Adults looking to go to the CN Tower for the festival without kids can choose the Date Night program (Saturday, June 4 at 7:00 p.m.) and watch a selection of romantic shorts while enjoying dessert high atop the city. Starting off the program is the animated short Bob about a hamster on a worldwide adventure to catch up to someone who has caught his eye. Power of Love (Celine Dion Fans in Kenya) comes to the festival by way of HotDocs, where it was very well received, about how sometimes you can’t tell what can be popular in some parts of the world. Blind Date is a well acted tale about a woman killing time in a pub before having to begrudgingly go on a blind date by chatting up a man who might be more interesting than her intended suitor. Super. Full. is a story about a deaf couple in Qatar trying to make ends meet but wants to splurge by going out for an expensive meal to a fancy restaurant that will resonate with anyone who has ever dated someone while poor. Danny & Annieis the fest’s best animated tearjerker about a couple reliving their marriage during the husband’s final days. Man’s Best Friend is a true crowd pleaser about a quiet transit security guard who finds the strength to approach the girl of his dreams through his relationship with a lazy guard dog whom he has been told he has to “fire” at the end of the day.
There are two programs at the festival this year designed for those who are only looking to tickle their funny bones, the more high profile of the two being the International Comedy program Laughter Without Borders (Saturday, June 4 at 9:30 p.m. at the ROM), focusing on some of the best comedic shorts from around the world. Kids in the Hall member Scott Thompson appears in two shorts in this program from the writer-director team of Robi and Josh Levy, 4 Pounds and 54, where Thompson plays himself going through two very different nightmarish situations that he is quite obviously and amusingly blowing out of proportion. When the Wind Changes is a sweet and uproariously funny tale of three friends trying to save their dying charter boat business when one day the two more annoying friends find that they now share the same brain and can no longer work independently of one another. Two’s a Crowd is a documentary looking at two neurotic New Yorkers who after years of marriage are just finally deciding to move in together despite the threat to their own autonomous natures. The Dark Side is an obvious, but amusing joke, courtesy of Saturday Night Live cast member Seth Meyers where he recuts the trailer for Sandra Bullock’s The Blind Side to make her character appear mentally unstable. The real winner of the bunch, and one of the best of the festival is Sundance favourite Brick Novax’s Diary Parts 1 &2, which plays like a cross betweenAnchorman and Robert Evans’ most delusional of fantasies, but with an all action figure cast focusing on someone who could very well be the greatest man who ever lived but is now dying in a seedy motel room. This one is pure hilarity.
The second comedic program is a special event being held at The Tranzac titled For Shorts and Giggles (Thursday, June 2 at 9:00 p.m.) and will focus on smaller independent shorts designed for the YouTube generation and will feature live performances from stand-up comedians Brian Barlow, Sara Hennessey, Chris Locke, Kathleen Phillips, and Tim Gilbert. Derek Horn gives the audience a very necessary action tutorial in Hello, What?. Kathleen Phillips contributes two vastly different, but equally amusing shorts in addition to her stand-up. Airport Family is simply a still photograph of a family eating dinner in a circa 1978 style airport restaurant with snarky, yet insightful running commentary. What the Fud? focuses on a woman who finds herself talking to a plastic swan that she finds in the garbage who needs a favour. Mark Little contributes two hilarious pokes at advertising in Awesome Truck Commercial (a perfect piss take on all those Denis Leary narrated Ford commercials) and Ads for Men. The program is bookended by two pieces from Katie Crown. In the first, No Parents, she sings a song about they joys of living on your own. In the second, WWW.MS.THANG.COM, she showcases a shut in forced to do a video log about her life in the city despite hardly ever leaving the house. This second short manages not one, but two references to a VHS copy of the film Judgment Night. It deserves 5-stars based on that alone. I think I have seen enough here. What? There are more films to review? Meh, I’ll do it on Monday. I really want to watch Judgment Night right now.
Join us again on Monday for a look at the Celebrity Shorts programs, some bromances, some silver linings, some flicks designed to make your skin crawl, and more.
For tickets and more information, visit shorterisbetter.com.
Top image: A still from Jillion Dillion. Courtesy the Worldwide Short Film Festival.