All posts by James McNally

About James McNally

James McNally is the founder and Director of Programming for Shorts That Are Not Pants.

Thursday March 29: Rockin’ Doc Shorts

Our curated monthly screening for March is a partnership with Hot Docs, which celebrates its 25th edition from April 26 – May 6 at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema and at several other venues around the city. We’re pleased that we’ll have a representative from the festival to talk up this year’s selection of films ahead of our screening, as well as to give away an awesome Festival 10-pack of tickets as a raffle prize. We’re also delighted to announce Woodhouse Brewing Co. as our Official Beverage Sponsor, with $5 tall cans available at all of our screenings. Join us at 6pm for a frosty cold beer in the lobby and we’ll share our plans for upcoming screenings and our festival in November!

Hot Docs 2018: April 26-May 6, 2018Woodhouse Brewing Co.

Thursday March 29th at 7:00pm
(but meet us at 6:00pm in the lobby for pre-screening drinks – $5 tall cans courtesy of Woodhouse Brewing Co.)
Carlton Cinemas
20 Carlton Street (steps from College subway station)



Dir: Ben Proudfoot
USA/Canada – 2016

In Pleasantville, Nova Scotia, Norbert Sattler works as a master craftsman in stained glass, working with artists to bring their visions to light.

Duration: 9:00



Dir: Duncan Cowles
UK (Scotland) – 2017

Filmmaker Duncan Cowles shows us some footage he’s trying to sell to stock video agencies.

Duration: 4:00



Dir: Jessica Kingdon
USA – 2017

An observational documentary which takes place in the Yiwu Markets, the largest wholesale consumer goods market in the world.

Duration: 11:00



Dir: Mickey Duzyj
USA – 2016

The strange but true story of how Japanese racehorse Haru Urara became a nationally celebrated symbol of perseverance while enduring a losing streak of epic proportions. Director and artist Mickey Duzyj traveled to Japan to uncover the story behind the horse’s unlikely rise to celebrity, and presents this animated short as the answer to how an undersized horse who vowed to “Never Give Up” became known as The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere.

Duration: 19:00

Still from POP UP PORNO: F4M


Dir: Stephen Dunn
Canada – 2015

A woman recovering from breast cancer tries to reclaim her sexuality through online dating.

Duration: 4:00



Dir: Malcolm Curry
USA – 2017

In 1939, 20,000 Americans rallied in New York’s Madison Square Garden to celebrate the rise of Nazism – an event largely forgotten from American history. A Night at the Garden uses striking archival fragments recorded that night to transport modern audiences into this gathering and to shine a light on the disturbing fallibility of seemingly decent people.

Duration: 7:00

Still from THE FORGER


Dirs: Samantha Stark, Alexandra Garcia, and Pamela Druckerman
USA – 2016

In 1944 Paris, 16 year-old Adolfo Kaminsky tries to avoid capture as the notorious Paris Forger, creating false passports and travel documents for Jews trying to flee the Nazis.

Duration: 16:00

Still from POP UP PORNO: M4M


Dir: Stephen Dunn
Canada – 2015

A man visiting New York City launches Grindr on his phone and sees something vaguely familiar.

Duration: 4:00

Still from ROCK THE BOX


Dir: Katherine Monk
Canada – 2015

Critic-turned-filmmaker Katherine Monk trains her lens on DJ Rhiannon Rozier in this short film about breaking the glass ceiling in a music industry dominated by men. The Vancouver-raised, university-educated Rozier was so intent on making a career in the Electronic Dance Music (EDM) scene that she did something she never thought she’d do: she posed for Playboy.

Duration: 10:00

Tickets available online or at the Carlton box office ($10 adults, $7 seniors). Facebook RSVP here!

Thursday February 22: Recent Irish Shorts

Our first curated monthly screening is a partnership with the Toronto Irish Film Festival, which unspools its 8th edition from March 2-4th at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Festival co-director John Galway joins us to introduce their 2018 lineup and to present some great recent Irish short films. Lower prices will be in effect and all tickets must be bought at the Carlton box office. Special thanks to Network Ireland Television, the Irish Film Board, and Eibh Collins for their generous help in assembling this programme.

Thursday February 22nd at 7:00pm
(but meet us at 6:00pm in the lobby for pre-screening drinks and craic!)
Carlton Cinemas
20 Carlton Street (steps from College subway station)

Still from Boogaloo & Graham


Dir: Michael Lennox
UK – 2014

Jamesy and Malachy are over the moon when their soft-hearted dad presents them with two baby chicks to care for. Raising their tiny charges, declaring themselves vegetarian and dreaming of running a chicken farm, the two boys are in for a shock when their parents announce that big changes are coming to the family.

Duration: 14:00

Still from Strangers in the Night


Dir: Conor McMahon
Ireland – 2015

Two lonely people find the love that they were searching for. Well, one lonely person and one banshee.

Duration: 12:00

Still from The Nation Holds Its Breath


Dir: Kev Cahill
Ireland – 2016

On the day of the most important football match in Irish history, a young father-to-be is torn between a) standing at his wife’s side to hold her hand and witness the miracle of childbirth, or b) witnessing the miracle of the national team reaching the quarter-finals of the World Cup.

Duration: 20:00

Still from Noreen


Dir: Domhnall Gleeson
Ireland – 2011

Two policemen learn life lessons on a house-call in rural Ireland. Frank is young and heartbroken. Con is middle-aged and weary. They’re both alone. They’re both idiots. Written and directed by Domhnall Gleeson, and starring his brother Brian Gleeson and father Brendan Gleeson.

Duration: 18:00

Still from Analogue People in a Digital Age


Dirs: Keith Walsh and Jill Beardsworth
Ireland – 2013

On the day that Ireland’s analogue television network is replaced by a digital signal, eight men in a bar battle to survive in the new world, the TV in the corner a harbinger of this technological future

Duration: 13:00

Still from Breakfast Wine


Dir: Ian FitzGibbon
Ireland – 2013

They say it takes just three alcoholics to keep a small bar running in a country town, but what if you’ve only got two? Starring Dylan Moran (Black Books).

Duration: 12:00

Tickets available online or at the Carlton box office ($10 adults, $7 seniors). Facebook RSVP here!

Clermont-Ferrand 2018: Day 6

Crowds at the market at Clermont-Ferrand 2018

Director of Programming James McNally is attending this year’s Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival from February 1st to February 8th

I slept a bit better last night and so was able to get up and out by 10:00am but had no real schedule except to see some films in the video library and try to talk to some people in the market. I was able to make an appointment at the video library from noon until 2:00pm and caught up on some films I wanted to see, including Min börda (The Burden) (funny and yet deeply sad) and Mixtape Marauders (just about perfect, at least to this mixtape-loving music nerd).

Mixtape Marauders (Still)

By 2:30pm, I was hungry and tired again so grabbed lunch at Quick and then dashed home for a nap. I was back at the market for Happy Hour, but apart from speaking briefly with Danny Lennon (who introduced me to filmmaker Chris Lavis, who made Madame Tutli-Putli) and Laurence Boyce, I didn’t find it fruitful. The crowds are just too thick, and I find that draining. Earlier in the day, I’d run quite by accident into Derry O’Brien from Network Ireland Television. We’ve been corresponding about our upcoming screening and so it was good to make the connection in person. I’d met his colleague Sadhb Murphy earlier in the week. I seem to have met most of the Irish delegation this year anyway, so that was definitely valuable.

I wrapped up the festival and my time in Clermont-Ferrand with a lovely dinner with local Ilias Tahri, who is volunteering at the festival after returning from volunteering at Sundance. Along with his twin brother and his brother’s girlfriend, we ate at La Tente Berbère, a charming Moroccan restaurant. After a filling meal of Tagine Berbère, a honey-filled pastry and a coffee, I was ready for an early bedtime. Ilias has been incredibly generous, providing a lift from the airport, a SIM card with lots of data, tonight’s meal, and just a general sense of support for someone like me with minimal French language skills. I’m very grateful to have met him, and hope I can return the favour somehow.

This year’s festival was in some ways easier than my visit in 2014, but also a bit tougher. I was fatigued but felt I was more strategic in my viewing opportunities. I did more socializing, but still felt shy. I met more people but failed to connect with any filmmakers. I littered the market and the Maison de la Culture with Shorts That Are Not Pants bookmarks, but worry that it won’t have much impact on film submissions. But it’s a good start, and I hope to follow up with all of my new contacts by email in the next few months. My only real regret this trip is that I didn’t get to enjoy a meal at Avenue. A good enough reason to return in 2019? Let’s hope so!

Clermont-Ferrand 2018: Day 5

Ktipietok Okestar at Clermont-Ferrand 2018

Director of Programming James McNally is attending this year’s Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival from February 1st to February 8th

I didn’t sleep much better, but I forced myself up at 7:30am to get to the Unifrance networking breakfast at 9:00am. I’d RSVP’ed and received an email reminder last night that said I was “expected” this morning, which definitely tripped my guilt response. I’m glad I went, though, since I met a whole group of interesting people seated at my table, including two Swiss filmmakers, a programmer from the Brussels Short Film Festival, and several producers and distributors. But in what might be becoming a theme, there wasn’t much food on offer, and I drank too much coffee instead.

I then did a walk around the market, and spoke to the good people at the Irish Film Board stand. I’m still working out a few details of our February 22 screening of recent Irish shorts, and they also gave me the new collection DVD. Feeling both famished and exhausted even before noon, I headed for Le 1513 for a gallette (this time the Deux Viandes, with beef, chicken, rice and cream – a bit too rich, actually) and then home for an epic three hour sleep.

Mostly refreshed, I headed back to the market in time for the daily Happy Hour, where I chatted with some of my new connections for an hour or so. Heading outside, I was delighted to find the same great klezmer band I saw in 2014 playing again, and this time I was in time for champagne (and pretzels!). KtipietoK OrKeStaR put a huge smile on my face and even gave me back a bit of energy. I counted 16 of them and it was a bit hard to tell where the band ended and the crowd began. Seeing them made me realize yet again how important live music is to me.

When they finished, I had time to get in line at Salle Vian (the lower level of the Maison de la Culture) for the F12 programme. All the films were well made but I found a few too earnest or too quirky to rise above mediocrity. The exception was Les Indes galantes, a five minute dance film from the Paris Opera pairing “krump” dancing with an operatic piece by Jean-Philippe Rameau. The strange pairing worked perfectly, and as with most dance films, I was overcome with emotion. The screening was over before 10:00pm and since I’d heard nothing about any more parties, I was grateful to just head home.

Despite spending a large chunk of the afternoon in bed, I felt like I made the most of Tuesday. Just one more full day left here. I’ll need to attack the market with a bit more focus tomorrow, and perhaps spend some time in the video library. I’m meeting my local friend Ilias and his brother for dinner tomorrow, and he’s promised to take me to a Moroccan restaurant.

Clermont-Ferrand 2018: Day 4

Clermont-Ferrand 2018 Poster

Director of Programming James McNally is attending this year’s Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival from February 1st to February 8th

Another terrible night’s sleep meant another lost morning, but the first event of my day wasn’t until 2:00pm. In fact, the entire afternoon was dedicated to several panels and meetings of the Short Film Conference, an organization of short film festivals that we’ve just recently joined. It began at 2:00pm with a presentation by my friend Jason Sondhi from Short of the Week on the “Be Everywhere All At Once Strategy” for short filmmakers. He made a great case for filmmakers making their online launch an important cornerstone of their overall festival strategy.

That was followed by a panel made up of African film festival professionals, who discussed the challenges of getting more African films screened at festivals around the world. It was interesting to hear that there are several large festivals on the continent that have been established since the 1960s, and that there are a lot of films that play at those festivals but go no further.

Another panel followed on the nuts and bolts of making a living as a festival director, with participants from such different corners of the world as Korea, Brazil, New Zealand and Switzerland. Hearing about how the political climate in some countries made funding unstable was a bit of an eye opener for me.

Then there was a meeting discussing some of the organizational issues for the group, which was less interesting, but they announced their choice for Short of the Year, which was Min Börda (The Burden), directed by Niki Lindroth von Bahr. I’ve yet to see it but will try to catch it in the video library.

Then the drinking started. First an informal social where the panels had been held, and then we moved on to a party held by the Scandinavians, then the Short Film Conference dinner, held at the Salvation Jane pub, and then the German party. The “dinner” was definitely a letdown for me, with only finger foods on offer.

It was nice to spend most of the day with a smaller group of people, and walking from place to place with them was a good chance to talk even when the parties themselves were louder and more chaotic. I stayed out until about 12:30am and enjoyed myself quite a bit.