Thursday, July 7, 2016

The CBC Short Film Face Off

A really good idea: A CBC television show to highlight short films by emerging Canadian filmmakers in a competition for a large monetary prize. Modest in scope, Short Film Face Off is remarkably rich and diverse as it provides a great platform to actually watch Canadian short films. The 45-minute show with its light-hearted and critical commentary is available to watch at your leisure online while the public broadcasting of the show also raises the recognition of the work. And with its brisk format and commentary between the three shorts on each episode it provides a more satisfying platform to watch new short films as compared to say more private online links or the occasionally stressful group screenings. The host Steve Patterson is funny and the panelist Mohit Rajhans, Eli Glasner, Nadia Litz (The People Garden) all offer insightful advice. If the conversations with the filmmakers might run short then you can always find extended versions of them on its website. The nine filmmakers come from all the different provinces in Canada and the average 10-minute shorts reflect their maker’s different geographies, social issues and aesthetic sensibilities. Not that all of the short films are perfect but they are all still good and as a whole they provide an opportunity to see what aesthetic and dramatic techniques work better in the format. Some of my favorite short films have been Jennifer Walden’s Painted Girl, Brett Ferster’s Claddagh, Daniel Boos’ Bound and Rachelle Casseus’ The Buckley Brothers. The final show is this Saturday July 9th with the three finalist short-films Hector Herrera’s animated Western The Ballad of Immortal Joe, Mike Fardy’s comedic Moving On and Mark Slutsky’s love affair Never Happened. Short Film Face Off provides a great showcase for emerging filmmakers from all across the country. There should be more opportunities like these.

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