Category Archives: Films

El regreso: Thursday August 22, 2019

El regreso

Way back in October 2013, we presented our first (and so far, only) themed lineup. El ataque de los cineastas españoles was so great, we brought it back again in January 2014, and now we’re bringing it back again, five years later! These shorts, made between 2003 and 2012, are so weird and (to me, at least) so funny that I think everyone should see them. We’ll be screening at the newly-restored Grand Gerrard Theatre on Gerrard Street East at Jones Avenue. Tickets will be available at the door for $10 (cash only) and we’ll have some cool giveaways, too.

RSVP


Still from Los Reyes Magos

LOS REYES MAGOS

Dir: Alberto González Vázquez
Spain – 2011

Santa Claus exists. At least he better exist!

Duration: 3:30


Still from Mi Amigo Invisible

MI AMIGO INVISIBLE (MY INVISIBLE FRIEND)

Dir: Pablo Larcuen
Spain – 2010

Tomas is so shy he can’t even ask his parents to pass the salt. Will the appearance of a strange new friend help him overcome his fear of speaking out?

  • Official Selection – Sundance Film Festival
  • Winner, Best Short Film – Los Angeles Film Festival

Duration: 15:00


Still from Elefante

ELEFANTE (ELEPHANT)

Dir: Pablo Larcuen
Spain – 2012

Manuel is stuck in a monotonous job, has only one friend whom he cannot stand, and his family despises him. Everything will change when the doctor diagnoses him with a rare disease – Manuel is going to turn into an elephant.

  • Official Selection – Clermont-Ferrand Film Festival
  • Winner, Best Short Film – Sitges Film Festival

Duration: 9:00


Still from El fin del mundo

EL FIN DEL MUNDO (THE END OF THE WORLD)

Dir: Alberto González Vázquez
Spain – 2010

“My fellow Americans, six months ago I was made aware of a situation so devastating that at first, I refused to believe it…”

Duration: 3:30


Still from El ataque de los robots de Nebulosa-5

EL ATAQUE DE LOS ROBOTS DE NEBULOSA-5 (THE ATTACK OF THE ROBOTS FROM NEBULA-5)

Dir: Chema García Ibarra
Spain – 2008

Almost everyone is going to die very soon.

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

Duration: 6:30


Still from Protoparticulas

PROTOPARTÍCULAS

Dir: Chema García Ibarra
Spain – 2009

The experiment was a success: protomatter exists.

  • Official Selection – Ann Arbor International Film Festival

Duration: 7:30


Still from Sinceridad

SINCERIDAD (SINCERITY)

Dir: Alberto González Vázquez
Spain – 2011

The situation is very difficult. You know that, don’t you?

Duration: 3:00


Still from La ruta natural

LA RUTA NATURAL (THE NATURAL ROUTE)

Dir: Alex Pastor
Spain – 2004

Soon a man will find out that his destiny is already written and that he can’t do anything to change it.

  • Winner, Short Filmmaking Award – Sundance Film Festival

Duration: 11:00


Still from Ensayo sobre la ceguera

ENSAYO SOBRE LA CEGUERA (ESSAY ON BLINDNESS)

Dir: Alberto González Vázquez
Spain – 2010

Despite losing his sight, Pablo leads a completely normal life.

Duration: 3:30


Still from 7:35 en la manana

7:35 DE LA MAÑANA (7:35 IN THE MORNING)

Dir: Nacho Vigalondo
Spain – 2003

A woman enters a restaurant one morning – only to be met with silence instead of people talking.

  • Nominated, Best Short Film, Live Action – Academy Awards
  • Nominated, Best Short Film – European Film Awards

Duration: 7:30


Still from Domingo

DOMINGO (SUNDAY)

Dir: Nacho Vigalondo
Spain – 2007

A couple on a picnic are witness to the greatest event in human history and attempt to document it for posterity.

Duration: 3:45


Still from Marisa

MARISA

Dir: Nacho Vigalondo
Spain – 2009

Every woman is Marisa, but Marisa is only one. A love story about the vagaries of time and space.

Duration: 4:00


Still from Sospechoso

SOSPECHOSO (SUSPECT)

Dir: Alberto González Vázquez
Spain – 2011

Two policeman question a strange man they found in the woods, while waiting for their new Captain to show up.

Duration: 1:15

February 2019 Audience Award Winner

Still from BENEATH THE INK

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
Cinecycle
129 Spadina Avenue (slightly down the alley)


Still from BROTHERHOOD

BROTHERHOOD

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


Still from ALL-INCLUSIVE

ALL-INCLUSIVE

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

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


Still from BENEATH THE INK

BENEATH THE INK

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

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


Still from FATHERLAND

FATHERLAND

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? 🙂

Festival Awards 2018

Our very first festival was a huge success this past weekend, wildly exceeding my modest expectations. I’m grateful to everyone who shared, posted, tweeted, and especially those who attended our celebration of short film, and I can’t wait to start working on plans for 2019. But first, I want to recognize our award winners. 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 2018

  • Best Narrative Film: Bitchboy (Dir: Måns Berthas)
  • Best Documentary Film: Tungrus (Dir: Rishi Chandna)
  • Best Animated Film: This Magnificent Cake! (Dirs: Emma De Swaef, Marc James Roels)
  • Audience Award: Flight (Dir: Lianne Graham)

BitchboyTungrusThis Magnificent Cake!

Interview: Richard Raymond (Souls of Totality)

SNP Official Selection

Souls of Totality

Second in our series of interviews/programme reveals is Richard Raymond, director of Souls of Totality, a thrilling exploration of love versus belief that stars Canadian treasure Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) and her real-life boyfriend Tom Cullen (Downton Abbey). We spoke to Richard about the film recently.

Richard Raymond (Souls of Totality)

James McNally (JM): Apparently, this was the first film ever to shoot during a solar eclipse. What made you want to take on such a technical challenge?

Richard Raymond (RR): The film came about in a very serendipitous way. Last summer there was a lot of excitement about the “Great American Eclipse,” the first total solar eclipse in 100 years visible in America from coast to coast. Millions of people from all over the world had booked out every flight and hotel available in or near the path of totality, so we more or less lost hope that we’d get a chance to go and experience it.

But then six weeks before the eclipse our baby sitter (Makenna Tague) mentioned she was from Oregon and that we could camp at her family house, right in the path of totality. We told our friends, Kate Trefry and Ben Bolea, (who are writers) and they jumped at the chance to travel with us. A couple weeks later we had a dinner with two actors, Tatiana Maslany and Tom Cullen — (Tom was in my last film, Desert Dancer and Tatiana is his real-life girlfriend) — we mentioned the trip and they also wanted to come with us to see the eclipse. Of course I suddenly had an epiphany! Actors, writers and I’m a director… we should make a film! The problem was it was now only four weeks until the eclipse — we had no script, no money and no equipment or crew, I’d never shot in America before — we were at the mercy of an impending deadline set by the universe. But I knew the film – whatever the story – should end with an uncut sequence through a solar eclipse… instinctively, I felt strongly it needed to be emotionally intense. So the next day Ben and Kate started thinking up ideas and my wife, Nousha, and I flew up to Oregon to meet our nanny’s father, Mike. He drove us around and eventually introduced us to a farmer — I fell in love with his property and that’s how we found the main location! I took photos and sent them to the writers and – bless their creative wisdom – two weeks before the eclipse they handed me Souls of Totality. So the journey to Souls of Totality was paved with this crazy last minute idea to make a film shot during a solar eclipse. But as Ben and Kate’s script was born everything changed. Their original story, like a magnet, pulled together a group of passionate, like-minded, like-hearted souls. In doing so the eclipse became a footnote to a story I had to tell.

Souls of Totality

JM: The cast is fantastic. Can you tell me how you got heavy-hitters like Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) and Tom Cullen (Downton Abbey) involved in such a challenging project?

RR: Of course this came about in a very organic way — a simple spark of imagination at a dinner table and the unexpected excitement which built up from there. Tatiana especially relished the challenge of doing a film where there literally couldn’t be a second take. I think they were both thrilled to try and pull off a high wire act with no safety net – just like they would do in theatre. For me, I’d been trying to find a project to work with Tatiana for a while — and at the same time I also yearned to work with Tom again. They’re both incredible collaborators and they’re also a real-life couple – so any project they are in garners so much between them that is unspoken.

They are both so comfortable with each other so there’s a unique and genuine comfortability in their chemistry that conveys so much to the audience without words. It’s a real joy to watch them just play and bring a scene to life. One of my concerns in making this was that doomsday cults would seem bizarre to any sane mind. So we wanted the scenes to play out in the vernacular, as though the characters were just ordinary people on an extraordinary last day. They both shared a desire to approach the film in a very authentic and naturalistic manner, within long single takes that would give room for improvisation. I wanted this to feel authentic and unvarnished. For the audience to never question their convictions.

JM: Can you discuss some of the technical aspects of shooting a long take during a solar eclipse? Did you consider using more than one camera, or cutting up the scene?

RR: The final eclipse sequence was designed to be as immersive as possible – It wasn’t about looking up and seeing the eclipse; anyone can go on YouTube and do that. I wanted a single camera, continuous shot that focused on Tatiana’s character – and allowed the audience to feel her desperation of not knowing whether the person she loves is alive or dead. We rehearsed the sequence for four days before the eclipse, using NASA data and GPS coordinates to precisely time the performances to the exact beginning and end of totality. There was only one chance to capture this and thankfully science took out all the guesswork for us. We just had to follow the numbers!

We blocked out the shot like a piece of choreography. And when the time came everyone was 100% focused and followed what we had rehearsed. I had total faith in the cast and crew that we could pull it off. I’m most proud of Tatiana Maslany and Tom Cullen, who gave such beautiful performances under immense pressure. When I called cut, the cast and crew were overcome by the alchemy of what we’d just all been a part of. This was a real family made film – among us were six married couples, four sets of siblings, and three complete family units, who’d all spent a week sleeping in tents, cooking, cleaning, and working 18 hour days together — that eclipse scene summed up what was such a profound and beautiful experience for everyone involved. Something that none of us would ever forget.

Souls of Totality

JM: What drew you to the cult aspect of the film?

RR: That’s all down to the script. The initial inspiration behind the first conversations was inspired by the real life “Heaven’s Gate” cult, whose members believed that the Hale-Bopp comet was the harbinger of an interstellar UFO that would transport them to a higher plane of existence. Most of the followers — 39 members — died of poisoning in a mass suicide in early 1997. They believed they had to leave their earthly lives to reach the spaceship. For me as director, I was really interested in telling a love story and capturing a never repeatable, can’t turn back event that forces a person to find the most real, honest part of themselves to help determine how they will handle it. That is very apparent in the love story of the film but it’s also in the making of the film; Souls of Totality was made by multiple couples who are passionately in love, working to seize a never repeatable moment and relying on their authentic partnerships to help see it through. I really think this is felt in the movie — this certainly couldn’t have been pulled off by strangers in such a small amount of time. It was a beautiful collaboration.

Shorts That Are Not Pants Festival 2018 takes place November 23-24 at Cinecycle. Early Bird passes are available NOW!