TIFF Short Films
September 11, 2013 8:41 PM   Subscribe

For the duration of the Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF has posted the short films they're screening this year on Youtube. You can watch them all, but if you only watch one, check out Noah, which is not safe for work and which I thought was pretty great.
posted by dobbs (16 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Cool! That is pretty great.
posted by cman at 8:59 PM on September 11, 2013

Fantastic. Whole story right from the desktop. Thanks.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 9:07 PM on September 11, 2013

posted by parki at 9:18 PM on September 11, 2013

Oh. Is it just Short Cuts Canada they're sharing?

I don't mean to be too dismissive of the Canadian film industry, but that's kind of a dumping ground for subpar quota-filling CanCon by recent college grads. There's usually one or two interesting ones (I would agree that Noah is in that category) and then a whole lot of stuff that would never meet the standards of a foreign festival in a million years.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:25 PM on September 11, 2013

Sys Rq, you basically just described filmmaking in every country--most movies are subpar filler because most things are subpar filler.
posted by dobbs at 9:31 PM on September 11, 2013 [7 favorites]

But film festivals are supposed to showcase the best, aren't they?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:34 PM on September 11, 2013

Have you been to a film festival? All of of them show many, many shit films, from countries all over the world. TIFF shows 350+ films in 10 days every year. You think the world makes 350 great films a year?

Also, different strokes...
posted by dobbs at 9:40 PM on September 11, 2013

Sys Rq, the festival shows all entrants, and awards the best. I don't think it would be logistically possible for a jury to vet all the films before the festival.
posted by dhartung at 10:40 PM on September 11, 2013

Thanks dobbs. Noah is a neat short film. And per the discussion, there are great films at TIFF and some bombs (both foreign and domestic).

So far at TIFF 2013 I've seen 8 films; 2 bombs, 1 required a more experienced focus puller but otherwise had a great story, 2 good films, and 3 great ones, and one more to see tomorrow.

  • Pioneer. Great thriller about early Norwegian oil development.
  • The Dinner. Great inventive drama.
  • The Armstrong Lie. A documentary crew had access to Armstrong during his comeback and afterwards. I got to see Betsy Andreu on stage.
  • Beyond the Edge. Neat 3D film about the first full climb of Everest. I always thought Edmund Hillary was a Brit, but it turns out he was a Kiwi. During the Q&A the director said the actor who played Hillary applied by sending in his picture and a $5 NZD bill. The film also had historic footage.
  • The Art of the Steal. Fun heist film with a great finish. Saw Kurt Russel and Jay Baruchel on stage and Brett Wilson walk by while I was in line.
I'll bite my tongue about this year's bombs.
posted by ecco at 10:47 PM on September 11, 2013

I remember making TIFFs in class. I can't believe they made a festival about it. Good for you whippersnappers!
posted by chemoboy at 2:17 AM on September 12, 2013

There are films at TIFF? I thought it was just parties.
posted by Damienmce at 4:17 AM on September 12, 2013

Sys Rq, the festival shows all entrants, and awards the best. I don't think it would be logistically possible for a jury to vet all the films before the festival.

Whoa. Now, that's completely wrong. All films are vetted and chosen. I don't know of any festival in the world that shows all entrants. TIFF probably receives several thousand entries per year.

The films chosen are those that the programmers believe the most worthy of an audience and that can be for many different reasons, not all of them quality (controversial; from a country that barely has a film industry; contrasts or compliments another programmed film or famous film; a significant entry from an up and coming or well-established filmmaker; etc.).

The "problem" is that different people have different tastes and even some people who program festivals for a living have horrible taste. However, I think it's rare for any programmer to program a film they don't like unless there's a significant reason to include it. After all, their names are attached to the films they choose.

Growing up with TIFF in the late 80s and through the 90s, my friends and I would be familiar with all the programmers and their tastes and there were numerous programmers who, no matter how great the film sounded on paper (and they all sound great on paper), we would not go to them because we'd been burned in the past.
posted by dobbs at 4:20 AM on September 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

The one year I buckled down, rearranged my schedule and dedicated a few solid days to attending as many screenings as I could at TIFF was the year I saw Primer. Unfortunately I've never had the time or resources to pull that off again. However, that allows me to make believe that the festival is full of those every year; films with exceptional appeal to some specific niche, one so narrow that they would never have a chance of being made by a major studio.
posted by ceribus peribus at 5:02 AM on September 12, 2013

But film festivals are supposed to showcase the best, aren't they?

Ostensibly, but everyone's individual definition of "the best" and "total shit" is different. The organizers of such festivals try to appeal to a broad crowd base, and sometimes take factors other than Empiric Quality into account; sometimes they consider the creator of the work themselves, or the topic in question, or other nebulous factors ("Okay, we need a couple more films to round things out....hmm, we have a lot more filmmakers from demographic [foo] already here, let's try to find a film by someone who's in demographic [baz]"). Or if there's the whiff of influence from someone who's A Trendy Name they'll include them.

Also, sometimes you're not basing your selection on the film itself, but on how well they sell it. Or on how good your in initial volunteer selection staff is. So you'll have some stuff in every festival that's total shit.

I base this claim on having been part of the volunteer selection panel for New York's Fringe Festival a couple times, and on having written reviews for some Fringe Festival shows a lot more. My favorite story is when one of the submissions the Fringe got was some weird experimental crap that someone based on the work that the playwright Richard Foreman gave up on writing. I hated it, and told my co-readers so - but they looked at me with starry eyes and said "but it's Richard Foreman!" and lobbied to include it.

They won. It was in the Fringe. It sucked. It still sold out. Sigh.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:47 AM on September 12, 2013

I really enjoyed Noah, which gave me a frisson of future shock as well.
posted by kinnakeet at 10:25 AM on September 12, 2013

I really liked Noah, and plan to watch some of the others later. (Any strong recommendations, from someone who has watched all the linked films?)

Noah was a clever, and immediately engaging, way to tell a familiar story. I mean, we all had crazy jealous breakups we regretted, right? These days, it can all just happen much faster and with each participant alone in a room with a screen (or two).

I know this makes me sound old, forgive me, but really, it feels like it would be so hard to be a teenager these days.
posted by MoxieProxy at 10:57 AM on September 12, 2013

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