A-Z Short Films and Programs
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Two girls with seemingly opposing interests push past the surface to explore a deep and mutual connection. In doing so they offer one another the unlikely possibility to be seen and understood.
Inspired by true and personal events in the Warsaw ghetto, Alina is a tense and inspirational tribute to the mothers who risked their lives to save hundreds of children and families from certain death at the hands of the Nazis. The film stars Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development) as a nurse. With the assistance of a clandestine network of resistors, Alina attempts to outwit an entire army anticipating her every move.
Two piano players find themselves at odds, since each has a very different way of playing the same music. From China, this absorbing hand-drawn animation questions who gets to decide how we understand the language of musicality.
Stranded in a far away part of the house, a tiny LEGO figurine must make the epic journey back to Ben's Room to be reunited with his missing toy arm. A quiet, often humorous and deeply solemn film about perseverance and loss.
Language revitalization efforts happening in the Wsanec territory on the Saanich Peninsula are celebrated through prayer and song. Young members of the community demonstrate the importance of carrying their language and culture into the next generation.
When Cassandra inadvertently witnesses a drunken encounter between friends, she is compelled to investigate. This poignant and provocative work raises important questions about consent and identifying predatory behaviour.
Since 1938 Jerusalem has been a divided city. A Jewish boy and an Arab girl make an unlikely connection at the Cinema Rex and form a soulful friendship based on a mutual (and universal) language––the language of cinema.
Frank lives in a cuckoo clock. Every hour on the hour he straps himself into his ejection seat for a rip out the front door on his clock, in order to alert the old lady of the house that it’s time to take her meds. On this day Frank is distracted and his lack of attention to his responsibilities could end up having dire consequences. Absurd and dark humour poke fun at the loneliness of existence and the monotony of time.
Using dialogue, music, traditional animation, stop-motion, DIY photography, and 2D rotoscoping, Terrance and Neko share a unique look at their ‘daughter/father’ relationship, which in Blackfoot translates to “otanimm/onnimm.”
In a plausible dystopian future, Earth has decayed to such an extent that humans are leaving their planet in droves for the promise of a new life on Mars. Only those who romanticize the good ol’ days of a healthy biosphere have laid down roots on Earth. Coaxed by her friends and the mounting environmental evidence, a wife must choose between her husband’s idealism and what might be her last chance to embrace change.
China’s one-child policy left many devastating effects. To protect their son, Yan’s family hid his sister in the countryside and disguised Yan as a girl. Later in life, Yan is treated as an outcast by the townspeople and struggles in a conservative world in which his gender is thought to be confusing. He longs to see his sister and the only escape from this suffocating social order is drifting in his father’s old taxi.
Freshly killed by coyotes, the remnants of a deer rest in the middle of a pine grove. For an entire year two surveillance cameras allow us to see what happens next––a timelapse documentation of the natural cycle of life.
After spreading rumours about a local elder, there is an important and poetic lesson to be learned about respect and forgiveness.
A study of the cyclical nature of time as seen through self-portraits over a lifetime uncovered by the hands that created them.
Struggling with her day to day life, Sarah returns to her home to seek comfort from her seawise father. To her dismay, she is greeted with the strained relationship she left behind. Itching to open up about her problems, Sarah has developed a severe case of eczema, which now seems to have mysteriously escalated into scales on her arm. In despair she considers plunging herself into the ocean to find a moment of reprieve. Folklore and hyper-realism set a moody atmosphere, an unnerving yet comforting tone, a kind of siren call to Sarah’s freedom.
In the near future, cities are crowded, nature is sparse, and children attend school in hyper-realistic virtual reality. Marion, a teenage girl escaping a stifling home life, falls in love with another student, but can’t be sure if her feelings are real or if this is part of the simulation.
From dawn to dusk on the West Bank, the Bedouin community of Sateh al-Bahar documents a day in the life of their own residents. A self-reflexive look at a community who is most often depicted by outsiders.
The teachings of a patient and steadfast Mexican grandfather establish a wealth of memories for a grandson who looks back fondly on their time in the wood shop.
Defying class and cultural boundaries, young Pond struggles to come to terms with the inevitable departure of the woman who works as his family's housemaid. She too does not want to let go of their unique and wondrous bond. A generous and tender look at a connection that we rarely see or celebrate, Housemaid is a beautifully lensed and delightfully textured film.
Losing her senses one by one, a Lebanese grandmother slowly becomes a wooden chair. As this transformation persists, she comes to realize that her housemaid was not a cat after all; rather she is a loving and cherished member of the family who protects the old woman as she ages.
After five years abroad, filmmaker Ajahnis Charley returns home to quarantine with his family, – he’s on a mission to share his personal truth. Surprising conversations ensue with his mother and three siblings, culminating in a humorous and sometimes heart-wrenching snapshot about family, love and acceptance.
Reflecting on the current events of Black Lives Matter and the killing of George Floydd, a handful of young people discuss where the movement for Black liberation stands at this current moment; and asks how we got to this point as a society and where we might be going.
Performed entirely in the Cherokee language, Inage'i follows three animal friends whose mischievous curiosity leads them to ignore humble and wise words from their bear elder.
The Inuktitut language is threatened because younger generations tend to speak English. Can technology help Ulivia explore her mother tongue from another part of the world? Can she navigate the many unique dialects which vary from one generation to the next?
Since the loss of their father, three siblings have been aching to remember him. Grief hasn’t been easy for their mother either. Returning with a stunning new film after c0-directing Mahalia Melts in the Rain (R2R 2019 audience favourite), Emilie Mannering commands a daring and emotive story of family dynamics and forgiveness.
Long ago, four extraordinary individuals of both male and female spirit brought healing arts from Tahiti to Hawaii. Beloved by the people for their gentle ways and miraculous cures, they imbued four giant boulders with their powers. The stones still stand on what is now called Waikiki Beach. The true story behind them was hidden–until now. Narrated in an ancient Hawaiian dialect, Kapaemahu brings this powerful legend back to life, in vivid animation, as seen through the eyes of a curious child.
Filmmaker and activist Melaw Nakehk’o has spent the pandemic appreciating the natural world with her family at a remote campsite in the Northwest Territories. Using her observant camera, Melaw anchors herself in this specific time and place among Elders and young members of her family.
Ten-year-old Gabriel loves singing, and has one desire: to sing in the local choir. Riding kick-sleds through the snowy landscape of Northern Norway, this community choir is known for its generosity towards those seeking refuge in the village. Gabriel's father unexpectedly gets into a fight with a black man who was forced to flee his home. This ignites Gabriel's sense of justice, and compels him to stand up for what is right.
After stealing a bean from a local market, a young boy experiences guilt for the first time while figuring out how to navigate his moral compass.
Deep in a lush forest, a conclave of wild animals meet for an impromptu nocturnal opera, conducted by a very serious squirrel. Once again France’s Illogic Collective demonstrates that they are a force of nature in the world of computer generated animation.
Voiced by Sir Ian McKellen, the moon makes a new friend after a singing meteor crash lands on its surface. A charming and spacey ode to friendship.
In refuge in Morocco, time seems to stand still for the 750 stray dogs waiting to be adopted; their lives follow a precise, prison-like routine. They groom, they growl, they feed, and relax in the sun. Then the routine happens all over again the next day.
Made during lockdown, with good humour and a smartphone, this playful and zany stop-motion illuminates how difficult life can be as an outsider.
Ribadit (pulling in the belt) was a tradition in the sámi village Guovdageaidnu. Two elders from the community explain what the tradition was and what it meant to them as young people. Orchestrating this fun and lighthearted ritual of flirtation, director Elle Sofe brings this bygone tradition to life with sámi youth and dancers wearing traditional clothing.
Upon hearing a myth about falling stars, young Amna’s curiosity is sparked. When night falls on her Qatari village, she secretly sets out on her father's boat despite the fact that girls are forbidden to do so. With the assistance of her older brother, Sultan, Amna will take a risk to chase the fabled comet.
Depicting a rotoscoped rendition of a traditional dance sequence, known as "Sneak Up," the movements convey those of a warrior tracking enemies while maintaining the element of surprise.
Junu struggles to figure out which shoe goes on which foot. Eventually Junu takes matters into her own hands, or should we say feet, and finds a clever way to mark the difference.
A young Peruvian boy lives with his quiet and seemingly spaced-out father in a floating house along the majestic Amazon River. Setting the stage for an allegorical journey into the jungle, nature, gender, truth and all things begin to reveal the true identity of his dad and the transient dreamscape which overlaps this realm. Visually remarkable and tranquil, yet eerily riveting, The Silence of the River transports viewers through an elusive sensory state.
In this mesmerizing and contemplative stop-motion animation, featuring adorable singing animals, director Niki Lindroth von Bahr (The Burden, R2R ‘18) returns with a lullaby for an impending disaster.
Walking tall is easy when you’re on stilts, though it can be a challenge to fit in when no one can meet you at your level. Just as moving through the world in a contorted fashion might be how you are most comfortable, it can be confrontational for those who can’t fathom being upside down or using feet as additional hands. Talk to Me explores the view from those who stand out and what it means to be truly seen.
Though it was destroyed many years ago in the war, a young Iranian man returns to his hometown in search of his childhood sweetheart. She had promised him eternal love, but only if he came back to her as a white-winged horse. Past and present collide, enmeshed with fantasy and magical realism, as imagination and memory recount the little boy he once was.
The missing ingredient to an ageless beauty potion is... to add a baby to your cauldron. Posing as a nanny for hire, a dubious witch may have found her final “ingredient” in a nearby castle. A playful animation about feminine beauty standards.
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International Film Festival for Youth
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