Category Archives: Comedy

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/

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Stand Your Ground, Look Them In The Eye And Say ‘Cheese’ (2014)

From time to time, we’re called on by our friends to help them out in some way. When we’re confident in our ability to help, we don’t give it a second thought. But, what happens if we’re asked to help with something where we don’t have much experience with or knowledge in?  What if our lack of experience and knowledge is made worse by a challenging adversary? What do we do?

If you’re anything like Jaime in the 5-minute short Cheese, you give it your best shot and “fake it until you make it”. Cheese was written and directed by Hannah Cheesman with Mackenzie Donaldson producing. Natalie Lisinska plays the role of Jaime with Tony Nappo as Cosmo, the cheese expert. Jaime has the daunting task of buying a variety of cheeses for her friend’s party. As Jaime enters the store, she is overwhelmed with all of the different cheeses available and is unsure of what to buy. Cosmo picks up on Jaime’s lack of confidence and tries to take advantage of the situation.

Through a somewhat intimidating manner, Cosmo offers up a couple of cheese suggestions which Jaime accepts. Picking up on his power trip, Jaime begins to boost her confidence level by demanding more random selections to be wrapped up for purchase. She wins the ongoing struggle by asking for a pound of Himalayan cheese. Stumped by Jaime’s tenacity, Cosmo walks away from the tug-of-war match beaten at his game. Watch the entire film here:

 

Cheese is a fun and relatable story. Everyone has been in a situation where real or feigned confidence helped to fend off a potential shark. The film shows us that it’s important to stand one’s ground and not cave in to your disadvantages. Showing tenacity and composure is sometimes respected by sharks. It was funny to watch this war of wits and it was rewarding to see Jaime walk away intact as the winner.

For more information about the film, go to http://hannahcheesman.com/cheese

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Don’t Let A Broken Romance Leave You Feeling ‘Bagged’ (2010)

Valentine’s Day is coming. It’s that special day when you show your significant other how much they mean to you. But what about those people who don’t have anyone? Or, what about those who were in a relationship, but now find themselves all of a sudden single and lost? For those people, shopping therapy is what they feel they need in order to fill the void.

In the 9-minute short ‘Bagged’ by director Lisa Baylin, we are introduced to Emma, played by Kristin Booth. Emma is an attractive woman who has recently broken her relationship with her boyfriend and immediately found solace in purchasing a nice-looking handbag. As time progresses, she slowly becomes attracted to the handbag and develops an unhealthy ‘relationship’ with it. The handbag has temporarily become the new ‘boyfriend’ in a ‘rebound relationship’.

Of course, the film was hilarious throughout. Here is a poor, lonely young woman slowly getting into a handbag. The handbag’s sort-of human face added to the humour in the film, and also added to Emma’s attraction. I liked how there was no spoken word throughout the film; each scene had enough in it that no dialogue was needed.

‘Bagged’ does a great job at looking at the issue of materialism and how quick we are to handling stressful and unhappy moments by filling our lives with things. While it can act as a pleasant release at first, how many people go into serious financial debt as a result of multiple impulsive purchases? The film did an excellent job at waking Emma up to her shopping compulsion using a humorous ‘falling in love’ scene.

‘Bagged’ is a must-see Canadian short film for couples and singles of all ages. Enjoy it and have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)