Category Archives: Film Festivals

Award Finalists Announced For 10th Annual Air Canada enRoute Film Festival

This past July, the Air Canada enRoute Film Festival began its 10th anniversary with a free screening of 20 Canadian short films in Vancouver. This followed with screenings in other select Canadian cities, as well as on Air Canada flights around the world. These shorts also competed for a number of awards, including Best Short Film, Achievement in Direction, Achievement in Cinematography, Achievement in Animation, and Achievement in Documentary.

Five finalists have now been selected for these awards and are as follows:

  • Clouds of Autumn– Trevor Mack and Matthew Taylor Blais, BC
  • The Constant Refugee– Derrick O’Toole, PC Barfoot and Leila Almaway, ON
  • Feathers– Hands on Deck, ON
  • French Kiss at the Sugar Shack– Emmanuelle Lacombe, QC
  • Robeth– Kevin T. Landry, QC

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A free public screening of these nominated short films will take place in Montreal on Monday, November 14 at the Phi Centre at 7:30 p.m. and in Toronto on Thursday, November 17 at Scotiabank Theatre Toronto at 7 p.m.

The winners will be awarded at a private ceremony, hosted by Etalk Reporter Liz Trinnear, at The Fifth Social Club on 225 Richmond Street West after the public screening in Toronto. Achievement Award winners will receive an all-inclusive trip for two to the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival in Germany, courtesy of Air Canada. The winner of Best Short Film will also receive a $5,000 cash prize courtesy of presenting sponsor, Cineplex Entertainment.

“This year marks the festival’s 10th anniversary and what makes it so exceptional is that for the first time we’ve taken the festival truly coast to coast adding more cities and helping to boost awareness of our incredibly talented emerging Canadian filmmakers,” said Andrew Shibata, Managing Director, Brand at Air Canada. “I look forward to a continued growth of the festival and discovering new ways we can help highlight Canadian content creators.”

The Air Canada enRoute Film Festival supporters include Cineplex Entertainment, TELUS Optik Local/STORYHIVE, Sterling Wines, CTV’s Etalk, Spafax, Entertainment One, VICELAND, Telefilm Canada, Directors Guild of Canada, William F. White International Inc., National Film Board of Canada and Hot Docs.

Congratulations to all the finalists. A big thank you goes to Air Canada and to all of the supporters of the film festival and of Canadian short films. Fans of Canadian shorts definitely are grateful for chance to access and watch these films, whether at a festival or in the sky. Thanks also for the continued support of Canadian filmmakers and for fostering Canadian content.

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Canadian & Worldwide Shorts Waiting For You At Toronto International Short Film Festival

As a short film fan, have you ever attended a film festival and wondered if there was one out there specifically dedicated to short films? Given the uniqueness and, of course, the length of shorts, could an actual festival geared completely to short films be made into a reality? Can such a film festival even be found in Canada?

Short film fans can wonder no more, as they will be especially pleased to know that they can have all of their short film desires satisfied at the Toronto International Short Film Festival (TISFF). TISFF is back for its fourth year of showcasing some of the most outstanding shorts and their filmmakers from Canada and around the world. This year’s TISFF is taking place from November 9th to 11th at Carlton Cinema.

Short Film Fan reached out to Francesca Fromang, Director of Operations at TISFF, to learn more about the festival, including why it was established, its Canadian content, and where short film fans can catch these films.

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Short Film Fan: Whose idea was it to launch the Toronto International Short Film Festival (TISFF) and why was it started?

Francesca Fromang: Our incredible festival founder, Robert Arentz, is the founder and creator of the Toronto Shorts Fest. It was created to provide a showcase for the best short-form cinema and its creators in the world. He felt that short form cinema and its creators should have their own premier film festival in Toronto, deserving similar recognition given to the feature film and its creators. The heart of the festival will be our quality and scope of extraordinary film programming. Toronto Shorts Fest is where films from a wide spectrum intersect. Animations, documentaries, comedies, narrative, genre, and graduation short films come from some of the finest film schools.

SFF: How many Canadian shorts will be screened at this year’s fest?

FF: Out of the 67 films being screened, 36 are Canadian.

SFF: What parts of Canada do most of your short films come from?

FF: This year’s program consists of films from 11 different countries. The majority of Canadian films will be coming from right here in Toronto, though we are also featuring films from Vancouver, Calgary, Hamilton, Montreal, and Newfoundland.

torontologoSFF: Are the featured filmmakers more seasoned or up-and-coming, or a mix of both?

FF: This year, we have the perfect blend of both. Our goal is to screen films that display excellence, both technically and creatively. We have some incredible films made by students from schools such as Humber, York University, Sheridan and University of Toronto.  However, we also have a plethora of seasoned artists who choose to premiere their films here as well. This year we are screening a documentary made by the Disney Animation Team (Disney Cartoon Camera), films produced by huge production companies such as The Mill and Indie passion projects produced by Denzell Washington. We have films starring Jennifer Hudson, (Shame) John Malkovich (Hell), Lindsay Lohan (Till Human Voices Wake) and Enrico Colantoni (Recital). And we have everything in between!

SFF: Will any of the Canadian filmmakers be available to answer questions at any Q & A sessions?

FF: Yes! After each program screens, we will have the filmmakers from that specific program conduct a Q&A session.  In addition to our Q&As, we will also have an industry session panel each day. It will be a chance to hear some of the industry’s most experienced professionals focusing on topics such as “creating branded content without selling your soul” and “meeting the film festivals” which is a panel of some of the most well-known festival programmers around the country discussing what makes them pick a film.

SFF: Can you briefly highlight some of the Canadian shorts that will be featured this year?

FF: We’re pretty excited about all our films! Some that stand out off the top of my head are:

  • Luvvie directed, written and starring Annie Briggs, which will screen during Program 3 on November 9th at 9:55 p.m.
  • The Head Vanishes (an animated film brought to us by the Canadian Film Centre) which premieres in Program 7 on November 11th at 5:30 p.m.
  • Prison Fight, directed by Robert Pilichowski screening during Program 5 on November 10th at 7:45 p.m.
  • Shame starring Tyrese Gibson and Jennifer Hudson, directed by Paul Hunter in Program 1 on November 9th at 5:00 p.m.

SFF: Where is Toronto International Short Film Festival taking place and how can short film toronto-graphic-0001fans buy their tickets?

FF: TISFF will be taking place at the lovely Carlton Cinema in downtown Toronto this year. All film programs and Industry sessions are $14, and an all-access pass for the entire fest is on sale now for $40!

 

For fans of short film, this is definitely an event you don’t want to miss. For more on this year’s lineup, check out the schedule on their website. For those not familiar with Toronto, Carlton Cinemas is located on 20 Carlton Street, east of Younge Street. If you are taking the subway, the closest stop to the cinema is College Station.

If you happen to really like one of the Canadian shorts at the festival, and want to share a review or comment with the rest of us, drop Short Film Fan a line on Twitter or email.

Good luck to Francesca, Robert and all the crew at Toronto International Short Film Festival for a successful event! Follow the festival on Twitter and like them on Facebook.

Happy watching, everyone!

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Guest Post: Toronto Youth Shorts Invests In Next Generation Film Talent

Getting a career off the ground can be daunting for some, especially if you are young and new to your chosen path. For young up-and-coming filmmakers, getting noticed by the public and the filmmaking community can seem especially challenging. But there is one film festival in Toronto that hopes to remedy that. On the eve of the 2016 edition of the Toronto Youth Shorts Film Festival, Paul Krumholz, one of the festival’s programmers, shared in this guest post some of this thoughts about the purpose of the festival, as well as some detail as to where they source the young filmmakers that they feature:

 

What were your favourite filmmakers doing before they became famous? If they’re anything like the ones whose work we feature in Toronto Youth Shorts, they were hustling – to squeeze writing sessions in between classes and day jobs, to hunt for funding sources, and to convince friends to donate their time and labour. Even once a film is finished, getting it in front of eyeballs can be a whole new challenge.

Since 2009, the Toronto Youth Shorts Film Festival has tried to help with that last part, providing a forum for the best up-and-coming, under-30 filmmakers in the GTA to share their work. While there’s no road map for young filmmakers trying to develop their careers, we hope that our festival can be one of the stops along the way, where good work can reach a wider audience of colleagues, industry professionals, and cinema fans.Toronto Youth Shorts logo

As a not-for-profit, volunteer-run organization, our staff puts this festival together every year because we believe in the importance of investing in the next generation of Canadian film talent. And as someone who grew up outside Canada, I’m especially proud to live in a place that supports its artists as much as Torontonians do, which is why I’ve contributed to the festival as a programmer over the last two years.

The process by which we put together our lineup is more active than most festivals. In addition to soliciting films through the normal avenues, we take advantage of the fact that Toronto is home to some of the best film schools in North America. Each spring, our programmers trek around the GTA to attend screenings at high schools, colleges and universities, in search of work we think deserves a bigger audience. This year’s lineup features 44 films, chosen from over 200 submissions (and the hundreds more our programmers watched in the community). One of the upsides of this method is that it gives us a sense of what themes and issues are important to young Torontonians in a given year. In addition to the aesthetic criteria by which we evaluate our submissions, we value cultural relevance in the work we choose to program.

We also hope that our lineup represents the diversity of the cinematic work produced by young people in our city. Of the 44 films in this year’s lineup, more than half are directed by women, and a quarter feature non-white actors or subjects in the lead role. In particular, I’m excited to share some of this year’s documentaries and animated films, which I think break new ground for the quality of work we’ve shown.

We invite you to join us in celebrating the next generation of Toronto filmmakers this Saturday, August 6 at Innis College at University of Toronto. For more information and to order tickets, visit torontoyouthshorts.ca

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Celebrate Ten Years Of Canadian Shorts In The Sky With Air Canada enRoute Film Festival

The Air Canada enRoute Film Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and everyone’s invited to the party!

Air Canada enRoute Film Festival

The fun starts at 8:00 p.m. on July 20th at Robson Square in Vancouver, BC, where 20 short films produced by Canada’s up and coming filmmakers will be announced at a free public screening. After that, the festival will be making its way across Canada for further public screenings in Halifax on July 26th at 6:00 p.m. at the Halifax Central Library. Both events will be hosted by eTalk’s Liz Trinnear. Other free screenings will take place in Montreal on November 15th and Toronto on November 17th.

“We are really happy to be celebrating the festival’s 10th anniversary by taking it coast-to-coast,” said Éric Lauzon, Manager, Multimedia Entertainment at Air Canada. “As the only in-flight film festival in the country it was important for us to hold events in cities across the country from Vancouver to Halifax to further raise awareness of the festival among emerging Canadian filmmakers. We are also very proud of the festival’s role in helping to boost the careers of young content creators.”

The celebration doesn’t stop there. Passengers on Air Canada flights around the world will get a chance to view these shorts between August 1st and December 31st, 2016, by using Air Canada’s enRoute entertainment system. The films will also found online at enRoutefilm.com. Fans can vote for their favourite short until October 31st 2016, and the winning film will pick up the People’s Choice Award.

The shorts will also be competing for awards in Best Short Film, Achievement in Direction, Achievement in Cinematography, Achievement in Animation, and Achievement in Documentary awards. The winners will be picked by a star-studded jury, led by director Patrick Rozema and including actor & director Jason Priestley and actress Karine Vanasse. The winning filmmaker will be awarded an all-inclusive trip for two to the Berlin International Film Festival in Germany, courtesy of Air Canada. The Best Short Film winner will also receive $5,000 from the presenting sponsor, Cineplex.

Happy 10th anniversary to Air Canada’s enRoute Film Festival! Thank you for making Canadian short films available for viewing on your flights for all these years. This kind of exposure certainly helps in raising the profile of various Canadian filmmakers. It is also an excellent way to entertain current fans of short films and to attract new fans to the genre. All the best to everyone involved in the festival for a successful kick-off party in Vancouver. Looking forward to watching more Canadian short films on Air Canada flights in the years to come!

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Female Eye Film Festival Shines A Light On Female Filmmakers

Short film fans can agree that the medium of short film gives the filmmaker the opportunity to bring important social and cultural issues to light. These films have the power to deliver a wealth of information and insight to a viewing public that can rival the reporting made by traditional media. In Canada, social issues concerning women or the plight of Aboriginal and Indigenous people have been featured in news reports numerous times in the past. But filmmakers, in particular female filmmakers, have an opportunity to examine and present these topics by using their own voice and experiences.

One festival that you can visit right now and see some examples of shorts made by Canadian female filmmakers is the Female Eye Film Festival. Running from June 14th to June 19th, the festival is taking place at The Theatre Centre located at 1115 Queen Street West in Toronto. A majority of their short films will be screened on Saturday and Sunday of the festival run. From 12 noon until 2 pm on Saturday, you can watch shorts produced by female First Nations filmmakers during the Aboriginal & Indigenous Film Program. On Sunday, the Canadian Shorts & Documentaries program will feature shorts made by a number of Canadian female directors.

Leslie-Ann Coles, the founder and director of Female Eye Film Festival provided this comment: “The Female Eye makes a strong commitment to our National directors and we are delighted to present a series of short films directed by Canadian women directors.”

Short Film Fan wishes everyone involved in organizing and producing Female Eye all the best for a successful festival!

ATTENTION TORONTO READERS OF SHORT FILM FAN: If you are interested and able to attend the festival this weekend, Female Eye has four pairs of tickets to give away to see the shorts at the festival. Two pairs are available for the Aboriginal & Indigenous Film Program and another two for the Canadian Shorts & Documentaries program.  All you have to do is send an email to Sasha at sasha@sashastoltzpublicity.com with the name of program you would like to attend and she will make arrangements for you to pick them up.

Happy watching, short film fans, and enjoy the festival!

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Why Do You Like Canadian Short Films? Something To Think About During NCFD

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.

NCFD 2016 - with date 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:

NCFD-circle-logo-EN“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!

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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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Engage With East Coast Storytelling Talent At Atlantic Film Festival

One pleasurable aspect about watching a short film is the storyline. Short film storylines are most often relatable, such as relationship issues or navigating the workplace. As a result, a story has the power to draw in the viewer and make such an impact that he or she is able to quickly identify with the characters and plot.

Short film lovers in the East Coast will have an excellent opportunity to resonate with a wide variety of stories at the 35th annual Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax, Nova Scotia. AFF_35_Logo_V-01The shorts that will be featured were written and produced by a number of East Coast filmmakers, as well as from other parts of Canada and the world. This year’s festival takes place September 17th to 24th at the Cineplex Cinemas Park Lane. The festival will also include CBC’s presentation of the Reel East Coast Gala, based on the television program of the same name that was broadcast in Atlantic Canada this past summer.

Jason Beaudry, Program Director for Atlantic Film Festival, shared some of his thoughts about what the short film community can expect to experience at the festival and his insight into the storytelling talent of East Coast filmmakers.

 

Short Film Fan: The shorts Alien Love Story, First Weekend, Chase the Ace, Before the War, Una forma de partir/ A Way To Go, Wanderer, Not My Brother, A Suicide at the Gun Range and Arty were all picked for the Reel East Coast Gala. Why were these particular films chosen?

Jason Beaudry: There is an incredibly broad range of short films being made in Atlantic Canada and we want the Reel East Coast Showcase Gala to reflect this. Animation, documentary, drama, comedy and more from all four Atlantic provinces is included in this year’s Reel East Showcase Gala. They really show what is possible here on the East Coast.

SFF: Will there be any Q&A sessions with the filmmakers or an opportunity to present audience choice awards at the showcases or Gala?

JB: There will be Q&A sessions for all our showcase screenings with the exception of the Gala. With the number of people attending the Reel East Showcase Gala, it makes it somewhat unruly to have a Q&A.

SFF: A total of 57 East Coast short films will be screened at this year’s festival. Those are a lot of short films from a lot of different filmmakers from the Atlantic region. How do you account for such a high number of filmmakers coming from this part of Canada?

JB: Folks from the East Coast are natural storytellers and we’ve seen this through music and literature going on for hundreds of years. Film is a new tool in their repertoire, but they’ve put it to good use. And the democratization that’s happened through the current accessibility & cost of filmmaking equipment makes it easy for a storyteller to take that leap.

I’d have to say that it’s a very difficult process to select films from this region every year. There are usually three times more films than we can select for the Festival. And we’re happy to say that over 50 additional short films from Canada and the world will be added to this year’s lineup, so festivalgoers will be able to see for themselves that films from Atlantic Canada stack up to the best in the world.

SFF: What do you hope the audience will take away from the festival after experiencing all these films?

JB: Representing and showcasing Atlantic Canadian-made films is near and dear to the heart of the Atlantic Film Festival. As we’ve said on countless occasions, these stories have to be seen and these voices must be heard. East Coast film making is world class. From the Atlantic Gala of Stephen Dunn’s remarkable Closet Monster to the very last Reel East Coast Showcase, the films were made in our region and stack up against anything the world has to offer. Now more than ever, it’s important that festivalgoers take note of them and celebrate their achievements and lend support to their future.

 

Jason makes a crucial point to expand upon. By celebrating and supporting the talents of Canadian short filmmakers, we can encourage them to produce more fascinating stories that all fans are able to enjoy. More stories mean more short film career opportunities, which in turn, could assure a healthy future for Canadian short film.

We wish everyone at Atlantic Film Festival all the best for a successful festival. For festival details and tickets, visit their website at www.atlanticfilm.com. You can also get up-to-date information from their Facebook page and by following them @thefilmfest on Twitter.

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Young And Aspiring Canadian Film Makers To Shine At Toronto Youth Shorts Film Festival

Choosing a career path can be a daunting task and beginning a new career is hard work. However, there are steps that can help guide one’s way. These include learning how an industry works, making key contacts and gaining all sorts of valuable experiences that you just can’t get in a classroom. If you’re a young person between 18 and 30 years of age living in the Greater Toronto and Southern Ontario area, and is considering a career in film making, visit the Toronto Youth Shorts Film Festival (TYSFF) taking place on August 8th at Innis Town Hall.

Toronto Youth Shorts logoCelebrating its seventh year, TYSFF is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit festival where young and aspiring film makers from the GTA have the chance to share their short films with the public and representatives from the film industry. A jury will provide their input into this year’s films and Industry Choice Awards will be handed out by young media and entertainment professionals. For a complete list of film screenings, click on: http://www.torontoyouthshorts.ca/film-selection.html

This year’s festival is split up into two different programs or themes: “Who We Are” and “What We Were, What We Will Be”. For a quick glimpse into TYSFF, view their promo clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DolA6ab6gw

Short Film Fan caught up with Julia Crocco, one of three TYSFF film programmers, to learn more about the festival, as well as what the audience and film makers can expect there.

Short Film Fan: Why were the themes “Who We Are” and “What We Were, What We Will Be” chosen for this year’s festival?

Julia Crocco: These themes were chosen by myself and the programming team (Paul Krumholz, Sia Mehilli and festival director Henry Wong) based on the unifying messages we discovered running through the diverse range of selected films. “Who We Are’” is a program centered on strong female characters. This theme was chosen because many of the shorts told empowering stories of young women defying gender barriers and we wanted to highlight this by dedicating a program to it.

The program “What We Were, What We Will Be” focuses on letting go of past struggles, and channeling that energy into a brighter future. We found that a number of our selections, despite their varying genres, conveyed the importance of making life-altering decisions based on past mistakes. It is interesting to see this theme manifest itself in different ways: from a dystopian sci-fi film to a teen comedy.

SFF: What is the age range of the film makers at the festival? Do you receive films from a particular age group more than others?

JC: The festival accepts submissions from anyone under the age of 30 in the Greater Toronto and Southern Ontario. We often receive more films from the age range of 18 to 30; usually from college or university film students or those getting their start in the industry. We put a lot of effort into encouraging high school students to submit their films, as our goal is to celebrate all young artists. We were pleased to receive more high school submissions this year than in previous years and we hope that this trend will continue to grow!

SFF: You will be showing 30 shorts films this year. How difficult was it to choose this year’s featured films?

JC: We found it very difficult to narrow our selection down to 30 films. This year, we received more than 100 submissions and we were blown away by the quality of a great deal of them! We thought it would be best to have just two programs this year, so we had to make some difficult decisions in order to do so. There were a good number of films that we were impressed with, but had to let them go due to time constraints or lack of cohesiveness with the other films. However, we are very happy with our selection and excited to showcase it!

SFF: What thoughts or feelings do you hope the audience members will take away from the festival after viewing these short films?

JC: This year’s collection of films convey relatable themes from various perspectives: a teenage girl tired of unwanted attention, a father struggling with guilt, and a young woman trying to escape a war while keeping her humanity, to name a few. I hope that the audience will identify with these characters and stories and gain insight into the challenges that people of all walks of life face.

SFF: What experiences do you hope the film makers will take away from the festival?

JC: I hope that the film makers will take away the experience of having their work showcased for an audience to enjoy and that they will appreciate the valuable feedback that our jury of industry professionals will provide for them. Toronto Youth Shorts provides young film makers the chance to see what it will be like to work in the film industry and navigate film festivals. I hope that their experience with Toronto Youth Shorts will bring the film makers close to their aspirations!

 

This definitely sounds like an excellent opportunity for young Canadian film makers to get their feet in the door of the industry. Even if you aren’t aged 18 to 30, don’t miss this chance to see future Canadian film making professionals show off their talents and skills in short film production. We wish everyone at Toronto Youth Shorts Film Festival all the best for a successful and fun festival. For up-to-date information on what’s happening, you can ‘like’ them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter: @TorYouthShorts

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Canadian Shorts Pleased, ‘Intrigued’ Audience At Vaughan Film Festival

Film festivals take place in various cities in Canada all year and are lots of fun to attend. In the background of each festival, programmers are busy sourcing and securing enjoyable films to screen for their audiences. Certain criteria are carefully considered when making a final decision for choosing the shorts that eventually appear on the screen. But as Canadian short film fans might wonder, what are these criteria that programmers use?

IMG_9145This year, Vaughan Film Festival was held from May 25th to 28th and featured a variety of Canadian short films among shorts from other countries. Short Film Fan caught up with Antonio Ienco, one of the festival’s co-founders and chairs, to learn more about how the Canadian shorts were chosen and how they fared with the audience.

Short Film Fan: Why were these Canadian shorts chosen, in particular?

Antonio Ienco: The Canadian short films that were chosen for Vaughan Film Festival 2015 (VFF) were ‘Lines’ (directed by Amy Jo Johnson of ‘Flashpoint’, ‘Felicity’ and ‘Power Rangers’ and featuring Enrico Colantoni), ‘Reunions’, ‘Temperature Drop’ and ‘The Present’. These films were chosen from over 200 international films submitted to this year’s festival. They were chosen because they were able to tell their stories in an engaging way. When we selected films for VFF, the panel looked at all aspects of film making – acting, directing, cinematography and writing. But what it comes down to is this: “Is the story going to engage the audience?” Once that is accomplished, then we narrowed down our selection.

SFF: How were they received by the audience? Did any of them resonate with the viewers in any way?

AI: The audience was very pleased to see the number of Canadian submissions increase year after year. With this year’s lineup, ‘The Present’ was nominated for two awards in the category of Best Film and Best Director, whereas ‘Temperature Drop’ and ‘Lines’ were nominated for Best Cinematography and Best Actress. I would have to say that ‘Reunions’ resonated most with the audience as film maker Naomi Wise was available for the screening and answered an abundance of questions during her Q & A from a very intrigued audience.

SFF: What are your plans for next year’s Canadian shorts? Will you be adding more to the lineup, for example?

AI: We are looking forward to next year’s submissions as we doubled from our second to third year. I can only imagine how many we are going to receive for 2016. Regarding Canadian films for 2016, it all really depends on how many are submitted. The more Canadian shorts submitted the more likely we are to screen more than the previous year. For all Canadian and international filmmakers looking to submit to VFF 2016, submissions open on Sept 1 2015 and close on Jan 31 2016. Visit vaughanfilmfestival.com to submit.

Congratulations goes out to Antonio and everyone at Vaughan Film Festival for a such a successful showing of Canadian short films this year. All the best for next year’s festival, including receiving a record number of Canadian shorts entries for 2016.

Besides finding information about them on their website, you can ‘like’ Vaughan Film Festival on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @VaughanFilmFest

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