CFC Showcases 2015 Short Dramatic Films

By Cory Angeletti-Szasz ● June 10, 2015 15:30

2015 Short Dramatic Film Showcase
TIFF Bell Lightbox
Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Last night, CFC celebrated the 2015 Short Dramatic Film (SDF) showcase, the 27th annual SDF showcase, where we screened the four short films created through the 2015 Short Dramatic Film Program. The SDF program, which has created 160 films to date, is a 360-degree advanced concept-to-market initiative for filmmakers that launches exciting, original voices and concepts into the international marketplace.

Throughout the past five months, four talented and ambitious filmmaking teams created films that span a wide variety of topics and genres, that we are proud to call the 2015 CFC short dramatic films: BENJAMIN, DRIFT, CHAMELEON and STRAY DOG. These films were screened for the first time in front of an audience of filmmakers, family, friends, media and industry. Our annual showcase event acts as a launching pad for filmmakers involved in the shorts, both behind and in front of the camera.

Before the film screening began, CFC’s Chief Programs Officer, Kathryn Emslie shared an exciting announcement with the audience; Fandor and CFC have joined forces to celebrate and champion short film by making a catalogue of CFC short films available to Fandor subscribers beginning July 1, 2015. To read the full announcement, please click here.

Our celebration of short film continued as the film screenings began. The films were introduced by Erica Proudlock, CFC’s Manager of Film and Actor Programs, who brought the filmmakers on stage to congratulate them on the successful launch of their short films. Numerous CFC alumni from several of our programs were involved in the films as directors, producers, editors, writers, and actors, and original scores from Slaight Music residents and alumni were featured in all four shorts.

The SDF screening opened with DRIFT, directed by Fernando Arrioja, produced by Jessica Adams, written by Anar Ali and edited by Jane MacRae. DRIFT tells the story of Farah as she struggles with leaving her husband, who she suspects is having an affair, in an attempt to free herself from repeating her mother's life. Farah’s husband denies her accusations of an affair, while her father encourages her to be more rational instead of acting like her “crazy” mother. Farah, too, begins to doubt herself, the seeds of which are rooted in her childhood and ideas of how she should behave as a woman.

Following DRIFT, audience members watched the story of Giorgio Puccini (Pooch) unfold in STRAY DOG, from director/writer Michael Mazzuca, producer Brendan Brady, writer Stu Marks and editor Simone Smith. In STRAY DOG, Pooch, an Italian-Canadian family man, is left angry and down-on-his-luck after getting robbed at a mafia-run card game on Christmas Eve. On his drive home, he sees a young man who he believes is the robber and deliberately hits him with his car. When it becomes clear that he hit the wrong guy, Puccini is left to take care of the injured and increasingly volatile stranger before he can get home to his family for Christmas Eve.

The filmmaking team behind the third film of the night, CHAMELEON, is director Reza Dahya, producer Josh Ary, writer Chris Cromie and editor John Nicholls. CHAMELEON is centered around Aiden, an undocumented migrant from Ireland living in Toronto. Labouring under the table, Aiden does his best to make a living and pass as a Canadian while trying to land an office job. When his girlfriend, Poorti, falls ill, he is forced to choose between risking his deportation and bringing her to the ER to get the medical attention she desperately needs.

BENJAMIN, from director Sherren Lee and producers Courtenay Bainbridge, Marc Tetreault and William Woods, written by Kathleen Hepburn and edited by Simone Smith, closed the SDF screening. BENJAMIN follows the story of two gay couples and their experience with a dual surrogate pregnancy. After baby Maya dies in utero, grieving mothers Sophie and Della realize they may not be able to conceive again. As a result, they tell friends Cal and Ted that they want to keep the remaining child for themselves, fracturing the idealistic arrangement the four friends once had and forcing the men to make an impossible decision.

We look forward to sharing the 2015 short films with the world – keep your eyes peeled for these films as they make appearances on the festival circuit.

But, our evening didn’t end there! At last night’s showcase event, we also celebrated the 2015 Payback Awards, introduced by the CFC 20 years ago in order to recognize and show appreciation for some of the outstanding individuals who donate their time, energy, resources and expertise to CFC. Julianna Cummins, News Editor at Playback – who has sponsored the Payback Awards for the past 16 years – presented four volunteers with 2015 Payback Awards on stage. These volunteers, Sophie Lennox King, Mark Sirju, Ian Macmillan and Stephen Curran, helped bring the 2015 shorts to life.

Kathryn Emslie shared her gratitude for these volunteers, “We are truly thankful that our community continues to support CFC by making significant personal and corporate commitments to our programs and productions – we simply could not deliver all of our shorts, teasers, showcase pieces and so much more without their support.” Emslie added, “Playback has supported the Payback awards for the last 16 years, and we are so proud and honoured that they share CFC’s belief that this kind of volunteerism, hard work and dedication deserves to be acknowledged and celebrated.”

Sophie started volunteering with us in 2014 working on 10 productions as a Wardrobe Assistant before she moved into a leadership position as a Costume Designer on not just one, but on seven CFC productions. Thank you, Sophie!

Since starting with the CFC in 2012, Mark has not been afraid to get his hands dirty on set and has logged over 100 hours on CFC productions. More recently he realized that his passion lay in the logistical aspects of production, which led him to production managing two of our short dramatic films this year. Thanks PM extraordinaire, Mark Sirju!

The next Payback recipient has logged over 80 hours with us behind the camera. Whether shooting our intro videos or Short Films, Ian puts the same amount of effort and care into getting what the director wants. Thank you DOP (Director of Photography) Ian for your leadership and generosity.

The final Payback award recipient, Stephen, animated our 2013 CFC holiday card. In 2014, he did VFX (visual effects) on three TV teasers, and ended up jumping in to rescue a fourth one. This year, Stephen paired up with Reza Dahya on the short film CHAMELEON, delivering over two dozen VFX shots. Thank you Stephen – our “go-to guy for VFX”! 

The 2015 CFC Short Dramatic Film Program was made possible through the generous support of many wonderful donors and thousands of dedicated volunteers. Thank you to everyone who played a part in this year’s short films – thank you for believing in our industry and what we do at CFC. We are deeply grateful for your time, energy, commitment, hard work and generosity.

Cory Angeletti-Szasz

Manager, Communications