Angie Driscoll grew up loving Canadian film, “When I was little I’d stay up late watching Cinema Canada on the CBC.” And it’s a good thing too, because it’s that love for our often underappreciated indigenous cinema that lead to her becoming a cheerleader for cinematic products that might be considered “underdogs” by both audiences and those in the film industry. Nowhere is that truth more evident than in the world of short film. “I want to make people understand that shorts are not just a stepping stone to making a feature film, but that they feature a range of genres and themes and have a high level of a quality that allows people to really engage with them.” Said Driscoll about one of the many roles required of her job as a long-time programmer and current interim Artistic Director of the CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival (WSFF).
On any given day, you might see Driscoll coordinating and managing the other programmers on the WSFF team, talking to filmmakers, meeting with consulates for countries whose films are screening as part of WSFF, working on the programme guide and always watching lots and lots of short films. “I screen over 2,000 films each year because a large part of my job is discovering new films. I go to festivals around the world.”
In fact, making those new discoveries is what she likes best about the job. “I love finding incredible films and the excitement I feel when I want to share them. Because short films are so underground, when I find a new one to love it’s like this huge secret I’m bursting to announce. It’s thrilling when you’ve discovered something that will really affect audiences. It’ll really change them.”
Driscoll is especially excited about screening a film at this year’s WSFF that she counts as one of her all-time favourites ““ Dennis which plays as part of the Film School Spotlight: Super 16 Anarkino Programme. “ Dennis is truly a home run, with an incredible character that’s so inventive and a perspective you’ve never seen before. The character possesses this surprising vulnerability. You see this guy with so much to give but so many struggles anyhow, the film is just the portrait of a loser in love ““ and you really feel it. It’s so sensitive; it makes you emotional about Dennis. It’s just a beautifully executed film in every way.”
It’s especially gratifying for Driscoll to bring films like Dennis home to screen in a city like Toronto, which she describes as “really plugged in” compared to other cities she’s visited. “Maybe it’s because of the thriving festival culture but [Toronto audiences] are used to engaging with filmmakers and being at Q&As on a personal level. That awkward wait for someone to ask a question that happens elsewhere never happens in Toronto.”
She continues, “Torontonians interact really easily and personably with filmmakers and films. Other places it’s a more rarefied, pretentious experience and asking questions of the artist isn’t frequent. In Toronto people voice their opinions and ask really candid questions. It’s really conversational and it makes it a great place to experience new films.”
Driscoll believes it’s that spirit that makes Toronto such an ideal home for a festival like WSFF. “Toronto audiences are totally dedicated to taking a chance and attending festivals and going to see films by filmmakers they don’t necessarily know anything about. There’s this thriving film culture, even though the drive to support Canadian films isn’t always there. Hopefully one day those two will intersect.”
Atom Egoyan or Bruce McDonald? “¨Jean-Marc VallÃ©e
Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings? “¨Lord of the Rings ““ or Game of Thrones, which I watched this morning!
Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton? Charlie Chaplin
David Lynch or David Cronenberg? “¨David Lynchenberg
Movie snack: sweet or savoury? Sweet, obviously!
This year’s CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival runs June 5 – 10, 2012. Check their website for more details.
Each month in 5 Questions, we talk to some of the Toronto film industry’s unsung heroes: the people slogging away behind the scenes to help make your life just a little more entertaining.
Stay tuned for TFS’ featured topic this month. We’ll be exploring short films of all genres and time periods, celebrating the upcoming Worldwide Short Film Festival and introducing you to some of the people who make it their business to give short films their due accolades.