All three screening nights took place at Oakville’s Film.ca Cinemas and the filmmakers’ excitement about seeing their work on the big screen was palpable. Backed by an audience full of friends, family, and faculty, the first-year students in the new Film and Television program (which has now replaced the Media Arts program) were first to show off their work. Their night mostly showcased two-minute scenes shot around campus. Many filmmakers tackled relationship issues that commonly face college students, including scenes about one-night stands, crushes, and quarrelling couples.
The second night of screenings offered short films from the second-year Media Arts students. The packed program included a variety of styles, including music videos, experimental films, and mock PSAs. Many of the night’s narrative films took a grim or satirical approach, including No News, directed by Luke Dante. His film was a darkly funny tale with a sprinkling of magical realism that turned out to be one of my favourites of the night. Meanwhile, the more broadly comedic Lost Sleep, a humorous take on a simple misunderstanding between roommates, testified to the fact that – when executed well – a simple premise can be powerful.
Last week’s third-year screening was similarly diverse, giving the students a chance to show off their capstone projects for the program. The longer run-times of the films highlighted the unique viewpoint all of the filmmakers developed during their studies. This was evident in films like Spoiler, directed by Sarah R. Thomson and Austin Birch, a madcap and inventive cautionary tale about our reliance on technology.
The Toronto Youth Shorts team has been busy checking out screenings around the GTA, and I was excited to get a taste of what local student filmmakers have been up to this year. The Sheridan filmmakers certainly didn’t disappoint.