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YoungCuts Film Festival: Stellar debuts

Stellar debuts

Smile: How could we not?

YoungCuts Fest is back with a new slew of up-and-comers

Both emerging films and short-format films are sorta doomed when it comes to exposure in this close-minded cinematic industry. Thank heavens for the YoungCuts Film Festival, then, which serves a glorious role as North America’s only fest dedicated exclusively to advancing the careers of young filmmakers who make shorts. This year’s edition descends upon Concordia’s Hall Theatre and De Sève Cinema from tonight through this weekend.

Every year the fest organizers select 50 short films out of thousands of international submissions and organize this festival as their platform. Those 50 shorts are shown to a wider audience than they could ever dream of getting independently, and get viewed by industry professionals too, who can actually help their creators build careers. The goods are subdivided into a 12-category competition (Best Film, Best Actress, Best Music etc.), the winners of which receive a variety of prizes, including cash, Avid software and industry internships.

Among the 50 selected films this year, Smile is definitely a 120-watt neon highlight. Californian director Chris Mais has created one of the more endearing characters in contemporary animation out of a yellow stick figure with a smiley face for a head. The story, in which animated characters exist in a live-action world, follows the little yellow dude on an adventurous quest for love with a smiley-faced balloon that pits him against a Jack Russell and an evil pirate stick figure. It’s riveting.

May I Come In? by Nathan Zimmerman would be rip-roaringly hilarious if it weren’t for its morbid theme of one man’s attempt to bypass death. The Grim Reaper’s transmogrification here from the typical hooded being to a slimy-looking businessman (terrifying nevertheless, considering he’s wielding a bloody knife!) is only one of the quirky pleasantries in this kooky doomsday tale.

Closer to home, Gabrielle Nadeau’s Québec, Québec packs just as much surrealism into its 16 minutes: The story is about Jonathan, who wakes up one morning in his rural home just outside Quebec City unable to speak French. He tries, but he can’t even say his name with a French accent! His incomprehensible transformation gets him told off by his parents and beaten up by his friends. Though a little strained in terms of some of the acting, the film’s setting on the night of the 1995 referendum gives it punch to add to the charm.

Spy these filmic visions from the ground up starting tonight, at the opening ceremonies, which include presentations and a Q&A period with directors for the $15 ticket price. Surf to www.youngcuts.com" target="_blank">www.youngcuts.com or call 514-287-1062 for tix and programming info.

YoungCuts Film Festival

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  • by Zachary Masoud - August 20, 2006, 2:41 pm

    If you are the a creator who creates short-format films or emerging films, you know that the way the industry is today, it will be very hard for you to get recognized and really get your career kicked off in the movie industry. This is why there are festivals like the YoungCuts Film Festival which give a chance to the emerging filmmakers to get recognition for what they do best. It is an annual festival and this year it is being helf at the Concordia Hall. Expect a wide array of short films, fifty in fact that we picked out of thousands, and expect a lot of diversity. The people who made these films may just be the next big directors and this is the chance that they need as directors and producers assist this event looking for young talent. Comedy, horror, documentary; it will all be present at this festival which I believe all should support if they have the chance.

  • by Pedro Eggers - August 22, 2006, 6:18 pm

    While Losique’s filmfest is still warming up for its grand opening ceremony (yawn…) it’s nice to see other fests come out and just be about the product. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a little burned out from this summer but a fest about filmmakers on their way up with films just short enough that it doesn’t require a hardcore commitment from you is just darn ideal! It’s strange to say but film shorts are invariably better than their feature lenght counterparts by virtue that it is a distilled product. No fluff, just the story. Alas, I couldn’t go but from a friend of mine that could apparently it was a great selection of shorts to be had.

  • by Vanessa Hasid - August 23, 2006, 4:58 pm

    They say fame doesn’t come knocking at your door, but the YoungCuts film festival helps just that happen. It’s so hard for film students to get their films seen, because besides class presentations, there really aren’t very many other opportunities for them to show off their work publicly. Not only are their films shown, but the fact that industry professionals actually attend the viewings, is pretty major. It can take years if ever, for film students to make it in the industry, so this festival and the possibilities that might arise from it is absolutely incredible. It’s extremely difficult to get discovered, so this chance for the students to have their work viewed and critiqued by people who actually know what they’re talking about, is a huge break for them. And even if they don’t win in the categories presented, exposure is the best thing they could ask for, and besides that, the cash and software they’re eligible for winning is ideal to help them further their work, not to mention that those hard to get internships are what every film student dreams of.
    It’s understandable why short films are not shown in movie theatres. I mean how many people would drag their butts to a theatre for 15-20 minutes? But boy are they ever fun to watch. Because they’re so short, it’s fun seeing just how much of a story they can pack into just a few minutes. And for that reason, they’re hardly ever boring because they happen so fast and are full of personality. ‘Smile’ sounds wonderfully cute, animation is a very long and tedious process, but the outcome is brilliant. ‘Québec, Québec’ sounds so original and fun, and a great local piece. Would you ever hear of these themes and ideas present in everyday film? I highly doubt it. But because these young filmmakers are concerned with making creative pieces for their own satisfaction and not to make a few bucks, they do what they feel and dare to cross the line. You’d be surprised at what you may find, so come out and show your support.

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