A wonderful showcasing of some talented Quebecois filmmakers, ranging from horror to thrillers and animation. One thing is certain here; there is an overflowing abundance of talent in the region that needs to be explored. So, if you can, find these short films.
Ma très chair fraiche – Director Nicolas Combettes – 2 mins
Horace, his body decaying, asks existential questions during the meal he is enjoying. Then, finally, he savours a woman’s finger from which he spits out an engagement ring.
Quite the interesting film to start us off by someone infected or a zombie keeps their thoughts. Whereas the other short, “Timothy”, in the showcase, is more graceful in its story, this is quite the visceral feast (if you pardon the pun). Combettes has significantly juxtaposed what our zombie is thinking about and his actions. Each bite is an angry rage at what people consider a perfect life.
L’Âge des Vanités – Director Caroline Mailloux – 13 mins
A woke YouTuber seeks to become more popular than his cat. Success doesn’t come until he makes an unsuspected discovery. But is the world ready?
In an age where everyone wants that perfect photo or video, and some want that to propel them into fame, this film comes along and hits you like a brick. Purposely unsubtle by the end credits, we see and know people who are beyond desperate to find fame. It is the little touches here that work well. Guillaume is rewatching his latest video about his friend who was run over. He is asked by cat account holder girlfriend Aline if the friend is okay. With far less emotion than he conveyed in the video, he says, “I don’t know” you can feel his lack of genuine empathy for his friend, who he has effectively used to get more followers. As the film takes a very dark turn for the couple, you are left in no doubt of Mailloux’s intent with her story. A very pertinent film.
Followers – Director Gavin Seal – 3 mins
An ancient demon from the past teaches a social media junkie a brutal lesson about being present.
Following along the lines of “L’Âge des Vanités”, Gavin Seal takes a more humorous approach to his film as we watch the man far too obsessed with using social media to notice what is going around him. As we get lost in our phones, poor Dwayne loses a lot more. A solid short that is very effective in its brief runtime.
Face – Director Samuel Mac – 11 mins
One summer in Montreal, a teenage outsider confronts his bullies with a bit of help from a classic horror movie.
In my book, any teenager influenced by the 1959 version of House on Haunted Hill will be someone you need to hang around. What comes across well here is how smoothly the story is told and shot. Samuel Mac leaves some mystery in his film, leaving the audience fearing the worse when Face returns to confront those who have wronged him. Overall, “Face” feels very natural, as if it is more a memory of past experiences and let’s be honest, who doesn’t enjoy a film where the bullies get their comeuppance?
Coup de pion – Director David Henry – 1 min
A young pawn from the white team progresses on the chessboard, where she quickly faces a piece from the opposite team.
Quite a clever animation that utilises chess as a narrative. It may take a minor second to trigger what is happening, but there are many little things that you can pick up on. How characters move in accordance to which piece of material they are. Short and sweet and one you would love to see that bit longer as there is no doubt there is a slightly fuller story there.
Granny Martine – Director David Émond-Ferrat – 9 mins
When his beloved grandma dies, Thomas is called upon to play the hero one last time.
A very well thought out film that takes on the theme of grief for young children. As our young hero witnesses where his grandmother’s soul ends up, we feel the terror in him by the talented young actor. With some visually striking character designs added into the mix, this is an excellent tale about being brave in the face of loss.
The Visitor – Director Olivier Côté – 13 mins
Jirka rents a room in his Prague apartment to a bodybuilding tourist who constantly trains all over the city. So naturally, Jirka can’t help but spy on this mysterious visitor.
You are never really sure about what you are going to get here in The Visitor, and that is a very good thing as we watch our two actors play cat and mouse with one another. Is our hulking bodybuilder just a tourist who has a panache for working out in public? Or is Jirka himself someone that we should be worried about? But, in the end, we have a film that successfully keeps its cards close to its chest and, with two completely different looking actors, plays it up very well.
Crescendo – Director Zachary Bathalon – 1 min
A young halfling adventurer enters a sinister dungeon, hoping to vanquish the gigantic monstrosity that guards those shadowy grounds. After his confident entrance, he starts his favourite single and bolts toward his foe, restless.
A fun animation that has a great little twist. There is a lot to be said about the animation style itself and another that you are almost frustrated with because you want it to go on for longer than the one minute we have with it. But, just a college student, Bathalon has a bright future.
Layover – Director Olivier Frigon – 10 mins
During her usual layover in Buffalo, a bored flight attendant must face her dubious decisions and therefore possibly alter the rest of her dull life.
A solid thriller about someone getting in over their head: Marie-Josée Samson is very strong here. She has to convey a whole range of emotions in the ten minutes we have with her, from the frustration to the anger and eventually to fear. Keeping the story simple allows for the tension to build as to what our air stewardess will do, leaving us with a satisfying final couple of moments.
Giiwebatoo – Director Shane Kelsey – 5 mins
This film was inspired by appalling events that took place in residential schools and the horrors. Indigenous children saw and endured.
A dark tale that takes no prisoners with its story. By now, we all know what went on in the past at these schools, and as we watch Peter try to get away, we implore him to find somewhere safe to hide until he can fully get away. With our lead in constant exhausting motion, you fear that his tale will not have a happy ending. But, with a harrowing climax, this is a film that stays with you, and rightfully so, considering the context.
Timothy – Director Andrew Cyr-Marcoux – 13 mins
Timothy’s severe schizophrenia causes him to experience severe hallucinations. As he describes them to his friends, terrible things start to happen around them.
Director Andrew Cyr-Marcoux makes great use of the little things in this short film. Just having the camera focus on what Tim thinks he sees and gently pushing in, allowing the tension in the scene to build. So when the expected reveals do come in, they are so much more effective. Later on, this technique forces the audience to scour the screen looking for where Timothy’s “imaginary friend” may be at that time. A clever film that works its audience well.
Soeurs – Director Marie-Claude Béchard – 2 mins
When she can no longer care for her sick sister, Mabel decides to abandon her in a forest.
Short and to the point, “Soeurs” makes sure that if you ever abandon something in a forest, or anywhere in general, try not to do it around a ring of dangling pagan symbols, that is only ever going to spell trouble for you.
Sang trouble – Director Patricia Rioux – 8 mins
Joseph is petrified at his front door, ajar, a few drops of blood at his feet. A bloody handprint on the door frame. His girlfriend’s keys, dangling from the lock, dripping.
A horror that quickly turns into a comedy thanks to the interactions of the 911 dispatch receiver. With the joy of a reveal at the end, “Sang Trouble” builds up the tension while knowing exactly when to release the comedy valve. The less said about the reveal, the better so that when you catch this short, you can revel in it.
Martyr – Director Cédrick Provost – 13 mins
David “Bad trips” in the washrooms of a cinema. He sees blood flow under his door and a man lying dead on the floor. What has happened here?
A solid thriller that takes advantage of its small confines to trap its lead and the audience. As David tries to figure out what is going on while fighting a losing battle of his bad trip. He encounters more and more obstacles that stop him from just escaping to the safety of the seat inside a screen. Provost makes sure to add a sprinkling of humour in his film as David struggles to escape.
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