Tag Archives: Australia

At The Formal will screen on July 13

Still from At The Formal
I’m extremely pleased to announce the first film to be featured in our July 13 programme. When I saw Andrew Kavanagh’s short At The Formal several months ago, I immediately knew I wanted to share it with an audience. The film has played several prestigious film festivals at home in Kavanagh’s native Australia and abroad, including the Locarno Film Festival. Here’s what he had to say about the origin of the film, which I think will intrigue you:

At The Formal is a film that compares the modern ritual of a high school formal with the ancient rituals of historic civilisations, asking the question: Beneath the veil of civil ideals, have we really changed that much?

I find the connection between short films and poems useful in my filmmaking and this particular film was developed from a poem I wrote one night after witnessing the aftermath of a high school formal.

At first it was kind of magical. The girls and boys were resplendent in their evening wear. They held hands and seemed to be almost dancing down the footpath, but as the procession went on, things became more sinister. The faces became sweaty and grotesque, people were urinating in the gutter, fights broke out, I almost stepped on a young man vomiting in a hedge and the air was sickly sweet with the smell of premixed drinks.

To me these teenagers, dressed so elegantly and behaving so bestially, symbolised a conflict present within us all…and so I made a film about it.

As the film was adapted from a poem, I was searching for a simplicity and economy in the form, as well as a way to capture the dreamlike quality the experience had accrued in my memory. The long shot at the beginning makes sure the film is something to be experienced rather than immediately understood and the soundtrack speaks more of the jungle than a Formal event – which is where I thought I had found myself on the night I was privileged enough to stumble through this ritual, as a sober intruder.

The director’s next short, Men of the Earth is playing at the Worldwide Short Film Festival this week and I’m sure he’ll acquire many new fans at that screening. The two films are linked, both thematically and in the use of very long tracking shots which gradually draw the viewer into the ceremonial goings-on. I can’t wait to share this film with you, and to see where this young filmmaker goes next. Oh, and here’s the trailer, if you dare:

P.S. Sadly, this announcement means the super-cheap $5 tickets I was offering to our July 13 screening are now off-sale. But you can certainly get reasonably cheap $8 tickets still, or pay $10 at the door.

Full Program for our April Screening

UPDATE (March 1, 2012): Future Shorts has added The Arm to the program. See the synopsis below!

I’m happy to share the full program for our April 13 screening with you today. We’ll be showing two acclaimed Canadian shorts in addition to the Future Shorts pop up festival slate. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing more information about each film individually, but for now, here’s the overview. If you like what you see, why not save $2 and get your advance tickets now?

Still from Dimanche


Dir: Patrick Doyon
Canada – 2011

This animated short is a love letter to children’s imagination. After church, a family gathers at grandma and grandpa’s. It’s a Sunday like any other, except for the factory closing that has the grown-ups worried. As usual, a young boy chases away his boredom by playing with coins on the railroad tracks. He finds, to his surprise, that there are amazing sides to some coins. This animated fable for the whole family shows us how important it is to see life through a child’s eyes — even on a grey Sunday afternoon.

  • Nominated for Academy Award, Short Animated Film

Duration: 9:00

Still from Bear


Dir: Nash Edgerton
Australia – 2011

Edgerton wrote, directed and starred in Bear, the sequel to Spider (2007). The film centres around the main character Jack, unfolding his tangled relationship and examining whether he’s learned his lesson or not. Described as a black comedy without social commentary, Bear is a follow up but also stands alone as its own piece. “Because I tend to play things fairly straight and never set things up like it’s a drama or a comedy, the audience doesn’t know what it’s going to be, and something about that really works,” says Edgerton.

  • Nominated for Palme d’Or for Best Short Film at Cannes Film Festival

Duration: 08:55

Still from Quadrangle


Dir: Amy Grappell
United States – 2010

An examination of a four-way affair, this documentary explores the story of two “conventional” couples who swap partners and live in a group marriage in the early 1970s. Set in Long Island, New York, this domestic living experiment unravels and challenges the boundaries of social convention, marriage, monogamy and desire. “Inspired by the discovery of my father’s photographs, taken at the height of the poly-amorous affair, and in an effort to come to terms with my own past, I decided to interview my parents. The film does not propose answers and strives to remain objective. It explores two people in a certain time. It tells a story,” says Grappell.

  • Honorable Mention for Short Filmmaking Award at Sundance Film Festival

Duration: 19:00

Still from The Arm


Dir: Brie Larson, Sarah Ramos, Jessie Ennis
United States – 2012

Directed and written by a female trio, “The Arm” tells an up-to-the minute social commentary on teen love in a time of technology. Written over the course of three hours on a Greyhound bus from Dallas to Austin, this short centres upon two main characters, Chance and Genevieve, who start a texting relationship only to realize they were never in a relationship at all.

  • Special Jury Award for Comedic Storytelling at Sundance Film Festival

Duration: 9:00

Still from Love You More


Dir: Sam Taylor-Wood
United Kingdom – 2007

Inspired by the hit song “Love You More” by the Buzzcocks, this short is the tale of two punk lovers, Georgia and Peter, in 1978 London. Tender and explorative, this short film directorial debut by Taylor-Wood (Nowhere Boy) was written by Oscar nominee Patrick Marber and produced by Oscar winner Anthony Minghella.

  • Nominated for BAFTA (UK) Award
  • Nominated for Palme d’Or for Best Short Film at Cannes Film Festival

Duration: 15:00

Still from To Die By Your Side

TO DIE BY YOUR SIDE (Mourir auprès de toi)

Dir: Spike Jonze and Simon Cahn
France – 2011

Created from 3,000 hand-cut pieces of felt, Jonze’s tragicomic stop-motion animation takes place in an old Parisian bookshop (the famous Shakespeare and Company) where at night the covers come to life. It’s the story of a felt skeleton who falls in love with a beautiful and sassy vixen. Co-directed by filmmaker Simon Cahn with designs by Olympia Le-Tan, this short is sweet, sad, spooky and a bit whimsical. Jonze says, “A short is like a sketch. You can have an idea or a feeling and just go and do it.”

Duration: 7:00

Still from The Man Without a Head
THE MAN WITHOUT A HEAD (L’homme sans tête)

Dir: Juan Solanas
France – 2003

Created over 4 years, Solanas’ short debut is the story of a man who lives alone, head-less, in a room overlooking a vast industrial space. Visually astounding and technically accomplished, this animated short reveals love and happiness and one man’s pursuit of romance amidst life without a head. “We’re living in a period where cinema is a product; movies are becoming more and more commercialized. Short films are one of the last real places for artistic freedom – they’re important to celebrate just for that,” says Solanas.

  • Winner of the Jury Prize for Best Short Film at the Cannes Film Festival
  • Cesar Award (France) for Best Short Film

Duration: 18:00

Still from Venus


Dir: Tor Fruergaard
Denmark – 2010

Venus is an erotic comedy in claymation about rediscovering one another and finding the spark where you least expect it. An official selection of the Los Angeles and Annecy Animation Festivals, among others, Venus tells the story of Caroline and Rasmus, a confused couple who’ve not had sex in four months. To solve this, they decide to visit a swingers’ club to see if it might salvage their relationship.

  • Grand Jury Sparky Award at the 2012 Slamdance Film Festival

Duration: 7:00

Still from Trotteur


Dirs: Arnaud Brisebois, Francis Leclerc
Canada – 2010

A metaphor of adversity, an infernal race against a merciless adversary. A duel to settle between a young man and a locomotive.

  • Canada’s Top Ten 2011
  • Best Canadian Short at the Edmonton International Film Festival

Duration: 8:40

We screen at the NFB Mediatheque (150 John Street) on Friday April 13, 2012 at 7pm. Grab your tickets now!

Closeup: Deeper Than Yesterday

Deeper Than Yesterday poster

Over the coming weeks, I’m going to begin breaking down our program film by film. Hopefully, this will make you wild with enthusiasm which will lead you to buy advance tickets immediately for yourself and all your friends. Fingers crossed, anyway.

I first became aware of Australian filmmaker Ariel Kleiman when I saw his short Young Love on Wholphin No. 11. It features a man being berated by a woman in another language in the middle of a field of llamas. It reminded me very much of a skit we used to perform in my church youth group where we literally spoke gibberish for the whole thing. Incredibly funny to me, not so much for the audience. It’s interesting that for Deeper Than Yesterday he also chose to work in a foreign language. This time, we’re among a group of Russian submariners who have been at sea maybe a little too long.

Deeper Than Yesterday was the 26-year-old director’s graduation film from the Victorian College of the Arts at the University of Melbourne. The film has had a tremendous festival run, playing at Karlovy Vary and the Semaine de la critiques at Cannes in 2010 and at Sundance in 2011, and winning awards at all three.

On where he got the idea for the film:

I think the idea came from living in a shared house with my girlfriend Sarah and our business partner Ben. The three of us were all best friends who worked and lived together for a couple of years. After a while, I began to fear we were all losing our tempers and our minds. This was the beginning of Deeper than Yesterday. The shoot itself was, to date, the most eye-opening and traumatic undertaking of my life. From the bottom of my heart, I do not recommend shooting on a submarine.

Full Program for our January Screening

I’m happy to share the full program for our January 13 screening with you today. We’ll be showing two NFB animated shorts before the Future Shorts pop up festival slate. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing more information about each film individually, but for now, here’s the overview. If you like what you see, why not save $2 and get your advance tickets now?


Dir: Marv Newland
Canada – 2011

CMYK is a dizzying celebration of sound, colour and movement. Director Marv Newland and animator Kunal Sen meticulously assembled multitudes of CMYK symbols, pulled off flaps of common printed materials like cereal boxes. Freed from their workaday origins, these objects become moving artwork. Coloured dots pulsate chaotically, crosshairs roll languidly and primary shapes dance compellingly, while the music by composer Lisa Miller and the Quatuor Bozzini quartet is equally spontaneous. The result: an unrestrained riot of colour and energy.

Duration: 7:13


Dir: Amanda Forbis, Wendy Tilby
Canada – 2011

In 1909, a dapper young remittance man is sent from England to Alberta to attempt ranching. However, his affection for badminton, bird watching and liquor leaves him little time for wrangling cattle. It soon becomes clear that nothing in his refined upbringing has prepared him for the harsh conditions of the New World. This animated short is about the beauty of the prairie, the pang of being homesick and the folly of living dangerously out of context.

  • Winner of Canadian Film Institute Award for Best Canadian Animation at International Animation Festival, Ottawa
  • Winner of Best Canadian Short at Atlantic Film Festival, Halifax

Duration: 13:30


Dir: Michael Please
United Kingdom – 2010

The Eagleman Stag is a unique 9-minute stop-motion animated film which depicts a man’s haunting obsession with the passage of time and his unorthodox relationship with a beetle. Directed by Michael Please, the production was a highly ambition final year film for Please while studying at the Royal College of Art – it is based on a story he previously wrote entitled “The Life and Time of Peter Eagleman.” Orchestral music was integral to this film and composed in tandem with the animation process.

  • Winner of Best Short Animation at BAFTA
  • Winner of Special Jury Prize at SXSW Film Festival

Duration: 08:55


Dir: Luke Matheny
United States – 2010

Matheny, who wrote, directed and starred in this 19-minute inventive comedy about love-inducing darts won the Oscar for Best Live Action Short in 2011. A recent film student graduate of New York University, Matheny produced God of Love as his thesis film project while enrolled in NYU’s MFA program. At the Oscars, he was hailed for one of the best acceptance speeches of the evening and thanked his mother for her contribution to the movie.

  • Oscar Winner in 2011 for Live Action Short Film

Duration: 18:38


Dir: Ariel Kleiman
Australia – 2010

Filmed on an old decommissioned military submarine with 35mm cameras, Deeper Than Yesterday tells the story of a Russian crew who suffer a rather savage form of cabin fever. Director Ariel Kleiman, a graduate of the VCA at the University of Melbourne, recently said, “the more uncomfortable I feel making a film, the better it will be.” Jurors have compared the film to “The Lower Depths,” Maxim Gorky’s best-known play – very Russian with long periods of isolation and madness.

  • Winner of International Short Filmmaking Award at Sundance Film Festival

Duration: 19:52


Dir: Ruben Östlund
Sweden – 2009

A detailed and humorous account of a failed bank robbery: a single take where roughly 100 people meticulously recreate an actual event that took place in Stockholm in June 2006. Directed by Ruben Östlund, who witnessed these events first hand along with his producer Erik Hemmendorff while on the way to the Swedish Film Insititute. The film questions how robberies really happen, and what they might, or should, look like. “Making Incident by a Bank is a way to correct the false images of robberies we see almost daily in action movies made in Hollywood,” says Östlund.

  • Winner of the Golden Bear at Berlinale

Duration: 11:54


Dir: Juan Pablo Zaramella
Argentina – 2011

Inspired by the Argentinian instrumental tango piece entitled “Lluvia de Estrellas” (Star Rain), “Luminaris” tells the story of a man living in a world controlled and timed by light. Each day, inhabitants of this fictional world awake and are pulled, as if by some otherworldly force, to their jobs by sunlight. Combining pixilation and stop motion techniques, the surrealist short pairs styles reminiscent of art deco with black cinema. Zaramella explains, “Originally, I approached the project as a puppet animation story, but doing some pixilation tests in the gardens of Fontevraud, just for fun, the seed of the present short was born: the idea of sunlight as a magnetic force.”

  • Winner of Audience Award at Annecy International Animation Festival

Duration: 6:17


Dir: David O’Reilly
Germany/Ireland – 2010

A boy learns to play the piano in this rather dark but occasionally humorous meditation on the anxieties and fears of a modern civilized society. Created as a lo-fi animation, “The External World” is a surreal seventeen-minute collection of vignettes which borrows themes from pop culture, cinema and videogames – classic and contemporary. Some have heralded this short as “a unique reconstruction of the universe” while O’Reilly recently noted in an interview, “I like creating experimental films that have an emotional function.”

  • Winner of Best Animation Award at Tampere Film Festival

Duration: 16:56

We screen at the NFB Mediatheque (150 John Street) on Friday January 13, 2012 at 7pm. Grab your tickets now!