There were some personal highlights of the evening that ended up winning a few awards. Hunger’s Core is an experimental animated piece with powerful hand-drawn images resembling old water colour portraits that’s sharp and really resonates with the theme of the piece. Phoebe’s Declassified Guide to Unwanted Pickups is a how-to video in the style of a vlog with a YouTube aesthetic that’s light and a perfect way to engage their core audience on a serious topic. Straw is another fun piece that manages to bring inanimate objects, this case being cups and straws, to life. It’s also rare to see an animated piece at the high school level with story rather than just a backdrop for a concept or social message.
Award winners of the night include
-Best Picture: Hunger’s Core
- Best Director: Rebecca Gao for Phoebe’s Declassified Guide to Unwanted Pickups
-Best Performance: Sara Waisglass
-Best Animation: Straw
The festival’s programming was opened up for international selections this year. The lineup offered a variety of formats as well, including music videos and PSAs. This mishmash may be the result of an event that is student content-focused in nature, where most content stemmed from some kind of class assignment, but I wonder if this is truly the case anymore. I’ve often heard opinions that certain types of content do not belong in a film festival yet it’s interesting to see more and more festivals, including TIFF, reject this notion. We at Toronto Youth Shorts have certainly done so in the past. Television programs, webseries, and even short form social content are becoming more and more cinematic every day and having a festival include a television pilot, a webisode, or in Zoom’s case, a few PSAs is an interesting parallel to the ever-expanding way audiences are consuming content.