Category Archives: Shorts News

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

Air Canada enRoute Film Festival

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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NFB Hothouse Challenges Animators With 3 Month Apprenticeship

Are you a new and upcoming filmmaker who is passionate about animation? Are you up to the challenge of making an animated short that is only one minute long? If so, then the National Film Board’s Hothouse program is for you. In its eleventh year, Hothouse is an intense 3-month paid apprenticeship program aimed at giving a select group of new and talented filmmakers the opportunity to work with and be mentored by a variety of NFB filmmaking experts. At the end of the program, each participant will emerge skilled and experienced in animation filmmaking.NFB Hothouse 11 logo

Although the apprenticeship normally takes place at the NFB Animation Studio in Montreal, this year’s six apprentices worked out of his or her local NFB studio. The theme for this year’s films was ‘Found Sound 2.0’ whereby the films were created based on unusual or unique sound clips. The filmmaker had the choice to use pre-selected clips found online by the NFB Hothouse team or an audio clip of the intern’s choosing.

This year’s participants were Rhayne Vermette from Winnipeg, Curtis Horsburgh from Victoria, Catherine Dubeau and Pascaline Lefebvre from Montreal, Lorna Kirk from Halifax, and Duncan Major from St. John’s. Their Hothouse films can be found on the NFB’s website at https://www.nfb.ca/playlist/hothouse/

Besides accessing them online, these shorts are making their rounds at festivals, including this weekend’s Gimli Film Festival. For some of his thoughts about NFB Hothouse, Short Film Fan reached Jon Montes, producer at the North West Studio in Winnipeg:

 

Short Film Fan: What is the main purpose or goal of the NFB’s Hothouse?

Jon MontesHothouse was started about eleven years ago at the NFB’s Animation Studio in Montreal as a way of giving emerging animators an opportunity to work in a professional production cycle, but with a compressed timeline and a pretty invigorating group dynamic. It’s an intense production environment. At the end of three months, you come out with a polished 1 minute animation where, instead of doing it all yourself, you’ve had a chance to work with an experienced production team, sound designers, editors, and of course lowly producers. But as Michael Fukushima, executive producer of the Animation Studio in Montreal likes to say, the most important film you make in Hothouse is your next one. Opening up doors to professional animation production is really the key here.

SFF: How many Hothouse apprentices do you take in per year?

JM: Usually Hothouse is a group of six animators, though we have done some partnerships with other countries before where we also hosted animators from Brazil (Hothouse 4, 2007) and Mexico (Hothouse 10, 2014). In each of those editions, we had 8 animators. We get a strong number of applications each year from across the country. In this last edition, we received over one hundred submissions, which means that we could only accept less than 6% of those.

SFF: Why are these shorts only one minute long?

JM: One minute might not seem like a lot, but it’s an incredible amount of work. Hothouse takes animators from concept through development into production and post-production. Doing all that in just three months is a tall order – especially considering that animators are pushing out films frame by frame! That’s 1440 frames (60 secs x 24 frames per second) for those of you keeping track. But the more interesting reason to limit films to one minute is that is really forces animators to hone their skills as storytellers. One minute is actually a fairly large canvas in terms of what can be done, but it requires that animators focus on story, paring it down to its most interesting essence. Developing those skills are a huge part of the Hothouse, and we spend a lot of time discussing pushing participants to stretch their limits in terms of what’s possible on a narrative level.

SFF: Have any previous Hothouse films gone on to be made into longer shorts or feature animated films for the NFB?

JM: Every Hothouse film is a stand-alone piece, a self-contained nugget of animation storytelling, so we don’t try to expand them into longer pieces. Still, Hothouse is an amazing way for the NFB to discover animation talent across the country. Just to mention a few, Hothouse alumni include: Howie Shia, whose last film with the NFB, BAM, premiered at TIFF; Dale Hayward and Sylvie Trouvé, who led the stop motion production for the feature film The Little Prince and are in production for their new animated short Bone Mother with the NFB; Malcolm Sutherland, who was part of the very first edition of Hothouse in 2004 and just served as the mentoring director for the last edition, and Patrick Doyon, who followed up his Hothouse film Square Roots, with the NFB-produced and Oscar-nominated Sunday/Dimanche. All to say, a huge number of Hothouse alumni (70 in total!) continue to direct and animate on a professional basis. It’s a beautiful way to come full circle.

 

Rhayne Vermette explains why she became a filmmaker and talked about her experiences as one of the NFB Hothouse apprentices. Her film, UFO, can be seen below:

 

Short Film Fan: Who or what inspired you to become a filmmaker?

Rhayne Vermette: I was studying architecture and my work was quite concerned with more psychological effects , so I started making short animations with paper models as a way to pursue my investigations more cinematically. Making film seemed to be more a natural method of working for me – rather than making building proposals, so I just stuck with it.

SFF: How did you hear about Hothouse and what made you apply?

RV: One of the local producers here in Winnipeg suggested I apply.

SFF: What was the experience like for you professionally?

RV: It was interesting. I already have a fairly secure practice and method of working so didn’t get much out of the NFB’s methods of group “workshopping” work.

SFF: What are your recommendations to anyone who is interested in participating at Hothouse?

RV: There is this bizarre group critique process surrounding the program, I think it can get pretty overwhelming and daunting. I would suggest to anyone that they have the courage to stick to their vision as see fit.

 

Short Film Fan Commentary: These short animation films were fun to watch. It is amazing to see and experience the kind of filmmaking creativity that is out there in Canada. No doubt, the task of producing a one minute short animated film from a sound clip can seem daunting for new filmmakers. But in the end, new animated short films are made for short film fans to enjoy and new Canadian filmmaking careers are born. Looking forward to seeing the talent that emerges from Hothouse 12 next year. Thanks, NFB!

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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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High-Scoring ‘The Ballad of Immortal Joe’ Spins Its Tale, Advances To ‘Short Film Face Off’ Finals

The last trio of Canadian filmmakers appeared on the third episode of CBC’s Short Film Face Off on July 2nd.  They all had their spotlights beaming on the $45,000 film production prize to be won on next week’s finals courtesy of Telefilm Canada and William F. White.

IMG - SFFO 16 - Ep3This time, it was Hector Herrera (The Ballad of Immortal Joe), Daniel Boos (Bound) and Rachelle Casseus (The Buckley Brothers) who were featured on the program and made their pitches to the panel. These three short films were brimming with romance, drama and comedy.  In the animated The Battle of Immortal Joe, a cowboy monster recounts his tale of love and sadness; a shopkeeper in Bound is torn when he discovers his brother employs foreign workers; two brothers born of different fathers are convinced they are identical twins in The Buckley Brothers.

In the end, The Buckley Brothers finished in third place with 12.0 points, with Bound coming in second place with 13.5 points. The Ballad of Immortal Joe clinched first place with 14.0 points and was the highest-scoring film on the program this season.

Tonight’s shorts had certain characteristics to them that should make them audience favorites at future film festivals.  The Ballad of Immortal Joe was an entertaining and unique tribute to the old cowboy stories of The Old West. We also learn the lesson that despite our sorrows, there are others who are worse-off in life. The shopkeeper faced a difficult situation in Bound – how to deal with the fact that his generous brother is also using foreign (read: illegal) workers at his sawmill. The appearance of the small paper note signified the seriousness of the plight of these workers, while the mystery of the unknown message written in the note has the ability to raise curiosity levels in any viewer. The two brothers in The Buckley Brothers symbolized that one can be happy and accept others despite overt differences. The two young girls’ memories of their dates with the brothers were funny and the children who played the brothers as young kids bore an almost uncanny resemblance to the grown actors.

Hats off to Hector, Daniel and Rachelle for competing on Short Film Face Off. All the best goes to Hector as he approaches possible immortality on next week’s season finale. Viewers have the chance to vote for their favourite film from the past three weeks at cbc.ca/shortfilmfaceoff or by phoning 1-877-876-3636 until Sunday night.

You can watch tonight’s episode and each of these three films again online at CBC Player.

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‘Moving On’ Makes A Move To The Finals On ‘Short Film Face Off’

The second episode of this season’s Short Film Face Off aired on June 25th with three more talented Canadian filmmakers. Each had their camera lenses focused on winning the $45,000 film production prize contributed by Telefilm Canada and William F. White.

IMG - SFFO 16 - Ep2Mike Fardy (Moving On), Michael Chen (Lost) and Brett Ferster (Claddagh) joined host Steve Patterson as they each presented their own skill at short filmmaking. There was a mix of humour and seriousness in tonight’s films. A woman tries to convince her partner to take their relationship to the next level in Moving On; a young girl in Lost finds peace through a relationship with a stuffed toy rabbit; the oldest of three brothers has to decide between the telling the truth and protecting his siblings in Claddagh.

While Lost came in third with 10.5 points, Moving On won tonight’s round with 12.5 points by narrowly passing second place Claddagh, which picked up 12.0 points.

It was good to see a mixture of intensity and lightheartedness in tonight’s shorts.  Moving On was a funny look at the age-old struggle that confronts most people at some point: the desire to have things to stay the same versus the need to progress with life. The magic wands were the perfect props; in our culture, they have come to symbolize our desire to have the power to get what we want without pain or working for it. The anguish and sadness suffered by the little girl in Lost was difficult to watch, but it is an unfortunate reality that is experienced by many children in unhappy homes. However, the short-lived happiness she felt by playing with the toy rabbit was uplifting. Claddagh reminded us that we can count on certain members of our family to help us out when a situation feels unescapable. It also showed that help and compassion can come from the most unlikely of people; the sheriff knew the brother was covering-up for the other brother, but gave the boys a chance to disassociate themselves from the fisherman’s death.

Congratulations go out to Mike, Michael and Brett for appearing on Short Film Face Off. All the best to Mike as he ‘moves on’ to the final round. Watch tonight’s episode and the films online at CBC Player.

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‘Never Happened’ Spends The Night Advancing To The Final Round On ‘Short Film Face Off’

Summer is typically the time of year when we can slow down a little and relax outside, whether at the cottage or at the beach. Summer is also an opportunity to watch new blockbuster movie releases from Hollywood or to catch up on old favourites via downloads or rentals through cable TV.  If you are looking for the latest in Canadian short films, however, look no further than CBC-TV’s Short Film Face Off. Now in its ninth year, Short Film Face Off comes to you for four weekends in a row with nine filmmakers hoping to win one fantastic filmmaking prize.

The sought-after prize is a $45,000 film production package with $30,000 coming from Telefilm Canada and an additional $15,000 contributed by William F. White International Inc. The prize will be awarded at the end of this season’s fourth and final episode.

Face Off went through some changes since it last aired in the fall of 2015. Firstly, the show’s broadcast dates were moved to the summer months of June and July. Secondly, William F. White became the newest contributor to the prize awarded to the show’s winner. And, thirdly, filmmaker Nadia Litz made her debut as one of the show’s panelists.

This newest and ninth season of Face Off took place on June 18th. Steve Patterson resumed his role as host of the program. Joining Nadia Litz on the panel of judges were veteran Face Off panelists Mohit Rajhans and Eli Glasner.

SFFO 16 - Ep 1Tonight’s contestants were Jennifer Walden (Painted Girl), Mark Slutsky (Never Happened) and Ross Moore (The Woman in White). Painted Girl looked at the transformation of a young woman by the arrival of her grandfather’s painting kit in the mail; two business colleagues attempt to wipe away the memory of their affair in Never Happened; a young girl and an older man talk about their sibling rivalries in The Woman in White.

Painted Girl picked up 11.5 votes, while both Never Happened and The Woman in White earned 13.0 votes. After a tie-breaker huddle by the panel, Never Happened won and became the first short film of the season to advance to the final round.

These three shorts were a powerful way to start the ninth season of Face Off. It was very encouraging to see the woman determined to keep going with her painting despite the abuse she suffered in Painted Girl. With her strong memories of her grandfather and a growing talent in painting, it came as no surprise that she connected with the subjects that she painted. In Never Happened, you can definitely feel the anticipation and attraction between the two colleagues. Using their phones to delete the affair from their memories was a clever commentary on how technology has become pervasive in our personal lives. The Woman in White showed us how deeply sibling relationships impact our lives in some way. However, it also reminded us to remember the good times we had with our siblings when an unexpected turn happens to that relationship.

A well-deserved ‘congratulations’ goes to Jennifer, Mark and Ross. Good luck to Mark in his quest for the $45,000 production award. Visit the CBC Player to watch the entire episode again or each film separately.

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CBC’s Short Film Face Off To Return In June 2016

CBC-TV’s Short Film Face Off has announced it’s returning to the airwaves this spring (June 2016 to be exact) and has put out a call to all Canadian filmmakers to submit their short films for a chance to compete in this year’s contest.

Filmmakers from all across Canada are eligible to apply. Those who are selected to compete on the program will have a chance to win a generous film production prize. The competition is filmed in the spring in Halifax, NS and is then broadcast nationally on CBC-TV.

For more information about the show and for a copy of their submission form, click on http://www.cbc.ca/shortfilmfaceoff/

Deadline to submit is March 18, 2016. Good luck to all the filmmakers who apply!

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2016 Canadian Screen Awards Short Film Nominees Announced

If you’re a Canadian short film fan and ever wondered if any of these quality films and their passionate filmmakers are acknowledged and awarded, look no further than the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television’s Canadian Screen Awards.

The Canadian Screen Awards will be celebrating the best in Canadian television, film and digital media during Canadian Screen Week from March 7th to 13th this year. The fun culminates on March 13th at 8 p.m. with the 2-hour broadcast of the awards ceremony on CBC-TV.

A total of 15 shorts are nominated in three categories and are as follows:

Best Short Documentary:

  • Bacon & God’s Wrath – Sol Friedman
  • The Little Deputy – Trevor Anderson, Blake McWilliam
  • Quiet Zone – David Bryant, Julie Roy, Karl Lemieux
  • Rebel/Bihttoš – Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Laura Good
  • World Famous Gopher Hole Museum – Chelsea McMullan, Douglas Nayler

Best Live Action Short Drama:

  • Blue Thunder/Bleu Tonnerre – Philippe-David Gagné, Jean-Marc E. Roy
  • Mynarski Death Plummet – Matthew Rankin, Gabrielle Tougas-Fréchette
  • Overpass/Viaduc – Patrice Laliberté
  • Roberta – Catherine Chagnon, Caroline Monnet
  • She Stoops To Conquer – Zack Russell

Best Animated Short:

  • Autos Portraits – Claude Cloutier, Julie Roy
  • The Ballad Of Immortal Joe – Hector Herrera, Pazit Cahlon
  • BAM – Howie Shia, Michael Fukushima, Maral Mohammadian
  • In Deep Waters – Sarah Van den Boom, Julie Roy, Richard Van den Boom
  • The Sleepwalker/Sonámbulo – Theodore Ushev

Hopefully during the television broadcast we’ll get to see clips of all the shorts, as well as a chance to see the filmmakers in the audience. Congratulations and good luck to all the nominees at this year’s Canadian Screen Awards ceremony!

Tweet With Canadian Reflections and SFF in March: As an added bonus to Canadian short film fans, some of these nominated shorts will also be broadcasting on the CBC-TV short film program, Canadian Reflections, in March. Stay tuned to Short Film Fan for details on which films will be aired on the show and for information about some fun Tweeting that you can participate in!

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National Film Board Launches ‘5 Shorts Project’ On Website

Whenever we’re in a mood to learn something new or want to briefly step away from the entertainment side of films, chances are we will tune in to some sort of documentary. In terms of time, most documentaries can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. But, did you know that documentaries can also last the length of an average short film?

Logo courtesy of NFB

The National Film Board recently launched on its website a short documentary film project called 5 Shorts Project. This initiative is a film production partnership between the NFB and various Quebec artist-run production centres.

The first five short documentaries currently available through 5 Shorts Project were made in conjunction with Spira, an independent film co-op. The shorts deal with a range of interesting issues. Here’s a list of what you’ll see. Click on each title to be directed to the film:

The combination of the documentary and short film formats worked really well with these films. The production quality made it feel as if you were actually in the films with the other participants. Just like a short film, the length of these documentaries was enough so that the stories could be told concisely while stirring up the viewer’s imagination.

Short Film Fan Pick: Interview With a Free Man.

The next set of short documentary films for 5 Shorts Project will be made in partnership with La Bande Sonimage.

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BJ Verot, Brad Crawford Win $45,000 Prize With ‘Loss of Contact’ On ‘Short Film Face Off’

Good things definitely come in threes, especially when it comes to Canadian short films. For three weeks, Canadians from coast to coast watched and cheered on a brilliant assembly of short filmmakers on CBC’s Short Film Face Off. During these three weeks, three short films went head to head for a grand production prize of $45,000. On the 3rd of October, three filmmakers remained.

Only one would walk away as this year’s winner.

SFFO15_Post_VoteOn the last episode of Short Film Face Off this season, we were reintroduced to Scott Simpson, Allison Coon-Come and BJ Verot (with co-director Brad Crawford in the audience) along with their respective films The Toll, Eddie and Loss of Contact. Each film was shown one last time to the viewing public, while the panel of Mohit Rajhans, Michelle Latimer and Eli Glasner shared some of their final thoughts.

We were also treated to some updates from Short Film Face Off alumni Kyle Rideout, Jordan Canning, Madison Thomas and Alan Miller. They brought the audience up to speed on what kind of projects they were working on and how Short Film Face Off helped their filmmaking careers.

SFFO15_Winner_Loss_of_Contact (1)The $45,000 prize is a combination of the Telefilm Short Film Face Off Award of $30,000 and $15,000 in equipment rental from SIM Digital and PS Production Services Ltd. With viewer voting results from last weekend tabulated, the time had arrived to make the big announcement. Francesca Accinelli, Telefilm Canada’s Director of National Promotion came on stage with cheque in hand while host Steve Patterson withdrew the winner’s name from a sealed envelope. BJ Verot and Brad Crawford were declared the winners! Congratulations BJ and Brad!

Congratulations also go out to Allison and Scott for qualifying as finalists. Watch tonight’s season finale, the prior three episodes and all competing films at CBC Player: http://www.cbc.ca/player/tv/Short%20Film%20Face%20Off

It was a pleasure to watch Short Film Face Off’s eighth season on CBC-TV. We met and connected with a group of talented short film makers from diverse regions of Canada. We viewed nine unique, fascinating and well-made short films that were humorous, thrilling and thought-provoking. We heard commentary and analysis from an experienced film industry panel. We had a chance to vote for our favourite short film and support Canadian filmmakers in the process. Canada has an excellent film industry and the short films that competed on Short Film Face Off this season are a testimony to that. Hats off to everyone involved at Short Film Face Off for bringing these films to our televisions and mobile devices. Looking forward to Season Nine!

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