With Anatomy of Assistance, director Cory Bowles brings to TIFF’s Short Cuts Canada Programme 6 an inspiring and thought-provoking short film about a young girl named Talia. When Talia is caught drinking underage in public, using the money she was rewarded with for her good grades, she is given a ticket by a police officer that she must pay by the end of the week. Bowles really puts into perspective the things that youth do to escape, the complexities that force them into those situations, and whether or not adults are there to help them. Overall, it is a stunning story. Although it is short, at a total of 13 minutes, Bowles’ film is successful in making you realize that this is all but fiction.

Describe your film in 10 words or less.

Social satire about youth, a cheque, the law, and assistance.

What inspired you to make this film?

My own experiences as a youth during a very rebellious stage in the black community – a phase that saw me challenge everything. (I think I even tried to insist people used X instead of my last name at one point…)

The main thing was that a learned a lot of hard lessons. I was also a hypocrite. Being young, I didn’t quite understand that yet (though I thought I knew everything).

What was the best thing about production? Most frustrating?

The best thing was having those moments when we knew we were making something that had a bit a weight and relevancy. That’s when I feel like we’re making art. The whole cast and crew would get giddy and work harder.

The most frustrating thing was the weather. I think we had rain, snow, fog, light, sun, overcast, hail, tornadoes and maybe even a hurricane in one day.  Before that, I was telling everyone that Nova Scotia has at least six different weather changes a week and a little rain wouldn’t hurt anybody. Then we had Nova Scotia weather in one day. I’ll never complain again…

What’s the one thing you want people to know about your film?

There is no answer in this type of piece. It’s got some specific themes, but it is also meant to be fun. There has to be some complexity as well. I hope it will generate some discussions.

Talia has a few adult mentors in her life. Did you draw any inspiration from your own mentors?

I had a guidance councilor that worked tirelessly to make things great for us. A lot of the time he was chastised for his methods. He would do everything from have a spelling bee shootout to just hanging out. The result was the same. Improvement. At the end of the day, a lot of us went on to do what we loved. There were a few people like that. And I think we all worked with youth somehow now.

Your film is screening as part of TIFF  — what are you most excited about seeing or doing at this year’s festival?

I’m just excited to be there – it’s such an honour. I’m also pretty jazzed that I get to watch the film in the company of the creative team: Lauren Corber, John Titley, Jordan Crute, Jeff Wheaton, Jeff Morrow and the cast and crew – especially Keeya King. She was fantastic and I don’t get sick of watching her. She’s a great find. And if all goes well, she’ll be too busy to ever work with me again.

Anatomy of Assistance is a part of TIFF 2013’s Short Cuts Canada Programme 6. Check the Festival website for details and showtimes.

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