Short Film Fan’s NFB Pick From This Year’s TIFF

This year’s TIFF is just around the corner and a while back, Short Film Fan listed 29 Canadian short films that will be screened at this year’s festival. For fans of the NFB, three of their animated shorts are also in the mix.  This week, the good folks at the NFB provided SFF a chance to screen these shorts before the festival kicks off on September 7th. The following are the films’ teasers and synopses:

Charles, by Dominic Etienne Simard (2017)

Charles knows he’s not like other kids. Every day at school, he’s reminded that his life isn’t like that of his classmates. Every day at home, he sees that he doesn’t receive the same care as other children in his neighbourhood. To dodge the unfairness and taunts, Charles imagines a peaceful haven peopled by good-hearted little frogs.

 

The Tesla World Light, by Matthew Rankin (2017)

New York, 1905. Visionary inventor Nikola Tesla makes one last appeal to J.P. Morgan, his onetime benefactor.  The Telsa World Light is a tragic fantasy about the father of alternating current, inspired by real events such as the inventor’s run of bad luck as a businessman and his affection for a pet bird, which he loves “like a man loves a woman.” Tesla’s words to the banker form the backdrop of this moving film about the man who blended science and art in his attempts to create the utopia of unlimited energy for all.

 

Threads, by Torill Kove (2017)

In her latest animated short, Academy Award®-winning director Torill Kove explores the beauty and complexity of parental love, the bonds that we form over time, and the ways in which they stretch and shape us.

 

Short Film Fan Pick: The Tesla World Light. This was a fascinating documentary-style short about one of the world’s pioneers of electrical engineering. The story itself is enough to encourage others to want to learn more about Tesla’s career struggles and successes. The film was extremely fast-paced and contained a delightful, eye-catching and impressive mix of animation, photography and live action. Those who have seen Rankin’s previous animated short, Mynarski Death Plummet, will see many similarities in styles and pace between the two films. Without a doubt, The Tesla World Light will prove to be a hit with history buffs and lovers of avant-garde cinema alike.

For more on TIFF, go to http://www.tiff.net/ and to learn more about the NFB, click on https://www.nfb.ca/

Enjoy the shorts and TIFF! If you get a chance to see one or all of these NFB shorts, please leave a comment below. Tell us which one was your favourite and why.

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Emotional, Heartfelt ‘Alison’ Looks At Rough Side Of Relationships

At some point when a couple has been dating for a certain amount of time, both partners must decide whether or not to take things to the next level and enter into a committed relationship. Taking that next step gives both partners a sense of excitement and happiness, as they look forward to their life journey together. As the relationship continues, however, life is not always fun and games as each partner eventually reveals the not-so-good side of his or her personality. As a result, bad habits that were once accepted in the beginning become annoying and difficult behaviours that were at first shrugged-off become a worry. After building a life together, is it worth ending a long-term relationship when bad behaviours get to the point of serious intolerability?

The 13-minute dramatic short film Alison (2016) sets out to answer that question as it looks at one couple’s troubling and emotional evening. Written and produced by Jessica Rose and directed by David Lester, Alison stars Jessica Rose as Alison and Kristopher Turner (Saving Hope, This Life) as Jay. Alison and Jay are heading home from an evening out. With Alison under the influence, Jay does his utmost best to get her inside the house and put her to bed. Things don’t go so smoothly for Jay, as Alison’s behaviour becomes hard to manage. Through it all, Jay keeps his cool until he reaches a breaking point. For more on Alison and Jay’s eventful night together, watch the film below:

 Warning: mature content – viewer discretion is advised.

 

Short Film Fan recently got in touch with Jessica to learn more about Alison, including the difficulties faced by the crew in filming the street scene and whether or not the short was a commentary about addiction and mental health issues faced by couples in long-term relationships.

Short Film Fan: Who or what influenced you to make Alison?

Jessica Rose: David Lester (the director) and I have been together for eleven years, so long term relationships are something I think we understand very well. The film shows a kind of intimacy specific to long term relationships that we hadn’t seen portrayed on screen before in a way that felt authentic to us. When you live with someone you get to see all sides of them that the general public isn’t privy to: all the wonderful cute lovely things you fell in love with and, inevitably, all the baggage that reveals itself when you really trust each other or start to test each other. Sometimes it’s working at it and getting through the hard stuff that makes your love even deeper, but it can be hard to see that when you’re in the thick of it. Also, speaking to the character of Alison specifically, I was going through a challenging time personally and I was probably channeling some of those feelings when creating her.

SFF: What challenges did you face when it was time to film the tinkle scene in the street?

JR: Time! We shot the whole film in one day, and the pee scene was the last thing on the schedule. It was nearly 2 a.m. and getting very cold, all of us had worked hard all day and were exhausted, and we needed to wrap.  We used a “pee rig”, so there were definitely some technical adjustments we had to make to figure it out. David operated the rig, which was big syringe attached to a tube sewn into the pants, and on the first take he put too much pressure into the pump and it came out like a waterfall.  It took some practice to get it to look natural. Luckily it was the middle of the night so there weren’t too many people walking by ready to call the cops.

SFF: Was it a mental health or addiction issue that was behind Alison’s dysfunctional behaviour?

JR: We actually don’t want to say too much about what we intended because it’s been fascinating to learn how people interpret it and project their own relationship experiences onto the film. That being said, I didn’t intend it to be an addiction issue when I initially wrote it. I actually think Alison is a pretty normal girl, and that the situation reflected in the film is more common between young couples than people tend to admit. Relationships have the potential to be very beautiful things, but they do challenge us and teach us a great deal about ourselves. The process can be deeply rewarding, but it’s not necessarily smooth sailing.

SFF: Some people would say that what we witnessed in Jay was relationship co-dependency. Is the film an attempt to bring the issue of codependency out into the open for public discussion?

JR: I wouldn’t say it was a deliberate attempt because I didn’t have that kind of agenda when writing it, but it’s absolutely a conversation in the film and something I think about in my own life. Having been in a relationship for eleven years, David and I really grew up together in our twenties, and when you’re with someone for an extended period of time, unconsciously your needs start to bleed together and you end up making compromises or demands on each other that you don’t even realize you’re making. Developing true independence and self-sufficiency within the relationship was something we had to work extremely hard on. That being said, I wrote the ending the way it is because I really want to make the audience question whether Alison behaves this way all the time or if this is a more isolated event. In healthy relationships, even if both people work hard to be emotionally responsible for themselves, inevitably there are times where you take turns caring for one another. I like that Alison shows up for Jay the next day, and we finally get to see this other side to her that he really loves.

SFF: Alison was named a Vimeo Staff Pick awhile back. What was it like for you and your team when you got the news?

JR: So exciting! Putting it online was a lot of hard work, but seeing it take off and find an audience was the most gratifying, rewarding thing. I was really happy about the traction it was getting online even before we had the Vimeo news — we were amazed at how many people started to share it over social media. It’s vulnerable to put such a personal story on the Internet and it’s really difficult to give a film life online. We had no idea what the response would be, so ultimately the whole experience ended up being so moving to us. I was home alone in my pajamas when I got the Staff Pick e-mail and kind of just burst into tears (in a good way). David was working, so I called him with the news and we both kind of freaked out.

SFF: What lesson or lessons would you like the audience to take away from Alison?

JR: Honestly, I hope that if there are any lessons to be taken from the film that they are very unique to the person watching it. Our favourite thing about film is how it gets people talking, so what we love most is when people start to have dialogue about it after and reflect on what they’ve seen and how it connects to their own life. We’ve had people write to us and share the different ways they relate to the film or how it’s changed their perspective on their past or current relationships, and that part is really the most gratifying.

 

Short Film Fan Review:

Alison was an emotional and heartfelt story about staying dedicated to your mate. While it is easy to run from a relationship at the first sign of trouble, Alison shows us that true love for a partner includes accepting the bad with the good.  The quick scene change from “oh yeah, peanut butter” to vomiting was funny, but you still feel for Alison’s suffering; especially when she broke down in tears in the tub. Jay’s calmness when confronting and coping with Alison’s behaviour showed an amazing strength of character, while his break down reminds us all that a person’s strength can only last for so long. If the film went on for a few minutes longer, perhaps Jay could have revealed his true thoughts, feelings and concerns about Alison and how it was affecting his place in the relationship.

Overall, Alison is an extremely well-written and well-acted serious film that would resonate with couples young or old; married or still in the dating phase. Singles could also benefit from watching Alison, as it would be a great teaching tool on how to manage the relationship stresses and challenges. As Jessica mentioned, Alison has the ability to get people thinking and talking about their own relationship experiences. After watching the film above, how did it affect the way you see relationships past and present? Have you been in a similar situation like Jay was? Have you walked in Alison’s shoes at one point? Let Jessica know how Alison moved you. You can send her a comment at the bottom of the film’s website at https://www.alisonshortfilm.com/ or you can Tweet her at @thejessrose

TIFF Announces 29 Canadian Short Films For September Lineup

Next month, the 42nd annual Toronto International Film Fest (TIFF) will be taking place September 7th to 17th and it promises to satisfy the palates of all sorts of film buffs. From world cinema to documentaries to experimental film, TIFF 2017 is Canada’s, if not the continent’s, largest on-going film festival that features new and seasoned film talent from Canada and around the world.

Of course, no film festival would be complete without short films and TIFF recently announced this year’s shorts line up for its September screening. There will be 29 Canadian shorts at this year’s festival, including 11 directed by women and three by Indigenous filmmakers. 24 shorts are part of the Short Cuts programme and 5 shorts will be shown under the festival’s Wavelength banner.

The complete list is as follows:

SHORT CUTS PROGRAMME

The Argument (with annotations) Daniel Cockburn, Canada/UK

Bickford Park Linsey Stewart, Dane Clark, Canada

Bird Molly Parker, Canada

Charles Dominic Etienne Simard, Canada/France

Creatura Dada Caroline Monnet, Canada

Crème de menthe Philippe David Gagné, Jean-Marc E. Roy, Canada

The Crying Conch (Le cri du lambi) Vincent Toi, Canada

The Drop In Naledi Jackson, Canada

For Nonna Anna Luis De Filippis, Canada

Grandmother (ʔEtsu) Trevor Mack, Canada

homer_b Milos Mitrovic, Conor Sweeney, Canada

An Imagined Conversation: Kanye West & Stephen Hawking Sol Friedman, Canada

Latched Justin Harding, Rob Brunner, Canada

Lira’s Forest Connor Jessup, Canada

Midnight Confession Maxwell McCabe-Lokos, Canada/USA

Milk Heather Young, Canada

Nuuca Michelle Latimer, Canada

Pre-Drink Marc-Antoine Lemire, Canada

Rupture Yassmina Karajah, Jordan/Canada

Shadow Nettes Phillip Barker, Canada

Stay, I Don’t Want to Be Alone (Reste, je ne veux pas être toute seule) Gabriel Savignac, Canada

The Tesla World Light (Tesla : Lumière Mondiale) Matthew Rankin, Canada

Threads Torill Kove, Canada/Norway

We Forgot to Break Up Chandler Levack, Canada

 

WAVELENGTHS PROGRAMME

Heart of a Mountain Parastoo Anoushahpour, Ryan Ferko, Faraz Anoushahpour, Taiwan/Canada

Palmerston Blvd. Dan Browne, Canada

Scaffold Kazik Radwanski, Canada

some cities Francesco Gagliardi, Canada

Turtles Are Always Home (Sokun Al Sulhufat) Rawane Nassif, Canada/Lebanon/Qatar

 

All 24 Canadian Short Cuts films are eligible for the IWC Short Cuts Award for Best Canadian Short Film. All films in the Short Cuts programme are eligible for the IWC Short Cuts Award for Best Film. For synopses of all shorts, go to tiff.net/sc and tiff.net/wavelengths. For tickets, click tiff.net/tickets or call 416-599-TIFF (toll-free: 1-888-599-8433).

If you will be attending TIFF this year, why not show your support for homegrown short film talent and see this year’s slate of Canadian shorts (many of which are world premieres). If you do happen to see any of them, share your thoughts about what you saw by leaving a message in the comments box below!

 

An 8-Film Preview Of 2017 Toronto Youth Shorts Film Festival

If you or anyone you know is a young and aspiring filmmaker living in the Greater Toronto area, the Toronto Youth Shorts Film Festival is back. On August 11th and 12th, a total of 53 short films will be featured in five different programs throughout various locations. This festival is your chance to see some of Toronto’s budding filmmakers’ work in a wide variety of genres, including animation, comedy and drama covering a wide variety of topics.

Aleks Tucovic
Short Film Fan had the pleasure in reviewing a sample of what festival goers will expect to see at this year’s festival. The themes, dates and locations of these films are also included below. Thanks to Aleks Tucovic, an avid Short Film Fan reader and subscriber, for contributing four of the reviews in this list:

 

UNDER THE SURFACE – August 11, 7:30pm, Spadina Theatre at Alliance Francaise de Toronto

But Wait, There’s More – directed by Mike Mildon

In this cheeky 14-minute short, Tim goes door to door on a mission to bring people to God. In his travels, he meets the legendary and disgraced TV marketer, Danny Deals, who teaches Tim a thing or two about sales. The film was part mockumentary, part dramatic comedy in which the costumes and props gave the short somewhat of an authentic 1980s look and feel. There are some good lessons to learn at the end, no matter what you are trying to sell. – MK

Erika – directed by Hanna Jovin

During World War II, a Bosnian and German girl find and stoke a friendship that stretches beyond ethnicity. The acting was excellent and the use of German and Bosnian languages made it feel like the short was produced in Europe. Maybe the lesson to be learned in this film is that, while the first casualty of war is truth, the innocence of youth remains intact. This a great short for history buffs who would like to learn more about Bosnia and its people during the war. -MK

 

UNBOUND  – August 12, 1:15pm, Innis College

Happy Face Hill – directed by Samantha Chalmers

When life drives a highway through one’s life, what is one to do? There’s no better opportunity than to put a smile on everyone who is driving that highway of life. “Happy face can’t always be happy,” says the film’s speaker, however. He reminds us to just enjoy the day, the family, friends and the meal on the table. You don’t know what the day will bring, but having watched Happy Face Hill I know it brought an enjoyable film to my day. -AT 

Nana – directed by Ali Kellner

This animation piece is a personal account of experience of a girl from Budapest during World War II. The film flows from the narration. Where the words established the events, the animation filled with imagery of what was directed in those harsh times. The music which was of somber tone bound together the destiny of people swept up by great historical shifts. The film pulled me in into its humble yet powerful reflections. -AT

PROPOSAL – August 12, 3:30pm, Innis College

The Talk – directed by Tyler Boyco

A husband and wife try to come up with the best possible way to talk to their young teenage daughter about the birds and the bees. The resulting heart to heart is far from the scenarios that they come up with in their minds. Although a bit slow paced, this short made an often uncomfortable rite of passage for all parties involved into a lighthearted comedy. After watching this short, teenage viewers may want to tread carefully while at sitting at home between after school and dinner time. -MK

These Familiar Faces – directed by Maximum Brauch and Raine Akiyama-Chen

This was a spooky story of four people in an emotional group session. The music weighed in heavily on the direction of the film. Going back and forth in creative storytelling created its own story deconstruction. The film’s characters left me wondering about what reality was like for those young enough to remember and those not yet old enough to know better. -AT

 

TRANSITIONS – August 12, 6:00pm, Innis College

Ariana – directed by Astrid Harrison

After losing her love in a car accident, young woman hears a particular tune at a wedding that she can’t get out of her mind. She helps the song’s composer by adding lyrics of her own, which in turn helps her with closure. The short was a very heartwarming story about the tragedy of love lost and the hope in moving on. The car accident scene was particularly shocking and has the potential to make viewers flinch in their seats. The music and singing were beautifully written and scored for the film. -MK

Breath, Maggie, Breathe – directed by Sofie Uretsky

Before undergoing a delicate and unconditional procedure, a conversation between sisters sets the tone of the story. The opening shows the main character strongly composed then shows her vulnerability in dialogue. I liked how her deflection of a doctor’s concern leads directly to the next scene’s reflections with her partner. This was an uncomplicated yet important story. -AT

 

For more on this year’s Toronto Youth Shorts Film Festival and to buy your tickets, check out http://www.torontoyouthshorts.ca/

If you see any of the shorts featured listed above and want to share your own thoughts about them, leave a comment below!

Have fun at the festival, everyone!

View Shorts & Vote For Your Favourite At WFG’s 48-Hour Film Contest

For short film fans living in the Winnipeg area, the summer weather has been very hot and humid this past while. If you are looking to escape the heat while enjoying 27 newly-minted Manitoba-made short films at the same time, come down to the Metropolitan Entertainment Centre on Wednesday, August 2nd  at 7 p.m. for the 48-Hour Film Contest.

This annual event organized by the Winnipeg Film Group encourages the creation of short films made by Manitoba residents. Participants are tasked to write, shoot, edit, score and complete an original short in just two days.

Not only will the audience be treated to some quality short films, there will be a reception after the contest with a chance to win some prizes and an opportunity to mix and mingle with the filmmakers and members of various arts organizations.

Hot off of the 48-Hour Contest premiere at Gimli Film Festival, Short Film Fan caught up with Ben Williams, WFG’s Production Centre Director, to learn more about this year’s 48-Hour Film Contest at the Met:

 

Short Film Fan:  What genre of shorts will be screened at this year’s contest?

Ben Williams:  Actually, every year the filmmakers are given a challenge to produce a film within a set of parameters called “The Key”. The Key changes every year and each year there is a different plot theme, at least two camera techniques and the use of a music score. It is within these parameters that each filmmaker crafts their film. This year the plot theme was titled “The Quest”: There’s comedy, drama, LGBT content, special effects, some action and even puppets in this year’s crop of films.

SFF: Which categories will these shorts compete under?

BW:  At Gimli, there was a jury selection for Best Film, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Editor, Best Sound, Best Score, Best Actor and Best Actress. At the Metropolitan, the audience gets to decide on the People’s Choice Awards for Best Film and Best Score. If you attend this event your vote will count.

SFF: Which filmmakers should the audience especially keep their eyes on?

BW:  I can honestly say that this year’s crop of films is stronger than it has been in the past four years. If we judge it by what the jury and Gimli crowd felt… filmmakers like Julie Epp, Cleo Leslie, Michael Sanders, Jhurmel Pasqua, Vincent Tang, Carter Hadlow, Lasha Mountain, John Titley and Lucky 7 Studios (composed of 7 teenagers ages 13-17) each have quality films. The bar is getting raised higher each year and we are proud of the results.

SFF:  Why should short film fans attend this year’s 48-Hour Film Contest?

BW:  There will be a reception afterwards with appetizers and a cash bar served from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. We will have a silent auction with generous sponsorships from: Royal MTC, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Royal Ballet of Winnipeg, Landmark Cinemas and other great prizes. All ticket holders will receive 10% off at Chosabi (printed on the ticket). There will be many filmmakers, musicians, actors, film industry folks, local business arts supporters and arts organizations in attendance a great opportunity to build and network.

 

For tickets to the screening, click on the Winnipeg Film Group’s website: https://www.winnipegfilmgroup.com/event/48-hour-film-contest-2017-at-metropolitan-entertainment-centre/

For directions to the Met, check out  http://www.themetwinnipeg.com/contact-us/

A pair of free tickets is available to a lucky Short Film Fan reader in Winnipeg. Just email your name and phone number to cdnshortfilmfan@gmail.com and two tickets will be waiting for you and a guest at the door.

Happy viewing, short film fans!

‘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.

Short Film Face Off Reaches Milestone 10th Season on CBC-TV

For Canadian short film fans, perhaps one of the most anticipated yearly television broadcasts is CBC’s Short Film Face Off. Taped in front of a live studio audience in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Short Film Face Off features nine Canadian filmmakers and their short films in which one winning filmmaker is awarded a generous filmmaking prize package. Hosted by Steve Patterson, the shorts are judged by a studio panel of three Canadian film professionals and the final winning short film is voted by the show’s viewers across Canada.

This year marks Short Film Face Off’s tenth year of showcasing these diverse and talented filmmakers’ short films to a vast Canadian television viewing audience. This is a huge milestone for the show; especially since it is unique in its format, niche in its content and is on-air for just four weeks of the year.

Short Film Fan reached out to Peter Hall, Senior Manager, Production Services at CBC Atlantic to get some insight into the history of Short Film Face Off, the reason for its longevity, and how the show has been received by the filmmakers and the viewing audience.

 

Short Film Fan: How did you come up with the idea of Short Film Face Off?

Peter Hall: At CBC Halifax, we were working closely with quite a few short film producers and directors. We supported several awards in the region to help emerging filmmakers get their films produced.  There were so many great films being made that we wanted to give them greater exposure and we knew the CBC audience would be the perfect place. We also knew this would be fresh programming because most people have few opportunities to see short films.

SFF: What were you hoping or expecting to achieve with Short Film Face Off, and were those hopes and expectations met?

PH: We have far exceeded our expectations.  Here we are ten years later and we have broadcast close to one hundred short films on television and introduced that many emerging Canadian directors to a whole new audience. Our intent was to showcase short films and provide a platform for directors to tell their stories from communities across the country. I am thrilled we are still doing that.

SFF: Short Film Face Off is now in its 10th season. How do you account for this milestone?

PH: Short Film Face Off is a very accessible program. Our host, Steve Patterson, does a great job to make filmmaking easy to understand and to appreciate for the television audience.

SFFO’s Host Steve Patterson
But really, the single most important aspect of the program is the quality of films that directors bring the program. They tell unique stories about Canadians and Canadian life and where else are you going to find that?

We also have had terrific support from Telefilm Canada over the years. This program fits perfectly into their mandate, and they have been an integral part of the show’s success.

We also have industry support from William F. White who offers an equipment rental package to our winning filmmakers.

SFF: How has the program changed since its first season, and what kinds of changes to the show do you foresee in the future?

PH: The program itself has not changed very much. Our format is pretty well the same; really the biggest change that we have seen is in the quality of films that are submitted every year. Typically there are close to two hundred films that are sent to our juries across the country and every year it seems they get better and better. Technology has certainly been part of that with the development of computer animation and effects but I think we are seeing films from some very talented filmmakers who know and love their craft.

SFF: Do you have a memorable moment from the show, either on or off camera?

PH: I always love to see the directors interact with Steve for the first time on the set. Steve can be somewhat unpredictable (in a nice way) so understandably it can be unnerving to anticipate what he may say or do. Once a director was describing in detail how, with much difficulty, they had borrowed a Volkswagen to shoot a scene. It turned out to be quite a long story and at the end Steve laughed and said, “Well that story was longer than the whole film”.

SFF: What has the feedback about the show been like from the filmmakers and viewers?

PH: For the most part, filmmakers who come to Halifax for the program love the experience. They really appreciate having their film shown to a national audience and talking about it with industry professionals. But we have noticed the friendships that are made between the filmmakers.

Filmmakers listening to panelist feedback.
When in Halifax the directors are able to meet others from across the country and there are great conversations and discussions about filmmaking. It is a singular opportunity for them to together and they do so in the studio and after hours in the pub. I think some lasting friendships have begun at Short Film Face Off.

Our best viewer feedback comes from the voting. I am always amazed to see the number of votes and the fact that they come from every province and territory.

SFF: How do you visualize Short Film Face Off’s role on CBC 10 years from now?

PH: I would like to see the program expand into a longer series.  Film is the dominant art form of our time and that is unlikely to change in the next 10 years and beyond.

SFF: Do you have any other comments or thoughts you would like to share about Short Film Face Off or Canadian short films, in general?

PH: I would like to tell film and television audiences that there are many fantastic Canadian short films being made in this country. Not only are the films wonderful to watch but the people making them are the future of filmmaking in Canada; they will be the ones to protect and celebrate the future Canadian culture.

 

Short Film Fan Commentary:

Indeed, there is an incredible wealth of short films out there made by Canadian filmmakers. These shorts are fun to watch with memorable and relatable story lines that add to an already rich Canadian film and television culture. Although they may be found on the Internet and at film festivals, Short Film Face Off is perhaps the most interesting, informative and exciting place to view Canadian shorts.

Viewers who have never seen a Canadian short film before will be impressed with the quality and variety that make their way onto Short Film Face Off each year. If you are not a Canadian short film fan now, you will be after watching the show. It will be exciting to see how this 10th season will unfold. Catch the first episode on July 8 at 7 p.m. local time.

Thank you to Short Film Face Off for connecting Canada together through short films, for bringing Canadian filmmakers into the spotlight and for making Canadian short films more accessible for everyone to enjoy and appreciate. Congratulations on your 10th season!