The most enjoyable entries in the fiction spectrum for me were those made by filmmakers who know how to direct actors. After five years of programming a short film festival by independent filmmakers and students, I find that the most awkward pieces of work us due to a neglect in the casting process. I know I spout this mantra quite often when giving tips on the T24 Project but it’s true. Directors need to cast actors for more than their look and actors need to know how to tone it down. A 1920x1080 frame is not a lot of space and one can easily become too showy in such a tight frame. Co-stars need to have chemistry and directors need to facilitate that by having scenes shot in a way where they are not constantly segregated from each other through the back and forth angle. One standout for me at Humber’s FMTV screening yesterday was “Something Like This” for they bypassed all the missteps I noted above. Unfortunately the programme doesn’t include the filmmakers’ names so I can’t tell you who directed it but if you’re the director and you’re reading this – kudos to you!
I’m going to be at York’s 4th Year Finish Line on Thursday but I did check out some shorts in the 2nd Year lineup and was impressed with a number of docs, particularly Colony Walk by Connor Johnstone and Interlude by Alannah Smith. Here we have simple stories that people can connect to due to some solid direction by the filmmakers, who were smart enough to employ more than just a talking head to do all the work for them.
One highlight at the U of T Film Festival is At The Kids’ Table, a foodie doc that acts as a follow up to the award-winning These Are The People In Your Neighbourhood. Working with the Madeleine Collective, Bazuin once again captures the heart and essence of a group of children as they explore a new community. Court by Madeleine Russo was also another fan favourite. Though these films were docs, the directors employed charismatic subjects, which is just as important as the talent of an actor for a fictional narrative.
Speaking of good child-like qualities in films, Sonia Beckwith-Cole’s The Lion at Home, shown at the Augmented Cinema Film Festival (a showcase for OCADU students and alumni) is hilarious. We mean, HI-LAR-I-OUS! Sometimes simple just works so well.