All posts by James McNally

About James McNally

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

Expanding Our Reach

Shortfilmdepot logo
Festhome logo

We love FilmFreeway. We were one of the first festivals to use this (Canadian!) film submission platform when it launched, and we continue to rely on it for quality film submissions. But we were finding that we weren’t receiving as many non-English language films as we’d like. After conducting a bit of research, we’ve decided to expand our reach by accepting films on two other submission platforms:

  1. Shortfilmdepot was created by the people behind the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, the biggest short film festival in the world. Their truly international selection is an inspiration and so we’re confident that we’ll receive films from lots of new places this year.
  2. Festhome is based in Spain and has a good reach in Latin America as well. Some of our favourite short films come from Spain and we’ve been sorely lacking in representing work from the rest of the Spanish-speaking world, so we’re hoping this will remedy that situation.

Though we’ve been quiet lately, there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes, including researching new venues and partnerships. Stay tuned for more news, and if you haven’t yet signed up for our newsletter, consider taking that step. Just wait for the pop up subscription form.

Short Com Festival Offers Fee Waiver

Short Com International Comedy Film Festival

Recently I was contacted by Chris Aitken, Creative Director of Short Com, an excellent UK-based festival focussed on comedy shorts. He’s graciously offered a fee waiver for any filmmaker who reads our blog, Twitter, or Facebook posts. Here’s what he has to say:

Short Com is a highly regarded short comedy film festival that has taken place in some of the UK’s leading cities over the past several years; Manchester, London, Edinburgh and Glasgow. We at Short Com believe comedy is one of the least appreciated art forms yet one of the most difficult and it is part of our mission to promote emerging talent. The first thing we look in a film is its capacity to make an audience laugh, ahead of whether it’s been filmed in 4k. Our festival relaunch takes place in Edinburgh during the world’s largest arts festivals. We are delighted to team up with Shorts That Are Not Pants who like us, have their heart in the right place when it comes to short film festivals and being a friend to the filmmaking community. To find out more about Short Com and how to submit, please visit our festival page.

We look forward to hearing from you,

Chris Aitken. Short Com Creative Director

If you’re interested in submitting to Short Com, use the special code SHORTCOMSNOTPANTS because yeah, Short Com is definitely not pants!

February 2019 Audience Award Winner


Thanks to everyone who attended last night. There were a few different audience favourites, but congratulations to Cy Dodson (Beneath the Ink), whose film took the Audience Award prize!

  1. Beneath the Ink – 5 votes
  2. Caroline – 3 votes
  3. Fast Horse – 3 votes
  4. Brotherhood – 1 vote

(12 votes total)

Our next screening of new work will be in May 2019. More news here, on Twitter, and on Facebook. Sign up for the newsletter and don’t miss a thing.

Full Program for February 21 Screening

We are tickled to be launching our EIGHTH great season on Thursday February 21st. We’d love it if you could join us!

Thursday February 21st at 7:00pm
129 Spadina Avenue (slightly down the alley)



Dir: Meryam Joobeur
Canada/Tunisia/Qatar/Sweden – 2018

Mohamed is a hardened shepherd living in rural Tunisia with his wife and two sons. He is deeply shaken when his eldest son Malik returns home after a long journey with a mysterious new wife. Tension between father and son rises over three days until reaching a breaking point.

  • Official Selection – Sundance Film Festival
  • Official Selection – Toronto International Film Festival

Duration: 25:00



Dir: Corina Schweingruber Ilic
Switzerland – 2018

Under the spell of mass entertainment on the high seas.

  • Official Selection – Sundance Film Festival
  • Official Selection – Toronto International Film Festival

Duration: 10:00

Still from CAROLINE


Dirs: Celine Held and Logan George
USA – 2018

When plans fall through, a six-year-old is faced with a big responsibility on a hot Texas day.

  • Best North American Short – Palm Springs International ShortFest
  • Official Selection – Cannes Film Festival

Duration: 12:00



Dir: Cy Dodson
USA – 2018

As society’s belief systems are seemingly changing, or even reverting in time, one Ohio artist is challenging his community by saying, “bring me your mistakes.” Inspired by recent events, Billy Joe White and his Red Rose Tattoo Studio are promoting one simple concept… ERASE THE HATE. Beneath the Ink is a timely look at hate and racism in the western foothills of this Appalachian region that reveals heartfelt stories of change and redemption.

  • Audience Award, Best Documentary – Palm Springs International ShortFest

Duration: 12:00

Still from FAST HORSE


Dir: Alexandra Lazarowich
Canada – 2018

Fast Horse follows the return of the Blackfoot bareback horse racing tradition in a new form: Indian Relay. Siksika horseman Allison RedCrow struggles to build a team with second-hand races and a new jockey, Cody BigTobacco, to take on the best riders in the Blackfoot Confederacy at the Calgary Stampede.

  • Special Jury Award for Direction – Sundance Film Festival

Duration: 14:00



Dir: George Sikharulidze
Georgia – 2018

.In 2016, on the 63rd anniversary of his death, Stalin’s worshippers gather outside his birthplace in Georgia to demand his canonization as a saint … when something uncanny materializes.

  • Official Selection – Sundance Film Festival

Duration: 15:00

Help us kick off our 2019 season! The Facebook RSVP is free, and door tickets are just $10 (a 20% price reduction from previous years). And why not bring a friend? 🙂

Sundance 2019: Day 13

Sundance 2019: Risk Independence

Director of Programming James McNally is attending this year’s Sundance Film Festival from January 22nd to February 3rd.

Festival Day 11

Happy to say that not overindulging last night made getting up to pack at 8:00am much less painful than last year. Nevertheless, the work and play and disrupted sleep and eating schedules of the past two weeks are all finally catching up with me. My roomie Bryan and I were able to get out by 10:00am but didn’t spot our other housemate Chad. I’d barely seen him during the festival but assume he got out okay.

Bryan was staying one more night with friends at a different Park City condo, so we said goodbye somewhere on Empire Avenue with him hauling his luggage through the freshly fallen snow, and me on my way to HQ for one last goodbye. I spent about 15 minutes having a chat with Bobby and it was sobering to see the Artist Relations office almost completely taken down. We sat with a few of the rest of the team and just chatted before I made my goodbyes. Hoping to work with everyone again next year.

I had the idea to use the last of my “grub stubs” at the Grub Steak’s salad bar but discovered it was closed on weekends for lunch. And I was too early (11:30am) to grab some last slices at Este Pizza, too, which didn’t open until noon. I wanted to get to the Holiday Village cinemas by then to grab a volunteer ticket for The Sharks which won the World Cinema Jury Award for Best Direction. This small Uruguayan film turned out to be my favourite of the festival. 14-year-old tomboy Rosina lives in a beach town and works with her Dad doing landscaping. One day she spots what she thinks might be a shark in the ocean near home, and soon rumours are swirling that there are sharks offshore. This hinted but unseen danger makes a great background for Rosina’s own budding attraction to her co-worker Joselo, who seems uninterested. A series of actions that seem halfway between cries for attention and cruel pranks leads Rosina to a final act that leaves her walking toward the camera and flashing her first and only smile. It’s a really assured debut from Lucia Garibaldi, and I hope more people get to see it.

After that, I grabbed some lunch at Fresh Market with my grub stub (chicken tenders and potato wedges) before heading to the Prospector to see The Infiltrators, a documentary-fiction hybrid that won two awards: Audience Award for the NEXT programme, as well as the NEXT Innovator Award. I enjoyed this one a lot, too, which features activists breaking INTO an immigration detention facility in order to try to get detainees scheduled for deportation freed. The hybrid form is a little unwieldy in places, but overall it adds urgency and tension to an issue that most of us know little about.

At the shuttle stop afterward, a woman was attempting to engage people to see what they thought. When I said I liked the film, she started talking about the need for people to obey the law and not jump the (immigration) line, etc. so I sort of tuned her out. It’s a huge issue but the film is clearly focused on people who have done nothing illegal and who are being unfairly detained. Hopefully it gets a wide viewing, particularly among young people, who will be inspired by the youth of the activists portrayed.

The film ended around 5:00pm and was followed by a short Q&A with one of the producers, who was generous enough to stick around so long, but it made getting back to the Park City Mountain Resort to pick up my luggage a bit of a race.

I was scheduled for a 6:00pm shuttle pickup with Susan, and then she was early. It had also started snowing again. I got a shuttle back to the Fresh Market stop but was waiting a while for the connecting one back to the condo, so I walked, only to be passed by two busses just a few minutes from home. Then I got a message that Susan had gone on to HQ to pick up more people and would come back. I had to wait outside and had a bit of trouble finding her, but soon we were on our way to Salt Lake City.

Another volunteer named James (whom I had met last year and who I bumped into a lot over the past few days) was in the seat right behind me, but nobody really talked much. We were all exhausted by this point and looking forward to our flights, or in my case, a quiet night at an AirBnB. For me, it’s off to LA for some much-needed sunshine and time and space to plan our upcoming screening season!