I love short films, and Toronto's Worldwide Short Film Festival, taking place this year from June 16-21 offers a veritable cornocupeia of shorts - the largest showcase of the genre in North America, no less. (The trailer above is an advert for the 2006 Festival.) As one of only two Academy of Motion Picture Sciences recognized film fests in Canada (and thus, its winners eligible for coveted Academy Awards,) organizers are deluged with entries from around the world, enabling them to pick the cream of the crop - I'm always amazed at the sheer ingenuity the films display both in techniques and approaches. The schedule is organized around themes - Sci-Fi, What You See is Not What You Get (described as a series of "sly and surprising" shorts,) The Edge of Reason, award winners from around the world and more.
Programmes of short films are hugely entertaining, and I've yet to figure out why they can't make a viable offering to mainstream audiences. After all, we live in the era of short attention spans, why not give those attention spans something of quality to absorb? Start them with comedies and animation, and in no time, they'll be used to the format and hankering for more. Don't you think??
At any rate, here are some highlights from this year's lineup:
- the ever popular Celebrity Shorts programme, including Natalie Portman's directorial and writing debut, (and starring screen legend Lauren Bacall,) and "The Spleenectomy", starring House Bunny's nubile Anna Faris
- Canadian Comedy Shorts, including offerings from Second city, Patrick McKenna (the Red Green Show,) as the PM after a non-confidence vote, and Deadspiel, the greatest zombie curling movie ever made
- Midnight Mania at the ROM, featuring Kierkegaard loving vampire hitchhikers, giant bunnies, and sinister teddy bears among other "cinematic oddities".
As a veteran filmmaker I once interviewed opined "it's a lot easier not to screw up a short".