The Toronto International Film Festival is set to present 44 world-class Canadian short films, including four with animation, in this year’s Short Cuts Canada program.
With a lineup as diverse in themes and cultures as the country itself, six engaging programs will represent the styles of both accomplished and emerging directors from across Canada. From strong social statements to deadpan humor, Short Cuts Canada programmers Alex Rogalski and Magali Simard received nearly 700 entries — the most submissions to date for the program — indicating steady growth in film talent in Canada.
“Programming Short Cuts Canada is more and more challenging each year because of the level to which Canadian filmmakers are elevating the quality of short films,” said Simard. “It is a very exciting time for us as programmers, and the future never looked brighter for Canadian shorts.”
“Films in this year’s program have global reach and will appeal to audiences worldwide,” said Rogalski. “This year’s films are short in length, but long on impression.”
Films in the Short Cuts Canada program are eligible for the Award for Best Canadian Short Film. This year’s jury includes journalist and author Matthew Hays, journalist Katrina Onstad and filmmaker Reginald Harkema.
Among the films being screened:
Carla Susanto, Ontario
Engravings from century-old medical textbooks become an animated backdrop to a man’s loving goodbye during his final moments. The fleeting flicker of the monochromatic images resonates with the narrator’s quickening journey as he transitions from one world to another.
Patrick Bouchard, Quebec
Inspired by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” Bydlo is a staggering visual rendering of the lumbering wooden Polish ox-cart picture. Technically complex (Bouchard animates plasteline) and artistically fiery, Bydlo depicts the cycles of life, the power of man and beast, and both the beauty and horror of labor.
Theodore Ushev, Quebec
Poetic and political, Theodore Ushev’s latest animated work cultivates his incredible talent to call for the liberation of imprisoned Iranian filmmakers and to focus attention on the plight of Jafar Panahi. Drawing inspiration from raw footage of the Green Wave uprising to compose densely layered rotoscoped images embedded with Farsi text, the result is a powerful piece of activism that is both personal and profound.
Let the Daylight into the Swamp
Jeffrey St. Jules, Ontario
The St. Judes origins in the lumber camps of northern Ontario lead to a splintered family and a spotted history filled with questions and half answers. With a mix of animation, re-enactments and archival evidence, Jeffrey St. Jules assembles a three-part 3-D documentary collage that explores the consequences of parents who make the difficult decision to give up their children.
The Festival offers the TIFF Choice five-screening Canadian Pack, including features and shorts ($80 for adult, $68 student and senior). Purchase Festival ticket packages online 24 hours a day at tiff.net/festival, by phone from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET weekdays at (416) 599-TIFF or 1-888-599-8433, or visit the box office in person from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET at TIFF Bell Lightbox.
The 37th Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 6 to 16.