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It’s an old adage that films need to be feature length to
earn any money. As a result, scads of earnest indie efforts struggle to inflate
an hour and a half with interminable filler, their ideas and funding stretched
well past the breaking point. So it’s always nice to appreciate the short-film
format, to salute and support undiluted visions of moviemakers brave enough to
work within their confines. To share in this abbreviated fun, Fango readers in
Toronto are urged to check out the Worldwide Short Film Festival that gets
underway this week.
There’s so much underappreciated awesomeness to the short
film; succinct slivers unfettered by Hollywood’s saturation marketing so they
can strike with a real bite of mystery. Shorts can have stronger impact,
leaving today’s ADD audiences with no time to distract themselves before the punchline
drops. We’re also mostly spared tedious scenes of exposition and explanation;
things that happen simply happen. In a scary vein, the Worldwide Fest is
offering two Midnight Madness programs screening at 11:59 p.m. this Friday,
June 3 and Saturday, June 4. Also highly recommended is the Hardgore program
screening Thursday, June 2 at 11:30 p.m. The Worldwide programmers from tHHtthe
Canadian Film Centre have collected some of the world’s finest and edgiest for
these showcases—here the the highlights that deserve to be sought out:
• Jerome Sable’s THE LEGEND OF BEAVER DAM (see story here):
The unlikely rise of the horror/comedy/musical continues with this lively and
bloody campfire singalong. Great makeup FX, hilariously operatic songs. Beware
• Can Evenrol’s TO MY MOTHER AND FATHER: A young boy
discovers a freaky EYES WIDE SHUT-esque mask tucked away in his house, and the
little scamp decides to slip it on and give his father and pregnant mother a
good scare upon their return home. Nine minutes of concentrated taboo-breaching
ensue. Amateur FX are surmounted by sheer testicular fearlessness. Extreme and
• Firas Momani’s THE ADDER’S BITE: No real narrative to be
had here, just a slimy black nightmare, a tone poem of darkness and movement.
Weird robed creatures sprout tubular tongues while others writhe and wriggle
away in a silent dungeon ceremony.
• Lola Parra’s PERRA: This Spanish entry features ugly
psychosexual interplay and an unbalanced relationship resulting in a gory EC Comics-style
conclusion. Animal lovers should avoid.
• Rory Low’s THE MIDGE: A simple tale of insects and camping
injected with Cronenbergian body-horror flourishes. Packs in all the thrills of
a Syfy creature feature, minus the slumming has-beens spouting scientific
• Dennison Ramalho’s NINJAS (pictured above; story here):
Accomplished, confident filmmaking used to deliver a pointed social statement, NINJAS
meets and surpasses the considerable hype it has accumulated thus far. This
film is a rough, cruel experience—part moral quandary, part ghost as
manifestation of guilt and part agony show. For all the power drained from the
concept of torture by cheap HOSTEL knockoffs and the ridiculous Rube Goldberg
contraptions in the SAW films, prepare to feel something real and excruciating
For more information including the fest’s various offerings,
check out its official website.
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