It was a really strong year for shorts at this year's Toronto After Dark. I am still recouperating from eight days of concentrated movie-going, but managed to cull together a list of the ones that most impressed me. And fortunately for you, several of them are currently online!
1. My Main Squeeze/Lip Lock – The pair of shorts served up by local filmmaker Chris Nash were among the best this year. I may be biased having just worked with him, but there's no denying the hugely positive reaction from all in attendance. And if Nash wasn't busy enough, he also provided six bumpers for this year's fest, as well. His talent is only matched by his resourcefulness, so if he ever decides to make the leap to feature films; look out!
2. Dirty Silverware – The idea for this short is absolulely brilliant, as it manages to build a wonderful mythology in such a short amount of time. The cinematography, music and the final creature design are all superb. Here is the trailer below. Coincidentally, director Steve Daniels is also ABC's of Death alumni, having made T is for Termite.
3. Brutal Relax – This one is a fiesta of gore. It has been a while since I've seen something that approaches the splatter standard set by Peter Jackson's Braindead. If you enjoy seeing people - and monsters alike - ripped to pieces in every manner possible, then this Spanish offering from directors Adrián Cardona & Rafa Dengrá is for you!
4. Blind Spot – I love this short. To take something as mundane as being on hold, and use it as a backdrop for something epic is so deliciously clever. The pacing is great, and the visual effects are subtly executed to perfection.
5. Once It Started It Could Not End Otherwise – TAD alumni Kelly Sears returns with another still photography conspiracy this year. I adore this woman's eerie style. She is able to manufacture dread so effortlessly. Click here to watch it, and you can also view her 2007 short, The Drift by clicking here.
Some honourable mentions:
I had seen the excellent short The Legend of Beaver Dam a few times before, and it went over like gangbusters here, like it always does. It was also cool to see Adder's Bite again, though I still don't understand what the bookends are supposed to mean. Don't use public washrooms perhaps?
Play Dead - During the Zombie Day festivities, there was this cute short. It was basically a zombie apocalypse from the perspective of several dogs. I found it miraculous how they were able to get all those canines to do some of the stuff they did.
Rosa – This was a beautifully rendered computer animated short. If they made a video game out of this universe, I would be first in line to play it. Check out the trailer here.
Anamnesis – There are three things that make this short standout. The first is that director Brendon Foster-Algoo made it for a 48-hour film challenge. The second is that he not only went for scares instead of humour, but also that he succeeded in doing so. The third was the wonderful in-camera effects that I'm not even sure how he did.
Ethereal Chyrsalis – It would make sense that the short playing in front of Manborg would be over-the-top and bizarre. Where else would you see a severed head zooming skyward toward a giant turtle creature? Click here for the trailer.
So, there you go. As you can see, a pretty strong lineup, wouldn't you say? Check back later in the week for the TAD awards.