Category Archives: Films

2020 Festival Awards

Our third annual festival was held last month, virtually across Canada, and once more exceeded my expectations. I’m grateful to our staff, volunteers, audience, and especially to our filmmakers, and I want to recognize those films awarded by our juries and audience. Thank you to all our jury members for their hard work and for lending us their expertise. Congratulations to these filmmakers but also to all the rest of the filmmakers who allowed us to share their work during the festival. Toronto Canada enjoyed watching your films and we can’t wait to see what you’re working on next!

Award Winners 2020

Best Narrative Film

El tamaño de las cosas [poster image]

The Size of Things (El tamaño de las cosas) (Dir: Carlos Felipe Montoya)

Jury statement: A child’s world is often filled with the unexpected and unexplained. The winning work immerses us in the beautiful Colombian countryside, into the loving home shared by an indigenous father and his young son. The director has crafted a memorable film whose stunning production design and incredible camerawork enhances its deeply original story that is in equal measures tender, prosaic, and magical. It reminds us of the power and possibility embedded in every child.

Best Documentary Film

Huntsville Station [poster image]

Huntsville Station (Dirs: Chris Filippone, Jamie Meltzer)

Jury statement: For its humane, compassionate approach, intimate storytelling and patient craft in capturing a moment of freedom and the uncertain future that awaits, the Best Short Documentary award goes to Huntsville Station.

Best Animated Film

Freeze Frame [poster image]

Freeze Frame (Dir: Soetkin Verstegen)

Jury statement: With stunning cinematography and haunting sound design, this film expresses the beauty, fragility, and impermanence of not only ice, but life itself. It’s difficult to imagine a more unforgiving medium for animation than one that is in constant danger of melting into nothingness. This short film is not only a remarkable achievement in its own right, but with its nods to the pioneering work of Eadweard Muybridge, it is also a fitting celebration of animation itself and of film’s ability to capture and preserve motion.

Audience Award

The Vasectomy Doctor [poster image]

The Vasectomy Doctor (Dir: Paul Webster)

There was also a jury special mention in one category:

  • Special Mention (Narrative): Idols Never Die (Dir: Jerome Yoo)

Jury statement: It is rare, especially now, to find a short that is so breezy, smart, and full of pop sensibility, one that appeals to our nostalgia and yet feels incredibly fresh. Jerome Yoo’s Idols Never Die manages to do all those things with the potentially dark, pulled-from-the-headlines subject of tragic K-Pop idols and their devoted uber-fans. Its energetic cinematography and performances made for an exciting and stylish watch, complemented by a screenplay that goes to the mushy heart of the heightened emotions and complex hierarchies of teen friendship.

Full 2020 Lineup Revealed

Here’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. I’m delighted to share the full lineup for our 2020 (virtual) festival, which will be screened online all across Canada from November 13-22. Thanks are in order to our amazing programming team: Linda Taillon, Diana Sernick, Keith Klegman, Cameron Carpenter, Shelagh Rowan-Legg, Brennan Tilley, Ariane Molinatti, Iris Bagola, Amanda Clarke, Caterina Micci, Felix De Leon, Emily Monroe, Catharine Macdonald, Tammy Magnusson, Alessandro Romano, Caitlin Mayberry, Terry Chi, Hillary Butler, Kyle McCarthy, Craig McCourt, and Ignacio Hernández. I couldn’t have done it without your help!

Tickets and passes are on sale now, and you can also see the schedule and the film guide at our festival mini-site. Hope you’ll join us in November!

74 films from 24 countries. Narrative films (43), documentaries (13), and animated films (19); something for everyone. Some other facts: 16 Canadian films, 28 films directed by women, 11 student films.

2020 Festival Poster (Red)

705 (Canada, 3 minutes)
Dir: Samantha Henry

A character lives in an inhospitable world, but they start their day just like many of us; with a fresh cup of coffee.

A JAR OF NUTS (Cyprus, 17 minutes)
Dir: Savvas Stavrou

Isolated in his apartment, the lonely forty-year old Giorgos meticulously devises an intricate plan to take his life after his beloved mother chokes to death on a pistachio.

As the day progresses, Giorgos allows excuses, obstacles and people to hinder his final deadly leap from the balcony, completely oblivious to the true reason behind all his stalling.

À LA MODE (France, 9 minutes)
Dir: Jean Lecointre

In a kingdom tormented by fashion crazes, a queen and her court must always keep up with the new trend. If not, an abominable monster will consume them: the Ridicule. But with the arrival of a disarmingly natural cowboy, this nation of fashion victims laughs, and a simple question arises: what if the Ridicule isn’t what we think?

ARCHIBALD’S SYNDROME (France, 19 minutes)
Dir: Daniel Perez

Archibald was born with a curious curse: he can’t make a move without everyone around doing the same. In despair, he robs a bank and meets Indiana, a young woman who has always escaped every form of control.

AS YOU CAN SEE (Egypt, 8 minutes)
Dir: Ghada Fikri

Can the lines in a hand hold stories? What memories do the grooves store? Ghada invites her mother to reflect on her life while taking us on a poetic exploration into her mother’s hands: the hands that raised five children almost single handedly. Why, Ghada asks, should someone have to give up their hands for those they love?

ASPARAGUS 2 (USA, 5 minutes)
Dir: Yuma Slowbinder

The next great American asparagus movie.

A doctor informs his patient that when he thinks he’s eating asparagus he is actually smoking an entire pack of unfiltered Cuban cigarettes. Upon learning this the patient must reckon with his own subjectivity, with no help from at all from his doctor.

BALLAD OF MUSIC NOTES (China, 4 minutes)
Dir: Xi Chengzhuo

For every piano player, there is a world of notes in the score book, and every performance is a journey into this world. Books are the carrier of the world. In the same world, the people who enter and the way they play are different. What happens when two different players enter the world?

BEHIND THE MASK (UK, 11 minutes)
Dir: Simon K. Matthews

Two actors enter a mental, physical and emotional dick-swinging contest, leading to the inevitable reveal of their worst selves. Urgh, actors.

Dir: Alireza Ghasemi

Four kids start their journey to the moon with the mission of finding a mysterious place called The Redland but the gates are being guarded by a mischievous snake.

BKS (Canada, 11 minutes)
Dir: Alexa-Jeanne Dubé

BKS is a short fiction film using A.S.M.R. video codes to unfold.

THE BOOK (EL LLIBRE) (Spain, 3 minutes)
Dir: Francesca Català

A librarian is bored sitting at her desk until one book falls down from the shelves and interrupts her monotonous day.

BUT YOU’RE NOT BLACK (Canada, 19 minutes)
Dir: Danielle Ayow

A Chinese-Caribbean-Canadian woman, driven by people’s inability to separate her skin colour from her culture, tries to own the Trinidadian identity she knows should feel like hers.

CAMERA OBSCURA (France, 19 minutes)
Dirs: Mary-Noelle Dana, Sonia Sieff

Cléo, a fervent feminist, works in a catering company to pay for her studies. Hired on a fashion shoot by the team of Alice Klein, a world-famous photographer, Cléo is forced, at the risk of losing her job, to replace an unsuitable model at a moment’s notice.

CAYENNE (Canada, 11 minutes)
Dir: Simon Gionet

During her night shift at a remote gas station, a female clerk agrees to help a man whose car has broken down. While they both attempt to repair the vehicle, the driver’s intentions leave the young woman uncertain. In the middle of the deserted parking lot, an air of apprehension fills the night as the events of the evening unfold.

THE CHIMNEY SWIFT (Germany, 5 minutes)
Dir: Frédéric Schuld

19th century Europe. A child climbs up a chimney while a bird sails down into it to build a nest. An encounter with no way back. A British chimney sweeper describes his everyday routine of forcing young kids to become workers. While we observe a kid cleaning a chimney, the master’s statement gets more personal with every sentence until we understand, that he is speaking about his own past.

CIRCUS MOVEMENTS (Germany, 15 minutes)
Dirs: Lukas Berger, Mário Gajo de Carvalho

Circus culture is a space of diversity, cooperation and integration. A magical space with real people. Circus Movements was shot with circus kids from Ethiopia – Liya and Beza, doing the hula hoop; Habtamnesh, doing the aerial hoop; and the Beniyam, only 5 years old, performing acrobatics. Collectively, they are great circus artists performing in the magnificent landscapes of Ethiopia.

CUCKOO! (KOEKOEK!) (Netherlands, 7 minutes)
Dir: Jörgen Scholtens

A lonely man lives inside a cuckoo clock. Every hour he straps himself into his ejection seat and shoots through the doors of the clock. “Cuckoo!” He yells, “Cuckoo!” His work is of vital importance. The old lady who sits under the clock needs to take her medication exactly at the top of every hour. One day the man has the opportunity to win a substantial sum of money in a radio quiz. He loves gadgets and wants to buy a new computer. The only problem is that he can only dial in at the exact time he’s supposed to sit in his seat.

DEEP LOVE (Кохання) (Ukraine, 14 minutes)
Dir: Mykyta Lyskov

Deep love has finally happened in Ukraine

DOG DAYS (Poland, 15 minutes)
Dir: Zuzanna Gracjewicz

What is lacking in the world in which animals no longer exist? The two protagonists of Dog Days decide to establish a company which provides services for those who need a replacement for animals that are already extinct. In the relationship between humans and animals, all kinds of emotions are involved. Along with friendship and attachment, there is always a certain amount of violence, which will seek an outlet.

EMPTY PLACES (France, 8 minutes)
Dir: Geoffroy de Crécy

Where is everyone?

EXHALE (Ukraine, 6 minutes)
Dir: Igor Stekolenko

We observe the heroine in the most critical and significant moment of her life. She has been caught alone in the wasteland, in conditions that are unsuitable and disturbing for such an irreversible process. Her fearless determination and metaphysical force turn crisis into a positive resolution of the inevitable. Finally, the heroine is not alone anymore.

FELT LOVE (USA, 7 minutes)
Dirs: Arlene Bongco, Angeline Vu

A young boy learns to understand the depth of his mother’s love despite the distance her dedication may create.

FREEZE FRAME (Belgium, 5 minutes)
Dir: Soetkin Verstegen

Freeze frame: the most absurd technique since the invention of the moving image. Through an elaborate process of duplicating the same image over and over again, it creates the illusion of stillness. In this stop motion film, identical figures perform the hopeless task of preserving blocks of ice. The repetitive movements reanimate the animals captured inside.

FRENCH CINEMA (Bulgaria, 20 minutes)
Dir: Galina D. Georgieva

In a small country town, in the room behind the screen at the local cinema, two women spend their time by writing letters to Alain Delon. Inspired by The Physics of Sorrow by Georgi Gospodinov.

FULLY INVOLVED (Canada, 11 minutes)
Dir: Kyle Kulla

Brampton Fire Captain Glenn Berwick discusses the horrific realities of being a Fire Fighter and the mental toll it can take on a person. Through his work, Glenn discusses having to build the mental barriers to be able to continue the job and how this strength plays a factor when he suffers extreme loss in his personal life, the suicide of his best friend.

FUNFAIR (Iran, 15 minutes)
Dir: Kaveh Mazaheri

Majid, a young financially struggling man, comes up with a ploy in order to better the life of his wife Sarah.

GANEF (UK, 14 minutes)
Dir: Mark Rosenblatt

London 1962. A little girl, spooked by a dark tale from her mother’s wartime past, starts to imagine their beloved family cleaner (Downton Abbey’s Sophie McShera) is a thief. GANEF (Yiddish for ‘thief’) explores how trauma can be passed from one generation to the next.

GLAD YOU’RE HERE (Canada, 10 minutes)
Dir: Lisa Kannakko

This autobiographical short film covers a 19-year history of the filmmaker’s life. It unfolds a traumatic story in a way that captures the viewer and offers transparency and new beginnings. A story about an extreme moment of crisis has turned into a documentary that deals not just with the subjective but with the important issue of spousal abuse.

GOODBYE GOLOVIN (Canada, 14 minutes)
Dir: Mathieu Grimard

For Ian Golovin, the death of his father is the chance at a new life outside his native country. As he prepares to leave and bid farewell to his sister, he is forced to face his decision — why he is always blindly moving forward and what he is leaving behind.

GREEN GRASS (Canada, 8 minutes)
Dir: Michael Greco

Poignant, powerful, and told without dialogue, Green Grass is a thought-provoking allegory that follows two hopeful migrants who make the arduous journey to what they believe must be a better life only to discover their destination may no longer be the place they thought it was.

HOT DOG (USA, 10 minutes)
Dir: Patrick Muhlberger

A group of coworkers try to rescue a dog trapped in a hot car. Chaos ensues in a single shot.

HOW TO FALL IN LOVE IN A PANDEMIC (Ireland, 10 minutes)
Dir: Michael-David McKernan

How to Fall in Love in a Pandemic is a short doc filmed in lockdown that follows a capsule romance between two filmmakers and how they are forced to move in together after knowing each other for just two weeks.

Dirs: Jamie Meltzer, Chris Filippone

Every weekday, inmates are released from Huntsville State Penitentiary, taking in their first moments of freedom with phone calls, cigarettes, and quiet reflection at the Greyhound station up the block.

THE ICE CUBES (LES GLAÇONS) (Belgium, 10 minutes)
(Dir: Sara Dufossé)

The Ice Cubes tells the story of a past relationship and what’s left of it after a few months, shot in a single take.

IDOLS NEVER DIE (Canada, 17 minutes)
Dir: Jerome Yoo

When Korean pop idol “N.D.” tragically dies, a dysfunctional group of high school fan girls discover a hidden message in his music, which leads them on a quest to fulfill his final wish — to spread his ashes over the tallest tree in their hometown forest.

JESSE JAMS (Canada, 16 minutes)
Dir: Trevor Anderson

A young Indigenous musician and his rock band bring mumblepunk to the Interstellar Rodeo. A rock ‘n’ roll survival story of a different stripe.

JUMPERS (France, 8 minutes)
Dir: Mario Schiniotakis

A group of rollerskaters take the streets of Paris as their playground.

KILT (France, 14 minutes)
Dir: Rakel Ström

Like lots of guys, Philippe is hairy.
Like lots of guys, Philippe is going bald.
Like lots of guys, Philippe would like to turn into a woman sometimes…
Today, Philippe has decided to become a brand new man!

THE LITTLE BEACH (LA PLAYITA) (Argentina, 13 minutes)
Dir: Sonia Bertotti

The city of Corrientes in summer. On the shores of the Paraná River, in the shadow of the General Belgrano Bridge, thousands of families compete for space for their umbrellas and chaise lounges. Priscila, a 7 year old girl no one pays any attention to, sets out in pursuit of an elusive toy vendor, getting further away from her family and closer to adventure.

THE LONELY ORBIT (Switzerland, 9 minutes)
Dirs: Frederic Siegel, Benjamin Morard

Leaving for his dream job, a satellite technician keeps solitude at bay by constantly texting with his old friends. After he neglects his duties, a satellite leaves its orbit which causes the world’s network to collapse.

MARTY (Canada, 7 minutes)
Dir: Mike McKinlay

Marty follows an 11 year old ’80s obsessed skate punk – stuck in the past while struggling to navigate the present.

MEATS (USA, 10 minutes)
Dir: Ashley Williams

A pregnant vegan struggles with her newfound craving for meat.

NORMAL (France, 11 minutes)
Dir: Julie Caty

Dany has a magic gift: he just snaps his fingers to get everything he desires. But he finds all that stupidly uninteresting or, to use his most usual expression: “NORMAL”! To overcome so much weariness, Dany drugs himself by consuming Magic Powder but one day, it runs out. Dany, completely defeated, stays in his room… and starts reading.

OUT OF ORDER (Canada, 17 minutes)
Dir: Matthias Falvai

In the not-so-distant future, Christopher, a depressed young man, enters a Suicide Assistance Booth hoping to end his life; however, the sentient AI has a plan of its own.

THE OWL (UGGLAN) (Sweden, 8 minutes)
Dirs: Simon Pontén, Joakim Behrman

The mood in a teachers’ lounge changes when the reason behind a teacher’s nickname is brought to light.

PEETE (Canada, 10 minutes)
Dir: Simon Madore

A washed-up misfit by the name of Peete moves temporarily into a quiet suburb. As he waits for a loved one to contact him, he forms a bond with a young neighbour to whom he bears a strange resemblance.

PERLE (France, 15 minutes)
Dir: Juliette Boucheny

Following the death of the man she loves, Perle decides not to live without him. One Saturday in July, in the heat of Cannes, her daughter and grandson come to lunch. Between the real and the unreal, Perle lives…

THE PHD (Canada, 20 minutes)
Dir: Maxime S. Girard

A romantic dinner turns into a ludicrous disaster when Bruno, an anxious psychology student, has to lie to his control-freak boyfriend about what really happened during his PhD entrance interview earlier that day.

PIPO AND BLIND LOVE (France, 13 minutes)
Dir: Hugo Le Gourrierec

In a dehumanized world where emotions are rationed and measured by gauges, Pipo, a young worker, falls under the spell of a young woman sitting on a bench. He will do everything he can to attract her attention and to seduce her with words of his own.

POSTPARTUM (Germany, 5 minutes)
Dir: Henriette Rietz

Postpartum is about the chaotic phase in life of a fresh mother. Pumped up with hormones and lacking sleep, this intense time has burned deep into the protagonist’s heart. This film is an honest and very personal insight into the world of an overwhelmed mother, who seriously thought that parental leave would become a sort of sabbatical.

THE PRAYER (China, 14 minutes)
(Dir: Xinyu Cao)

After a night of heavy drinking, an anaesthesiologist is asked to work his hospital connections to bring the best attention to his young grand-nephew who was hit by a car the previous evening. Fear and a sense of guilt escalate when he spots a dent on the back of his car. No matter where the truth lies, this atheist turns to pray before going into the operating room.

PREY (Canada, 6 minutes)
Dirs: Aiken Chau, Ella Ye, Keni Xiao Xuan Ji, Ryan Maman, Anastasia Adela Putra, Alice Liu, Sabrina Shan, Saniya Baig, Danny Del Toro, Rujun Ma, Summer Oh, Sabrina Shan, Nathan Chen

A relentless hunter travels through the forest collecting antlers and discovers monstrous consequences for his actions.

RAIN MACHINE (France, 10 minutes)
Dir: Jérôme Walter Gueguen

Two explorers arrive ashore in an abandoned land in search of a mysterious beast. Under a permanent driving rain, torn between their opposing beliefs while struggling with heavy equipment, they will walk together or die.

Dir: Chieh Cheng

Reminiscence​ is about a grandmother and her grandson, both immigrants from Earth living on Mars, who travel from the red planet back to the blue one. This film addresses not only the importance of a common destiny shared between humanity and Earth but also traces our history which roots in our memories. In the journey from the future to the past, between the virtual world and reality, viewers are asked to ponder the essence of life today and what it means to the humanity of the future.

RINGING (DAS LÄUTEN) (Germany, 19 minutes)
Dir: Erik Zühlsdorf

Jonas is a lost teenager. In desperation, he locks himself in a classroom with his teacher. He pulls out a gun to go on a rampage, but he gives his teacher the chance to write down some last words.

ROUTE-3 (Bosnia and Herzegovina, 13 minutes)
Dir: Thanasis Neofotistos

In a tram on Route-3, the old lady in the leopard dress treats the passengers with juicy oranges during a hot, but rainy day in the centre of Sarajevo. Nadja, the princess-teen in her pink hijab; Luka, the virgin bully; an Orthodox Priest; an old creepy man and many, many more ordinary people in this tram have nothing in common, but a juicy slice of orange. All except a shy, yet horny, teenager named Amar.

SAD BEAUTY (Netherlands, 10 minutes)
Dir: Arjen Brentjes

In a heavily polluted world, a young woman mourns the disappearance of animal species. When she falls ill due to a bacterial infection, nature appears to send her a message in her hallucinations.

Dir: Carlos Felipe Montoya

Diego lives with his father in a house without things, without furniture, without anything. One day he finds a chair deep in the woods and the desire of possession arises. Diego takes the chair back home but his father disagrees and orders him to return it. At night, the father recognizes the boy’s feeling of dearth and allows Diego to bring the chair again. Diego returns to the forest but something has happened, something really big. He can’t bring the chair this time.

STORY (Poland, 5 minutes)
Dir: Jolanta Bankowska

Story is a reflection about modern man in an age of omnipresent technology. Looking through stories – a popular function in many social media platforms – we see people who are lonely, lost or already indifferent about reality surrounding them. Action takes place during one day and it’s told by short, often (auto)ironic scenes, where virtual world sinks to reality.

STUD BOOB (USA, 10 minutes)
Dir: Shaina Feinberg

Two sisters in a bathroom debate their different approaches to the patriarchy.

SUNDAY (India, 10 minutes)
Dir: Arun Fulara

When the middle-aged Kamble makes his weekly visit to the neighbourhood barber shop, it’s not just for a shave. He can’t wait to be touched by Jaan, the new barber-boy he has a crush on. It’s the highlight of his otherwise dull existence as a married man leading a dual life in a society that abhors homosexuality.

SUPPORTER (Прибічник) (Ukraine, 8 minutes)
Dir: Sergey Naida

Transporting cultural value from another dimension, the courier soldier finds himself in the vastness of the Ukrainian present.

Dir: Kristina Wagenbauer

After a month of texting, Zoe has organized a perfect first date with Marc. Their expectations will be tested by reality.

TOXIC (TÓXICO) (Mexico, 18 minutes)
Dir: Fabián Archondo

A couple in a marriage crisis will have to survive a terrible explosion that releases toxic particles into the environment while being trapped in a little house in the middle of the desert.

TRIMMING (ZUSCHNITT) (Switzerland, 15 minutes)
Dir: Larissa Odermatt

A film about one’s own hair, about self-discovery, social constraints and defining beauty ideals in the digital age.

TRUTH HERTZ (USA, 3 minutes)
Dir: Shaun Majumder

When a father suspects his son is lying, he buys lie detector robot and gets more truth than he had hoped for.

THE VASECTOMY DOCTOR (Ireland, 11 minutes)
Dir: Paul Webster

The Vasectomy Doctor is a short film produced in 2018 as part of Screen Ireland’s Real Shorts documentary scheme. It tells the story of Dr. Andrew Rynne, Ireland’s first vasectomist.

THE VISIT (Iran, 14 minutes)
Dir: Azadeh Moussavi

After six months, Elaheh is finally allowed to visit her husband, who is a political prisoner. Elaheh and her little daughter Tara have one single day to prepare for this important meeting.

WADE (India, 11 minutes)
Dirs: Upamanyu Bhattacharyya, Kalp Sanghvi

In a version of Kolkata, India rendered unlivable by sea level rise, things take a dark turn when a family of climate change refugees are ambushed by a tiger on the flooded streets.

WAITING FOR HAROLD (Germany, 6 minutes)
Dir: Christoph Lauenstein

Is there something like destiny or is life just a line of coincidences? With small clay figures and a continuously moving camera Waiting for Harold explores the meaning of only small changes for the development of each character’s story.

WAVES (USA, 14 minutes)
Dir: Jane Hae Kim

Jamie, a hesitant Korean-American woman, visits home for the holidays. She hopes to catch up and make some sort of connection with her family but instead, like in the past, feels isolated and alone. Through the experience of feeling like the black sheep once again, she looks to different forms of water as a means of comfort and re-connection.

Dir: Julien Crampon

Two friends are cycling on a road. They’re cruising, taking their time and absorbing the world one last time. A conversation starts.

2019 Festival Awards

Our second annual festival was held this past weekend, and exceeded my expectations once again. I’m grateful to our staff, volunteers, audience, and especially to our filmmakers, and I want to recognize those films awarded by our juries and audience. Thank you to all our jury members for their hard work and for lending us their expertise. Congratulations to these filmmakers but also to all the rest of the filmmakers who allowed us to share their work during the festival. Toronto enjoyed watching your films and we can’t wait to see what you’re working on next!

Award Winners 2019

Best Narrative Film

Patision Avenue [poster image]

Patision Avenue (Dir: Thanasis Neofotistos)

Jury statement: The director masterfully lets us tap into the protagonist’s rapidly rising pulse while handling a mother’s everyday challenges in streets under the siege of an aggressive political riot.

Best Documentary Film

Dulce [poster image]

Dulce (Dirs: Guille Isa, Angello Faccini)

Jury statement: A subtle and moving portrait of a Colombian mother and daughter harvesting clams amidst the existential threats of climate change, this has the deft storytelling of a scripted film, accumulating power and significance rather than demanding it. Intimate and observational, the film’s success lies in its focus on impression and vignette over traditional narrative, conveying a vital message without preaching. Sometimes the greatest works of art are those that feel simultaneously about the smallest stories and the enormity of being alive; to see that in a work of nonfiction is an impressive feat indeed.

Best Animated Film

Pura Vida [poster image]

Pura Vida (Dir: Nata Metlukh)

Jury statement: Great fun! Nice design and style and funny stuff!

Audience Award – TIE

Nefta Football Club [poster image]Girl in the Hallway [poster image]

Nefta Football Club (Dir: Yves Piat)
Girl in the Hallway (Dir: Valerie Barnhart)

There were also jury special mentions in the three categories:

  • Special Mention (Narrative): Repugnant (Dir: Kyan Krumdieck)
  • Special Mention (Documentary): The Snowball Treasury (Dir: Kara Blake)
  • Special Mention (Animated): Good Intentions (Dir: Anna Mantzaris)

Full 2019 Program Revealed

This actually happened a few days ago now, but I realized we hadn’t posted anything here. Here’s the press release we sent out.


Full 2019 Lineup Announced

Shorts festival will screen 47 short films, with more than half by female directors

Toronto, Ontario – October 17, 2019

47 films from around the world. Narrative films (26), documentaries (10) and animated shorts (11); something for everyone. Some other facts: 16 Canadian films, 25 films with a female director. The festival takes place November 15 and 16 at the Bachir/Yerex Presentation Space at 401 Richmond Avenue West.

Screener links and press accreditation are available upon request.

Dir: Erica Scoggins

Late blooming Sam Rains finally gets her first period at the annual all-night skate. At first a triumph, her new condition brings strange side effects. An eerie electrical problem has the kids teasing about “the Boogeywoman,” a local legend, a sorceress who feeds on men’s souls and eats little girls. When a friend leaks about Sam’s period, the boys tell her she’s fair game for the Boogeywoman. With an expected tryst derailed, Sam leaves the skating rink in a fever only to meet the legend in the flesh. Instead of a monster, Sam finds a mother, a goddess, a mentor–opening the door to womanhood.

BORDER CROSSING (Poland, 15 minutes)
Dir: Agnieszka Chmura

A thriller based in the summer of 1989, the final year of communism in Eastern Europe, inspired by a childhood memory of crossing the border – not only between countries, but between the instinctive world of nature and the incomprehensible world of the adults. The story follows paths dictated by the little girl’s attention. Can she melt the border guard’s icy heart?

BRAMALEA (Canada, 5 minutes)
Dir: Anda Chitescu

Two young birds start their daily routine by enjoying breakfast in the bus loop at Bramalea GO Station. On this particular day, Sparrow is enticed by a rare treat – spilled sunflower seeds! In a turn of events he is inadvertently kidnapped and taken into a strange machine, leaving his brother Redwing to save him. Together they must stumble across a means of escape.

BRONZED (USA, 12 minutes)
Dir: Mike Egan

Martin, a neo-sun worshiper, prepares a ceremony of ritual human slaughter to satisfy the solar Gods. Now he only needs two things to fulfill his twisted theology: A sacrificial lamb and a spray tan. And lucky for Martin, airbrush technicians make house calls.

BURQA CITY (France, 20 minutes)
Dir: Fabrice Bracq

Souleymane and Leila just got married, for better or for worse. The better is that they love each other very much. The worse is that they live in an absurd and kafkaesque country.

COCO DREAMS OF BLUE (Ireland, 16 minutes)
Dir: Caoimhe Clancy

Clodagh has checked out. She works in a print studio in Dublin making slogans about life. She parties a lot, maybe too much. She doesn’t want to deal with her issues.

On her way down from another meaningless hook-up, she gets stuck in the elevator. Then things get weird. A flash of her mother, a glimpse of her abortion, a glance of her self-destruction. She is catapulted through her memories. Now Clodagh sees. She needs to face her issues if she wants to break this cycle.

THE COLOUR OF YOUR LIPS (Canada, 18 minutes)
Dir: Annick Blanc

In an atmosphere grown suddenly impossible to breathe, a diver and a woman appear to be the only survivors. As their reserves of air run out, will they make love or war?

DULCE (USA, 10 minutes)
Dir: Guille Isa, Angello Faccini

On Colombia’s Pacific Coast, a mother teaches her daughter, Dulce, how to swim. It is an essential skill in this remote region, where livelihoods are made on the sea and where rising tides, made worse by climate change, have swept entire villages away in recent years. Overcoming her fear of the water is just one element of Dulce’s budding awareness of her natural and cultural surroundings.

Dir: Sara Koppel

An animated poem about the vital need for embraces and contact with other beings.

EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO SAY (Canada, 12 minutes)
Dir: Edward Mines

A socially-challenged man struggles for control of his voice when an A.I. speech inhibitor jeopardizes his ailing relationships.

FAYETTENAM (USA, 9 minutes)
Dir: Gerald Ding

After a violent army brat childhood in Fayetteville, Gianna Smith finds an outlet for her past through the combat sport Muay Thai and embarks on a bone breaking odyssey fighting in the rings of New York and Thailand, until she sets her sights on a world championship in Belarus. Throughout her adrenalized journey, Gianna endures the unimaginable as she pushes herself beyond the breaking point of most athletes and fighters, standing strong at just 105 pounds.

FISH OUT OF WATER (Canada, 16 minutes)
Dir: Alyssa Asaro

Fish Out of Water follows the story of 12-year old Henry, a non-verbal boy with Cerebral Palsy. While facing a difficult transition into school and with his brother growing more distant, Henry comes into contact with an alien.

FREEDOM (LIBERTÉ, OÙ ES-TU CACHÉE ?) (France, 6 minutes)
Dir: Stephanie Ong

Although Mr. Seguin forbade her, Blanquette the goat runs away from her barn in order to go and discover the mountains. But as night falls, she decides to stay there despite all the warnings and to confront the wolf…

GIRL IN THE HALLWAY (Canada, 10 minutes)
Dir: Valerie Barnhart

Why does ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ give Jamie nightmares? It’s been 15 years, and the girl in the hallway haunts him still. This is a testament to locked doors. A lullaby sung by wolves with duct tape and polaroids. Not all girls make it out of the forest. Some stories children shouldn’t hear.

Dir: Anna Mantzaris

After a young woman is responsible for a hit and run, strange and spooky things begin to happen… A small thriller about people who are not always the best at making decisions.

GROUNDLESS (Iran, 15 minutes)
Dir: Soroor Mehdibeigi

On the day when the end is near, the earth is barren, the moon is buried in darkness, graves have brought bodies out of the ground, mothers flee from their children and there is no refuge, a childless woman adopts a dead child.

HURLEVENT (France, 6 minutes)
Dir: Frederic Doazan

The wind blows and we browse through the book of the alphabet creatures.

I BEAT UP MY RAPIST (Canada, 15 minutes)
Dir: Katrina Saville

A short film adaptation directed by Katrina Saville, based on a true story written by Leif LaVen (formerly Emily Eveland) about a young woman who refuses to rely on a system that repeatedly fails sexual assault victims and takes justice into her own hands.

J BURG (Canada, 5 minutes)
Dir: Matthew Gouveia

A woman who has just returned from a short trip to Johannesburg is confronted with the absurd, mounting consequences of her pretentious name-dropping.

KELPIE (Canada, 4 minutes)
Dir: Danielle Bittner

A young shepherd boy frees a panicked, trapped horse, only to find out why it was shackled in the first place.

LOVE POOL (UK, 17 minutes)
Dir: Asim Chaudhry

Eternally single Mark refuses to settle for anyone but ‘the one’, but a chance encounter in the back of a taxi pool forces him to consider that sometimes love can be found in the strangest places.

LUNAR-ORBIT RENDEZVOUS (Canada, 15 minutes)
Dir: Mélanie Charbonneau

A woman-tampon joins a man-astronaut on a road trip to the moon. Daniel is on a mission to scatter his mother’s ashes and Claude is hoping for her period to make a miraculous return. A modern tale that captures the fever dream of a first voyage to the moon.

MANEATER (Sweden, 7 minutes)
Dirs: Caroline Wallén, Sandra Isacsson

A group of men participates in a music video shoot. The female directors instruct them to eat bananas. But as simple as it may seem, the cast soon find themselves trying to fulfill the gradually more bizarre and challenging requests from the directors. How far are these men willing to stretch their boundaries? It’s just bananas!

MILK (New Zealand, 17 minutes)
Dir: Pennie Hunt

January 1945: on a lonely farm in coastal New Zealand, a young widow confronts two crewmen from a German submarine who have come ashore on a secret mission – to get fresh milk.

A MILLION EYES (USA, 25 minutes) – Canadian Premiere
Dir: Richard Raymond

A gifted young photographer, grappling with his mother’s alcoholism, sets out to capture something he loves.

NEFTA FOOTBALL CLUB (France, 17 minutes)
Dir: Yves Piat

In the south of Tunisia, two football fan brothers bump into a donkey lost in the middle of the desert on the border with Algeria. Strangely, the animal wears headphones over its ears.

NOBU (Netherlands, 9 minutes)
Dir: Sarah Blok

Nobu is a short film about former world karate champion and Japanese immigrant Nobuaki Konno. His daughter and fashion designer Lisa Konno asks him about cultural differences while he wears a collection she made for him. The film combines aesthetics with humour and social engagement with optimism.

PATISION AVENUE (Greece, 12 minutes)
Dir: Thanasis Neofotistos

Yanni’s mum is on her way to audition for a role as Shakespeare’s Viola, when she discovers that her young son has been left home alone. Through a series of phone calls, she fights to balance the most important roles of her life, whilst walking in the most controversial area of central Athens, Patision Avenue.

POZOLE (USA, 10 minutes)
Dir: Jessica Mendez Siqueiros

La gringa killed her Nana.

PURA VIDA (Estonia, 10 minutes)
Dir: Nata Metlukh

Four flawed friends travel to the Tropics where things go wrong.

A RACING HEART (Canada, 15 minutes)
Dir: Andrew Dickhout

John Dickhout, a recent heart transplant survivor, attempts to cross the final goal off of his bucket list as a documentary crew follows him on a weekly basis. His goal: to run a 10k in under 60 minutes, and show the progress he has made in the 2 years since his life was saved. While training John regales us with stories about his near death experiences, and his desire to prove himself after a stranger and his family’s choice to donate helped give his life new meaning.

REPUGNANT (New Zealand, 12 minutes)
Dir: Kyan Krumdieck

Grace must prove that her pray-away-the-gay dog therapy works by trying to “cure” Fergus the pug of his homosexuality.

THE ROLE (Iran, 12 minutes)
Dir: Farnoosh Samadi

A woman accompanies her husband to an audition. The thing that happens there leads her to an important decision…

SCHOOL’S OUT (TIENMINUTENGESPREK) (Netherlands, 11 minutes)
Dir: Jamille van Wijngaarden

When mother Marit wants to discuss the behaviour of her son during a parent-teacher conference, teacher Yvonne can’t repress her pent-up feelings anymore. A murderous comedy with finger paint.

SH’HAB (Qatar, 13 minutes)
Dir: Amal Al-Muftah

Upon hearing a myth about falling stars, a young girl’s curiosity is sparked. When night falls on Al Wakrah village, she sets out on her father’s boat, with the assistance of her older brother, to chase the fabled comets.

THE SNOWBALL TREASURY (Canada, 15 minutes)
Dir: Kara Blake

Every city has a story. Dawson City, in Canada’s Yukon, is a place with many. From being the largest city in the Canadian north during the height of the Klondike Gold Rush in the late 1800s, to its present day state as a quiet town, modestly populated by under 1500 inhabitants, Dawson City has been the site of many adventures both big and small. The Snowball Treasury explores this unique city and its rich history through a collection of colourful anecdotes told by local residents: tales of resilience and riches, the call of the wild, ghosts and gumption. A playful combination of live action and animation, this film gives shape to a city built upon a treasure trove of stories which continue to captivate the imagination.

A SONG CAN’T BURN (UK, 12 minutes)
Dir: Roscoe Neil

Since 1992 professor and musician Nigel Osborne has developed techniques to use music as therapy for children suffering the effects of trauma. These methods are now being inducted into a programme for Syrian refugees who have fled to Lebanon.

SORRY, SEA (PARDON LA MER) (France, 2 minutes)
Dir: François Ruiz

Freely inspired by a letter found on the lifeless body of a migrant who tried to cross the Mediterranean.

SPACES (Canada, 18 minutes)
Dir: Enrico Ferri

Spaces is a science fiction short film that takes place in the not too distant future. In a virtual reality world, the introverted Syrus 86 meets the more outgoing Zoe 03 and Kaari 25, where they bring out the best in him and form a strong friendship together. When Elemsoft Games announces they are discontinuing the virtual world in thirty days, Syrus 86 is faced with a choice in how he decides to spend his final moments in the game.

Dir: Mike Mildon

Lies, greed, and a deal gone wrong puts two co-workers and their entire company in jeopardy.

TABITHA IN LOVE (USA, 14 minutes) – International Premiere
Dir: Christian Flashman

After a strange sexual awakening with her pool boy and his dislocated ankle, Tabitha has to come to terms with her new sense of sexuality while trying to stop a drug recall that can end her newly found love.

TANDEM (Brazil, 11 minutes)
Dir: Vivian Altman

The film invites us to share the intimacy of Hugo and Magda, a longtime couple who are resigned to living out their fantasies independently of one another.

TEXTLESS (USA, 2 minutes)
Dir: Gareth Smith

An abstract, jazz drum-fuelled journey across a city where text is falling off the signs.

TIFFANY (USA, 6 minutes)
Dir: Christina Christie

While packing away her deceased grandmother’s affairs, Pauline discovers that one of their stained glass sculptures has come to life. As the lights in the house go out and their memories together begin to dim, Pauline realizes there is joy in celebrating the legacy of those who have been lost.

TOUGH LOVE (Canada, 4 minutes)
Dir: Nick Dragas

An aspiring writer attempts to create his romantic masterpiece, while struggling to accept a lack of passion in his own life.

TRUE NORTH STRONG (Canada, 14 minutes)
Dir: Christopher Yip

A voice is growing in Canada called the Alt Right. Toronto mayoral hopeful Faith Goldy and other leaders of the movement are gaining attention nationwide. Who are these people? What are they afraid of? True North Strong investigates why leaders in this movement have become radicalized to the Alt Right and the sources of the fear that fuels their beliefs.

Dir: Kyle McDougall

Thirty-five years ago, Bruce Beach started construction on the ‘Ark Two’—an underground nuclear fallout shelter that he designed and built himself. The structure is made up of forty-two school buses that were linked together and buried under twelve feet of concrete and earth.

Over the years, the project has attracted the attention of people across the world and has been met with differing opinions—from other ‘preppers’ who celebrate it, to folks who think the whole idea is crazy.

You Will Survive Doomsday is a short documentary that explores the beliefs and decisions that shaped Bruce’s unconventional journey.


Passes and single tickets are now available. The full film guide and schedule are also available at our festival mini-site.

For more information or to book an interview, contact James McNally at 416-556-6079 or [email protected] , or visit the website at

About Shorts That Are Not Pants

Established in 2012 as a quarterly short film screening series, Shorts That Are Not Pants presents its second annual festival weekend on November 15-16, 2019 at 401 Richmond West in downtown Toronto.

Interview: Caoimhe Clancy (Coco Dreams of Blue)

SNP Official Selection

Time for another sneak peek at our 2019 festival lineup. Coco Dreams of Blue was shot in Dublin and edited (at a public library!) in Toronto. Here’s the synopsis: “Clodagh has checked out. She works in a print studio in Dublin making slogans about life. She parties a lot, maybe too much. She doesn’t want to deal with her issues. On her way down from another meaningless hook-up, she gets stuck in the elevator. Then things get weird. A flash of her mother, a glimpse of her abortion, a glance of her self-destruction. She is catapulted through her memories. Now Clodagh sees. She needs to face her issues if she wants to break this cycle.” We spoke to director Caoimhe Clancy about it:

Caoimhe Clancy (COCO DREAMS OF BLUE)

James McNally (JM): Tell us how the story came to you. Does Clodagh represent anything you’ve felt in your own life?

Caoimhe Clancy (CC): The story is deeply personal. It came to me over the course of two meandering years. I felt like I couldn’t move on until I made it.

JM: The Repeal the 8th movement (to make abortion access legal in Ireland) seems to be central to the story of the film. How did the environment in Ireland at the time influence your story and the way you chose to tell it?

CC: I was part of the campaign to repeal the 8th for years, but I left Ireland before the vote. This film was written before the referendum was called, when abortion was still illegal and 12 women per day went to England to avail of abortion services, not including those who took illegal online pills. The story is about the feelings of isolation and shame surrounding abortion in a country where it is illegal. It’s not talked about. That’s changing now.

JM: How did you go about casting the film? Your lead actress (Edel Murphy) is remarkable in the role.

CC: I met one of my old teachers from Filmbase for lunch while he was teaching an acting class. Edel was one of the people taking his class and came in a large group to lunch that day. We didn’t really speak but I took a mental note of her and then recalled her months later when I was looking for a cast. I spent an hour going through Facebook trying to remember her name and eventually found her!


JM: What gave you the idea to use the elevator metaphor to portray Clodagh’s sense of being stuck?

CC: I hate waiting for things and I hate being in small windowless rooms where you have to sit with your own thoughts. I can’t remember now, but maybe I had some sort of existential crisis in an elevator?

JM: I understand that you moved to Toronto from Dublin after the film was shot. How did you find collaborators here to finish the film?

CC: On Facebook. It’s not very interesting. Made a post, someone answered! We edited it at the public library!

JM: Do you have any new projects on the go you’d be able to talk about? Do you
plan to make them here in Toronto?

CC: I’m writing a feature film at the moment, which I pitched at the Galway Film Fleadh pitching competition last year. It’s called Dublin is Burning. I’d like to make it as an Irish-Canadian co-production. It has to be shot in Dublin, of course, with the help of some Canadian friends.

Shorts That Are Not Pants Festival 2019 takes place November 15-16 at 401 Richmond. Early Bird passes are available NOW!