2009 Films

106 Canada Candice Day Candice Day Candice Day Wilma is insanely jealous of Edna--the oldest woman in Ontario by mere minutes. For centenarian Wilma Harrington, birthdays lack a certain pizazz. She plans on getting older or will die trying in this comedic short that shows that second place is just a first place loser.
5 Heroes UK Eelyn Lee Adisa The Visualizer Eelyn Lee An extremely creative short doc about five Muslim girls from East London. Each girl imagines herself a type of superhero, fearlessly taking on whatever life throws at her. This film is as much about smart filmmaking as it is about the five heroes themselves.
65_RedRoses Canada Nimisha Mukerji, Philip Lyall Nimisha Mukerji, Philip Lyall, John Ritchie A social network bound by need and friendship delineates the connections between Eva and her online friends Kina and Meg in this Canadian-made dramatic doc. These young women all carry the curse of cystic fibrosis, swords of Damocles hanging over their precious lives. This film is foremost about the encounter Eva has with herself, her her family and friends, and the medical establishment, as she faces a double lung transplant. This intimate film takes a close look at her experience, teaching us a great deal along the way.
7 Interventions of Filmmaker-in-Residence Canada Heather Frise, Katerina Cizek Heather Frise, Katerina Cizek Gerry Flahive Filmmaker Cizek’s stint at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital is the subject here, but what the camera reveals is not only its own power to reveal the world of doctors, nurses, and front-line workers but also its ability to effect change itself, to become an agent of community and healing. Inspired by the famous Challenge for Change program that had such a profound effect on both Fogo and filmmaking, this film honours the NFB’s radical practice, carrying interventionist filmmaking into the digital age.
A Time and a Time UK Sarah Cox Sarah Cox Sarah Cox A history of Bristol over the ages--sort of. Taking visuals from the past one hundred years, the director creates an anachronistic mash-up of history, one that imagines a century of events condensed and spilling into each other. The result is a short film that is at once playful and serious, a meditation on time and place.
Afghanimation Canada Allyson Mitchell Not only does this Country lend itself to catchy titles like this one but it is currently offering filmmakers some inspired approaches. Through stop-action tableau, this film weaves a vivid tapestry, piling on one colorful image after another, remarkably similar to the way we keep covering up our understanding of a war in which we have a major role.
After Tomorrow UK Emma Sullivan Emma Sullivan Annalise Davis Where is this going, you will wonder, as this film draws us into an apparently sinister plot about a man, a woman, and the violence latent in their relationship. Or is it? that question becomes more meaningful as we witness an uncanny visual representation of a disturbing psychological condition. To say more would be to spoil your surprise, but we highly recommend this very fine dramatic achievement.
Almost A Legend UK Mia Vuorio-Ringwald Terhi Kylliginen Once you’ve heard her story, you’ll never forget lyricist Fran Landesman. Know as the poet laureate of lovers and losers, Landesman is at the centre of this doc that tells you a little where the likes of a Bette Midler came from. Indeed, Landesman’s lyrics found their way into the voice boxes of Ella, Sarah, and Barbara, so you know she’s no slouch. She’s also saucy as hell, and so this film really zings with her repartee. If you want a few laughs and a lot of New york, then this is the doc for you.
Alone in the Abyss Canada Claudie Ottawa Wapikoni Mobile When drugs insidiously enter your life, you end up in the abyss. Yet, life goes on. This film was made through the Wapikoni mobile, a travelling production studio for young people in Aboriginal communities. Young filmmakers learn about camera techniques as they document their daily lives from the inside. The experience gives them an opportunity to break the silence and speak out.
Audition Canada Nelofer Pazira Nelofer Pazira Sarah Elton Fearless award-winning filmmaker, journalist, author Nelofer Pazira brings us her latest sample of life in the Middle East. Arguably, no one has penetrated the culture of today’s Afghanistan more intimately or convincing than she has. The filmmaker set out to capture the tensions of the place, but yet the film ended up in some ways being about the very act of filmmaking--or recording--and they ways the camera changes the behaviour of the very subjects she set out to shoot. This film is as much about storytelling as it is about a country we normally see only through hysterical headlines.
Bandaged Germany Maria Beatty Claire Menichi Jürgen Bruning, Claus Matthes, Maria Beatty, Abel Ferrera First a warning: This drama is not for everyone. You know we’re not prudes, but if you have an aversion to hot lesbian sex, the questionably fine line between pleasure and pain, superbly crafted filmmaking, and a highly stylized dramatic study of the psycho-sexual dynamics--and appeal--of sadomasochism, then this film is not for you. Still reading? Sure you are. This film is about forbidden love, but shot in a very old-horror film style. You want fetishistic filmmaking, you got it.
Be My Brother Australia Genevieve Clay Genevieve Clay Genevieve Clay This film is an utterly charming, sweet, lovely short about a boy at a bus stop. But this description hardly comes close to capturing the experience of this remarkable slice of someone’s charmed, challenged life. Trust us--it’ll be smiles all around.
Berated Woman Canada Anya Meksin Did you hear the one about the Orthodox Jewish housewife who finds herself strangely attracted to an Aryan Supermom? No? Half an hour after watching this you’ll have a will to power.
Blessings: The Tsoknyi Nangchen Nuns of Tibet USA Victress Hitchcock Victress Hitchcock In the mountains of Nangchen, a remote nomadic region of Eastern Tibet, 3000 women living in hermitages and monasteries practice an ancient yogic tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. In the summer of 2005, a small group of Western women, led by the renowned Buddhist teacher Tsoknyi Rinpoche III, traveled by Jeep and on horseback into the mountains to meet Nangchen nuns. This is the story of their extraordinary journey.
Blue-Eyed Mary USA Olivia Newman Ryan McGlone Ryan McGlone, Veronica Nickel This delicately shot short film will challenge your assumptions about desire under the elms. Director Newman manages to tell a fairly complicated story in an astonishingly short amount of time. This is a story about Johanna and Jimmy, and their encounter on one fine summer’s day. Like a finely wrought short story, this film will leave you wondering, and we really like that about films.
Boutonniuere USA Coley Sohn Coley Sohn Ryan Sage Mothers mean well but sometimes they sure do say the darndest things. Here’s a film about a Mom who wants to go to the prom way more than her daughter. If she could just channel all that energy towards world peace...
Brain Clever Canada Lulu Keating Lulu Keating, Beth Egnatoff Lulu Keating This surreally hilarious set of English instructions for activating a Chinese flashlight could only have sprung from a lousy translator--and Lulu Keating’s gloriously twisted imagination.
Breaker Canada Renee Callahan-St. John Renee Callahan-St. John FRAMED Film Camp MENTORS: Stephen Dunn, Jacqueline Hynes A boy who breaks things finds an egg. To say more would to give away htis gorgeous short story from 2009 FRAMED Film Camp, filmed and edited over five days by high school students.
The Collection USA Keren Abala Keren Abala This imaginative short features a curious young girl and a disintegrating paper world. A lovingly animated letter to book lovers everywhere, The Collection stands out for its sophisticated technique yet childlike innocence and charm.
Countdown Canada Jordan Canning Jordan Canning, Jody Richardson Jordan Canning, Laura Churchill This experiment with film narrative is a rich and amusing accomplishment. Neil Butler plays the part of a celebrated pianist who mysteriously faces some digital challenges. An NFB-Cannes short film contestant and a winning tour de force, this film is highly entertaining, smart, and sharp.
Crackie Canada Sherry White Sherry White Jennice Ripley, Rhonda Buckley, Sherry White Meghan Greeley and MAry Walsh deliver nothing short of brave and brilliant performances in this superb feature film. This film crackles with a smart, coherent vision of character. Ser in almost timeless rural Newfoundland, the film focuses on a young woman named Mitsy (Greeley), and her tough -loving guardian grandmother, Bride (Walsh). Their relationship is perpetually stained contained, and barely maintained, while Mom (Jane Maggs) has fled the building and the boyfriend (Joel Hynes) should be nobody’s promise of a future. A superbly crafted and simple yarn about the struggle to get by, and the transformative possibilities that come from growth and understanding.
Cut Canada Susan Justin A woman get a haircut and more than she bargained in this well-crafted animation. Combining simplicity and sophistication, director Justin strikes gold with the affecting and atmospheric gem.
Dog = God Canada Karen Hines, Lulu Keating Karen Hines, Lulu Keating, Kim Beggs Karen Hines, Lulu Keating You don’t have to be dyslexic to believe in the oneness of you and your canine. Palindromically speaking, this funny little love song reminds us to STEP ON NO PETS.
Down to the Wood Canada Kelly Davis Kelly Davis NIFCO First Time Filmmaker Program If this short got any sweeter we’d have to take away your Fruit Loops. Davis’s first-time filmmaker’s program experiment has produced an utterly charming slice of life, all contained in a barber shop, with young Sammy in the chair. Bravo for this fine piece of work.
Dream the Life Australia Rebecca Rocheford Davies Rebecca Rocheford Davies Rebecca Rocheford Davies This wonderful shot comedy about a badass guy who returns home to shoot a film in his native land down under is irresistibly watchable. Jason’s break from Hollywood shakes up not only the locals but his own self-absorbed little life as well. This treat has a highly inventive plot centered on jason’s encounter with Mel, an unassuming waitress with a heart of gold. Of all the joints in all of New South Wales, he had to walk into hers.
Examined Life Canada Astra Taylor Astra Taylor Bill Imperial, Lea Marin, Ron Mann, Silva Basmajian Bill Imperial, Lea Marin, Ron Mann, Silva Basmajian DESCRIPTION: A documentary about ideas and the thinkers who come up with them. A veritable hit list of Great Pinheads, the film exposes us to luminaries such as Cornell West, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Slavoi Zizek, and Judith Butler, just to name the top five. Ever wondered what these intellectuals look like? If they spoke the way we wrote? Or what Judith Butler wears? To be sure, the film answers these questions and much more serious ones, too. But lest you think the film is as dry as a day with Derrida, Taylor mixes it up, animates her subjects, and keeps us riveted from beginning to end. When these heads talk, people listen.
Expansive Grounds (Ein Weites Feld) Germany Gerburg Rohde-Dahl Gerburg Rohde-Dahl Gerburg Rohde-Dahl This film is a stunningly unique take on the horrors of the Holocaust. The filmmaker bravely explores her family’s own complicity in the Nazi regime while she chronicles the assembling of the huge and conspicuously in-your-German-face memorial in the centre of Berlin--conceived by an American architect and largely driven by a Jew. Not content to leave things at that, she then interviews those who experience the memorial once it has been erected--the uneasy, the defensive, the tormented, the guilty. This film is a fascinating story about many things, the Holocaust being only a part of what’s going on here. How does a country remember an event of this scale? And what are the effects of such a confrontation of the past? This film is as much about art and symbols as it is about history and tragedy.
Fast Forward in Reverse Canada Eva Madden Eva Madden Nickel Independent Film Festival/Wreckhouse Jazz & Blues Festival This is our desert-island film, the one we would watch over and over again. St. John’s proves that Super Eva really gets this town. Just fasten your seatbelts. Eva’s taking you on some hopped up ride.
Ferron: Girl on a Road Canada Gerry Rogers Gerry Rogers Turning their lens on feminist, peacenik, singer, humanist, BC-based Ferron, the filmmakers of this piece have produced a highly entertaining doc for our viewing pleasure. In these troubled millennial years it’s almost startling to hear a public figure speak to eloquently, passionately, and irrefutably about working--singing--for peace, about fighting aggression and challenging the aggressive zeitgeist. Ferron is that woman, and her relentless gentleness will blow you over with a feather.
Flights Scotland Jamie Stone Jamie Stone Laura Clarke What goes up must go down, but does it have to go up again? This film leaves us in sheer whimsy, an animated treat that might leave you breathless.
Four Feet Up Canada Nance Ackerman Nane Ackerman Annette Clarke This film is in many ways a response to this country’s promise to eliminate child poverty. So how is it that eight-year old Isaiah is smart and so full of potential and yet part of a family that can barely make ends meet? With sheer bravado and sensitivity, director Ackerman spent two years with Isaiah and his family, involving them fully in this portrait of their struggle to cope in a country that renders them invisible. Deliberately grounded in reality, not sentimentality, this doc gives a very human face to social dysfunction, and prompts us to reflect not only on why change hasn’t yet happened but what we can do to ensure it.
Fugue USA Kaz Phillips Kaz Phillips Kaz Phillips A relentlessly NY City story, this inventive short drama works creatively on several intriguing levels. jane isn’t plain but she is working at sobriety, and the effects of therapy and the struggle to stay dry are taking a toll. Sensual and gorgeously shot, at once disturbing and exhilarating, this film weaves in and out of Jane’s real and dream worlds, in and out of desire and control. You’ll love where this ride takes you.
Glamour Guts Canada Jasmine Oore Jasmine Oore Bryan Hofbaur, Jasmine Oore Best described, this is a short instructional film on how to live glamorously with intestinal disease. More? You want more? It’s funny, sweet, and won the CBC Short Film Face-Off award, deservedly so.
Going to Seed USA Bri Deihl Bri Deihl Bri Deihl T.S. Eliot might be rolling in his grave, but this short cinematic interpretation of his famous poem is a very witty update of J. Alfred Prufrock. Believing that a certain woman is really out of his league, our hapless over-thinking male slips between reality, where insecurity runs riot, and fantasy, where life is more enjoyable. Does he dare to eat a peach, or keep measuring his life in film frames? We grow old, we grow old, just thinking about it.
Good Morning Kandahar Canada Ariel Nasr Ariel Nasr Annette Clarke, Kent Martin What’s Canada to Afghanistan and Afghanistan to Canada? This informative doc will blow your mind as it works through the answer to that question. The NFB has taken up a timely probe of how the war is ticking by exploring the challenge of Afghans who have transplanted themselves to Canada.
The Good News (La Buena Nueva) Spain Iker Ganuza Andrès Martorell, Helena Taberna Iker Ganuza This Sanish feature romance is about a priest and his desire to fight the machine. Set in the tortured, civil war-racked 30’s, this film is a powerful romantic drama featuring Miguel, the handsome young man of the cloth who takes over a parish in a small town just as the uprising begins. Following the occupation of the village by rebel forces, he must choose whether to side with the colluding church or with the people. He also becomes involved with the beautiful, widowed school teacher, and things really start to heat up. Carpe diem and hasta la vista, baby.
Grande Dame Canada Anita Reilly McGee Anita Reilly McGee Anita Reilly McGee All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players, sure, but no one is quite so grand a dame as Greg Malone invoking the Seven Ages of Man. And so s/he plays his/her part. As the Bard would have said, s/he’s got legs and s/he knows how to use them.
Grown Up Movie Star Canada Adriana Maggs Adriana Maggs Shawn Doyle, Jill Knox-Gosse, Adriana Maggs, Paul Pope This feature debut is a rocking tale about a former NHL star, Ray, who is trying to raise two knowing daughters, Ruby and Rose. HIs wife left him for someone else and he has his share of drug charges and a few debts in his wake. Life is tough, and so Ray seeks relief in women and beer, but his open face reveals a roadmap of loneliness. While Ray’s desire starts tugging towards men, his daughter begins to experiment with her own sexuality, fearlessly, dangerously. This film really challenges its actors to push boundaries, and there isn’t a performance that doesn’t take us to the edge.
Ha’aki Canada Iriz Paabo Iriz Paabo David Verrall, Michael Fukushima Going against convention, animator Iriz Paabo has crafted an abstract-impressionist film about the quintessential Canadian sport. Using former NHL player Eric Nesterenko as her muse, the film brings us an evocative and highly unorthodox look at the national game.
The Hall Canada Stephen Dunn Stephen Dunn Alex Fox, Kyle Sanderson, Larissa Walkiw, Laura Asselin, Rodrigo Barriuso, Scott Matthews, Stephen Dunn This short is about the frustrated attempts of a nice, shy boy who is trying to meet a nice, perplexed girl in the corridor o love. What’s stopping them? Why, a giant owl, of course! You’ll laugh, you’ll shake your head, you’ll want to have what the director eats for breakfast.
How Are You? Canada Martha Burns, Susan Coyne Martha Burns, Susan Coyne Sonya Di Rienzo Is there anything worse than being constantly reminded that you might not be fine, thank you very much? Perhaps being asked if you’ve finished your thesis yet, or whether you’re pregnant comes close. But divorce sure does bring out the most annoying reactions. This wry exercise in manners and mores might make you pause the next time you’re tempted to ask someone how she’s doing. Noisy inquisitors: heal thyselves.
How to be Alone Canada Andrea Dorfman Tanya Davis Walter Forsyth This film is another collaboration between the talented Andrea Dorfman and Tanya Davis, clearly a celebration of their friendship and mutual respect. Nonetheless, the subject of this thoroughly colorful music video is clearly not about partnership, but it’s opposite. Dorfman gloriously celebrates the freedom of aloneness, proving once again that the best revenge is living well.
How to Say I Love You UK Francesca Sophia, Hayley Stuart Hayley Stuart Francesca Sophia, Hayley Stuart This is about as short and sweet an an irish summer’s day. Boy meets girl on a park bench and in eight minutes flat they experience the trajectory of cupid’s arrow. Oh, that life were really so full of such promise, such candor, and such cuteness.
In Between (Entre Deux) Canada Nadine Valcin Nadine Valcin Brigette Boucher She is pretty, alone of a while, managing a convenience store, practicing her English; people enter; people exit. Two white guys appear, whispering, sinister...Where is this going? That’s precisely the question this witty exercise in suspense and audience expectation raises, and then answers in totally surprising ways.
Ink Australia Justine Wallace Justine Wallace Selin Yaman A delicate tale of fear and faith that follows 12-year old May as she fights to escape her mother’s abusive boyfriend, and rejoins her as an adult, struggling to trust against a tide of doubt. Particularly striking is the use of animation--dark and intensely original.
Inside Every Moment is Another Moment USA Kacey Morrow Kacey Morrow Kacey Morrow This video was constructed entirely of stills used simultaneously to create a structure that showed the past, present, and future of one day in a man’s life. Synchronized to connect across three screens at specified moments, these moments triggered thoughts of alternate realities in an unknown state in time show on six additional screens. Interconnections were found among these different stages in time. Discovering these relationships in daily life, no matter how minor, gives a chance for reflection and redirection in our lives.
Inspiration USA Jacquelyn Carr, Martin Zaharinov Michael Beckett Martin Zaharinov Claire, a precocious yet still innocent pre-teen girl, tries to learn about her absent father by secretly painting his portrait from her imagination. When her Mom finds out about the painting, Claire learns an even bigger secret and takes the first steps on the path to becoming a young woman.
The Last Dragon Kingdom USA Aine Carey, David Emery Aine Carey, David Emery How can we embrace change consciously and learn how to balance our needs and desires as we navigate this changing, evolving world? Big question to ask in just seven short minutes, but the filmmakers rise to the challenge admirably. Beautifully shot in the ancient kingdom of Bhutan, this film digs deep and comes up with gold.
The Last Explorer Canada Neil Diamond, Ernest Webb Christina Fon, Linda Ludwick, Ernest Webb, Catherine Bainbridge Cree filmmaker Diamond embarked on a filmic journey that shadowed that of his Uncle, George Elson, the Cree trapper who guided Mina Hubbard through the dangerous terrain of turn-of-the-century Labrador. This film is particularly fascinating to this province’s citizens who know something of those fateful years (1903-05) and their tragic results. Anyone will find this feature doc fascinating, not only for the way it mines archival footage but also for how it opens istory up to unchartered approaches to these events. The whole story simply reeks intrigue and, as with all great romantic narratives, we just can’t get enough of it.
Les Plages d’Agnès (The Beaches of Agnes) France Agnès Varda Agnès Varda Agnès Varda In conjunction with the MUN Cinema Series, there is no more fitting tribute to the history of women and film than this hymn to the art of directing by one of the greatest and non commercial artists in the business. Less autobiography than pastiche, this film is nonetheless a very personal expression of incomparable women. Beaches is a sweet, lovely, and intelligent reflection on work and life.
Little Canyon USA Olivia Silver Olivia Silver Olivia Silver Greta’s Dad is taking the family across the country, but this is no conventional romance of the road. the family is no longer functioning very well, and a 12-year old’s life is feeling pretty gloomy. Shot with aching sensitivity, this short dramatic film was a smart Sundance entry and a UCLA prize winner--for good reason.
Little Sheep USA Kristina Willemse Kristina Willemse Hanh Nguyen, Kristina Willemse As two young girls play in this poetic film, they encounter intimacy, exploring what belongs, and what is “other” in their search for safety. As the lines between play and danger are blurred, who will be marked and who will be saved?
L’Ordre Des Choses Canada Anne Émond Anne Émond François Bonneau If this were a country western song we’d recognize the genre. But when baby done gone and left him in a decidedly French film, we’re moving into the realm of something far more subtle, like existential philosophy. This almost silent study of separation and abandonment perfectly captures that in-between feeling of such experience. We’ve all probably been there, done that, and torn up the t-shirt, but this smart, short meditation on loneliness brings it all back with an artful longing.
Love & Savagery Canada/Ireland John N. Smith Des Walsh Barbara Doran, Lynne Wilson, Kevin Tierney, Tristan Orpen Lynch This is an exquisitely shot feature film, romance featuring our own Alla “Republic of Doyle” Hawco and Sarah Greene as the two young protagonists, fated to meet, love, and lust one other on the Irish coast of the 1960’s. Newfoundland audiences will recognize an aching familiarity with Irish geography and culture, and the special appeal of all those lilting Gaelic voices. The life altering encounter of the main characters is set against a rugged coast and its rugged people, and a rural sensibility quite removed from the Irish Tiger growling just around the century.
Lucky Day Spain Laura Amante Laura Amante Sometimes everything is working exactly the way you dreamed it would, and therein lies the problem.
The Magnificent Molly McBride Canada Deanne Foley Deanne Foley, Iain MacLeod Lynne Wilson The Molly, of the magnificently titled, is an 11-year old with all the right gear but not enough moves to do the Irish jugs. Enter Any jones as the neighbourhood burglar. he knows his Irish dancing, and one thing leads to another surprising partnership. Lovingly shot, this film showcases the curly redheaded ability of Julia Kennedy as the magnificent youngster, a curiously fitting match for the graceful power of an Andy Jones, who is always pretty magnificent himself.
Margaret Mellis: A Life in Colour UK Sue Giovanni Sue Giovanni Jules Hussey This colorful documentary was completed in time to correspond with a major exhibition of Margaret Mellis’s work, survivor of the celebrated British-based St. Ives group of the 1930’s. Mellis’s unique talent generated amazing canvases of bold colour, and reconfigured found objects from the natural world. She was deeply part of her time but in a world dominated by men. Susannah York narrates in dulcet tones, just seductive enough to make us want to run to the nearest art gallery.
Monsters Incapacitated Canada FRAMED Film Camp: Erin Power, Ryan Flynn, Christopher Mullett, Holly Nelson, Jason King, Lindsay Kennedy, Karyn Dwyer FRAMED Film Camp MENTORS: Rachel Peters, Stephen Dunn Acclaimed animator Rachel Peters and boy wonder Stephen Dunn have boldly led a young group of artists into the world of stop-motion animation. A product of the FRAMED Animation Camp and created over just five days by intrepid first-time animators, this film dares you to check out your own backyard if you want to see where the wild things are. A partnership with For the Love of Learning, an arts-based education centre for resilient youth.
Mother, Mine UK Susan Everett Susan Everett Rob Speranza This is a virtuoso short film that baits you with its beauty and then traps you with its mnd. This is a totally delicious experiment in suspense, with the audience being as vulnerable to manipulation as the ostensible heroine. Alison is working on tracking down her biological mother after her adoptive mother dies. the rest is a shocking mystery.
Motherland USA Jennifer Steinman Jennifer Steinman This formidable documentary opens us up to disparate international views of mothering. Director Steinman spent 17 days travelling in South Africa pursuing her subject, the loss of a child with six grieving US-based women. What's startling here is the degree to which each of her US visitors is encouraged to confront not only her own situation but also that of an entirely different culture, where the personal and the political are so indistinguishable. These women don’t really know each other at first, but the journey compels them to encounter each other along the way. That journey isn’t easy, but it’s so moving and so persuasive that we’re begging you to see this.
Mum's the Word Edward Tanasychuk Kerri MacDonald Jill Knox-Gosse This film is a small, well polished gem that features most of our favorite local boys while providing an object lesson in one of Newfoundland’s finest rural traditions. Indeed, it is easier for a mummer to be ‘lowed in than for a bunch of petty thieves to enter a rich man’s kingdom.
My Name is Anita USA Erin Barnett Erin Barnett We love Anita and everything about her. She is none other than a fearless champion of HIV/AIDS education activism in Namibia, an African country in which one in four people are afflicted. This filmmaker traveled to interview Anita Isaacs and to tell her story, a hugely empowering one of how a victim became a leader in a movement to educate. Her husband gave her the disease in the first place, a common enough occurrence, but Anita somehow managed to emerge from near death to take on an entire movement. Anita is utterly, understatedly persuasive and you’ll never forget her or the power of her mission.
The Name of the Artist Canada Kristina Campbell Kristina Campbell Kristina Campbell In this sunny take on a clever art exhibition we see that the name of the famous artist is hardly a she. Sure, there are women hanging on the walls of museums: about 85% of all of them are nudes. What’s in a name? An artist with two X chromosomes just doesn’t smell the same. Don’t get us started.
The Necktie (La Noeud Cravate) Canada Jean François Lévesque Jean François Lévesque Michèle Bélanger, Julie Roy, René Chénier Another NFB masterpiece, about a man and his discovery of the meaning of life. Valentin works hard, keeps in line, and embodies model citizenship, year after ritualistically predictable year. You might say this brilliantly animated film gives new meaning to the phrase “Dead-end job”. But where there’s the NFB there’s hope, and so it is for Valentin and all of us along for his brilliantly imagined journey.
One of Those Days UK Hattie Dalton Mark Burton Kelly Broad, Ed Kelly It’s Judgement Day and Derek Jacobi is Harold Whitten, a right and proper English gentleman who, with his right proper English wife, is in the queue to meet their Maker. As often happens with bureaucratic rituals, however, there’s a slight glitch. Think of all those Monty Python skits about government department or ministries of silly things. British humor doesn’t get much blacker than this.
Orange Canada Sylvie Trouvé Sylvie Trouvé Michael Fukushima, Maral Mohammadian What if a tree branch could tap on a pipe to create a rhythm or shadows could whistle us a tune? The city becomes a beatbox in this whimsical short produced by the NFB’s famed Hothouse animation program. The director is part filmmaker part DJ, creating here an urban soundscape taken entirely from city sounds. Montreal never pulsed like it does here, in technicolor and out of control.
Pearl Canada Neely Goniodsky Neely Goniodsky Michael Fukushima, Maral Mohammadian The engines at the NFB’s famed Hothouse Animation program keep turning. In this two minute animated wonder, we’re introduced to the titular Pearl and the thoughts in her head. Sure Granny might be sitting knitting but unimaginative she is not. A better yearn can’t be found, darn it.
Piety Canada Shahrzad Sharifian Shahrzad Sharifian This film is a finely wrought observation of the relationship between religion and war. The topic may not be new but the treatment stands out boldly as animator Sharifian uses a Sufi dancer set against a background of the universe to convey her messages about divinity and the order of things.
Playing the Machines Canada Barbara Doran Barbara Doran Rob Blackie We’ll bet you five in one you didn’t realize how serious video gambling was. This film is a sobering doc about a ubiquitous menace, the VLTs that have spring up all over our province, and world for that matter, like rapidly reproducing androids from outer space. Doran’s searing documentary exposes the pernicious dopamine-enhancing properties of those nasty terminals, preying as they do on false hope and all those dreams without a prayer. In humanizing the experience, Doran’s doc takes us closer to the users. Who’s calling the shots, anyways?
Poto Mitan Haiti/USA Mark Schuller, Renee Bergan Edwidge Danticat Mark Schuller, Renee Bergan What do you think of when you think of Haiti? Oppressive tyrannical regimes? Poverty? Racial conflict? A people in need of rescue? This film shows the country through a radically different lens from the one we are used to--the lens of women. Five Haitian women who are working nobly within this tired nation tell us of the way of globalization, with its neoliberal rationalization, is not only gendered but racialized. Haitians are victims yet again of forces bigger than them. But the empowering spirit of these women lies in the power of their collective solidarity. THis film is, above all, an uplifting story about the inevitability of emancipation through struggle and the sheer dogged accomplishment of women’s work.
Pretend Not to See Me Canada Katherine Knight Katherine Knight This film showcases artist Colette Urban’s innovate performance art and her decidedly non-urban life. You can’t help but be awed by her immaculate attention to her work, whether transforming into a she-bear, dancing with bungee cords, mocking our consumer fetishes, or laughing all the way to the woodpile. It’s hard not to see the art in the woman and especially in this film that so gracefully honours her talent.
Quick Hungary Pici Pápi Pici Pápi Don’t blink in fear of missing even a frame of this award-winning short which looks at adult relationships through the eyes of children. The walls are thin in apartment buildings and kids might say the darndest things, but where do you think they hear them in the first place? Don’t miss any of this Hungarian delight, especially if you think the neighbours can’t hear you.
R.I.P: A Remix Manifesto Canada Brett Gaylor Brett Gaylor Daniel Cross, Mila Aung-Thwin, Ravida Din, Sally Bochner, Kat Baulu, Germaine Ying Gee Wong A feature documentary about copyright and remix culture might not sound particularly interesting, but this pulsating celebration of free and open access is like a primer on how to draw down from the culture. Web activist Brett Gaylor takes us along on an entertaining ride through the boundaries of commercialism. In fact, his participatory mission aims at dissolving those boundaries altogether, so you can no longer tell the dancer from the dance. Fueled by the dazzling audio-technics of uber masher-upper Girl Talk, this manifesto kicks major class action. No self-respecting film festival can afford to ignore it.
The Real Matriarch Canada Rhonda Buckley Rhonda Buckley What do Barbara Doran, Sara Sexton, Edyth Goodrich, and Lois Brown have in common? They are all indomitable movers and shakers, thinkers and players, mothers and daughters, each a Newfoundlander, each in her own way. Rhonda Buckley’s admiring documentary merely scratches the surface of what makes these models of adult girl power so necessary.
Robes of War (Robe de Guerre) Canada Michèle Cournoyer Michèle Cournoyer Réne Chenier, Michèle Bélanger, Marcel Jean This NFB gem has to be experience to be appreciated. Sure, we all know the question: war, what is it good for? But this film speaks to this question through an almost magical transformation technique, in which lines on the screen transmute into both the victims and agents of war. This is a truly inspired, animated fable, almost shocking in its bold analysis.
Rough Aunties South Africa Kim Longinotto The tough women of the title are totally remarkable for their fearless commitment to the lives of others--specifically, the lives of the neglected children of Durban, South Africa, children caught in the crossfire of hate and vengeance. These impressive women put themselves through hell of a lot, daily confronting rage and tragedy. Ye through this forceful film we come eventually to a much deeper appreciation not only of the complexity of a South African in transition but of the remarkable strength and courage required to build a world that children will inherit.
Sex Toy Stories Switzerland Anne Deluz, Béatrice Guelpa Francine Lusser, Gérard Monier The provocative title tells it exactly as it is. This is an inspired and ultimately moving documentary about three different women who are each selling rather unconventional wares. What this remarkable set of stories shows us is just how important it is for women to take control of their own physical pleasure--and teaching their partners what that means. There is nothing prurient, tacky, or silly here. This film gives us all an enlightened education by taking the high road to satisfaction.
Sitka Canada Olga Zikrata Olga Zikrata Olga Zikrata The titular Sitka (Ukrainian for net), is here rendered gorgeously in his cinematic love poem about memory, love and loss and how the three are so beautifully linked. Unconventional in her filmmaking techniques, filmmaker Zikrata demands attention from her audience with images that will stay in the mind long after the last frame.
Snakes and Ladders Canada Lynn Kristmanson Lynn Kristmanson NIFCO First Time Filmmaker Program Kristmanson’s first-time filmmaker’s experiment is a wonderfully executed re-minting of the boy-meets-girl genre. In this playful deconstruction of the oldest tale there is, we are left to ponder whether fate, destiny or sheer coincidence determine the course of love. It helps if you play fair on the gameboard of life.
Soaring, Roaring, Diving Canada/New Zealand Juliet Palmer, Miriam Harris Miriam Harris Intertwining drawing, Super 8, collage and a host of other techniques, filmmakers Harris and Palmer are here to take you on a journey. And as every traveller knows well, the real journey isn’t on the outside but is what happens on the inside. ultimately, this film is about grief and loss and coming out clean on the other side with vision of the South Pacific in between.
Still Alive Canada Cherilyn Papatie Wapikoni Mobile This short opus celebrates the planting of a forest and how it goes hand in hand with community spirit. This film stands out as a moving parallel with Aboriginal people and their tenacity. Made through Wapikoni Mobile, a travelling production studio for young people in Aboriginal communities. This experiences give them the opportunity to break the silence and speak out.
Storstad (Big City) Sweden Rafael Deugenio Rafael Deugenio, China Áhlander China Áhlander A 4-year old preoccupies himself in an apartment with his toys, the television, and his teddy bear, while clouds scud across the sky, traffic ebbs and flows through the windows, and light rises and falls. What’s going on? This at-first puzzling little tale is really a fable about the anonymity of urban life. It shrewdly puts the viewer in a voyeuristic--that is, helpless--position. Stay tuned to the news.
Straie Canada Nikko Snyder Nikko Snyder, Johanna Bundon Nikko Snyder, Johanna Bundon The Tely 10this ain’t. run, don’t walk to this intriguing short that’ll leave you wondering where the rat race has its finish line.
Sweet Pickle Canada Lois Brown Ruth Lawrence Baptiste Neis Where would our festival be without Lois Brown? This time she brings us nothing less than a glorious musical, featuring Ruth Lawrence as an irrepressible foodie who just can’t pass a melon without a good squeeze. How can you keep her down on the farm now that she’s seen all the choices the president offers? Beautifully foolish, this film marks an entirely new genre, in a class by itself, of course.
Tango Lola Switzerland Sami Ben Youssef, Izabela Rieben Izabela Rieben Diane Duperret, Xavier Ruiz This entry is a whimsical animated fantasy involving the titular heroine who dreams she wins the lotto. Life certainly would be more promising. But in the real world of the living room couch, Lola’s husband rudely interrupts the fantasy. Does Lola get whatever Lola wants?
Ten Days Canada Christian Sparkes Christian Sparkes Christian Sparkes, Jordan Canning St. john’s rarely looks as good as it does here in this energetic and ambitious project from the director/producer team of Christian Sparkes and Jordan Canning. Fitting in at university is one thing but proving yourself to the school wrestling team, your family and yourself, not to mention snagging your dream girl, is something else entirely. The story of how young Donny Fowler goes from zero to (almost) hero will have you cheering by the time the titular ten days are up.
Thaumatrope USA Nicole Triche Nicole Triche Not the first time an owl has graced our screens. Director Nicole Triche soars with this experimental short about the persistence of vision.
Thorns and Silk Palestinian Territories/UK Paulina Tervo Paulina Tervo We adore this lively short documentary study by a Finnish journalist of four amazing women who inhabit the West Bank of, er, Palestine. Each is busy working at a job normally taken up by a man, and each speaks eloquently of the challenge of so doing. You want empowerment? We’ll show you empowerment.
Tiger Spirit Canada Min Sook Lee Min Sook Lee Min Sook Lee, Ed Barreveld, Anita Lee A fascinating doc about a country we are just starting to understand. The border separating North and South Korea also keeps families from each other, and so it is that many have not seen mothers or brothers or sisters for decades. A formal reunion program exists, but only for the very few, and then for a limited time. This film tracks both the personal toll a divided country has on its citizens, as well as the filmmaker’s quest to locate her own ancestral roots.
The Time of Their Lives UK Jocelyn Cammack Hilary Durman This is a feature documentary about older women, zooming in on a seniors’ home in the pastoral English countryside. But this is no lament about senior care; rather, the film invites us into the lives of several remarkable women who have endured even more than a century of life, and have so much to say to us. These are women who, for the most part, remain alert and engaged with ideas, fight for peace, write poetry, stimulate their rational faculties, and have a great deal to say about men.At one wry, moving, tender and provoking, this film candidly faces the big questions through conversations with some pretty wise golden girls.
Vive La Rose Canada Bruce Alcock Bruce Alcock, Luke Murphy, Dan Sousa, Dirk Van de Vondel Tina Ouellette, Annette Clarke, Michael Fukushima, Bruce Alcock, Kent Martin, David Verrall This film transforms a moving, elegiac Emily Benoit tune into an animated visual tapestry, no easy feat. This gorgeous shot film gives us the privilege of hearing Benoit’s unmistakeable voice, accompanied by his inimitable fiddle while feasting on a tableau of evocative images conjured by his lyrics. There is a fiercely beautiful magic at work here, and we are so fortunate to be witness to it.
Who’s Afraid of the Wolf (Kdopak by se vlka bál) Czech Republic Mária Procházková Mária Procházková Vratislav Slajer We encourage mothers and fathers to take their sons and daughters to see this one. This film is essentially a domestic drama about a family that is torn apart and then reconfigured. Tha daughter at the centre of this drama is a modern-day little red riding hood, but sometime’s it’s hard to see forest for the trees. A finely wrought story for all ages, this film trips the light at fairy tale fantastic.
Will You Be Home Tonight? (Reviens-Tu Ce Soir?) Canada Genevève Albert Genevève Albert Genevève Albert This provocative film touches on some pretty delicate subjects. A mother and daughter sort of story, this film traces the creeping anxiety of an aging Suzanne, mother to Raphaelle. In turn, the young Raphaelle wonders about her mother’s life-enhancement choices. We think you’ll be talking about this film long after the credits stop rolling.
Zig Zag Love UK Gillies MacKinnon Mary Morris Jane Stevenson, Jane Dauncey This drama from BBC Scotland features the outrageously comic Robert Carlyle as Dad to young cancer patient Peter. Ziggy, a pretty young woman with cerebral palsy, becomes the irresistible free-spirited object of Peter’s desire. Blocking their blossoming attraction are Ziggy’s father and fear itself. The two leads in this remarkable romance are superb, natural, and totally charming. This film is Scottish-fresh and a bit more than a wee bold, and besides, Bob's your Uncle.
Elling Lien