Monday, August 3, 9pm, Middle Dam, Durham
By Gina Lizette Duque
This year’s juried program of contemporary Canadian short film and video is comprised of eleven of the best and most compelling works as recommended by seven young adults of different demographic backgrounds, including myself. For several hours we reviewed 67 shorts that Canadian artists, film and video makers produced with the support of the Bravo!FACT Foundation*. The final selection is based on the degree of originality and diversity these films encompass and which captivated our attention. “The shorts I recommended instantly captured and continued to demand my attention throughout. These shorts left me wanting more—a second taste per say. A melting pot of Passion, Comedy, Sorrow and Forgiveness. That to me is life,” said D’Elle Craig.
Another juror member, Meghan Woollard, summarized her experience, “While I am very picky when it comes to movies, I was surprised to like so many of the shorts I got to watch. I found them very different, challenging, yet entertaining.”
From animation to opera, modern dance to drama, the shorts in this program cover a wide range of themes and bring a refreshing new perspective and meaning to the way we experience film. The combination of beautifully executed visual effects, compelling performances and clever story lines in these shorts, offer another dimension to the way in which we see and experience human emotion as an art form.
Many, if not all of these shorts fall into the category of ‘experimental,’ capturing a wide range of filming styles that distinguish them from mainstream commercial films and videos. While some are more traditional in nature, others adopt an avant-garde approach in terms of concept and style. It is through the use of various film abstracting techniques such as out-of-focus filming, aging/scratching effects, asynchronous sound, rapid editing and clever use of animation that has influenced my top list of favorites.
Although my choices all vary in concept and style, they are all are worthy of admiration and provoke much intrigue. In my opinion, films like I Met the Walrus and I Have Seen the Future utilize animation techniques that work together seamlessly to create an entertaining piece that is sure to keep the viewer’s interest throughout.
In contrast, films such as Haanga the Song of the Sled Dogs and Tralala concentrate more on the dramatic performances that bring a focus to the human state of mind, emotions of love, heartbreak and relationships, thereby evoking an emotional response that leads to a deeper connection between the viewer and the film itself. Responding to these deeply moving themes, Chet Calhoun comments, “The movies I have chosen all hold a mirror up to society, and allow us as individuals to see ourselves in a different light. Many of them have humorous exteriors, but have a deep message hidden in the content.”
Ashley Pratt commented, “I didn’t think I would like anything because I am not into art. At the end I thought it was actually pretty cool.” For me this proves that there is something for everyone regardless of personal taste.
Overall, these films have been a pleasure to watch, capturing my undivided attention and stirring a sense of excitement and fascination for film and video every step of the way, giving me a unique artistic and satirical view into the cultural, bizarre and at times comical aspects of our society.
* Footnote: Founded in 1995 Bravo!FACT’s objectives are to stimulate public interest in Canadian excellence in the arts; encourage the creation of new ways of presenting the arts on television; increase public recognition of Canadian artists and their works and provide professional opportunities for film and video-makers. Bravo!FACT (Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent) is spearheaded by Judy Gladstone who has transformed the foundation into a place that sparkles with the quality of the short films it funds.
The Artistic Taxidermist
Hannga, Song of the Sled Dogs
I Have Seen the Future
The Girlfriend Interviews
My Name is Pochsy
I Met the Walrus