The tenth annual edition of the Toronto Youth Shorts Festival will be taking place this weekend at Jackman Hall in the Art Gallery of Ontario. Here are my thoughts on five of the short films that will be screening.
Forging Our Own Disclosure – Sept 22, 1:00 PM
Lady Strips (Adrienne Mountain)
This rotoscoped animation has the appearance of a woman performing a strip tease, as viewed through a peephole. However, the short proceed to have a somewhat macabre twist to the strip. Those who have seen Robbie Williams music video for “Rock DJ” can probably guess what the stripping twist is and it does might cause those who were previously looking with anticipation to suddenly turning away in fear.
Searching for Belonging – Sept 22, 6:00 PM
Second Life (Benjamin Reyes)
David finds himself living a double life, as he lives with his girlfriend in the real world, while communicating with another girl in a “Virtual Life” VR video game. Second Life is named after the infamous virtual world of the same time, even the uncanny valley is greater in this virtual world, with pixelated 3D avatars. The film is a bit of a cautionary tale about a guy who spends too much time in this online world and this disconnect is illustrated by surreal blue and pink lighting of the real world, which it make it much less enticing than the virtual world (despite the pixels).
The Curious Tale of Aunt Binks (Jenna Feltham and Niko Powell)
Abby travels to visit her Aunt Binks, who turns out to be a very peculiar figure. The Curious Tale of Aunt Binks is a mix of storybook narration with some pretty well done stop motion animation. With its rhyming prose, this is almost like a Dr. Seuss tale, though there is an underlying darkness more akin to Coraline. A well done little story.
Jeoseung Saja (Petra Kim)
A story about the Netherworld seminary, who guides spirits to the afterlife. Told entirely in a series of watercolor illustrations, with some movement, Jeoseung Saja is a very well produced animated short, with a beautiful and sad story told entirely from the images it creates.
Mr. Slotter (Megan Lawless)
A hitman is tasked with killing students at a local school, but ends up forming a bond with them instead. Featuring some very well done animation and a darkly humorous story, Mr. Slotter ends up being a surprising heartwarming film about a hitman with a heart of gold.