Friday, 3 June 2011

Shorts for Shorties at the CN Tower!

For the first time, Worldwide Short Film Festival is screening films way above Toronto! Shorts for Shorties 1 & 2 will be way above the city on Saturday!

Whether you choose Tell Us a Story or All Creatures and Small (or both) for your shorties or for yourself, you will have the opportunity to see the Oscar-nominated animation, The Gruffalo. Based on the children’s book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, this short is incredibly beautiful to watch and extremely fascinating to experience. Telling the story of a mouse’s adventure in the woods, is Helena Bonham Carter, a mother squirrel has reasons of her own for spinning this epic fantasy for her children. The film also features the voice talents of Robbie Coltrane and Tom Wilkinson.

Shorts for Shorties: Tell Us a Story
CN Tower
Saturday, June 4, 10:30 am
60 Minutes
Besides Academy Award nominated, The Gruffalo, highlights of this programme include the wonderful tale of Marvin. Although he was born with a hole in the middle of his forehead, Marvin, was never made fun of and was accepted by his peers. One fateful day, sick and dragging his snotty-nosed self home from school, Marvin’s common sense pops out of the hole in his head. Confounded, Marvin goes in search of his missing common sense, a journey that takes him to places he has never been, and encounters with people he has never met. Narrated in delightfully funny couplets by Steve Coogan, Marvin the film is as delightful as Marvin the character.

“Love who you are” is the lesson of Jillian Dillon, a girl who, unlike Marvin, gets teased because she is different: part hippo, part platypus. The storyline as well as the animated paper puppets in this charming, pop-up-like storybook world captivated me. Simple though they appear, the production team must have put in hundreds of hours to create the images in this 4-minute piece of magic. Magic and machinations are also in play in Lokomoschine, the German animation in which two inventors (one as thin as the other is round) construct a machine that will bring storybook characters to life. When a glitch in the machine causes some unexpected happenings, rather than bring everything to a screeching halt, the two inventors find their love of books is elevated to an equally satisfying plane. Speaking of plane…the dream fairy in Dreamgiver finds himself in a bit of a pickle during his nightly delivery of pleasant dreams when a stray bit of magic sends a dreamer into a realm inhabited by a scary dragon. Director, writer, editor, and cinematographer, Tyler Carter, uses all his talents to bring to life this whimsical, luminous tale.

Also included in this section, is the 2-minute Jon Izen’s (he of Yam Roll fame) fantastical tale 9 Things I Saw Last Wednesday, and Qingyuan Wang’s Orange City, which celebrates the sweetness of the fruit as well as our differences and similarities.

Shorts for Shorties: All Creatures Great and Small
CN Tower
Saturday, June 4, 1:00 pm
60 Minutes
It’s a jungle out there, and it’s exquisitely brought to animated brilliance with Sam Chen’s Amazonia about a hungry little tree frog who navigates the hazards of his habitat in search of food. Backing the simple tale is the unexpected and surprisingly well-matched music of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8. Ha! No more will your children think classical music is boring, especially when teamed with such colour, humour and adventure! Taking us from the rainforest to South Africa is the ubiquitous Jungle Beat, a mainstay of WWSFF’s Short for Shorties progammes (and long may they remain so!). In This Little Light of Mine, a tiny firefly battles his fear of the dark and his own irritating light as he tries to fall asleep, while in Blowin’ in the Wind, an ant wages his own struggle to get a leaf back to his anthill. Brent Dawes’ work always feature challenges that have to be overcome, but he always manages to infuse his characters' journeys with barriers that are chuckle-inducing.

Music is the key to humour in On the Branch (Czech Republic) and Mobile (Germany), two uproarious shorts that will make even adults giggle. In the first, two birds spar over ownership of a branch. Their choice of weapon? Tweets. See who wins the battle of the birds on the branch in this 1-minute donnybrook. In the second, a lonely cow tries to engage the animals on the other side of the mobile. Trapeze swings, near meetings, and circus music elicits sidesplitting guffaws in this topsy-turvy silent short. Andale, vacita!

In Reulf, a happy army of origami-esque figures tries to bring colour to Paris. Equipped with maps and paint brushes the merry band add colour to everything from the Eiffel Tower to the Metro, to footwear and clothing, while taking time out to hang from street signs and laze in coffe cups on sidewalk café tables. Providing the soundtrack to their lively expedition is music by Robert Le Magnifique.

Switzerland’s Pink Nanuq is about a Polar Bear and a Penguin who try to save an iceberg, but for me the animation is more captivating than the story. Layered and colourful, the animation is interesting to examine, but I can’t say the same for the lackluster delivery of the story. Which goes to show that even short filmmakers need to know how to pace even a 6-minute film. Luckily, Jakob Schuh and Max Lang, the directors of The Gruffalo (see above) give you 25 minutes of fun and exciting activity in a well-paced story worth watching more than once.tmtm

The Worldwide Short Film Festival
TOWERING SHORTS – a morning of family activities at the CN Tower.

(info courtesy of

•Every adult ticket gets you (and up to two kids, twelve and under, for FREE)
•Screening ticket to our family friendly programming, Shorts for Shorties (one of two programs);
•Access to a hands-on animation workshop, presented by the National Film Board;
•An elevator ride to the observation deck at the top of the CN Tower!
•All activities are good for the young and young-at-heart.
•Workshops to choose from:
9:00 AM
11:30 AM
2:00 PM
Tickets are $22.99 plus HST ...


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