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)

2019 Festival Juries

With the festival kicking off in a few days, I’d like to introduce the good people who are helping us determine our three juried award winners. We’ll be giving away a total of $1,000 in prize money with the help of our audiences, as well as these fine industry leaders.

Narrative Jury

Liane CunjePer FikseDan Moore

Liane Cunje

Liane Cunje is a programmer for the Overlook Film Festival, and has been an international programming associate for the Toronto International Film Festival since 2017. In 2019, she became the Discovery programming associate for the focused programme showcasing bold visions from international first- and second-feature directors. Coming from a Film Studies and a television development background in Montreal, Liane previously worked in cult film restoration and distribution in the UK with Arrow Video as operations executive. She currently sits on the board for The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, and is working with a few industry femme fatales on INIODYMUS, a genre film festival consultancy collective promoting new filmmakers.

Per Fikse

Per Fikse (b. 1965, Norway) is the director of Minimalen Short Film Festival in Trondheim, Norway. He began programming for the festival in 1994 and has been its director since 1999. The festival had its 31st edition this year, screening more than 200 films over six days.

Dan Moore

Dan Moore is the executive director of the Indy Film Fest which recently celebrated its 16th year, and was drawn to the fest by his love for film nearly a decade ago. He has served as executive director of the all-volunteer festival since 2016. By day, he’s a software engineer and lives with his two cats in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Animation Jury

Barnabas WornoffShelagh Rowan-LeggElaine Wong

Barnabas Wornoff

Barnabas Wornoff is a senior animator, animation professor and one of the co-founders of TAAFI (Toronto Animated Arts Festival International) where he helps with speaker programming and other fun shtuffs. Wornoff is a full-time professor at Seneca College, where he coordinates the 3rd year 2D stream and mentors his students while they make incredible cartoons.

Wornoff also animates for top tier animation studios in Toronto, and has worked on Corner Gas Animated, Nature Cat, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Total Drama Island, Jimmy Two Shoes, Peg and Corn, and did storyboard cleanup on Danny Phantom. Currently he’s a freelance animator for Nelvana on Sesame Street’s second season of Esme and Roy.

Barnabas has his Masters in Creative Media and Education from Bournemouth University in England.

Shelagh Rowan-Legg

Shelagh Rowan-Legg is a filmmaker, author, programmer for FrightFest, and contributing editor for ScreenAnarchy.

Elaine Wong

Elaine Wong is a short film programmer for the BFI London Film Festival. She has previously worked on Sheffield Doc/Fest, London Short Film Festival, Underwire, Raindance and Chinese Visual Festival and is based in London.

Documentary Jury

Mickey DuzyjSanne JehoulEthan Warren

Mickey Duzyj

Mickey Duzyj is an Emmy-nominated director known for his innovative use of animation in documentary film, and was chosen by Variety as one of 2019’s “Top 10 Documentary Filmmakers to Watch.” He is the creator and director of the critically-acclaimed Netflix documentary series LOSERS (2019), and previously won the Best Short award at Hot Docs for his ESPN 30for30 film The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere (2016.) More at mduzyj.com.

Sanne Jehoul

Sanne Jehoul is the co-director of Glasgow Short Film Festival, Scotland’s leading short film event, which champions new talent and disruptive, transgressive work alongside a programme of industry events. She is also a programmer at Document Human Rights Film Festival in Glasgow, and freelances as a writer, host, and curator. Sanne has worked in arts and media in her home country Belgium as well as in China and the Basque Country. She sits on the advisory board of Femspectives, a new feminist film festival in Glasgow.

Ethan Warren

Ethan Warren is a senior editor at the online film journal Bright Wall/Dark Room and the writer/director of the 2018 independent feature film West of Her. He lives on the south shore of Boston with his wife, Caitlin, and their children.

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.

THE BOOGEYWOMAN (USA, 17 minutes)
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.

EMBRACES AND THE TOUCH OF SKIN (Denmark, 3 minutes)
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.

GOOD INTENTIONS (UK, 9 minutes)
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.

SUPER INTENSE OFFICE SCENE (Canada, 3 minutes)
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.

YOU WILL SURVIVE DOOMSDAY (Canada, 8 minutes)
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 www.shortsnotpants.com

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
Still from COCO DREAMS OF BLUE

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!

Still from COCO DREAMS OF BLUE

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!