One of my favourite parts of running the festival (other than finding so many awesome films and filmmakers) is getting to work with other film industry professionals, and each year I’ve been honoured and delighted to have such great people on our juries. This year is no exception. I’m very proud to introduce you to the fine group of people who will be judging 2020’s crop of narrative films:
Jim Cummings is the Sundance-winning filmmaker behind Thunder Road. He is a writer/director and actor and spends his time helping short filmmakers expand into feature filmmaking.
Robyn Citizen, PhD is the Senior Manager of Festival Programming at Toronto International Film Festival. From 2012-2017 she was a lecturer on genre and transnational cinemas at the University of British Columbia. She has served on numerous film festival juries and is co-chair of the Breakthroughs Film Festival. A lifelong fan of anything in anthology format, she recently published chapters on Get Out and East Asian Cult cinema in edited volumes and is always on the lookout for new omnibus films.
Jason Ryle is a producer, programmer, curator, and arts consultant based in Toronto, Canada. From July 2010 to June 2020, Jason was the executive director of imagineNATIVE, an Indigenous-run organization mandated to support Indigenous screen-content creators. In this capacity, Jason oversaw all operational and artistic aspects of the annual imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and the organization’s year-round activities, including international partnerships and special projects. Since 2006, Jason has been a script reader for the Harold Greenberg Fund (which provides financial support to Canadian screenwriters) and currently serves as the chair of the Toronto Arts Council’s Visual & Media Arts Committee. From 2013 until 2019, he was an advisor for Indigenous films at the Berlinale. Jason has produced two short animations and is currently in development as a producer on three feature films, a short, and one documentary feature.
Hello, shorts lovers! I’m excited to reveal our 2020 festival poster, designed by Jacob Rolfe. Jacob is an illustrator and screen-printer living in Cherry Hill, Nova Scotia, where he has a home studio. When not in there, he sometimes acts as Ricky’s son-in-law on the TV show Trailer Park Boys. You can see lots more at his Instagram: @floating.world.studio.
We love this year’s design so much that we had Jacob screen-print ten copies, in two different colours. Stay tuned for your chance to own a unique piece of our very special 2020 virtual festival!
Despite our fervent hopes, it doesn't look like we'll be back in cinemas by November, so we've made the decision to take our festival virtual for 2020. We're not the first festival to make this decision, and that's good news for several reasons.
First of all, we've been fortunate to be working with a trusted partner. Our ticket vendor for the past two festivals, Eventive, was among the first tech companies to build a robust, secure, and user-friendly solution to presenting festivals online. Since April, they have helped dozens of festivals go virtual. Their track record is excellent, and they are adding refinements all the time. We're confident that, with their help, we can provide an excellent experience for audiences and filmmakers this November.
Second of all, going virtual presents certain advantages for us. We can geo-fence the films so that anyone in Canada can access our festival, allowing us to reach a much wider audience than ever before. And we are extending our dates, so you'll have much more time to enjoy our programming. This year's festival dates will be November 13-22. That's TEN days to watch all the great Canadian and international short films that we're putting together.
We’ll have more news soon about how and when passes and tickets will be on sale, and we’re ready to start announcing a few titles too. Thanks for coming along on this crazy 2020 ride with us!
As awful as some of the images on the news have been lately, we are encouraged by the outpouring of righteous anger and the desire for constructive change. But the events that incited the protests have been happening for many many years, both here in Canada and around the world, and things won’t change overnight. It’s hard to know what to say, or what to do, especially as a small arts organization. But we are committed to sharing the stories of underrepresented communities and to supporting other organizations who do so. Meanwhile, we acknowledge our need to listen and to learn and to always do better.
Some organizations that we support that could use your help: