Fabulous Festival of Fringe Film 2008 Fear Remembered

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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.”

Special Thanks

to the following individuals for their time, participation and contribution to this year’s festival.

Ashley Pratt (juror)
Chet Calhoun (juror)
Diego Phillips Shea (juror)
D’Elle Craig (juror)
Holly Giroux (juror)
Meghan Woollard (juror)
Judy Gladstone (Bravo!FACT*)

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
4:20 minutes (2006) Alberta
Sandi Somers
In this award winning comedic video, taxidermy and art come together to provide a humorous and artistic twist in a rather morbid profession.

The Artistic Taxidermist

Hannga, Song of the Sled Dogs
2:03 minutes (1998) Nova Scotia
W Chris Woods
Throat-singing, a face to face game of call-and-response is being performed by two Inuit women who utter the most unusual sounds in this mesmerizing semi-documentary.

Library Rats
5:45 minutes (2008) Quebec
Frederick Pelletier, Olivier Tetreault
This performance driven video follows a librarian’s quest to catch an infamous ‘library rat’ which has been spotted leaping around the library and causing chaos.

I Have Seen the Future
5:18 minutes (2008) Alberta
Cam Christiansen
In this animation based short, a tennis court confrontation is captured between the young spawn of a wealthy Calgary suburb and a father and son duo.

I Have Seen the Future

2:46 minutes (2004) Ontario
Magali Charrier (France/England)
A lyrical black and white dance film that explores the lost imaginary realm of three young women’s childhoods, and what remains of their past dreams in their adult lives.

6:00 minutes (2007) Ontario
Connie Diletti
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Miami International Film Festival 2008, this short drama explores the effects of war on soldiers and their families.

The Girlfriend Interviews
6:08 minutes (2001) Ontario
Cassandra Nicolaou
A comical mocumentary that engages several lesbian women in a conversation about what they look for in a potential partner.

My Name is Pochsy
5:59, Ontario 2006
Karen Hines
A mercury-poisoned factory worker muses about meaning, taxes and the future of the human soul in this blackly comedic ode to the industrial film. Audience Choice Award: Best Short at the Boston Underground Film Festival among other accolades worldwide.

I Met the Walrus
4:38 minutes (2007) Ontario
Josh Raskin
Nominated for a 2008 Academy Award for Best Animated Short, this film is based on a legendary encounter between John Lennon and a 14-year-old Toronto boy, Jerry Levitan, at the King Edward Hotel in 1969. Levitan’s recording of Lennon’s message of peace is being transformed into an amazingly complex bit of animation.

I Met the Walrus

6:00 minutes (2006) Newfoundland
Allan Hawco
When Larry wakes up in a stranger’s bed with no idea of how he got there, he has only one hope of escape... the ultimate wingman, his best buddy Dave.

4:06 minutes (2005) Ontario
Laura Taler
Featuring Canadian soprano, Tracy Smith Bessette, this film explores the old tale of love lost sung by a triumphant heroine.