By Ellie King
The Vaughan International Film Festival (VFF) held screenings of international short films at Cineplex Cinema in Vaughan from May 13 to May 16.
VFF’s International Block 2 featured a diverse and powerful group of films from thrillers, drama, to comedy and animation. With a lineup of 11 short films, VIBE105 highlights the top FIVE Films at VFF International Block 2 from a variety of genres from across the world!
Fauve, earning the top spot on the list of the Best Five Films at VFF International Block 2, including the attention from Sundance winning “Special Jury Prize” and a nomination at the Academy Awards for “Best Live Action Short Film”.
The Canadian drama, directed by Jérémy Comte from Quebec, follows two young boys (Felix Grenier and Alexandre Perreault) as they adventure and explore near an open mine pit. The film captured the youthful banter, innocence and power of friendship in its 16 minute run time. Things swiftly take a turn for the two boys who spent the afternoon playing games, as they play too close to a sink hole, leaving them in a dangerous place and a test to their friendship.
Fauve earned top billing across the world for the boys’ incredible acting, the cinematography shot on location in Thetford Mines, Quebec and its ability to provoke tears and laughter.
2. This One’s For You, Alice
© This One's for You, Alice | Dedico Essa Obra a Você, Alice | YouTube
This One’s For You, Alice had our heart tugs being pulled then brought to an utter halt! A short from Brazil, directed by Patrick Hanser, reveals the story of a writer, suffering from loneliness and heartbreak upon realizing his wife is cheating on him. As he reminisces on the times in their relationship filled with love, he begins to write a suicide letter on his typewriter to prepare a surprise for when his wife returns home.
This One’s For You, Alice started off in complete silence, with images of Alice and the husband Joaqim waking up alone in bed to set the tone of isolation and the beginning of heartbreak. As the film continues, Alice and Joaqim’s soft, tender yet powerful narrations, have the audience fall in love with their relationship, only to have that tested with a powerful and startling conclusion.
3. A Voice For Change: The Laura Hillier Story
A Voice For Change: The Laura Hillier Story was a huge hit at the VFF International Block 2 festival, with not only director Sarah Gonyea present to tell the audience the story of Laura, but also Laura’s mother and a surviving cancer patient.
This Canadian documentary told the story of Laura Hillier, a young, bright and vivacious young woman from Burlington, Ontario who relapsed from cancer at the age of 18. Even though Laura was able to find a stem cell match donor, she was instead told she would be doing another round of chemotherapy and not go through with the bone marrow transplant.
That transplant could have saved her life, yet instead reflected on the policies that need to be changed in Canada; not having enough capacity in their hospitals and a shortage on transplant practitioners. The heartbreaking documentary is also used to raise awareness and as a wakeup call to the Canadian government, who have known of this shortage and crisis for the past 10 years, to take action.
One Small Step, one of two animations at VFF International Block 2, is an American short directed by Bobby Pontillas & Andrew Chesworth. The short takes viewers on a journey of a young girl who dreams of being an astronaut and her life with her father. This beautifully animated Chinese-American short brought to life Luna’s dreams, her excitement upon receiving her first space boots made by her father with love, to attending university to become an astronaut.
As she grows older and her dreams become more difficult to achieve, her incredible bond with her father begins to be tested. This short will put a beaming smile on your face then lead you to tears, as it reminds us the value of family and chasing your dreams.
5. My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes
© My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes | YouTube
My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes, a documentary directed by Charlie Tyrell tells the story of Charlie trying to come to terms with his father’s passing and his attempt to understand why his father was the way he was, by going through his personal belongings and talking more to his family.
The Canadian short, a combination of stop-motion animation as well as VHS footage from the Tyrell family has been recognized by TIFF and the Canadian Screen Awards for its powerful, comedic yet heartwarming tale of a son who wasn’t very close to his father, but through his filmmaking has finally bridged that distance.
*Editor’s Note: VIBE105 is the official media partner of Vaughan International Film Festival 2019