Canadian Film Fest 2013: 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 (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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