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Landmark short films that represent the need for individuals and communities to tell their own stories in all their complexities.
Legendary director Alanis Obomsawin’s debut short film, first released in 1971, offers a poignant look at children at a residential school as they reflect on the meaning of the holiday, their love for their families and homes and the impact of being separated from them. Relying on the childrens’ voices and their drawings, and an understated, artful soundscape, Obomsawin creates a film that is both beautifully crafted and profoundly moving.
You Take Care Now, an early student film, is a perfect exemplar of Ann Marie Fleming’s idiosyncratic vision and stands as one of her signature works. Made on 16mm, and incorporating found footage, original material, animation, and processed images (Vancouver’s groundbreaking avant-garde cinema of the 1970s is a decided influence here), Fleming’s film offers a visually dazzling, emotionally wrenching, oddly humorous account of two profound personal traumas.
JIM SINCLAIR — The Cinematheque, Vancouver (TIFF’s Canada on Screen programme, 2017)
Content advisories: sexual violence, references to accident trauma, coarse language
The intense, stylish, and influential debut short from celebrated Toronto filmmaker Clement Virgo focuses on two feuding brothers and their roommate — a drug addict, a health nut, and a caustic, aspiring stand-up comic, respectively — sharing a cramped apartment. Along with John Greyson’s The Making of Monsters, Virgo’s landmark film helped establish the program at the Canadian Film Centre as a creative hotbed that fostered audacious work and refuted the staid, largely homogenous popular image of Canadian cinema. The first collaboration of one of Canadian cinema’s most dynamic partnerships — Virgo and producer Damon D’Oliveira — Save My Lost N***a Soul won the Best Canadian Short prize at TIFF, Best Short Film at the Chicago International Film Festival, and was nominated for a Genie.
This film is made available courtesy of the CFC.
Best Canadian Short Film, 1993 Toronto International Film Festival
Best Short Film, Chicago International Film Festival
Content advisory: drug use, coarse language, mature themes
An immersive visual poem, Black Bodies steeps the viewer in powerful expressions of grief, trauma, and resistance. Based on Toronto filmmaker Kelly Fyffe-Marshall’s experience of being aggressively racially profiled, the short film’s abstracted setting foregrounds the performers’ collective lament against the ongoing and lethal dehumanization of Black peoples in North America.
Official Selection, 2020 Toronto International Film Festival, Shawn Mendes Foundation Changemaker Award
Content advisory: references to racialized violence, gun violence, and police violence
A carwash has become a surrogate family for the diverse crew who work there. On the day that one of the workers returns from serving time, they learn that the owners are closing the doors — and what was a reunion becomes a fragmented search for answers that threatens group solidarity.
Official Selection, TIFF Canada’s Top Ten 2019