|TIFF 2011: Telefilm Highlights the Big Talent Behind Short Films|
|ARTICLES - Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)|
|Written by Adam Donaldson|
|Monday, 19 September 2011 11:39|
Written By Adam A. Donaldson
Telefilm’s Talent to Watch program at the Toronto International Film Festival wrapped up Wednesday with the third panel featuring six of the festival’s featured short film directors.
On stage for the lunch hour panel were Andrew Cividino (We Ate the Children Last), Sophie Goyette (La Ronde), Mark Slutsky (Sorry, Rabbi), Chelsea McMullan (Derailments), Dusty Mancinelli (Pathways), and Craig Goodwill (Patch Town). With six directors there wasn’t time for a lot of questions, but what was clear is that there’s boundless creativity and innovation in Canada’s short films and filmmakers.
As each of the filmmakers was introduced, a short clip or trailer of their film was played for the audience. “The trailer makes it look a lot more dramatic and scarier than it actually is,” said Slutsky about the clip shown for his short. “It’s actually a comedy, we call that the scary trailer.”
Goyette was asked about the length of her short, La Ronde, which clocks in at 23 minutes. She said that she likes when her films have “breathing room,” when there’s a “real dialogue between the public and the film.”
“La Ronde is my most ambitious project, but you really have to listen to the film. One of the biggest compliments I received was when someone said ‘I thought it was only 15 minutes.’ The film will tell you.”
McMullan calls her short a film about a film, Federico Fellini’s unfinished Il viaggio di Mastorna about a man traveling through the afterlife not realizing he’s dead. While in Italy studying she was assigned to interview Milo Manara, who helped Fellini create the film, and through guile and persistence was able to spend more time with the graphic artist and create her short documentary.
For Patch Town, Goodwill concocted a simple dark comedy musical that sought to answer the eternal questions: Where do Cabbage Patch Kids go when their kids are done playing with them?
It’s another long short, so to speak, 28 minutes in total. Goodwill said that it was a “wonderful coming together of talent,” one that was seven years in the making, three of those in serious development as Goodwill “hammered” out the script.
But the question came up, what is the attraction of making short films? Goyette said that the idea itself directs the length of a film. “I love it when a character is at a changing point in their lives,” she said. “There’s something special there that you’re trying to catch.’
Slutsky adds that he has an appreciation for small things and “making sure all the gears are in place.” McMullan agreed saying, “It really provides the filmmaker a chance to experiment.”
“It’s a challenge to find something that’s self-contained, and doesn’t feel like an intro to a feature,” said Mancinelli, whose short film is about a bullied boy who comes across a dead man with a gun and briefcase on his way home from school through the woods.
The filmmaking sextet also agreed that just because you’re making a short film, it doesn’t mean that the amount of work you put into the film is smaller than that of a feature. But what shorts can offer that is somewhat harder to accomplish on features, is spontaneity, the chance to rethink the film as you make it.
“Trust your instincts always,” advises Goyette, “you can make any film you want in the editing.”
Filmmakers like Cividino and Slutsky both advise an abundance of preparation, because you can never see in advance where something might go wrong, and a “small hole” today could be a big problem tomorrow. “I think you can never be too prepared,” adds Mancinelli. “It creates a confidence in me and makes you feel confident about the story you’re trying to tell. You can then make sacrifices on the day with confidence.”
Goodwill adds that the four things to keep in mind with filmmaking are preparation, collaboration, trust and fun. That’s filmmaking in a nutshell.