2007 06 15
Worldwide Short Film Festival
Image from the festival site, from the film Mondo Condo.
Ever found yourself sitting in a movie theatre wondering why a point that could have been made in a two minute scene is stretched over 20 minutes or more? For certain narrative techniques - particularly film, text and oral storytelling - the representation of time is a key problem. Any part of a narrative can be expanded or compressed, and the trick is to decide which aspects should be dealt with quickly and concisely, and which ones should be presented in rich detail and lingered upon.
It is this very problem which, for years, prevented me from attending the annual Worldwide Short Film Festival; “A filmmaker can’t possibly say anything thought provoking in a film which is only a few minutes long!” I would tell myself. As I discovered a few years ago however, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Yes, these films are short and to the point, but therein lies their beauty. You have a couple more days to check out this unique festival; read on for my picks on Toronto related or urban based films. And remember, you don’t have two hours to let your attention wander as you observe subtle character development and admire the cinematography. Pay close attention to each one. You will not be disappointed.
Please note that film descriptions have been adapted from the festival site.
Official Selection 7: I’m With the Band
Format: 7 short films
Innis Town Hall; Friday June 15, 7:15 pm
Toronto Pick: I MET THE WALRUS
In 1969, a 14-year-old Beatles fanatic snuck into John Lennon's Toronto hotel room and convinced him to do an interview about peace for the school paper.
Scene Not Herd: Music Videos
Format: 16 music videos
Cumberland: Friday June 15, 9:15 pm
This year’s batch of music videos features all kinds of animation, experimental effects, and outlandish sets. They’re also having an afterparty at the Savoy for you scenesters. Here are the ones which feature Toronto based or related bands.
THE CONSTANTINES: WORKING FULL TIME
This stop-motion fuelled video presents one of the most literal takes on the 'rock video' ever applied to film.
EMILY HAINES & THE SOFT SKELETON: DR. BLIND
A 24-hour big box store and some slickly-rendered metaphorical visual effects serve as a ready comment on societal burnout under the fluorescent haze of an over-consumerized world.
APOSTLE OF HUSTLE: NATIONAL ANTHEM OF NOWHERE
A journey through a disintegrating paper world.
MSTRKRFT: STREET JUSTICE
This flashback clip harkens back to the days 70s era dance shows and factors in a heady dose of primitive psychedelic effects.
Official Selection 9: Fashion Victims
Format: 12 short films
Saturday June 6, 7:15 pm; Innis Town Hall
The highly sought-after screening slots of the 12 programs of Official Selection represent the newest, most innovative and engaging live-action, animation, documentary and experimental films from Canada and around the world. Here are the ones which feature Toronto/urban themes:
Urban style is pitted against downtown sprawl in this animated documentary about skyward development in Toronto.
OFFICIAL SELECTION 2: ENVIRON(MENTAL)
Format: 12 short films
Although these may not be about Toronto per se, they are about the various facets which comprise the urban experience.
The taste, feel and sounds of urban public spaces evoke the private experiences of four women in this lush, beautiful exploration of sense in the city.
THE DELAWARE PROJECT
A precarious highway that cuts across sprawling developments sends a young woman to a series of doctors' appointments, though it is unclear what ails her.
On a stormy night, two girls and two boys drive up a dark, derelict laneway looking for thrills.
Every wrapper, every stick of gum - the sum of a day is vividly presented in this gorgeously animated ode to city life.
LIFT 25TH ANNIVERSARY: FILM IS DEAD! LONG LIVE FILM!
17 films that were commissioned by the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto to commemorate their 25th anniversary. LIFT plays an invaluable role in promoting film and supports emerging and established film artists in its community.
LONG LIVE FILM (VIVE LE FILM)
A photo of the filmmaker's grandparents at their engagement party is manipulated to reveal family memories.
VIEW OF THE FALLS FROM THE CANADIAN SIDE
Revisiting the dawn of the film medium by using stocks of the same era and handmade developing emulsions, Price celebrates the uniqueness of analog motion picture technology.
Consisting of lost reels of their escapades, this film reveals the bizarre and inventive exploits of these 'folk stunt' artists in rural Ontario in the early 70s.
HER NAME WAS VIOLET
In a pairing of fire footage and a single photograph, this film pays homage to a girl who once had her whole life in front of her.
Twenty years ago, Elizabeth Taylor said: "We've taught people to believe in movies". Today, the belief in film and moving pictures is stronger than ever.
Among Africans, hair is a symbol and an integral part of a complex language system that can express creativity or even make a political statement.
Peter Stinson expertly crafts a tribute to the works of amateur filmmaker Eugene Strain, as well as Kodachrome, speedboats and noisy summer days at the lake.
THE INTERIORS OF DESIRE
Through random encounters with places and people, a protagonist eventually finds a new and ineffable sense of clarity after the loss of a lover.
The future of film...As divined through an internet horoscope generator.
In the not-so-distant future, robots will remember our memories through the photos we feed them.
TELL MUMSY I LOVE HER
A French-Canadian woman canoes down river, retrieves fur from a trap and then stops to rest among the trees in the forest. Based on Pierre Berton's Book "Hollywood's Canada: The Americanization of our National Image."
Film isn't dead, and neither is disco. Things have just changed, and it's harder to find a place for you and your friends to dance.
Shadow Tracing is a short, experimental, silent film where narrative fiction straddles historical and cultural timelines. A young woman makes a life-decision to buy a vintage hand-crank movie camera. Discovering the marks of former Chinese owners, she dreams of events the camera may have seen. Recalling ‘wacky’ Hollywood impressions of ‘Chinatown’, she has further dreams of becoming a “cameraman” herself. Her dreams are fulfilled in the streets of her own ‘hood’, Toronto’s Asian cultural community.
In this study of aural and visual perception, both sound and image are drawn directly onto film.
IN THE KINGDOM OF SHADOWS
Documents the dissolution of Maxim Gorky’s 1896 review of the Lumière brothers film ARRIVAL OF THE TRAIN AT LA CIOTAT (1895). The review, typeset on an early Ludlow Linecaster in Tempo typeface, returns the lead to a liquid state over a six-minute static shot reconsidering historical and technological relationships between cinema, print and review.
REVERSED CHRONOLOGICAL ENCOUNTERS WITH THE X-Y CHROMOSOME
Six vignettes revisit one woman's encounters with men who have influenced her life. Each moment captured is a tiny celluloid monument in honour of torment or bliss.
LAKE ONTARIO (IN MY HEAD)
Lake Ontario provides the filmmaker with a contemplative look at a mutable and entrancing horizon.
Liza Badaloo has an on-going love affair with Toronto, and doesn't care who knows it.
[email this story] Posted by Liza Badaloo on 06/15 at 07:51 PM
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