Thursday, June 18, 2009

Review of YoungCuts Fringe Screening

Reel Talent Under 25

Fringing doesn’t only mean drinking St. Ambroise beer in between bouts of burlesque, sensuous skits and thrilling theatre. It’s also about catching the best of the 2008 YoungCuts Film Festival – shorts from filmmakers under 25. Giving Fringers a taste of up and coming, international cinematic talent, there’ll be 14 films screened, including five from Montreal (and two of those prize winners). YoungCuts offers a good selection of animation and live action, as well as a documentary about buskers in Montreal.

A thoughtful drama from Vancouverite James Vandewater, Nothing Shocks Anyone Anymore, takes place in a Chinese restaurant where a couple on a date contemplate, in a very Zen-like sort of way, the best part of a tea cup. Attached to this film is one of the YoungCuts success stories. “For James Vandewater, I was able to facilitate getting his films in front of Paul Gross,” said festival director Michael Ryan, “which led to James and his producer Kevin Krist being hired to do the making of The Road to Passchendaele,” a behind the scenes documentary of Gross’ epic film Passchendaele. Vandewater directed the documentary and Krist produced it. Krist was also hired as Gross’ assistant for Passchendaele.

This sort of success story doesn’t happen for all YoungCuts shorts, but helping budding filmmakers make industry connections is one of the goals for Ryan. Another goal is to encourage more French and international entries, and this prompted the festival’s move from Toronto to Montreal in 2006.

One of the international entries is Office Mobius in which South Korean director Seungil Hwang spins an amusing little riff on the never-ending petty dramas that go on in offices. Particularly engaging is the use of overlapping rewinds edited so that form and content cleverly merge. In A Faery’s Tale, director Sylvia Apostol has created tooth faeries that look like a washed out version of the Just for Laughs green gremlin. These nefarious creatures swoop into the mouths of sleeping children to yank out their teeth with industrial-sized pliers – until one night, they meet their match in one little boy’s room.

Animated stick figure and live action combines in the U.K. short film Frank, by Benjamin Bee. It’s a twisted Pinocchio spin-off where a stick figure comes to life and becomes, for the main character, the brother he never had. But when the honeymoon is over, it ends in a surprisingly bad way.

There are a couple of the YoungCuts shorts in the Fringe Festival that could have been cut, but the rest more than make up for them, and the final film in the line up is definitely worth the wait. This Little Piggy by Sebastien Rist and Sarah Quinn of Montreal won the Public Prize at the 2008 YoungCuts Film Festival, and it’s easy to see why. This is a very dark comedy that any student who has had to suffer the indignities of slum rentals will identify with.

The Fringe Festival screening of the 2008 YoungCuts Film Festival is on today at 9 pm on the X - Outdoor Stage @ Parc des Amériques. But wait! There’s more. YoungCuts 2009 will land on the screens of Cinema du Parc from September 24th to October 1st with 100 short films made by the Spielberg and Coppola hopefuls of tomorrow.

Elizabeth Johnston teaches screenwriting at Concordia University.

The thing that I am curious about is which two films did Elizabeth dislike?

Here's the list of what we played:

1. Women in the Fast Lane Trailer by Errol X. Lazare (Burnaby BC)

Reaction at the Screening: Is that the right DVD? It's so polished.

2. Andy's Piece by Andre Willcock (Montreal QC)
-made with the Leave Out Violence (LOVE) charity

How could anyone hate on Andy's Piece?

3. Frank by Benjamin Bee (UK)
-winner Best Animated Film at the 2008 YoungCuts Film Festival

Mentioned above so no. Got good laughs at the screening.

4. I Love You to Death by Claire Calaway (Toronto, ON)
-winner of Best Original Music at the 2008 YoungCuts Film Festival
(Josh Penslar, Toronto ON)

Was cheered at the screening.

5. Ton Ephemere Memoire by Paul Tom (Montreal, QC)

Didn't really get any reaction at the screening, so maybe. It's very dreamy and poetic, although the poem is not Paul's, but the images work well as a counterpoint to the poem.

6. Nothing Shocks Anyone Anymore by James Vandewater (Toronto, ON)

Mentioned above so no. Great reaction at the screening.

7. Bang! Bang! by Emilie Perrault (Montreal, QC)
-winner Best Actor at the 2008 YoungCuts Film Festival
(In the role of Leo: Aliocha Schneider)

Bad Audio mix and some confusion led to a disappointing response. I still heart this film.

8. A Faery's Tale by Sylvia Apostol (USA)

Mentioned above so no.

9, Buskers of Montreal by Krystel Doromal (Montreal, QC)
-broadcast across Canada in High Definition on Equator HD

Again mentioned (briefly) above so no. Got a good reaction at the Fringe. Krystle didn't come on Monday to see her film, came to teh second screening on Wednesday when we were showing stuff that was completely different. Awkward.

10. The Big Upgrade by James Dick (USA)

Got a good reaction at the screening

11. Office Mobius by Seungil Hwang (South Korea)

People were trying to puzzle out how they did it. Mentioned above so no.

12. Mosquitos by Dominic Marcotte (Montreal, QC)

Great reaction at the screening.

13. Nobody Likes a Mime by Andrew Lima (Toronto, ON)
-winner of Best Short Short (Film under 5 minutes) at the 2008 YoungCuts Film Festival

How could anyone hate this? Fringe loved it.

14. This Little Piggy by Sebastien Rist and Sarah Quinn (Montreal, QC)
-winner of the Public Prize at the 2008 YoungCuts Film Festival

Mentioned above so no.

My guess for the ones that Elizabeth disliked would be Ton Epermere Memoire and Bang! Bang!
Glad she only disliked 2 out of 14 though. And any press is good press.

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