The Shorts Report shares Canadian filmmakers to watch

Posted by Kellie Ann Benz on Monday, November 29, 2010.

Is it December already? Garsh, where did the year go? If you’re anything like me this 2010th year has zipped past in a wink. I thank 2010 for introducing me to IP blockers, rail travel, spa gyms, HBO Canada, CBC radio Two, twitter and a certain handsome 6’4” delight.

As the year slips into history, I was perusing around the final festivals of Festada 2010 (Film Festivals + Canada = Festada). One festival in particular that is growing in prominence, released their list of 10 people to spotlight. While the festival seems quite progressive and inspiring, the only thing their list inspired was déjà view.

Interesting since 2010 was remarkable in heralding so many exciting new voices and delivering on the promise of filmmakers who progressed beyond their wonderful shorts and arrived with their first features.

So, while the ink on Festada 2010 is just about to dry, I wanted to make sure that these filmmakers get on your radar. You’ll be hearing a lot of about all of them in the years to come.

Erick Boychuk, Marshall Axani, Brianne Nord-Stewart, Jason Fischer, Alan Miller and Jerome Sable are the young bunch whose first one or two short films have showed an inspired vision.

While the availability of equipment has made every proud parent an epic filmmaker these days, this group have combined easy access with their unique voices, providing a how-to to every wannabe with a 7D. Their short films La Premiere Etoile, Light of the Family Burnham, Trolls, Vagina Vacation, The Legend of Beaver Dam and Conrad the Wise have been picking up awards at multiple festivals. I predict we’ll all be enjoying these filmmakers’ first features soon.

This next group of prolific filmmakers have made enough short films to fill a festival dedicated only to their work which, to be frank, would be wicked cool!

Ann Marie Fleming, Andrew Williamson, Kryshan Randel, Jeff Chiba Stearns, Nadine Valcin (NSI Drama Prize student), Andrea Dorfman, Randall Okita and Kevan Funk. This group has now proven that investment in their futures has paid off. They make shorts that transport the viewer into a world that only these voices could speak. Among them the films to seek out are Jack, A Fine Young Man, The Green Film, Yellow Sticky Notes, I Was The Child of Holocaust Survivors, In Between (NSI Drama Prize film), Flawed and Transmission.

Graduating into the class of promises proven, this year saw some of the most exciting new voices in Canadian cinema mature from shorts to features. The most notable has to be Denis Villeneuve who hasn’t gone a year since 2008 without winning a spectacular award. Up next should be an Oscar® nom for Incendies.

Two filmmakers who’ve made their names as award-winning short filmmakers Dylan Akio Smith and Kris Elgstrand have just wrapped their second feature with some of Vancouver’s most recognizable indie cast.

Finally, don’t say I didn’t warn you to keep an eye on Katrin Bowen and Sara McIntyre, both delivered features this year that proved the power of potential.

Bowen’s eye opening Amazon Falls broke the silence of the unspoken indignity of aging starlets and suggested some raw truths still to come. McIntyre’s charming Two Indians Talking introduced audiences to a gentle resilience that has only just begun to burst through barriers.

This little package of Canadian cinematic goodness is my gift to you with thanks for letting me spend the last year writing about short films. It’s been an unequalled joy. Happy Christmas film lovers!

Kellie Ann Benz is a columnist who writes about short film on the NSI website and also runs her own blog The Shorts Report