Tag Archives: Canadian film makers

Romantic Obsessions Result In Tragedy In ‘The One I Adore’ (2017)

When a relationship ends, both ex-partners have two choices. Either they pick up and move on or they remain stuck and refuse to move on. Even though both partners feel the hurt and pain of a terminated relationship, it is no secret that the one partner who was served notice will feel the pain much more. Shock, anger and grief are a few of the emotions that he or she will experience in the days and weeks after a break-up. Some ex-partners will eventually learn to accept the situation and look forward to the future. Others, however, can’t or won’t accept the situation and will even go so far as to demand the other partner come back to the relationship. Begging and pleading through phone calls and emails could eventually lead into physically stalking the ex-partner at homes, workplaces and public gathering places.

The 8-minute short The One I Adore is a frightening look at how far one woman will go to confront an old love and to settle a score. Written and directed by Jason Seelmann, The One I Adore stars Joceyln Anna Lernout as the Ex-Lover, Nicole Henderson as the Beautiful Woman  and Matteo de Cola as the Handsome Man. The Ex-Lover drives through the night into a part of town where she finds the Beautiful Woman and Handsome Man making their way to a restaurant.  Hiding in the shadows, the Ex looks on as the couple enjoy their dinner date together. As the date continues, the Ex continues to hide unnoticed by the couple and recalls happier times with her former partner in her mind. The couple leave the restaurant and make their way to the Beautiful Woman’s apartment. Not too far behind, the Ex arrives at the apartment and finds the couple in an intimate moment. After a moment of grief and anger, the Ex knew what she had to do next. Get a glimpse of The One I Adore in the trailer below:

Here is what Jason had to say to Short Film Fan about The One I Adore:

“Like many acclaimed artists whose works have long inspired me (such as Martin Scorsese, Kevin Smith and Robert Rodriguez), I am fascinated by twisting psychological journeys; dark stories about people responding to disappointments, rejection or trauma. I believe we are all capable of antisocial behaviour if pushed hard enough. Heartbreak is heartbreak. Obsession and violence is equally tragic in any relationship. We are all human beings who attempt love and falter. Are we not all capable of violence, even murder, if pushed to the breaking point?” he said.

 

Short Film Fan Review:

Generally, The One I Adore had a real spooky overtone caused by the musical score and the lack of dialogue. There was an interesting scene where both women toss their hair back with their hand almost simultaneously. That moment almost made it look as if there was some kind of final lingering connection between them. The characters seemed to lack a certain amount of emotion towards the end, however. The Ex did not look angry or upset enough before the murder, while the Beautiful Woman and the Handsome Man did not look fearful or terrified enough before their anticipated demise. A fight or struggle scene, which was not a part this film, would have added a bit more horror or intensity to the story. In the end, The One I Adore was a well-paced short film that does a great job at reminding us that romantic obsessions do have the potential to end violently and tragically.

The One I Adore makes its world premiere in Toronto at the Blood In The Snow Canadian Film Festival on November 25th at 7 p.m. at The Royal Cinema, 608 College Street. Don’t miss your chance at catching this little psychological thriller on the big screen. For tickets, go to www.universe.com/bitsff

All the best goes to Jason on his filmmaking career. Can’t wait to see what short film he and his team come up with next!

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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!

Take Control Of Your Job Search By Watching ‘Interview’ (2016)

With a new year upon us, many people will take the time to sit down and reflect upon the past and make plans for the future. Some of us will map out a goal to lose weight or to take a course and learn something new. For others, looking for a new job and starting a new career are on top of their lists. In today’s economy, it feels like it is getting tougher for job seekers to get noticed and to find opportunities to shine in job interviews. When a person does manage to latch on to that coveted foot in the door, he or she only has a moment to make a good impression and hopefully land that new job. But what happens when that job interview that you were looking forward to earlier suddenly becomes a struggle? How do you turn an interview around that is headed in the wrong direction?

The short film Interview (2016) could offer you some answers. Directed by Ryan Kayet and produced by Dave Gibson, Interview was written by Ryan Kayet and Ashan Butt, and stars Richard Young as ‘Rik’ and Charlie Ebbs as ‘Colin’. Rik is given a chance of a lifetime when his cousin helps him secure an interview with her boss, Colin. As soon as Rik enters Colin’s office, however, things do not go as he had hoped. Colin dismisses Rik’s qualifications and attempts to educate Rik on what he looks for in an ideal candidate. The interview becomes a battle of wits between the two men, with Rik finding the strength and courage to challenge Colin, take control, and turn the meeting around in his favour. Check out the film’s trailer below:

Short Film Fan recently reached out to Ryan for some of his thoughts about Interview:

Short Film Fan: What motivated or influenced you to make Interview?

Ryan Kayet: My good friend, who also happens to be a talented writer, Ahsan Butt, and I had wanted to work on a project together for some time. Interview was created out of our desire to tell a story that featured strong characters in a situation where the power shifts back and forth. When creating the script for Interview, we filtered through multiple different plot lines and ideas before Ahsan came up with one that would be the story’s defining moment – Rik refusing to leave and demanding to be interviewed.  This was the point that I could see it becoming a short film and one that I wanted to make.

SFF: What particular challenges did you experience when making the film?

RK: I was really fortunate to have two great actors (Richard Young and Charlie Ebbs) playing the leads because this was a challenging, dialogue heavy script. I spent a lot of time working with the actors in rehearsal. We broke down the characters, created their back story, and searched for the subtext within the dialogue. Because of the way it was written, we really needed to have this prep work to nail the portrayal of the realistic and deep characters. So that was a challenge, but one that was very fun and rewarding! From a technical perspective, making a short film that is a continuous dialogue scene, with two actors, and in one location poses a few challenges as well. I spent a lot of time during pre-production developing the shot list to ensure that camera movements and angles would in service to the story and the characters, while also keeping the audience engaged.

SFF:  Colin had placed many obstacles in front of Rik during the interview. In your opinion, what was the biggest obstacle that Rik had to contend with?

RK: Rik had a lot to deal with, but his biggest obstacle was not even being considered before entering the room. Colin, whether it was because of his bias or simply not being interested, had no intention of taking Rik seriously; he just wanted to give some advice, toot his own horn, and dismiss Rik.  So when Rik takes a little control and demands to be interviewed, it is a big moment. It is this action that shows the strength and depth of his character. It’s a rather audacious move, and the point at which most people would certainly not dare to follow as the stakes for repercussions grows much higher. Ahsan, Dave Gibson (the producer) and I are always drawn to these moments in a story, because it reflects what we would like to do, but decide (perhaps wisely) not to.

SFF:  What lessons, if any, would you like the audience to learn from Interview?

RK: In setting out to create this story, I didn’t intend to give people a “take away” of any sorts. One of the most powerful things a film can do is accurately reflect an aspect of our own society in a way that is honest and promotes empathy. There was a lot of effort put in to make sure that Colin wasn’t portrayed as evil, like some villain out of an after school special. He obviously has his flaws, and some unchecked biases, but if he was overtly and unrealistically prejudicial, I don’t think this film would resonate.  At our last screening, we had numerous people talk to us about how much they could relate to Rik’s situation, and how closely it reflected their feelings. Honestly, that’s all I can ask for.

 

Short Film Fan Review: From start to finish, Interview was a riveting 19-minute short. Colin’s preoccupation with his mobile phone within the first one and a half minutes into the film was a tip that things were not going to go well between the two gentlemen. Rik’s determination and Colin’s arrogance were scripted well and complemented both of these characters. It was easy to relate to and feel for Rik’s character, as most job seekers have experienced at least one bad interview at some point in their lives. In some ways, you could see that Colin was in a bind as an employer. Since his employee Angie (who we did not see in the film) had recommended Rik, and she presumably got along with Colin, he probably felt that he had to entertain Angie’s request of meeting up with Rik in order to show that he was a good boss. The dialogue was very realistic and it felt like as if you were in that room experiencing the interview in person. Interview is highly recommended watching for interviewers and interviewees, alike. Watch out, interviewers: make sure you know how to handle yourself in an interview better than Colin did.

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What Are They Up To Now: Alan Powell Explores The Power of Denial in ‘As One’ (2016)

Keeping in step with the promise of trying new things on Short Film Fan, ‘What Are They Up To Now’ is the latest feature that will show up here from time to time. The goal is to touch base with those who have been previously interviewed on SFF and to explore what has been going on in their careers since their last appearance on the site. In this first edition of ‘What Are They Up To Now’, Short Film Fan reconnected with Canadian filmmaker Alan Powell, now a resident of London, UK, to talk about his latest short, As One.

 

Many people are often oblivious to the fact that they live in a state of denial. Living in denial can occur, for example, when a person ignores the pain and suffering that he or she experienced sometime in the past and pretends that everything is alright with their present lives. Or, someone may be in denial if he or she chooses to ignore his or her current needs and learns to live without them instead. For a while, the denial works and the person lives life somewhat happily. But, at some point, something will happen or someone will say something that breaks down the person’s denial barrier and those blocked inner feelings are released quickly and powerfully.

Alan Powell’s 11-minute short As One (2016) looks at this delicate topic through a woman’s struggle with her current relationship situation. Twice-divorced Maggie (Janie Dee) is on her way to a wedding in a classic London black cab along with her daughter Abi (Jeany Spark) and two other passengers: Douglas (Neil Morrissey) and Danny (Edward MacLiam). By the time the party reaches their destination, Maggie’s life, in a sense, has been deconstructed and she’s left to pick up the painful pieces and carry on. Watch the trailer:

In last year’s interview on Short Film Fan, Alan was in the middle of working on As One. Now complete, the film will have its North American premiere at the 35th Vancouver International Film Festival this month, as well as its European premiere this coming November at the 31st Festival Européen du Film Court de Brest in France . Short Film Fan followed up with Alan to get some input from him on why he made As One and how living in London influences his filmmaking:

 

Short Film Fan:  What motivated you to make this short?

Alan Powell: It started with the expression ‘never underestimate the power of denial’. I first heard it in the film American Beauty. I thought it was a fascinating line and it stayed with me. What can the power of denial actually do? It can create a life full of lies and delusions to protect oneself from the fact that they’re unhappy or living in deep-seated pain and unwilling to face the truth. This resonated with me. I know people who live their lives or have lived their lives never wanting to peak outside the bubble they created for themselves. I wanted to explore the journey of a woman who knows the truth that exists outside that bubble yet denies its presence in her life. What does that look like? How would she deal with it? As One is really a character study of the dynamics denial creates in relationships.

SFF:  You mentioned previously that As One was a short that you originally had set in Toronto, ON. Besides the change in location, in what ways did producing As One in London, UK, affect the film’s original concept and final result?as-one-poster

AP: Setting it in a Black Cab in London enhanced the concept. It’s a tight space and visually compliments the film’s theme. In Canada, there’s no way I could have had the same dynamic in a cab. The historic Black Cabs are designed to sit two passengers across from another two. So the four passengers are facing each other which was ideal blocking for As One. In terms of London as a location, maybe it’s just me but shooting here is far more pleasing visually to the eye because of the history that’s here. The textures, the tone it sets, all of it looks great on film.  Then, there are the actors. Again, maybe it’s just me, but the accents, the authenticity they bring to their work; it all feels very sophisticated for this Canadian boy :). Canada equally has these elements, too, but you really can’t compare the two countries. What also helps is having a cinematographer that knows how to capture beautiful images. Oliver Ford has shot two films for me so far. He won an award for the last one (Phone Box). He’s a true artist and he makes me look great!

SFF: How does making a short in London compare to making a short in Toronto, in general?

AP: Same challenges. The only difference I can see is that you have access to name talent here. I think it’s pretty cool that Sir Ian McKellen lives down the road from us. We saw him at our local supermarket last Christmas. When I was living in Wapping, Rod Stewart lived nearby too. So, this is a pretty cool place. Some of Hollywood’s biggest names still live in London and some will consider doing short films if the script is strong enough. That’s why Neil Morrissey came on-board. He shot to fame in the 90’s with his role of Tony in the sitcom ‘Men Behaving Badly’. He’s been busy ever since. He’s still considered royalty here, so it was an honour to have him join the cast.

SFF: Are you satisfied with leaving As One as a short, or would you consider turning it into a feature?

AP: You’ll be pleased to know that I’ve developed the script for the feature film. It recaps the short in the first 5 minutes and then carries on from there with the same tone and pace. Needless to say, I’m very much looking forward to putting it on the screen next.

 

Short Film Fan Review: The cab ride was definitely the perfect place to expose and ultimately defeat Maggie’s denial of her deep unhappiness. At first, we see a cheerful Maggie; feeling alive from the energy that London offers. However, as the conversations between the four passengers continue during the cab ride, Maggie’s protective barriers slowly start crumbling away. Could this same turn of events have happened during or after the wedding? The film made a very good point with the fact that in denying ourselves, we deny others in the process; creating isolation and further denial. Seeing the Black Cab travel through a busy London evening was a treat and the view of Big Ben at the beginning of the film was stunning. As One was a perfect mix of drama and comedy that is worth watching more than once.

As One screens in Canada at Vancouver Film Festival on October  7th and 9th. Get your tickets soon and don’t miss this opportunity to see Alan Powell’s latest short! If you happen to catch As One at VIFF, Tweet your thoughts about the film to him directly @alan_powell.

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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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Build Your Film Career With Training From The National Screen Institute

You’re a Canadian film maker. You want to make short films that will capture the public’s interest and help grow your career. But, you’re not sure where to turn to for the right training and guidance. Look no further than the National Screen Institute. Headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and nestled in the city’s historical Exchange District, the NSI has provided film, television and digital training to over 720 graduates for close to 30 years. Many Canadian shorts can be found on the NSI Online Short Film Festival, which runs year-round on their website.

nsi_logo_header1Recently, Short Film Fan got in touch with Brendon Sawatzky, director of programming at the NSI. Brendon directs the development of all of NSI’s new programs and is accountable for the delivery of its courses. Brendon has a rich film and television producing background, with a vast array of credits to his name. He held a previous role at the NSI as a program manager before leaving to join the Winnipeg Film Group and the National Film Board later on. Now back at the NSI, and also as chair of Film Training Manitoba, Brendon explained how the NSI helps Canadian film makers develop their skills and talents to become leading-edge storytellers.

Short Film Fan: In what ways does the NSI help Canadian filmmakers and the short films that we get to watch?

Brendon Sawatzky: Our market-driven courses have led to employment and successful careers for graduates by giving them a competitive edge. According to our 2013 alumni survey, 87% of respondents are working in the film and TV industry. After nearly 30 years, and hundreds of alumni, NSI continues to develop and deliver courses to meet the industry’s needs. We produce works that appeal to Canadians and help advance careers that will grow the Canadian industry, while contributing to the regional and national economies stimulating employment for the long-term.

NSI also leads in the design and delivery of programs that provide training to Canada’s visible minority and Aboriginal screen professionals.

SFF: The NSI’s Online Short Film Festival features a lot of different shorts. How does a short filmmaker get his or her film shown there?

BS: We put out calls for short film submissions four times a year. We have a call open now, with filmmakers welcome to submit their shorts through December 11, 2015. We accept shorts made in 2010 or later by Canadian writers, directors, or producers. You can find out more about submission and eligibility requirements here.

SFF: After a short film gets the chance to be shown on the Online Short Film Festival, what happens next for the filmmaker and the film?

BS: The films in our festival are eligible for cash awards four times a year. We generally
require that short films screen on our website for a minimum of three months. After the three months, filmmakers are free to withdraw their film from our fest. They can also choose for it to stay on our site as a promotional and visibility tool. You can read more about our short film festival prizes here.

SFF: In terms of short films, how far have NSI grads gone on in their careers?

BS: NSI grads’ films have screened and won awards in festivals all over the world. nsi_logo_footerMany filmmakers have gone on to participate in our upper-level NSI courses including NSI Features First, NSI Totally Television and Movie Central Script to Screen in association with NSI and make successful features and TV series.

SFF:  Would the NSI consider putting on a short film festival at local theatres for the broader public sometime in the future?

BS: If the right opportunity presented itself, the NSI would consider public presentations of its alumni’s work and has done so in the past.

 

Short films made by NSI-trained producers have been enjoyable to watch and to comment about. Short Film Fan has proudly reviewed a number of these films such as Rhonda’s Party, Bagged and CEO in previous posts, and they can currently be found on the NSI Online Short Film Festival. The festival itself is a convenient and accessible platform to view new and previously released Canadian shorts. With a new year coming up, Canadian short film fans are looking forward to what these grads will produce and distribute next.

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‘Loss Of Contact’ Crosses The Finish Line To ‘Short Film Face Off’ Finals

CBC’s Short Film Face Off aired its third episode on September 26th with its final trio of talented filmmakers. From this group, the third finalist was chosen to appear on the October 3rd episode for an opportunity to win $45,000 from Telefilm Canada, SIM Digital and PS Production Services in a film production prize package.

The last group of filmmakers for this season comprised of BJ Verot (Loss of Contact), Patrick Hagarty (The Golden Ticket) and Nina Reed (Nervous Poo). Humour was the order of the day for all three films. In Loss of Contact, a champion race walker bows out of a competition and opens the door for a new winner; a nice guy having a bad day gets a chance to make things right on The Golden Ticket; a young woman in Nervous Poo is trapped on a toilet while her date waits on the other side of the bathroom door.SFFO_2015_Poster3

Loss of Contact moved on to next week’s final round with a strong 13.5 points. Nervous Poo took second spot with 11.0 points and The Golden Ticket secured 8.5 points for third place.

There was no lack of humour in any of these films. Loss of Contact was a funny send-up of documentary-style films. The use of a German narrator and the race walking theme gave the film a quirky European feel. The Golden Ticket was a light-hearted look at misunderstandings and aggressiveness; Carlo Rota’s role in the film made for a convincing ‘wish granter’. Nervous Poo was a comical take on first date anxiety. Instead of locking eyes in a restaurant, the couple experienced that moment in a bathroom.

There was humour on the stage as well as the films. Michelle could not keep herself from laughing during the review of Loss of Contact. The film’s German voice-over and her realization that BJ was the French race walker made her giggle. Also, Nina’s revelation that the ‘nervous poo thing’ was worsening since making the film was hilarious. Not only did she laugh at the situation, but so did host Steve Patterson and the studio audience.

BJ, Patrick and Nina did a great job as contestants on Short Film Face Off . Good luck to BJ (and co-producer Brad Crawford) as he moves on to the final round. Go to the website at http://www.cbc.ca/player/tv/Short%20Film%20Face%20Off to watch this newest episode and the films.

Since the winner of the $45,000 prize will be reavealed on the October 3rd episode, viewers of Short Film Face Off are encouraged to go to http://www.cbc.ca/shortfilmfaceoff/ to vote for his or her favourite short film either via telephone or the website. Voters have until Sunday night to cast their ballot.

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‘Eddie’ Drives Ahead To Reach The Final Round On ‘Short Film Face Off’

The second round of CBC’s Short Film Face Off aired on September 19th with a new group of fascinating filmmakers. Just like last week’s contestants, each of them had an opportunity to advance to the show’s final round for a chance to win a coveted $45,000 film production prize from Telefilm Canada, SIM Digital and PS Production Services.

SFFO_2015_Poster2The second group of filmmakers to grace the stage were James McLellan (Period Piece), Allison Coon-Come (Eddie) and Martine Blue (Me2). These three films were creative, memorable and reflective all at the same time. A filmmaker attempts to produce a love story during adverse situations in Period Piece; a lost toy car in Eddie drives itself in an attempt to find its owner; a novelist clones herself in order to spend more time with her family in Me2.

At the end of the episode, Allison Coon-Come’s Eddie advanced to the final round of Face Off with 11.5 points. Period Piece came in a close second with 11.0 points, while Me2 finished in third place with 10.5 points.

These films had an educational appeal. Period Piece taught us to never give up in the face of adversity. It was also an entertaining salute to the different film genres of romance, horror and action. Similarly with Eddie, the toy car symbolized the human need and desire to keep going until one finds what he or she is looking for. It was touching to see how the toy car eventually got back together with its original owner.  Me2 was a funny lesson in the old adage ‘be careful what you wish for’, as the novelist clearly got more than what she bargained for. The film also had a great roster of familiar Canadian actors such as Cathy Jones, Susan Kent and Jonny Harris.

During the panel’s scoring of Eddie, Eli made a reference and comparison to the 1966 classic NFB film Paddle to the Sea by Bill Mason. In this short film, a miniature wood carving of a canoe sets sail on a journey to the sea. For those who have never seen the film before, you can watch it on the NFB website: https://www.nfb.ca/film/paddle_to_the_sea/

Congratulations to James, Allison and Martine for appearing on Short Film Face Off . Good luck to Allison as she moves on to the final round. You can watch this latest episode and the films at http://www.cbc.ca/player/tv/Short%20Film%20Face%20Off

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‘The Toll’ Gets The Green Light To Advance On ‘Short Film Face Off’

Autumn in Canada can mean only one thing for fans of Canadian short film:  the highly anticipated eighth season of Short Film Face Off on CBC-TV. For new fans of the genre or for those who are curious about the show, Short Film Face Off is the kind of program that will greatly influence your admiration of and desire for Canadian shorts.

As in previous seasons, you will see well-crafted films, meet the creators and vote for a prize winner. For four weeks, nine filmmakers will vie for a substantial filmmaking prize of $30,000 from Telefilm Canada and an additional $15,000 from SIM Digital and PS Production Services. A panel of three judges will choose three finalists to advance to the final round on October 3rd. The winner will be announced in the fourth and final episode after all audience votes are tallied.

The first episode of this newest season aired on September 12th from coast to coast. Steve Patterson returned as host, while Mohit Rajhans, Michelle Latimer and Eli Glasner resumed their roles as panelists.

SFFO_2015_Poster1Tonight’s contestants were Scott Simpson (The Toll), Anna Sikorski (W-A-L-K) and Joshua Demers (Emily) and they competed with three very powerful shorts. In The Toll, a lone tollbooth operator’s dull night becomes unexpectedly eventful after a car crash; a 12-year old girl learns to handle high heel shoes in W-A-L-K; a young boy in Emily has to decide whether or not to join his sweetheart in the afterlife.

While Emily garnered 10.5 votes from the panel, both The Toll and W-A-L-K earned 12.5 votes. A tie-breaking decision was required from the panel. After a quick huddle, The Toll was selected to advance to the final round.

Each of the films had their own special qualities that drew you in and made you focus. The Toll was dark, grim and suspenseful with a surprise ending. Using smartphone text message bubbles was clever and reflected the reality of today’s phone communication. It was nice to see a mix of English and French dialogues in W-A-L-K. Although the girl wanted to be grown-up with high heels, eating ice cream was a great way to take time getting there. Emily showed us that letting go of the past is a hard decision for anybody to make. By letting go, the boy showed maturity; preferring life over death.

Steve’s reference to the band Trooper at the beginning was funny; it was also cute to see Anna wear the high heel shoes on the show.

Congratulations go out to Joshua, Anna and Scott. We wish Scott all the best as he advances to the final round in October for the $45,000 production award. Visit http://www.cbc.ca/player/tv/Short%20Film%20Face%20Off  to watch the entire episode and each film separately.

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