The festival’s lineup contained many pieces from our home territory of Canada, as well as many others from the international landscape. All the films in this festival were fantastic and we really wish that we could incorporate them all into our own festival. In the end our favourite was Tanabata by Annie Amaya, a film and animation student at Concordia University. This film also won the Award for Best Animation at the festival. Tanabata was a short and sweet film that retold the story of the classic Japanese myth through stop animation and digital animation. Tanabata, also known as the Star Festival, celebrates the meeting of the deities Orihime, the Vega star, and Hikoboshi, the Altair star. In summary: Orihime, the daughter of Tentei, wove beautiful clothes by the bank of the Amanogawa (otherwise known as the heavenly river) and since her father loved the cloth she wove, she worked extremely hard each day weaving the cloth. However, she became sad; because of her hard work, she would never meet and fall in love with anyone. Tentei was concerned or his daughter and arranged for her to Hikoboshi, a cow herder that lived on the other side of the Amanogawa. It was love at first sight and the happy couple married shortly thereafter. But problems quickly arose; Orihime became distracted and no longer wove cloths for Tentei, whereas Hikoboshi allowed his cows to stray all over Heaven. This angered Tentei and separated the couple, forbidding them from ever seeing each other again. Both became depressed because of the separation. With tears in her eyes, Orihime begged her father to let them meet again. Tentei was moved by his daughter’s tears and gave the two permission to meet again on two conditions: they only meet on the 7th day of the 7th month and she had to finish her weaving. Sadly though, they couldn’t cross the Amanogawa the first time they tried to meet because there was no bridge. Orihime shed so many tears that a flock of magpies offered to make a bridge with their wings so they could cross the river. This film shared the heartbreaking moment in which the two were separated due to stormy skies and rain.
Some of the other films screened definitely deserve another round of applause! The Deceased, directed by Nastasia Pappas-Kemps, told the comedic story of a suicidal 9-year-old. The young girl reminisced about how much she enjoyed living, but could not wait to leave because she had been here for so long. Birthday Boy, a black and white film that gave off a Tim Burton-like vibe, also stood out. The short had an extremely interesting story line and great cinematography. Other standout films include Two Idiots In a Boat, Such Morning Songs, and Beneath The Cotton Cloud.
And, we’re so excited for our friends at the Toronto Student Film Festival, who are completely re-branding for their second decade of existence! Starting next year, the organization will take on a new name “Take 21”, as well as begin workshops and educational programs with schools across the country. So drop by next year and take a look! The films were sweet, sad, comedic, inspiring, and most importantly filled with raw talent. And besides, who can resist free popcorn?