A ‘short’ introduction to Canadian Film Centre short films

A ‘short’ introduction to Canadian Film Centre short films

Last week we clued you in to the Canadian Film Centre’s  Short Dramatic Film Program and the fact that every year, they churn out a whole new crop of promising filmmakers and more importantly, great short films that very often make the film festival rounds, introducing some of the country’s best filmmakers to the worldwide landscape. With over 150 CFC shorts to choose from, it’s hard to know exactly where to start delving in. Here are some of the best of the bunch:

1. Evelyn The Cutest Evil Dead Girl (2002)

One of the more famous of the CFC shorts, this darkly twisted live action cartoon is a unique blend of Tim Burton asthetics and Dr. Suess‘ loopy rhymes with a moral  played at the Sundance Film Festival and has won numerous awards.  Nadia Litz ( Monkey Warfare and a CFC Graduate herself) plays Evelyn, a little dead girl who tries to bring herself back to life in order to fit in the neighbourhood popular girls but in the end realizes that being a bit left of centre isn’t so bad after all. Writer/Director Brad Peyton has since gone on to direct Journey 2: The Mysterious Island .

2. Elevated (1996)

It’s easy to see  the roots of both Writer/Director Vincenzo Natali‘s   Cube and Writer Karen Walton‘s   Ginger Snaps in this taut horror-thriller that  employs a beautifully simple gimmick: the entire film takes place on an elevator. Nt shockingly, Natali is able to mine a remarkable amount of tension and horror in such a tiny space as he tells the story of a man and woman who are forced to share an elevator with a bloodied security guard who starnds the car at the very top of the building and tries to convince the credulous pair that going down is a really bad idea .

3. How Eunice Got Her Baby (2009)

A sort-of short form, Canadian version of David Lynch’s Wild at Heart , this story about love and family strength tells the story of Flo (Kate Corbett), her star-crossed lover Dale Dean Chipman (Aaron Poole), their progeny and Flo’s devoted wallflower sister Eunice (Vivien Endicott Douglas). Director Ana Valine is currently in pre-production on her first feature Sitting  on  the Edge  of Marlene and Writer Dane Clark has a feature-length film entitled Old Stock being produced through CFC Features.

4. Big Girl (2005)

Writer/Director Renuka Jeyapalan has created a sweetly melancholy story about a little girl (Samantha Weinstein) who’s determined to hate her Mother’s new boyfriend (Kris Holden-Ried) and challenges him to a series of competitions to determine whether he’ll stay in their lives or not. It’s not always easy to convey a believable human connection within a 14-minute running time, but Jeyapalan manages to do it in spades.

5. Three Sisters on Moon Lake (2001)

Winner of the audience award at the Worldwide Short Film Festival and a gorgeous precursor to her eventual Sundance award-winning feature Eve and the Fire Horse , Julia Kwan’s film  combines the lyricism of Chinese myths with the heartbreaking growing  pains of three young Chinese-Canadian sisters who look to an invented  rat goddess to save them from their strict parents who maybe wish they  hadn’t had them in the first place.

For more info on the CFC Short Dramatic Film program check the Canadian Film Centre website.

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.    

About The Author

Kristal Cooper has been a film buff since the age of two when her parents began sneaking her into the drive-in every weekend. Since then, she's pursued that passion by working for the Toronto International Film Festival and the Canadian Film Centre as well as spending many a happy hour inside Toronto's wonderful theatres (she still mourns the loss of The Uptown). She is a freelance writer specializing in pop culture and feminist issues, and continues to slog away at her day job as a small cog in the giant machinery of the Toronto film community.

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