The Future of Film Showcase is a festival of short films featuring Canadian filmmakers under the age of forty. Designed to highlight the, well, future of Canadian film by giving a platform to up and coming artists, it is an exciting chance to take a peek at what is around the corner in Canadian art.
This year the showcase features 11 films, and –for the second year in a row– they will be available virtually via CBC Gem from July 9th to 22nd, for free, to anyone in Canada who wants to watch them. There is a wide variety of styles and intents here, and having had the opportunity to watch them, below follows a list of the films and a brief review of each.
dir. Elian Mikkola (3:33)
Aries looks through a single window and for just over three and a half minutes, it looks at both that one scene and the entire world. Surreal and experimental, while I think it lack something by being entirely silent, this is certainly from someone who you should keep on your radar.
dir. Aziz Zoromba (17:53)
Far Way –Lointain in French, which translates to Distant, a title I prefer– follows a young Arabic man through the course of a year trying to reconnect with his mother after already having been estranged from his family after coming out as gay.
There is a lot to like here, but I prefer Loitain as the title because not only is the young man dealing with distance from his family, the entire short approaches the young man only at a distance. We see him through windows, from across parks, and in cars. The whole thing is well put together, and the intent of that distance is clear, and while I didn’t connect with it, I imagine that many people will.
dir. Anya Chirkova (16:26)
One of the more traditional narratives in the festival, Flower Boy follows a young man through a summer as he connects with both a free spirited painter and an older arcade owner.
This one might actually be too short! The bones of a feature film are there, and while there are definitely elements in it that you have seen before, Flower Boy has a unique enough perspective to be unique . Plus, the cast –particularly Andrea Pavlovic as Sarah– are all engaging.
dir. Ella Morton (10:39)
One of the standouts, Kajanaqtuq is entirely Inuk elder Naulaq LeDrew reflecting on her home in Nunavut and how she and her culture have changed within her lifetime. Her narration plays over super 8 footage of the arctic, and the whole thing creates a surreal but effective portrait of the region.
My Head Aches When I Look Too Long
dir. Callahan Bracken (3:17)
An exploration of queerness and modern technology. This animated feature runs only three and a half minutes but features beautiful animation, both hand-drawn and digital. It doesn’t say much, but something is bubbling beneath the surface here that makes me want to see more from the filmmaker.
dir. Rebeccah Love (24:37)
An overworked lawyer struggles to take care of his mentally ill partner as she goes through a full-blown, manic episode. Told entirely with scenes set in the parlour of their home, the result feels like a well-staged play with a completely committed central performance from Sarah Swire.
Parlour Palm is a hell of watch, and if you have ever been through a manic episode or helped another through one, it might be a difficult one, but it’s so well acted and staged that you won’t regret watching it.
Sophie and Jacob
dir. Max Shoham (8:48)
A true story of the director’s grandparents, a young Jewish man and woman who meet whilst aboard a refugee ship fleeing hate in the 1940s. First denied entrance to British controlled Palestine, and condemned to wander the Mediterranean sea searching for a place to make landfall.
Beautifully animated and a poignant reminder that while we have a decent understanding of the big picture in 1940s Europe, there are many untold stories of how that climate of prejudice played out.
Sunken Cave and a Migrating Bird
dir. Qiuli Wu (10:31)
Set in a dilapidated zoo, two bored kids steal a fish from a pond. More of a mood piece than anything, Sunken Cave and a Migrating Bird is one of the more abstract of the piece presented here, and might not connect with everyone as a result, but the cinematography is gorgeous.
This is a Period Piece
dir. Bruno Arbex (14:26)
A thirteen-year-old tomboy called Riley gets her period for the first time and ends up on a wild, dreamlike adventure through both her fears and societies expectations of being a woman. This is a Period Piece has a manic energy that is best seen to be beleived.
Her journey takes her through a hospital full of bikini-clad nurses, surreal health videos, and an absolutely terrifying press conference, and is probably the most effective film I’ve seen trying to illuminate the experience of being a young woman. This one is a must-see.
Tulips are my father’s favorite flower
dir. Nisha Platzer (3:30)
Shot on 16mm film and processed, printed, tinted, and toned by hand, Tulips are my father’s favourite flower is another abstract piece concerned entirely with the aesthetics of the flower in question. A work designed seemingly to evoke a reaction in the viewer, and maybe the film closest to pure art in the festival.
dir. Kourtney Jackson (9:52)
An intimate portrait of three young black women who, as they ready for the day, reflect on their relationship with their hair and bodies. The way we as a society perceive black hair and bodies is already fraught with issues, and this film should be required viewing for anyone who says that they don’t understand why.
The Future of Film Showcase will be streaming for free on CBC Gem from Friday, July 9th through Thursday, July 22nd.
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