2019 short film selection
Director: Cristobal Catalan // Castellón, Spain
Coming from an immigrant background, when I moved to the metropolis city, I felt similar to the main character in 'Life(y)'... hoping for even the smallest of meaningful human exchanges, however brief, abstract or unusual. The film explores issues surrounding mental health, social conformity and loneliness in a ‘modern’, homogenous society.
Isolation has a strange effect on humans. Very subtly, days coalesce, routine blurs, space and time becomes insignificant...
'Life(y)' is about social conformity, temporality and the solitary condition of a city existence. It’s possible that most of us maybe don't even know that we’re in a state of advanced isolation. Using key symbolism, for example, the leading character's skin condition (known as vitiligo), I wanted to strip the film down, to a minimalist tone. The protagonist's modern life could be either his ‘peace’ or his 'purgatory'.
Director: Yuan Zheng // Beijing, China
An exhausted delivery rider sprawls on the bench of a roadside park and drifts off. In his dream, workers gather together in a ‘Shanzhai’ (imitation goods) park, where they stop to pose as statues. This all-star line up of contemporary youth-labourers in a dream setting explores China’s contemporary urban life: infused with technology and capital, new kinds of markets emerge, as well as new kinds of exploitation, anxieties, and dreams.
Director: Amelia McCluskey // Salt Spring Island
A thirteen year old girl gets an unusual makeover, shocking her classmates.
Amelia McCluskey is a sixteen-year-old filmmaker currently living on Salt Spring Island. Her work is focused on youth perspectives, finding the truth in fiction, and discovering magic in unlikely places. When she isn't behind the camera or writing, Amelia performs with GISS Improv, makes music, and swims in lakes.
Director: Meredith Hama Brown // Vancouver, BC
Sam, a late-blooming twelve-year-old girl, encounters a brutally injured bunny near her home. This sends her on a mission to help save it, yet she must first navigate through a stream of complex obstacles. Through her demanding pursuit to save the rabbit, she finds that her moral compass and also her perspective on mortality are challenged.
the common fag
Directors: Michael V. Smith & Denise Kenney // Oakanagan, BC
Collaborators Kenney and Smith’s cheeky ‘nature doc’ short outlines the being that is ‘the Common Fag,’ here on the banks of Okanagan Lake. “As we can see here, however, despite this adaptive behaviour which accommodates the square lines and beige surfaces, the common fag is not an obvious fit with the box. The box, though, is nevertheless a defining feature for the Common Fag—both due to his birth into it, and his long process of separation from it.”
Director: Derek Janzen // Victoria, BC
A lonely artist creates a film by himself in his backyard for his own entertainment.
New Harmony began as a concept for a music video that never ended up coming to fruition. However, the idea of the lonely rogue filmmaker never managed to leave my mind and with the encouragement and enthusiasm of lead actor and good friend, Matt Kingcroft, we ended up shooting this in only a few hours with no script, money, or crew. In so many ways, the production of this short came together in a very similar fashion to the piece our character makes throughout the course of the film. A great deal of heart and a pure lack of self-awareness, but in the end we're equally proud of what we've put together.
Director: Emma Joye Franke // Vancouver, BC
Proximity is an improvised experimental short contrasting memory with reality, land and development. Our narrator and impromptu tour guide leads us on a sunny walk through the city, land on which her ancestral home used to sit
Director: Jo Gaffney // Salt Spring Island, BC
A short about venturing off into the woods by yourself.
Shot on super 8mm film
Director: Fantavious Fritz // Toronto, ON
A K9 officer trainee and his partner train for their first day on patrol. Play, repetition and positive re-enforcement reveal the casual nature of manufacturing violence on command.
Good Boy is the second instalment in a cycle of shorts exploring the relationships between human and animal minds. To me these are often relationships that transcend spoken language. Dogs are often submissive to human leadership and eager to please, the intimate relationship between dog and K9 officer is an extreme example of this which I became attached to.
Director: Kathryn Boyd-Batstone // Los Angeles, USA
a funeral for lightning
Director: Emily Kai Bock // Montreal, Canada
Piece not in competition for Audience Choice
Seven months pregnant and stuck in a sleepy corner of Tennessee, a young woman begins to see through the promises made by her charismatic husband.