Tag Archives: Halifax

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!


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!


Rearview (2015) Follows Auto Accident Aftermath, Tests Driver Convictions

What would you do if you accidentally killed someone in a car accident?

This is the question that the new 16 minute short film Rearview attempts to answer. Directed by Jon Mann and starring Rob Ramsay, Rearview takes a hard look at the critical hours after a young man accidentally hits and kills a young girl with his car. With no spoken dialogue in the film, the young man goes on a painful journey of disbelief, fear, anger and resignation. Throughout the film, we watch him struggle with the situation in his own way while attempting to own up to the tragedy with his family and the police.

When asked why he wanted to make this film, Jon wanted the audience think openly about how a person would really react in the wake of a tragic event like an accident.

Rearview Poster“A big part of writing this film came from always wanting to write a story told from the point of view of someone who had just committed a hit-and-run,” said Jon. “Rob has always been fascinated by stories that are told wholly through action. The two ideas came together perfectly. One thing I really like about Rearview is that unless you’ve been in this type of situation, you really have no idea how you would react. I think it’s really easy to sit back and say that you would do the right thing, but we really have no idea.” 

“I’ve always thought it was so interesting that when an everyday hero does something, they always say something like: “Well, I did what anyone would do,” or “You would have done the same.” It’s like they deflect; it becomes like an embarrassment of riches – almost. With Rearview, I wanted to take the heroic story, turn it on its head with an anti-hero and see what would happen in the other extreme. I hope people see the film and ask each other what they honestly think they would do if they were to hit someone with their car.”

In order to prepare to play the character of the driver, Rob combined his love of physical roles together with his interpretation of the negative emotions that one would or should expect to experience after such an event.

“Portraying this character was a welcomed challenge,” stated Rob. “I’ve always enjoyed watching an actor’s physical interpretation of a character and that’s all this role is. With no text to convey his range of emotions, I had to rely on his internal monologue and do my best to emote that through his body language. I love watching characters think and there’s a lot of thought involved in this guy’s journey.”

“Fortunately, I’ve never experienced what this character goes through, so it was a matter of pulling pieces from different situations. The disbelief when we get in an accident, the feeling of grief we go through when we lose someone, the helplessness when we have no one to talk to and the acceptance of your circumstances. This character goes through an emotional roller-coaster to say the least.”


The accident and the young man’s behaviour in the aftermath were shocking to watch in Rearview. The story has the power to open up one’s eyes to a man’s agony and desperation. Rearview definitely has the ability to make someone dig deep inside themselves and question his or her own ability to act rationally after going through a stressful situation. This film should have no problems picking up awards at national and international film festivals.

Go to Popular Demand Pictures’ Facebook page for news and information about the film and give it a ‘like’: https://www.facebook.com/populardemandpictures.  More film details are available at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4661854Rearview opens to the public in November.


Engage With East Coast Storytelling Talent At Atlantic Film Festival

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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