All posts by James McNally

About James McNally

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

Announcing Our 2021 Animation Jury

I’m excited to share with you our 2021 animation jury. We’re so thankful to have their participation this year.

Ayaka KinugawaJesse KnightJadyn Grass

Ayaka Kinugawa

Ayaka is a Japanese musician based in Toronto who is actively involved in the comedy scene. She is a musical director at the Second City and has toured across the USA, Canada and on cruise ships, including sold out performances at the Kennedy Center. She also composes music for YouTubers, short films, and a hip-hop project, Kokophonix. When Ayaka is not working on her music, she performs improv and sketch comedy on stage. She is the host of Ayak’s Kitchen on Bad Dog Comedy TV. Ayaka likes tomatoes.

Jesse Knight

Jesse Knight is a Los Angeles-based film festival programmer, writer, copy editor and rollerskater. His festival and film society contributions include Palm Springs ShortFest, AFI Fest, San Francisco International, Sundance Institute, Palm Springs International, Frameline, and many others. His repertory programming includes The Royal Cinema in Toronto, and The Capitol Theater in Olympia, Washington. His rollerskating contributions include anywhere, so look out.

Jadyn Grass

Jadyn Grass is a professional photographer and videographer from Brooklin, Ontario. She is currently doing freelance work in the Greater Toronto and Peterborough areas. She specializes in food and product photography as well as corporate and narrative films. She has worked with public schools, doing graduation photos, and local families for fall and holiday photos, and edited a documentary about education systems in Kenya. She is a recent graduate of Durham College’s Video Production program, and loves anything creative. Jadyn loves to tell stories through the lens!

Announcing Our 2021 Documentary Jury

We are very happy to share that this group of documentary experts will be judging this year’s selection of documentary shorts. We are honoured to have their participation!

Robinder UppalBrighid WheelerVivian Xavier

Robinder Uppal

Robinder Uppal is a documentary filmmaker and interactive producer whose work builds on lifelong interests in immigration, diversity, and social justice issues. Co-founder of Lost Time Media with Marc Serpa Francoeur, in 2020 they released No Visible Trauma, a scathing exposé of police brutality and accountability issues in their hometown of Calgary, Canada, which had its world premiere at the Vancouver International Film Festival.

Brighid Wheeler

Brighid Wheeler has been in the indie film world, specifically the film festival world, for most of her adult life. Having run the gamut from shift volunteer to THE ‘Queen B’ (a fabulous nickname earned early in her festival career), she just ended her 13+ tenure as Senior Programmer for Indie Memphis and is currently the Programming Director for the Atlanta Film Society. Outside of the festival, you’ll most likely find her mentoring, guiding, and encouraging the filmmakers in Memphis and beyond. She attributes this as her main source of drive and inspiration both personally and professionally. Brighid has served on countless juries at festivals across the country and considers each experience an honour as it allows her the opportunity to support the current and next-generation storytellers.

Vivian Xavier

Vivian Xavier is a cinematographer and cinephile who decided to become a storyteller at the age of 14. He has an MFA in film production from Florida State University and has attended a creative producing course in Busan, South Korea. He has lensed short films, documentaries, commercials and music videos, and counts Krzysztof Kieslowski as his favourite film director. He is most recently the co-founder and lead programmer for the Gandhara Independent Film Festival.

Announcing Our 2021 Narrative Jury

I’m really excited to begin introducing our jury members this year. It’s such a joy to be able to connect with other film professionals to share and reward the great work of our filmmakers. I’m proud to introduce you to the fine group of people who will be judging our narrative short films this year:

Kate ChamurisJason AndersonPeyton Kennedy

Kate Chamuris

Kate Chamuris is an LA based producer and director.

Her producing experience includes Blocks (dir. Bridget Moloney), Sundance 2020, Miller & Son (dir. Asher Jelinsky), Oscar Shortlist Live Action Short 2020, Gold Student Academy Award, student BAFTA Live Action Short Award, Balloon (dir. Jeremy Merrifield), Grand Prix HollyShorts 2019, Television Academy’s College TV awards Best Drama Series. Currently playing festivals is Nuevo Rico (dir. Kristian Mercado Figueroa), Best Animated Short SXSW and LALIFF 2021.

Her directing work includes the comedy short A Sari for Pallavi, winner First Prize Best Comedy Short at Rhode Island International 2019.

While developing her independent projects, Kate is a VFX coordinator for Lucasfilm streaming properties.

Jason Anderson

Jason Anderson is a film programmer, writer and lecturer based in Toronto. He is the programmer for Short Cuts, the Toronto International Film Festival’s annual showcase of shortform cinema, and the programming director for Aspen Shortsfest, an Oscar-qualifying film festival recognized as one of the premier short film festivals in North America. A longtime film critic and arts journalist, he contributes to such publications as Uncut magazine, Cinema Scope and Sight & Sound. He teaches a course on film criticism at the University of Toronto.

Peyton Kennedy

Peyton Kennedy is an award-winning actress whose film credits The Captive, American Fable and XX premiered at numerous festivals, including Cannes, South by Southwest and Sundance. Her most recent short film Selfie also premiered at SXSW. On television, she had a two-season arc on the longest running medical drama Grey’s Anatomy and received glowing reviews for her portrayal of Kate Messner in the Netflix Original Everything Sucks! Other television credits include Canadian series Odd Squad, Murdoch Mysteries, Killjoys and Taken.

2021 Poster Premiere!

2021 Festival Poster (Red/Blue)

Hello, shorts lovers! I’m excited to reveal our 2021 festival poster, once again 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.

Jacob Rolfe

Watch out for our postcards again this year! And if you’re able to help distribute some in the GTA, please get in touch!

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.