Canadian Film Fest 2013: Shorts

by James McNally on March 18, 2013

in Film Festivals,Shorts

The Canadian Film Fest returns from March 20–23 at the Royal Cinema. Featuring a homegrown lineup of 6 fea­tures and 19 shorts, this year’s edi­tion con­tinues the festival’s resur­gence. New this year, film­maker Warren Sonoda will be leading a daylong film­making mas­ter­class on Wednesday March 20th that looks like a can’t-miss event.

Once again, I’ve decided to focus my atten­tion on a few of the short films. I’ll indicate screening times with each cap­sule review. You can check out trailers for some of the films on the festival’s YouTube channel.

For Clearer Skies

For Clearer Skies (Director: Alfredo Salvatore Arcilesi, 14 minutes)

The first four or five minutes of this are pretty opaque, but once the protagonist’s situ­ation becomes clear, it’s a pretty inventive story. I won’t spoil it except to say there’s a sci-fi premise and some sub­titles in a lan­guage you’ve never seen before. Technically the film is a bit rough around the edges, but I admire the nov­elty of the concept.

Screens on Friday March 22nd at 9:15pm before the fea­ture Skull World (Royal Cinema)

The Ace of Spades

The Ace of Spades (Director: Justin Kelly, 22 minutes)

The first short film from the comedy troupe Making Funny Stuff feels exactly like a pilot episode for a sketch comedy show. And that’s not bad. The group (Glen, Daveed and David, along with Glen’s reluctant 12-year-old daughter Ariel), dressed up like some kind of comedy Mormons, show up on the door­step of Canadian TV action star Scott McCord, who plays their hero Thorn on “Rookie Flashbang.” Talking their way inside, they try to get him to mentor them in the ways of comedy. Before long, digestive prob­lems and the adoles­cent tend­ency to hog the bath­room lead to a show­down. Despite some of the lit­er­ally bath­room humour, I found this quite funny, but it kind of just stops rather than having any sort of dra­matic denoue­ment. As per­formers, these guys are funny, but writing some­thing longer than a sketch is a chal­lenge, one I hope they can solve at some point.

Screens on Saturday March 23rd at 3:45pm (Royal Cinema)

Counselling

Counselling (Director: Geordie Sabbagh, 6 minutes)

The Edwards were hap­pily mar­ried. When their mar­riage hit a rough patch, they sought advice. Now they have to make a last-ditch effort to save their mar­riage. This is one of those “punch line” shorts whose gag is revealed about halfway through. That makes it tough to see out the rest of the story in any sat­is­fying way, but it’s still a well-made if slight thing. The syn­opsis on the fest­ival site as well as the image there pretty much give away the twist, so I won’t use them here.

Screens on Saturday March 23rd at 8:30pm before the fea­ture Mr. Viral (Royal Cinema)

The Race of Life

The Race of Life (Director: Francesco Giannini, 12 minutes)

It’s the final show of the season, and everyone around the world is watching! Which couple’s baby will be born first and win five mil­lion dol­lars? It’s a shame that such oth­er­wise strong film­making talent is wasted in this overly-broad, bor­der­line offensive “satire” of reality tele­vi­sion. Relying on tired racial jokes and ste­reo­types about, for instance, the clergy or the upper-class, this has nothing intel­li­gent to say. At least the poo jokes in The Ace of Spades are uni­ver­sally funny.

Screens on Saturday March 23rd at 3:45pm (Royal Cinema)

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