Tag Archives: Toronto Youth Short Film Festival

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!


Young Filmmakers Get 24 Hours To Show Their “Perfect Toronto”

October 2nd and 3rd was a busy weekend for 11 teams of young Toronto filmmakers at the 7th annual T24 Project hosted by Toronto Youth Shorts Film Festival.  In this contest, the teams were presented with one essay question from which a 6-9 minute film had to be produced in 24 hours that answered the question. The goals of the contest were to push the filmmakers’ creative boundaries, impress upon them the real stresses of filmmaking and to encourage them into making a unique social statement.Toronto Youth Shorts logo

This year’s essay question focussed around the concept of “Your Perfect Toronto”. All films will be screened October 7 at 8:00 pm at CineCycle. Although nine films were produced, seven of them will be reviewed by a panel of judges. Members of the panel will include Karen Tsang, Manager of Development for Comedy and Drama Content at CBC, Inga Diev, programmer from Sundance Channel Canada and Alex Kingsmill, who led the winning team in 2012 and is now a cinematographer and VFX artist. The winner of the contest will pick up the Visual Thesis Award.  A winner for the Audience Choice Award will also be selected.

The seven films in competition are Cooper & Cooper by Jessie Zus; Empty Places by Bibiana Loh; Interceptors by Greg Fox; Take Me In by Jonny Micay; The Other by Darik Maurice; The Sixx by Rebecca Whitaker; and Toronto The Good by Kyle Mackenzie.   Upon review of the seven films, each of them creatively answered the essay question. From experiencing Toronto life as a bicycle courier to changing the city from two different perspectives, the films made by these young directors revealed their own unique take into what a perfect Toronto would look like. In summary, there is no Utopian Toronto – it includes the bad as well as the good.

Short Film Fan Pick: Take Me In directed by Jonny Micay, along with Ryan Bobkin and Aidan Tanner. A young man catches a thief trying to rob his home. After catching her in pursuit, he attempts to take her to the closest police station. Along the way, animosity gives way to friendliness. The film underscores the fact that imperfect cities are made up of imperfect people. But, getting to know someone who does wrong can make living life in the city a little bit better.  The film also had a nice mix of scenery from different parts of Toronto and the background music was enjoyable.

Good luck to all the filmmakers at Wednesday night’s screening and awards!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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