Skip to main content

Worldwide Short Film Festival - Preview #1

Worldwide Short Film Festival
Toronto - June 1 to 6, 2010
Midnight Mania - Freaky Programme 

The Worldwide Short Film Festival fires up soon - from Jun 1 to 6 - here's the first in a series of previews I'll be running of some of their programmes. For a full listing and more details, please check out their link.

From animated weirdness to stop motion to live action and experimental treatments, this crop of shorts covers nearly all the bases in its quest to bring you midnight freakishness.
The Little Dragon (Le Petit Dragon)
Bruno Collet  France - 2009
8 minutes 35mm
Animation - Toronto Premiere
A martial arts themed combination of stop motion animatino and live action in a cute meditation on what would happen if magic incense brought a Bruce Lee figure to life. Cute and fun, if slightly melancholy in parts.

Still Birds (Alle Fugler)
Sara Eliassen Norway - 2009
13 minutes 35mm
Fiction - Canadian Premiere
Weird and atmospheric, this live action short explores an off kilter apocalyptic world where adults are zombie-types and children live in institutional like buildings with green hallways and fluorescent tube lighting. Only one of them can still speak or use language, a skill that proves crucial. Art school aesthetics rule (see image below).

Clean Carousel
Andreas Bødker Denmark - 2010
2 minutes  DigiBeta 
Animation - North American Premiere
A beautifully drawn animated piece about an old tyme carousel and its keeper, who takes drastic measures as the carousel is threatened by a flock of crows and barfing children. It's from Denmark. There is no happy ending.
The Twin Girls of Sunset Street (Les Bessones del Carrer de Ponent)
Marc Riba, Anna Solanas Spain - 2010
13 minutes Beta
Animation - North American Premiere
The creepiest, most disturbing one of the bunch, this stop motion animated film tells the dark tale of two elderly sisters who kidnap children, eat them, and turn them into tonics that they sell. And that's not the worst of it! Nightmare-inducing.
To Kill A Bumblebee (Laharog Devora)
Tal Granit, Sharon Maymon Israel - 2009
8 minutes DigiBeta
Fiction - World Premiere
A live action black comedy about a pair of hunters whose day of shooting for boar goes horribly awry  - or one thing leads to another...

The Tail Gunner
Sam Lanyon Jones UK - 2009
1 minutes  DigiBeta
Animation - North American Premiere
What do cute kitty-kats dream of while they're curled up so adorably? Those of us who have cats won't be surprised that it's not all warm and fuzzy.

Beauty Plus Pity
Emily Vey Duke, Cooper Battersby Canada - 2009
14 minutes DigiBeta 
Part live action documentary, part (intentionally) crudely animated musical, this experimental film includes fucked up narratives about killing animals to be close to them, drugging animals in the zoo to be close to them
(something very serial killer-ish about this theme) and cartoon animals that sing about family dysfunction. Yet, it's oddly watchable in a stream of consciousness kind of way.

Prince of Milk (Gyunyu Ohji)
Eisuke Naito Japan - 2009
15 minutes DigiBeta
Fiction - Canadian Premiere
This one was made by the kind of crazy kids who go to the Film School of Tokyo. Naturally, there are schoolgirls, sexual humiliation, suicide and bloody revenge, along with the murderous use of umbrellas and a song about milk in a compelling pastiche of over the top aberrancy.
Yellow Belly End
Philip Bacon UK -  2009
9 minutes DigiBeta
Animation - Toronto Premiere
This British animated eccentricity features people costumed as animals. One dressed as a canary sits at a desk and dutifully notes the number of suicides jumping off a cliff in a book, by species - cats, dogs, lemmings and so on. It develops a nice sense of dramatic tension amongst the surreality of it all. I really wanted to find out what was going to happen to him - the canary - even after he threw the mouse guy in the suitcase over the edge...


What Else Is Hot This Week?

Harlem Stage Digital Event: A Drop Of Midnight October 13 & 15 2020

From a release:Harlem Stage Digital Event:
A Drop Of Midnight
October 13 & 15 2020A two-part conversation with Jason ‘Timbuktu’ Diakité and his creative team around the developmental process of creating his autobiographical theater project, A Drop of Midnight. In this conversation Jason will take us on his journey to becoming one of Sweden’s chart-topping hip-hop artists and a best-selling author. He’ll also share the story of how a mixtape from Brooklyn traveled across the waters to the tiny village of Lund, Sweden and altered the course of his life forever. We will examine the impact of hip hop music and culture on the globe. How has hip-hop united communities of color globally?  How do you translate a personal story into a universal truth? How do you build a creative team? How has the current climate of social justice informed your artistic practice? Jason will read excerpts from the play and share some of the music. October 13—Part IIn this conversation A Drop of Midnight author…

So You Can't Go: Six Ways To Travel Virtually

So You Can't Go:
Six Ways To Travel VirtuallyTravel is limited for most of us in the world these days. For Canadians, it depends on the province you live in, but with the border to the US still closed, and other options limited at best, virtual travel from the couch can provide at least a view with a difference at a time when you may well need it most. Google Cardboard – VR On A BudgetYou don't need a lot of cash to get into travel via virtual reality. Google Cardboard is a line of VR viewers that are, well, made of cardboard, and are priced starting at $12CAD.If you check out this link, you'll find out how to download the software to your smartphone.At this link, you can get yourself an actual Google Cardboard for a hands-free VR experience. Google Cardboard apps offer a variety of ways to experience our beautiful planet, including Google Earth itself, which can take you anywhere, along with apps to view museums and cultural artifacts, and more.Ascape VRAscape has a huge l…

Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company Spring 2013 Toronto Performances

From a media release:

The new season brings
Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company
to new heights and new audiences

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
April 25-28, 2013 - Annual Toronto Season - World Premiere of Portales

TORONTO : Following on the heels of Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company's (EESDC) 30th anniversary year where its production Aguas/Waters was named one of the top five dance shows of 2012 by NOW Magazine, the early months of 2013 are full of excitement and possibility for Esmeralda and the company, which brings the finest flamenco and Spanish Classical Dance to Toronto stages.

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
Company dancers Esmeralda Enrique and Paloma Cortés perform Spanish Classical dance with the celebrated Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir for A Night in Madrid featuring the Iberian flavoured music of composer Luigi Boccherini who made his home in Spain. His work is infused with the sounds of Spanish and gypsy folk music.

March 20-24 …

Review: Night of the Kings / La Nuit des Rois by Philippe Lacôte

Night of the Kings
La Nuit des Rois
by Philippe LacôteA France, Côte d'Ivoire, Canada and Senegal co-productionNow Playing In The New York Film FestivalImageAfter Venice and the Toronto Film Festival, Philippe Lacôte's Night of the Kings has moved on to conquer New York City. A young pickpocket (Koné Bakary), is incarcerated in the giant La MACA prison, the largest in Côte d’Ivoire. The prison offers a hostile atmosphere, where the guards have long given up keeping order and the prisoners run the show, albeit confined within the prison walls. They dance, sing, and mingle at will in a common area called The Jungle. There is a violent power struggle between Lord Blackbeard (Steve Tientcheu), who runs things, and the younger leaders of other factions. Blackbeard is old and infirm, and he knows he can't hold on forever. But, he does want to hold on long enough to leave on his own terms. Blackbeard designates the newcomer as the new storyteller - the griot - called Roma…

Blues/Rock: The Cole Patenaude Band - Are You Happy Now? (Independent / 24 July 2020)

The Cole Patenaude Band - Are You Happy Now?
(Independent / 24 July 2020) Buy the CD Big vocals and infectious grooves make up this release from The Cole Patenaude Band. It's modern blues with a classic sensibility, anchored by solid musicianship and upbeat songwriting. 
Keyboard player Dean Thiessen and Patenaude on guitar trade off solos and melodic lines to keep it interesting through a range of bluesy style, incorporating rock and country, with a pop song sheen on songs like For the Money. Would You Be Mine is more Elvis-esque rockabilly, while How To Love is an acoustic song with folky storytelling lyrics and feel. 
Compromise is a standout track, with a snarly guitar line and a churchy organ swelling underneath a nice bluesy beat. Horns aren't credited in the notes, but I swear I heard some on this and a couple of the other tracks. 
As a husband, father, and full-time mechanic based in Langley, British Columbia, finding the time to make his music was a challenge…