In this short animation, Theodore Ushev signs a violent, brutal and troubling political statement in his own blood and narrates it in his own gravelly voice. All over the world, idealist revolutionaries shed their blood to denounce injustices. Yet blood is also the very symbol of life. Sketches drawn using the filmmaker’s own blood explore this paradox. Why fight for ideals, noble though they may be, if you must die for them in the end? Are rebellion and insurrection egotistical deeds, or are they lessons in pure altruism? Poetic and philosophical, the film explores these complex and important questions.
Heralding the “end of paper,” this experimental animated short is an abstract exploration of a number of big issues, from the ephemerality of the digital age to the practice of recycling. To create this painting in motion, Theodore Ushev took an animation film festival catalogue and set its pages alight with the broad strokes of a paintbrush.
An elderly Japanese man boards a ferry bound for an unknown island. As he looks out over the water, the falling rain triggers a string of memories, including of a childhood experience in Fukuoka and a brief encounter many years later, aboard a smoke-filled seaside train. The only constant is the rain, a woman and Mount Fuji. When the man arrives on the island, it begins to pour, and a mysterious woman on a motorbike greets him…
Directed by Latvian filmmaker Vladimir Leschiov, Rainy Days looks at three key moments in its protagonist’s life, when events that should have happened never come to pass, yet change the course of his existence. The unique animation technique used to create the film, consisting of black tea and ink on paper and precise, delicate drawn lines, conjures a warm and tranquil atmosphere that mirrors the man’s graceful acceptance of his fate—and his awareness that all we have is what is.
This short animation takes a look at the redemptive power of food, wine, music and love through the eyes of our protagonist, Chuck. A husband and father, Chuck is jovially cooking dinner and listening to Chopin when his wife Sylvie spontaneously invites a group of boisterous colleagues over for dinner. The festivities begin to spiral out of control, and Chuck must find his way through a planned diner à deux that has turned into pandemonium. Filmmaker Bruce Alcock follows the fine tradition of beloved food films such as Babette’s Feast, using the preparation of a meal as a vehicle for exploring the grand themes of love and life through simple yet evocative line drawings.
Gloria Victoria unfolds on the still-smouldering rubble of a furious 20th century, propelled by the exalting “invasion” theme from Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony (No. 7). Resembling a military march with bolero overtones, the music sweeps over imagery of combat fronts and massacres, leading us from Dresden to Guernica, from the Spanish Civil War to star wars. It is at once a symphony that serves the war machine, that stirs the masses, and art that mourns the dead, voices its outrage and calls for peace.
Mamori transports us into a black-and-white universe of fluid shapes, dappled and striated with shadows and light, where the texture of the visuals and of the celluloid itself have been transformed through the filmmaker’s artistry. The raw material of images and sounds was captured in the Amazon rainforest by filmmaker Karl Lemieux and avant-garde composer Francisco López, a specialist in field recordings. Re-filming the photographs on 16 mm stock, then developing the film stock itself and digitally editing the whole, Lemieux transmutes the raw images and accompanying sounds into an intense sensory experience at the outer limits of representation and abstraction. Fragmented musical phrases filter through the soundtrack, evoking in our imagination the clamour of the tropical rainforest in this remote Amazonian location called Mamori.
This short animated documentary tells the story of 2 Chinese Canadian women making their theatrical debut playing “comfort women” in Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues. Jia Tsu Thompson and Mary Mohammed spend long hours rehearsing at Mu Lan Teahouse in Halifax, where they read their lines over and over, sip tea, and recount buried stories of war. As they diligently practise together and at home, they come to have their own personal catharses. Fusing activism and performance, the film honours the thousands of girls and women from Korea, China, Japan and the Philippines who were forced into sexual slavery—into providing “comfort” to soldiers in the Imperial Japanese military during the 1930s and ’40s.
In this short animation, Oscar®-winning director Chris Landreth (Ryan, 2004) uses a common social gaffe—forgetting somebody’s name—as the starting point for a mind-bending romp through the unconscious. Inspired by the classic TV game show Password, the film features a wealth of animated celebrity guests who try to prompt our beleaguered protagonist to remember his old pal's name. Finally, he realizes he must surrender to his predicament and jump head-first into his subconscious to find the answer.
This funny short animation was written and created by Tali (At Home with Mrs. Hen) and is inspired by the filmmaker’s misadventures as a school bus driver in the Eastern Townships. Our protagonist dreams of becoming a bus driver in order to cruise down quiet country lanes and connect with nature, her young charges and their parents. But her idyllic view of her new job is sorely tested after she meets her surly boss, named Killer, and discovers that winding roads can prove treacherous in winter, especially with a faulty clutch. Through her cheeky humour and oblique look at the reality of people living in the Quebec countryside, Tali delivers a film that is unique, witty and touching.
A modern adaptation of the myth of Hercules, BAM tells the story of a young boxer struggling to negotiate between his shy, bookish nature and a divinely violent temper. Where does this rage come from? Is it psychological or environmental - or is it something altogether more primordial?