Tuesday, May 24, 2011

8th annual Student Film Showcase, May 24, 26

The Toronto International Film Festival continues its support of emerging talent with its 8th edition of the Student Film Showcase. 12 films have been selected from student filmmakers across Canada, though it seems limited to B.C. and Ontario where most of the Film School Consortium affiliates are from. Nonetheless, the films are strong and show a wide variety of approaches.

The student filmmakers will participate in a panel discussion with animator/director Larry Jacobs, as well as filmmakers Kari Skogland and Warren Sonoda (Coopers' Camera, Textuality). Plus, a jury of industry professionals will award impressive prize-packs for the best live action and best animation films.

The animation films are particularly compelling. Basic Space has an innovative and imaginative approach to the visual style involving paper cutouts. Bramula is a stop-motion piece that seems inspired by Tim Burton with its macabre humour and Vincent Price-style narration. The Dimming is a gorgeous and haunting piece based on Inuit storytelling. My Name Is Mitch uses lovely hand-drawn animation to tell a story of self-acceptance. Paso Doble is a lively interpretation of a flamenco number.

But the live action films are good too. The standout there is Blink, a futuristic romance with a striking visuals and excellent performances. Shuffleboard Kings is the funniest of the bunch and though it has a cheesy synthesizer soundtrack, it is well-written and has lots of good laughs.

This year, the event expands nationally. It kicks off May 24 in Toronto with a screening at TIFF Bell Lightbox, then it hits Vancouver (for the first time) on May 26 at Pacific Cinémathèque.


Showcase expands nationally with presentations in Toronto and Vancouver

Toronto — TIFF celebrates the end of the school year with its 8th annual Student Film Showcase, featuring a roster of 12 short films made by students from across the country. Presented in association with the Film School Consortium — a national group of 15 colleges and universities — the programme recognizes Canada’s burgeoning filmmakers. This event spotlights Canada’s emerging talent by screening the year’s finest student films as selected by TIFF programmers Magali Simard and Alex Rogalski. Expanding its national presence, Student Film Showcase kicks off in Toronto on Tuesday May 24 at TIFF Bell Lightbox, followed by its inaugural visit to Vancouver on Thursday May 26 at Pacific Cinémathèque. Past Showcase works have advanced to screen at major festivals around the world including the Toronto International Film Festival.

“Each year we are continuously impressed by the level of artistic talent we discover through this programme,” said Simard, Programmer, TIFF. “These budding filmmakers deserve a platform for their cinematic achievements, and TIFF is proud to offer Canadians the opportunity to experience their outstanding work.”

These select students develop career-enhancing relationships by participating in a panel discussion, and networking with industry professionals and other young filmmakers. This year’s panel discussion includes animator/director Larry Jacobs (Caillou, Johnny Test), and filmmakers Kari Skogland (50 Dead Men Walking) and Warren Sonoda (Coopers’ Camera, Textuality).
2011 Student Film Showcase lineup, in alphabetical order:

BASIC SPACE ─ Carrie-Anne Mombourquette (Emily Carr University of Art + Design)
BLINK ─ Miles Jay (Ryerson University)
BRAMULA ─ Sarah Rotella (OCAD University)
THE DIMMING ─ Ippiksaut Friesen (Emily Carr University of Art + Design)
FAT ─ Margaret Donahoe and Gillian Good (Queen’s University)
GUILT, OR ─ Sarah Warren (University of Toronto)
LEASH ─ Kevin Doherty (University of British Columbia)
MY NAME IS MITCH ─ Michelle Yoon (Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning)
NOT WORTH MENTIONING ─ Martin Kessler (York University)
PASO DOBLE ─ Jamie Metzger (Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning)
SHUFFLEBOARD KINGS ─ Chris Aitken (Capilano University)
YEARNING ─ Waleed Nesyif (Emily Carr University of Art + Design)

A jury of industry professionals selects the Best Film (Live Action) and Best Film (Animation) and awards prizes to the winning filmmakers. Jury members are: Guy Dixon, journalist, The Globe and Mail; filmmaker Ruba Nadda (Cairo Time); and Allan Harmon, division representative for British Columbia, Directors Guild of Canada. Prize packages for each winner include: one sales and industry pass, plus a guest-blogger opportunity for the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival; one ticket to the DGC Awards; and $1000 courtesy of the DGC. In addition, the Best Film (Live Action) filmmaker will receive a 35mm DI output of their film courtesy of Technicolor; the winner of Best Film (Animation) will receive a complete animation workstation by HP Canada courtesy of Arc Productions (formerly Starz Animation).

Established in 2001, the Film School Consortium has grown into a collaborative network of 15 film schools from five provinces and currently consists of the following establishments: Capilano University, Concordia University, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, Langara College, Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, OCAD University, Queen's University, Ryerson University, Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia, University of Regina, University of Toronto, and York University.

Tickets are currently on sale; programme runs approximately 90 minutes. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit TIFF Bell Lightbox located at Reitman Square, 350 King Street West, Toronto, Ont., call 416-599-TIFF(8433) and 1-888-599-8433 or visit tiff.net/studentfilmshowcase. Pacific Cinémathèque is located at 1131 Howe Street, Vancouver, B.C. visit http://www.cinematheque.bc.ca for tickets and details.

About TIFF TIFF is a charitable cultural organization whose mission is to transform the way people see the world through film. An international leader in film culture, TIFF projects include the annual Toronto International Film Festival in September; TIFF Bell Lightbox, which features five cinemas, major exhibitions, and learning and entertainment facilities; and innovative national distribution program Film Circuit. The organization generates an annual economic impact of $170 million CAD. TIFF Bell Lightbox is generously supported by contributors including Founding Sponsor Bell, the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada, the City of Toronto, the Reitman family (Ivan Reitman, Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels), The Daniels Corporation, Major Sponsor and official bank RBC, Major Sponsor BlackBerry and Visa†. For more information, visit tiff.net.


Not everyone is “cut out” to cohabitate. Using paper-craft animation, this visually inventive film is a playful story of two roommates' struggle for inner peace in the cramped quarters of communal living.


Grabbing social media obsessions by the horns, Blink tells the story of a young man losing himself and the people around him to the traps of a social networking website and its questionable safety.


A witty homage to Nick Park’s Creature Comforts claymation shorts, Bramula tells the tale of a seemingly ordinary housecat who just might be a reincarnated vampire — though as the only evidence is his tendency to sleep all day and avoid garlic-flavored tuna, it’s hard to tell for sure. . .


“Long ago the world lived in darkness. No light to warm the earth, no moon to comfort wounded souls.” Mixed animation techniques are used to illustrate a tragic Inuit folk tale of the creation of the sun and moon.


“Do you think I’m fat?” is a hard question to pose and a hard one to answer. Fat is a sensitive, personal documentary that boldly confronts the uncomfortable issues it raises.


Sitting smugly behind a newspaper glaring at his wife, the inner monologue of a malcontent husband unfurls as he watches her work in the kitchen in this scathing and spot-on comic consideration of mid-life marriage.


Months after looking for their missing dog, Alan and his father receive a misleading phone call. Leash tackles the delicate subject of learning to let go while treasuring the memories they leave behind.


Neither man nor beast, the solitary Mitch is only able to find his place among birds. A stunning and moving animated film about self-acceptance.


A young woman’s puppetry performance at a children’s party takes a turn when she enters closed quarters with the birthday girl’s dad. Sensitive and daring, Not Worth Mentioning explores the emotional terrain between fantasy and reality.


A striking animation, Paso Doble presents a passionate, then violent tango between a woman and a man-turned-bull, which leaves her fighting for her life.


In this clever comedy, recent widower Bert is asked to join the local seniors’ shuffleboard team and soon has to defend the old guard’s pride against a gang of bullies.


Documenting the ravages of the war in Iraq, this raw yet poetic observation illuminates the vestiges of humanity that remain after decades of assault, giving voice to victims caught in the crossfire.

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