The Blood in the Snow Film Festival continued its tradition of showcasing Canadian short filmmakers last weekend, screening almost two-dozen works from coast to coast. Here were some that stood out to me.
Apart from some familiar works from Shock Stock earlier this year, like Carlos Henriques' Human Cattle and Chris Giroux's Scraps, as well as Greg Kovacs' Fun (which I programmed at Saskatoon earlier this month) I was seeing a lot of these for the first time.
Carl Tremblay's Quebecois short The Wolf was really good looking piece of work. Home invasion stories are decidedly becoming a little long in the tooth, but I did like how this one handled the material.
Michael Peterson's Consume was a stark and unwavering tale rooted in actual events in Canadian history. Combining the ugly reality of the residential school system with the legend of the Wendigo, this short paints an ugly portrait that won't soon be forgotten.
On the science fiction side of things, I really enjoyed Daelan Wood's Timebox. A delightful cross between Primer and the The Most Dangerous Game, this was one of those rare occasions where I hoped there might one day be a feature version of this made.
Kalen Artinian's Destruction Makes The World Burn Brighter was another strong showing. While I think some of the subtext went over my head, there's no question he has a commanding grasp of composition and visual storytelling. I was also glad to see he utilized those Mad Max-style landscapes that I see every time I drive out to Hamilton. Frankly, I don't know why those aren't in every horror movie.
It did not surprise me in the least that Best Short honours went to Gigi Saul Guerrero's Bestia. She's been tearing up the festival circuit for a while now and this latest piece is her most striking yet. Having moved from her previous dark and grimy interiors into the British Columbian wilderness, the scope has increased, but her signature grit and texture are still as present as ever. At this point, her jump to feature filmmaking has to be imminent.
So that's it for this year. I have to hand out mad props to Kelly Micheal Stewart and his crew for putting together a really solid year. It may honestly be the strongest yet, which becomes even more impressive when you consider that Toronto After Dark scooped almost double the amount of CanCon they usually do (five titles) earlier this year. I guess the resulting winning line-up is a testament to just how much great genre content The Great White North is pumping out now.
And with that, festival season is finally over. I can relax for a few weeks before I have to start screening shorts for Hexploitation Film Fest in March. But before then there's Little Terrors in January. And the Black Museum debate in a few weeks. And the Paperbacks From Hell show tonight.
It never ends, does it?