The Vancouver Film Festival has been known to show a lot of feature movies during its 16 day run. What they also show is a wide variety of short films, especially those made by Canadian directors. The shorts exhibited range from those with an established reputation to those just starting out. For airings of Canadian shorts, the VIFF had four segments titled off of the earths four natural elements; Air, Earth, Fire and Water. The first shorts segment I saw was the one titled Water. All the shorts in the segments had something to do with water either as a metaphor, part of a scene or as a central theme. Each had their own style and/or their own story to say or play out.
For this year’s VIFF, I wanted a good mix of films to see: Canadian, foreign, documentaries and shorts. This was the first segment of shorts I saw. I’m happy. At the beginning of the segment, I was expecting this to be showcasing works of ‘the filmmakers of the future’ as shorts are often known as. What I saw here, I was a bit surprised:
Wait For Rain – This is an amusing comedic short. People who work at a sales business waiting for rain for their plant in a world where fresh water is rare. James is always the last to get rain for his plant and thus the least suucessful. One woman is interested in him and his plant while he’s interested in another. Amusing quirky love story that plays out humorously form beginning to end.
Steam – This is a more serious short. A middle aged man struggling with something he’s always felt as a burden. Now he learns to accept himself. It seems odd to go from a cute and funny short like Wait For Rain to Steam but Steam is a good short in its own right where one is kept intrigued by the drama.
Snowbound – This is the most shocking short of the bunch. A 13 year-old girl learns she’s pregnant. She can’t tell her boyfriend. Her mother finds out accidentally. What does she do? In the end, she makes a decision that will leave all shocked.
Swim – It’s four minutes where you see a man swimming in an area of Lake Ontario. But what makes it is the narration form the filmmaker. He tells of a childhood memory that still haunts him. He would later repeat that same dare on his boyfriend years later. More of an introspect or a reflection than a drama played out.
Le Rocher – Another short that’s not a piece of drama played out. Instead it’s a showcase of places and spaces from both Canada and Europe. It’s meant to show the relation of both. Mostly a collection of landscape filling. If you like scenic films, you’ll like it. If you came to the shorts segment expecting all shorts to be dramas like I did, you’ll leave confused.
Blood/Sweat/Tears – At first the two people in the crashed car all alone on the street look dead. Then they become conscious and arguing. It all starts out with the two arguing by themselves, then amongst a crowd of onlookers and then the woman is taken away while the man is out shouting. Interesting story about troubled love. Also interesting is that’s it’s of a single-car crash with no other car, no street light, no nothing causing it. I think the crash was meant to be a metaphor of the relationship.
Bone Wind Fire – This is another intimate short. This is of the lives of three of the greatest North American painters: Emily Carr, Frieda Kahlo and Georgia O’Keefe. What it’s focus is on the nature of where they lived and how it played out and inspired the paintings they created. Awesome cinematography. You really get a feel for the nature.
And there you have it. The seven shorts that comprised Rain. I’m sure anyone that came to saw it might find at least one they liked. One thing is that it taught me a lot about short filmmaking. Not everyone who creates a short puts a story or a drama on film. There’s more creativity to it. Glad to see it shown in this segment. As for the fiilms, some shorts may catapult directors into something bigger in the future. Some may lead to other filmmaking jobs in the future. And some may continue to do shorts. Only time will tell how they do.