With a unique topic and eager filmmakers ready to take a stab at it, the Toronto Youth Shorts’ T24 is always an interesting and fun night for an audience. I don’t know how it is from a stressed, overwhelmed, joyous filmmaking team’s perspective but from the interviews and the thrilled reactions James and I saw that night, it probably is a surreal process along with a rewarding feeling at the end of the day.
The short films were to expose and/or deconstruct myths and ideologies that one would find in an urban city. Some filmmakers prevailed with shorts that handled the subject matter well, the others were still trying to comprehend the expectations.
As for the event itself at the Innis Town Hall, it was run well with few mishaps. What I really appreciated though was how Henry Wong and company found solutions and how fast their brains were working. When Alex Kingsmill’s Face the Strain started freezing up, an alternative copy was put to use and the staff were very apologetic. It sure didn’t stop Kingsmill’s short from winning the Visual Thesis Award proving his two-actor piece to be an unstoppable force.
Wong was charismatic as always and doing a fantastic job setting up the night and addressing how the events would run.
The Q&A was more of a C&A; confused and awkward. In the past, I’ve enjoyed when Wong would take the reigns and ask the filmmakers questions while also getting the audience involved. I’m glad to see him giving other people a shot at running the Q&A but next time, the host up to bat should appear like she knows what’s going on. Questions were muttered and the host would occasionally daze off in the middle of answers which acted as a distraction. Again, I don’t mind other people giving the hosting gig a whirl but, like with the filmmakers who were confused with the project’s theme, there needs to be a bit more of an understanding afoot.
However, the jury discussion picked up the fumble. Peter Kuplowski, a Toronto After Dark programmer, had lots of interesting things to say even though some answers may have been a tad longwinded. Nevertheless, he made us think about each film he was talking about; sometimes making us question our own thoughts. It’s exactly what an audience should take out of a panel discussion.
Richard Fung (program director at Regent Park Film Fest) and Janice Lee (recipient of the Deluxe Award from the Toronto Film Critics Association) made up the rest of the panel but, unfortunately, kept their participation to a minimum. It’s too bad because when Lee would speak up, she had a lot of interesting things to say. And Fung had a good sense of humour which would’ve spiced things up for sure.
I’m chock-full of vlogs this Wednesday! The first YouTube video is pure coverage of the night including answers from the Q&A and the winning teams accepting their much deserved awards.
This second YouTube video consists of three interviews. I talked to Andrew Lee (director of Trinity (Spadina)), Andrew Milani and Justin Polce (director and the lead actor/writer of Jan. 31), and lastly award winning director Alex Kingsmill of the aforementioned Face the Strain.
This third video is my vlog reviewing all the entries that were screened.
Thank you to Wong and the rest of the team behind the T24, thanks to the filmmakers for letting me interview you, and thank you all for reading and watching. I’ll see you next Sunday.
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