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TIFF 2016 Short Cuts Roundup

There were some really memorable shorts mixed in at TIFF this year. Though we didn’t get to see them all, we’re highlighting some of the standouts in no particular order:

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Oh What a Wonderful Feeling – Directed by François Jares and starring Karelle Tremblay (and Louis Nagin!) the short opens with a fox facing a car head on, and just gets more bizarre and more resplendent from there. Ostensibly involving a truck stop, the film lingers on far after it has been watched.

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Anna – The Israeli short was selected as the runner-up in the international shorts competition and Or Sinai’s film is a big surprise. The write-up describes it as a married woman’s sexual awakening, but it’s really more of a personal journey of solidarity and is much tamer than it first appears. Still worth watching though.

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The Smoke – Once it was clear that Rebecca Addelman was presenting a short at the festival, The Smoke became a priority. But Liisa-Repo-Martell’s performance coupled with Addelman’s background (she’s currently a writer on New Girl suggested a much funnier experience. Don’t get me wrong, the short is quite funny, just not in the way that was expected.

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Next – Elena Broadach’s film seemed to come out of nowhere, (the description seemed to be very general), and yet the film reveals itself in really fascinating ways. It’s a one take wonder, (possibly), and involves a woman waking up in bed next to a stranger and wanting to preserve the moment, when suddenly…it must be seen to be believed.

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On the Origin of Fear – Bayu Prihantoro Filimon is a skilled filmmaker and his treatment of a response to a statewide torture program in Indonesia is to take an actor filming a voiceover response (sort of like a movie within a film) and have him become increasingly animated during the recording. It is subtle but extremely powerfully done.

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5 Films about Technology – Peter Huang’s one (1) film was an immensely relatable tale about how people are so reliant about their technology. The short also features a lot of recognizable Toronto actors in this ensemble piece which gets its point across quickly and frequently. A joy to behold and in a year without too many funny shorts, this one is actually quite funny. A BravoFact triumph.

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Your Mother and I – The best part about this Anna Maguire-directed, Peter Kuplowsky-produced short based on a Dave Eggers story is the interaction between between Dad Don McKellar and daughter Julia Sarah Stone. Though they don’t really look alike, the interaction makes them feel related. This is a first rate short film.

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Inner Workings – The comparison to other shorts really isn’t fair when competing with Disney Animation, but the Disney shorts still have to be decent. Guess what? Inner Workings has enough going on that decent feels like an understatement. The song at the end is a perfect take on Gloria Estafan, and any director that references Wes Anderson and Jacques Tati really has it working inside and out.

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TMG_103 (rough cut) – A short by Walter Woodman is cause for celebration (Noah is one of our all-time favourites and has been repeated over and over). His new work, about an actress dealing with having to do a sex scene is suprisingly not very funny. In fact, it’s quite poignant and non-sexy. Perhaps this is the point, but it took us very much by surprise, despite being filmed as behind-the-scenes footage.

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A Funeral for Lightning – Emily Kai Bock’s work is quite poignant, (don’t know why it was expected to be more irreverent, but there ya go). Featuring a seven-months-pregnant character, the short is extremely hard hitting and quite difficult to view, though it does exhibit resiliency and a very in-depth style of filming.

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Cleo – Sanja Zivkovic’s CFC sponsored short is a full of secrecy, and yet feels like a solving of a deep-seated mystery has taken place in the story of a woman who searches for a cell phone using Craigslist and then makes a suprisingly in-depth connection. This is the short that provides the biggest sigh at the end.