Canadian Film Fest 2013: Short Film Thoughts

Counselling Out of the nineteen short films that played during the Canadian Film Fest, I managed to see nine.  These consist of five of six pre-feature shorts, as well as four of the five shorts of Student Short Showcase.  Sadly, I was unable to make the main short showcase, which featured the remaining eight shorts of the festival. As is customary, this post will consist of capsule reviews of the shorts that I managed to see. Pre-Feature Shorts The Agreement
The premise of this short is that a man named Dale had an agreement with his lesbian friend Maxine that he was allowed to pursue her girlfriend for as long a Maxine was away of business.  However, the problem was that the relationship has progressed and Dale is reluctant to give the girl up when Maxine returns.  The film is definitely an interesting twist on the traditional love triangle and it definitely gets you thinking about the true nature of love.
7 | FAIR  Best, April
A romantic comedy about how you can very easily build up a relationship in your mind, despite the fact that you are only communicating with the guy through text messages.  It was definitely a very bright and colourful short, with a very clingy main character.  It was not bad, but it wasn’t really my thing either.
6 | WATCHABLE Cicada
This short tells the story of a boy, who keeps running away from home.  The film is interesting for the fact that it is mostly black and white, before switching to colour for the final few minutes.  I don’t really think the film’s title means all that much, other than the fact that there are the sounds of cicadas heard in the background.  Overall, it was a nice little short, with an open to interpretation ending.
8 | LIKED IT For Clearer Skies
This was the only real genre short that I saw.  It was a somewhat weird sci-fi short about an alien being fed up with learning about the human race.  The film is nearly entirely told in a subtitled alien language and tackles the subject of what it means to be human (or alien).  There was also a nice little twist at the end.
8 | LIKED IT Counselling
A darkly humorous short about an estranged couple, who are so desperate to rekindle their relationship, that they tie up their marriage counsellor to his chair.  It was not too difficult to see where this short was going, but I do have to say that I enjoyed where it went.
8 | LIKED IT Student Short Showcase (Note: I arrived to the showcase late with the short Dedication already in progress, so I decided not to leave it out of my reviews) Blue Bird
This black and white documentary follows a family that lives in a school bus.  There is no dialogue in the film and the story was told entirely through the images. Out of all of these, it was probably the most obvious student film of the bunch.
7 | FAIR  Zen
This documentary deals the challenges faced by an Indian/Muslim couple, who has a child named Zen with cerebral palsy.  They have risked everything to use treatment methods not covered by the Canadian Heathcare system, which resulted in Zen developing better than doctors anticipating.  It’s a touching documentary overall, though I do have to take note of a few moments in the short, where the focus switched to the mixed race marriage and how one of the subjects was disowned by her parents for not marrying a Muslim.  While definitely an emotional moment, it did come off it me as filler, since the focus of the short is the child.  Still, I will say that I liked the short.
8 | LIKED IT Flood
This was an excellent short about a Korean woman’s slow decent into depression.  The film features not much dialogue, but with the help of some interesting shots and editing, you get a good depiction of this woman’s slowly fracturing psyche.  Quite liked this one.
This is probably the most technically well-done of these student shorts.  A young boy suffers from nightmares and is taught by his mother how to confront his fears, right before she tragically dies.  The short as a whole has a very simple premise, but I found that I quite liked how it was executed.

Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).