadian short?

One Canadian comic book character that first came to mind was Captain Canuck. He came on the comic scene in 1975 through the creative juices of Ron Leishman and Richard Comely.  What kind of adventures could he get up to in a short film? From further research, other Canadian comic book characters that have graced magazine stands in the past include Northguard and Fleur de Lys. It would be interesting to see if the adventures of these characters could be translated into a short film form.

What about real-life Canadian characters from history? Would it be possible to take one moment from their lives and turn it into a short film? Maybe Sir William Stephenson, the man who would be the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s James Bond, would be an interesting feature in a short. Could you imagine a Canadian James Bond in a 10-minute short film?

Would all of these ideas work? That would probably depend on a few factors. Financial resources could be one of them. Casting the right actors could be another. But, who knows? Maybe one day these ideas and others will come to life in a Canadian short.

Do you have any ideas of your own? Write your comments below or share a post on Short Film Fan’s Facebook and Google+ pages.

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NFB “Across Cultures” Website Features Free Educational Resources About Canada’s Diverse Communities

Spring is here and schools all across Canada will be letting their students out for summer vacation very soon. In the dying days of the school year, some teachers may be disposed to showing movies to their students as a year-end treat and to relax after a long year of studies.

One of Short Film Fan’s subscribers, Ihor Cap, recently wrote and submitted this piece to share with the site’s readers. Ihor is an Education Specialist with the Province of Manitoba and is also a web author at his site, Ezreklama. Here he shares with us a National Film Board website that is loaded with a wide variety of educational short (and longer) films from which classroom teachers could give their students something to think about regarding Canadian multiculturalism before the long, lazy days of summer set in.

 

‘Across Cultures’ is a National Film Board (NFB) of Canada web site dedicated to celebrating the contributions that different cultural and ethnic communities have made to Canada. It also exposes the many challenges these communities faced as they populated the Canadian landscape. Finally, the site can assist teachers to meet the objectives of their educational programs and issues pertaining to Canadian multiculturalism, equality and human rights.

What is available on this site?

This site in cooperation with the NFB makes available 120 English and French language films and 164 English and French language film clips. Most films include an audio description for the visually impaired as well as closed-captioning. Best of all, the films, teaching strategies, sound recordings, and other material available on this site, include a pre-authorized copyright license.  Of course, copyright ownership and source of material acknowledgement must still be provided.

What themes does the website focus on?

These educational resources follow several basic themes that ask such introductory questions as: “How have we contributed to Canada?”, “Who are we?”, and “What can we become?”, “Why did we come to Canada?”, and “How do we reach out?” This site also recognizes the less praiseworthy moments in Canadian history by asking, “How does integration challenge us?” The 1978 short film Teach Me to Dance, directed by Anne Wheeler and written by Myrna Kostash, speaks to the latter question. In the film, two girls, Lesia and Sarah, attempt to perform a Ukrainian dance at their school’s Christmas concert amidst pervasive racial bigotry and prejudice among the adults in the community.

The subject matter of these free resources is not exhaustive of all NFB films and film-clips for the 65-year period.  In the end, educational institutions and teachers should visit the site and assess the worth of these media resources for the classroom on their own. The “Across Cultures” website is found at http://www3.nfb.ca/duneculturealautre/index.php.

 

So, not only can we be entertained by Canadian short films in our theatres and homes, we can be educated by them in our classrooms, as well. Thanks to Ihor for the article!

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Guest Post: Canadian Short Films From An Immigrant’s Perspective

It’s always good to receive comments from Short Film Fan readers and it’s equally a pleasure to read them. One of SFF’s newest subscribers, Angela Perez, recently sent in some of her thoughts about Canadian shorts. Angela immigrated to Canada from Colombia a few years ago and has been working and raising her family here ever since. Passionate about languages and cultures outside of her native Colombia, Angela enjoys learning more about the different cultural aspects in Canada. Here’s what she had to say:

 

“What could possibly be a better way for an immigrant like me to get immersed in a culture than watching some locally-made short films?

I came across Short Film Fan one year ago and I loved the idea. These short films are a very fun and quick way for me to learn about the different aspects of the prolific Canadian culture. One thing that I find so charming about Canada is the diversity of the population. As fascinating as it is to know people from all around the world in one of Canada’s cities, it is also interesting to explore the very own Canadian way of living and those everyday occurrences in people’s lives than bring them together.

The films on Short Film Fan focus on a variety of topics, which is one of many things that I like about the blog. In addition, I really enjoy the way that it engages the viewer. Participating in the selection of the best films keeps you not only captivated, but also fills you with anticipation about the next film that will be posted.”

 

Thanks, Angela, for letting us know why you like Canadian shorts and how they’re helping you learn more about Canada. Thanks also for being a Short Film Fan subscriber!

Would anyone else like to write or comment about Canadian shorts or the blog? You can share your thoughts directly on any blog post or send in your note to mkul1973@yahoo.ca. Hope to hear from you soon.

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