Additional Mentions | Full Boat; Ordinary Shadows, Chinese Shade; Aki Ra's Boys
A good time was had by all during the festival and a special mention should go out some more films that I had the chance to see but not the time to write about till now:
Thursday night's screening of shorts was undoubtedly a memorable experience. In fact, Machine With Wishbone and Up The Rabbit Hole, which were two of the films presented turned out to be festival award winners. Here's a little recap of each film.
Running (Heart, Mind, Body, Spirit)
Directed by Anne-Marie Fleming
In Running, which was commissioned by The Victoria Symphony Orchestra's Reel Music Competition, Fleming created an animation that complemented an original score by the French Canadian composer Maxime Goulet. Her charming use of squiggles and doodles facilitated a wonderful sense of movement, which matched the music well. As Stickgirl (the main character) lead viewers on a little journey of whimsical tornadoes and more, I couldn't help but be delighted by the sense of childhood imagination that it stirred from within.
Directed by Khanhthuan Tran
This was Tran's first project during his residency at the Canadian Film Centre. Residents were asked to make introduction films about themselves and as Tran explained in a post-screening Q&A, he decided to literally film himself making a drawing of himself and this was exactly what viewers saw, Tran delineating his own reflection on a clear surface with the camera filming from underneath. In watching the film, viewers were taken through the process as the artist's face gradually became masked by his own delineated image.
Directed by Jenny Lin
Lin's Transfer Point examines the movement of Montreal's urban transit system with a silly melange of eccentrically drawn characters. Complemented by a percussion of sequenced bangs, thumps and whacks, the film marvellously captures the rhythmic routine of commuting. Her wacky drawings, which intelligently became less and less sensical, injected the audience with good laughter.
Directed by Ho Tam
In his interpretation of the nightclub scene, Tam discusses desire and the illusion of love in the form of commonly heard phrases and pick-up lines typed across the screen. Various clips of men dancing to heavy techno in a dark, misty club make up the film.
Directed by Blair Fukumura
By contrasting a series of catalogue images from the 60s and 70s to photos of the technology enriched present, Fukumura aptly discusses how current notions of conformity and alienation are not that different from the past. The filmmaker narrates the collage of images with a remarkably clear and smooth voice, threading in mild sarcasm and bringing humour to the entire observation.
Machine With Wishbone
Directed by Randall Okita
This extremely cinematic live-action film, which was very cleverly executed on a tight budget, follows the movements of Arthur Ganson's kinetic machines. Reminiscent of some sort of Tim Burton minimalism, the film was genuinely an interesting delight of curiosities for the eyes to dissect.
Around The Corner From Solitude
Directed by Stefanie Wong
With each stroke gradually building the lines of an image, Wong attempts to illustrate the time-consuming nature of embroidery with this animated piece. The ultimate product is a pretty raindrop pattern, however the film's focus lies within the journey and labour than its outcome. The cute and funky stringed music, which accompanied the piece was great, it was like slow motion blue grass. This minimal and charming short was my favorite for the evening.
Up The Rabbit Hole
Directed by Asa Mori
This dark little animation of a six-nippled, bowl-haired gnome struck a rather curious chord among viewers. The film follows our little gnome friend through a series of darkly bizarre situations as she comes across a dead rabbit then gets her head stuck in a TV. The entire experience was strangely comedic and slightly disturbing.
ORDINARY SHADOWS. CHINESE SHADE.
Directed by Paul Wong
Paul Wong is indeed somewhat of a pioneer in media arts. And if people (such as myself) did not know what that really meant, seeing Ordinary Shadows. Chinese Shade. certainly explained a fair amount. His unconventional style of documentary film-making embraced the technical abilities of the 80s thus giving the film a funkier edge than most others. Without convention al subtitles, viewers were forced to use what images and text they were given to make their own interpretations. By not creating a spoon-fed, easy-to-swallow story, it was really up to viewers to either sit back and absorb or consciously engage to find more definite meaning.
AKI RA'S BOYS
Directed by Lynn Lee and James Leong
This film really struck the relevance chord for me. Without the magical framings of tourism, viewers had the chance to follow 12 year-old Boreak in his daily activities. Though he had lost his arm to a landmine six years ago, the documentary showed him radiating with a childish spirit of joy and mischief. The film brought light to the aspirations and limitations of a nation in recovery by giving viewers a strong explanation of the impact of landmines. In addition, viewers had the opportunity to get a glimpse into landmine removal initiatives by Cambodian's like Aki Ra, who was at one time a child soldier specializing in the same deadly devices.
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