Production still from Raha Shirazi's Four Walls.

Festival Flash: Short Films


My favorite film from last year's TIFF wasn't an intense Hollywood drama or an independent foreign feature. Instead, it was The Saddest Boy in the World, a short film by Canadian filmmaker Jamie Travis.

Sadly, Travis doesn't have any new films at the Toronto International Film Festival this year, but the lineup of short films playing during the Short Cuts Canada programme at TIFF 2007 is more than impressive.

The 43 films that make up the Short Cuts programme reflect the diversity — in genre, style, and approach — of this country; among the films to be shown include animated vignettes, experimental clips, and comedic anecdotes.

Many of the most alluring shorts this year revolve around youth: remember that game you played in high school called I've never had sex? Robert Kennedy captures some of the responses to that game on a mobile phone in his short film by the same name. Another film shot on a mobile phone captures another timeless game in Matthew Swanson's Tic Tac Toe. Chloeé Leriche's takes us back to the schoolyard in her short film Les Grands, and playtime takes a dark turn in Jonathan van Tulleken's Bumblebee.

Canada has had a wonderful tradition of award-winning animated shorts (Ryan, The Danish Poet, etc.) and this year's lineup features some extremely interesting films to follow in their footsteps. Andrew McPhillips' Blood Will Tell tells the story of some sinister mosquitoes in 3D, while Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski's Madame Tutli-Putli takes us on an animated train ride with an array of odd characters.

The one short I'm most interested in seeing during this year's festival is Raha Shirazi's Four Walls, a 12-minute film set in a prison cell in Iran. Shirazi is a recent graduate from York Uniersity's film program.

There are tons of other great short films appearing at the festival, so be sure to get your copy of the complete film list and check out blogTO's continuing coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival for our picks and tips for this year's festival.

(Image: Production still from Raha Shirazi's Four Walls, courtesy TIFF07.)


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