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.
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.
This short animation adapted from a short story by Heather O’Neill, who also narrates the film, follows three fallen angels seeking companionship in Montreal’s red-light district. The survivor of traumatic childhood experiences, Johnny is a handsome thief who finds himself drawn to Mia’s fragile beauty. Both have a soft spot for Johnny’s best friend and partner in crime, Pinky. But when one of Pinky’s endearing quirks sets off a tragicomic chain of events, Johnny plots his revenge with methodical detachment. Peopled with characters living on the margins of society, this film casts light on the frailty of human relationships. The film features hand-drawn pencil and pastel animation rendered in stereoscopic 3D.
This animated short presents a dilemma faced by a couple every time they go out to eat. Will their culinary differences douse the flames of romance, or will love prevail? Set to a rollicking doo-wop song by Canadian songwriter Alexander (Zander) Ary, the film brings Lynn Smith's gouache paintings to life as she animates directly under the camera. This short is a tasty comic narrative that skips along an array of tantalizing dishes. Vocalists Susie Arioli and Zander Ary each bring a unique interpretation to this funny, charming song.
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.
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?
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.
Who is Monsieur Pug? Why, a dog with bad cholesterol and high blood pressure! And a dog who loves his pie and ice cream. Who relaxes by making origami. In other words, definitely not your ordinary pooch! For he’s also a paranoiac, convinced he’s the target in a vast conspiracy, and pretending to be a pet, the better to hide from his pursuers. Schizoid, perhaps? Hmm… but is Monsieur Pug even a real dog to begin with?
A delirious fable about a particular brand of modern madness—that brought on by the omnipresence of smartphones in our lives—Monsieur Pug is directed with verve by Janet Perlman, whose The Tender Tale of Cinderella Penguin was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Animated Short in 1982.
Monsieur Pug is one strange film about the life of one strange dog!
This short animation begins with a newspaper, discarded on a public bench, whose headlines warn of unusual phenomena. A gust of wind animates the paper's pages, conjuring strange and fantastical creatures: a bridge that becomes a caterpillar, a steeple turning into a bird, a dome transformed into an octopus. Elemental forces have been unleashed. Skilfully wielding paper cut-outs, origami, and a healthy dose of humour, filmmaker Emmanuelle Loslier plunges us into a fantastical world in which Montreal’s urban landscape has never been so alive.
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 feature film documents the rape and eventual suicide of Suzanne, a nurse whose physical and emotional health deteriorates beyond repair as a result of the violence inflicted on her. Images of ritual and mass rape reinforce the horror of this act of domination. In this docudrama drawn from case histories, the filmmaker explores social attitudes that cause women to feel guilty for being raped. It touches upon the physical, emotional, spiritual and legal aspects of this crime.