Bruce Simpson

. SCENE AND Vol. 02 - Issue 02 - June 10, 2002

    An uninvited guest pays Stick Girl a visit in
    Bruce Simpson's Stick Girl's Guide To Safe Sex

    Sometimes, shorter is better

    Worldwide Short Film Festival returns
    with over 180 sundry shorts

    "I like the short film as a medium; I'm very impatient," Bruce Simpson told S&H after his short animated film, Stick Girl's Guide To Safe Sex, screened at the Canadian Film Centre's Worldwide Short Film Festival preview. "Part of it is the fun of creating something; saying, 'I did that'. But this is definitely a rush, seeing it before an audience, and seeing people enjoy it, applaud, and laugh."

    The fabric of the short film is, in so many ways, identical to that of Hollywood, but with a lot less time to tell a similar, multi-layered story. With 182 shorts from 39 countries on the docket, 132 making a premiere of some kind, this year's festival is another tribute to the art of making short films.

    "The sheer volume and excellent quality of the entries we received this year is an indication of the status the Worldwide Short Film Festival has achieved in recent years," said the Festival Director Shane Smith. "The works in this year's Festival are a testament to the vision, passion and originality of short filmmakers the world over."

    The shorts are divided into 26 programs covering a gamut of topics, showcasing a variety of filming styles, and featuring some incredible performances by unheard of actors - except for the Celebrity Shorts program, where you can see shorts directed by or starring celebrities. In particular, the Canadian Competition, which is divided into 5 programs, has 44 shorts from seven provinces, all vying for the Sun Life Financial $25,000 Award for Best Canadian Short.

    Of the shorts Julia Kwan's Three Sisters on Moon Lake (Canadian Programme 1) is a

    A Scene From Julia Kwan's Three Sisters on Moon Lake

    beautifully disturbing and well-developed film, told in a creepy Brothers Grim-style. Kwan tells the dark fairytale-like story of three young Chinese-Canadian sisters and their tragically overactive imaginations. Mystical, emotional, dark and disturbing, Three Sisters on Moon Lake is definitely a short to look for.

    The variety of shorts does not stop there: Buster Keaton Shorts, Spotlight on China, International Competition, Animator's Perspective: A Tribute to Faith Hubley, and a retrospective on Quebec-based film collective Spirafilm fill out the bill. And lets not forget the fan/fanatics favourites: the twisted Midnight Madness, the erotic and humorous Slap n' Tickle, and Star Wars Shorts, inspired by the Force, pulled from the 'Net and put on the big screen.

    What better for budding filmmakers than the Short Films Big Ideas Symposium, comprising of 14 seminars and workshops addressing both the practical and commercial realities of short filmmaking. The symposium tackles things like sound, legalities, unions, distribution, funding and promotion _ everything you ever wanted to know about the film industry, not just shorts. A slew of special quests will help those attending take their idea from conception to pitch; and check out the Festival Marketplace, where organizations will share information about a variety of film industry needs.

    But it is at the Opening and Closing Night Gala screenings (June 4 and June 9, respectively) where you will find the best of the best (the Worldwide Short Film Festival is accredited by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. Award-winning films in this festival will be eligible for consideration for the Academy Awards.) Opening Night highlights include Genie award-winning animated short The Boy Who Saw the Iceberg, and the Spanish food-flick Salad Days, which makes its Canadian Premiere; Closing night offers the chance to see the best shorts from the 2002 Festival, and the Audience Award for Favourite Short will be presented. -Antoine Tedesco