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Taking a look at the Short Cuts Canada Programme at TIFF 2014

The Short Cuts Canada Programme is a vital part of the Toronto International Film Festival, as it showcases up and coming filmmakers from our country who are getting their start in the field. The offerings this year cover a wide range of topics, and we had the privilege to sample a variety of the shorts that are offered at the festival. Here are five shorts that will give you an insight into what to expect from the Short Cuts Canada Programme this year.

Denis Poulin, Martine Epoque

Coda is a visual spectacle that offers a new take on Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. It feels almost like the Disney film Fantasia but in a modern take, with stunning choreography performed in a high-tech animation unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Imagine fireworks as if they were embodied as a human-like presence, in bursts of colour that match the classical score. Coda is an example of how animation is changing into new formats, and it makes for a beautiful new take on the idea of interpretive dance.


Short Cuts Canada Programme 1
Friday September 5th, 9:15pm
| Tiff Bell Lightbox Cinema 2
Sunday September 7th, 9:00am
| Tiff Bell Lightbox Cinema 4


The Weatherman and the Shadowboxer
Randall Okita

Two brothers who were hurt at a young age, and whose memories of the traumatic event manifest differently as they grow up, makes for the powerful premise of The Weatherman and the Shadowboxer. The film combines live action with digital animation, which is used brilliantly to convey the emotions of confusion and silence about memories that can’t quite be recalled. The visual style is overwhelmingly profound, as the details of the plot remain mysterious. Through his animation style, Randall makes a statement about how we remember in pieces that don’t quite fit together, but that the feeling behind the memory is what is the most essential. This is a bold film from a filmmaker whose experimental style speaks volumes.


Short Cuts Canada Programme 3
Sunday September 7th, 9:45pm
| Scotiabank Theatre 14
Monday September 8th, 4:15pm
| Scotiabank Theatre 9


What Doesn’t Kill You
Rob Grant

Three bullied high school boys gain supernatural powers in Rob Grant’s What Doesn’t Kill You. Tackling the subject of suicide and bullying, the film gives a unique spin to the idea that we can be re-invented as new people and overcome our obstacles. The message of the film is a little bit convoluted within the car accident setting, and it feels inspired by such films as Chronicle, but it still makes a bold statement about the effects of bullying, and realizing what there is left to live for. Strong performances and realistic visual effects make this short feel believable and moving.


Short Cuts Canada Programme 4
Monday September 8th, 6:15pm 
Scotiabank Theatre 14
Tuesday September 9th, 9:15am 
TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 4


Slater Jewell-Kemker

By far one of the strongest shorts in the series, Still tackles the topic of abusive relationships in a new and bold way, with a sci-fi twist. Featuring brilliant performances from stars Emily Piggford and Giacomo Gianniotti, Still depicts a couple stranded in the snowy woods and the events that unfold are striking and powerful. Sadie is a vulnerable young woman in a difficult position; her boyfriend is violent towards her and he blames her for their current situation. In a surprising turn of events however, we see why Sadie loves him and how she is caught into this endless cycle of the love and fear she experiences with him. A sixteen-minute short that is more impactful than many feature-length films, Still is a film that is visually beautiful, and deeply meaningful.


Short Cuts Canada Programme 5
Wednesday September 10th, 9:30pm 
Tiff Bell Lightbox 2
Thursday September 11th, 9:15am 
Tiff Bell Lightbox 4 


Me and My Moulton
Torill Kove

Set in a small Norwegian town, three young sisters are set apart because of their unconventional, wacky parents. Everyone in town is riding a bike, and they too want their own bike in order to fit in. Torill Kove uses her quirky animation style to tell a story of childhood anxiety, the desire to fit in, and the differences that set people apart. It is a colourful film that is very childlike in its execution, from the narration to the general esthetic. However it tells a story universal to all ages, in that we all at some point have known the desire to be like everyone else, yet reminds us that it is our differences that we should embrace.


Short Cuts Canada Programme 6
Thursday September 11th, 6:15pm
| Scotiabank Theatre 3
Friday September 12th, 2:45pm
| Scotiabank Theatre 10
For more information on the Short Cuts Canada Programme, visit the TIFF Website.

Adriana Floridia

Adriana Floridia is a singer, writer, and film critic from Toronto. She loves watching movies, but even more than that, she loves discussing them with film lovers alike.