Short Film Festival

The Worldwide Short Film Festival

The short film festival (officially known as the CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival) kicks off next Tuesday, June 1st. It's possibly your best chance at seeing as many films as you could imagine in less than a week. Like past years, the short film festival is going be a mixed bag of live action, documentary, animation, and experimental clips rolled out in 33 cleverly themed 90-minute programs. So whether you're interested in sex (Slap N' Tickle), sci-fi (Sci-Fi: Out There), or song (When All Is Said and Sung, Scene Not Herd), the WSFF has you covered.

Plus, it looks like the WSFF is getting on the mobile bandwagon this year, meaning that iPhone worshippers can download a free App (set to go live on Friday) with festival schedules and trailers. But equally exciting are the movies, tons of which are well worth the $10 admission. Program by program, here's a look at some of what's on at the 2010 edition of the festival.

Top Pick

Alternative Comedy Showcase
Every Sunday, a group of Toronto based stand up comedians put on a show called Laugh Sabbath at The Rivoli. And sometimes they make videos, like Heath Milo getting berated by his cute puppies in Life with Dogs, Brian Barlow as the Dick Mime "performing" in the Ontario wilderness, Morning Walk from a series of "music" videos by Chris Locke and Nathan Fielder, my personal favourite, Kathleen Phillips' indescribable This is Ana, and other delights.


Celebrity Shorts
Ever wonder what Robert Pattinson was up to before the Twilight series? Me either, but along with his schmaltzy performance in The Summer House, catch Will Ferrell, Don Cheadle, John C. Reilly, and Crispin Glover in a couple of episodes of Drunk History, the 2010 Academy Award-winning short The New Tenants, and the Toronto Premiere of Higglety Pigglety Pop! or There Must Be More To Life, based on the Maurice Sendak book and produced by, get this, Spike Jonze and the NFB.

Official Selection 2: The Greatest Love of All
Love comes in all kinds of shapes and forms: romantic, spiritual, and even canine. Irina Markova's passion for pooch tricks is unrelenting in The Poodle Trainer. In The Apostles, a dispute amongst Jesus' friends over the bill makes for an awkward Last Supper. This very sweet set of clips closes with a heartwrenching portrait of grief from the UK, Believe.

Official Selection 9: Bad Habits
More misses than must-sees here, but worth catching for the final film, a 25-minute documentary from the Czech Republic called 59/184/84 (these are measurements in a personal ad). It's about a man who, no lie, appears as though he might be ready to kill himself but just can't be bothered. Also noteworthy is James Franco's film, the mystery-tinged Herbert White, which kept me guessing until the very last scene.

Midnight Mania: Freaky
Weirdos galore. Competing for the top prize, the Prince of Milk, from a Japanese I-don't-know-what kind of film in which a psycho killer takes revenge on a group of schoolgirls. The backstory is that they humiliated some guy called Makoto after they caught him masturbating in a classroom. A close second is a man dressed in a canary suit counting suicides near the side of a cliff, in the animated Yellow Belly End.

Not so recommended

Midnight Mania: Creepy
Or Midnight Mania: Not Quite Creepy. This year's program features hot demon sex, Czech animation, and a chilling winter cabin flick called Off Season.

Official Selection 12: Boys Will Be Boys
Boys will be robbers, dollhouse collectors, and even junk shop owners like The Junction based subject of Maria-Saroja Ponnambalam's great character doc Pretty Little Bits.

A couple of unorthodox heroines stand out in this otherwise bland set, named after a collective of Swedish female filmmakers.

The Worldwide Short Film festival runs from Tuesday, June 1st to Sunday, June 6th at various venues. Tickets and passes available online and at Cumberland Terrace, 2 Bloor Street West. Still from The Poodle Trainer.

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