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Scott Thompson and Dave Foley are probably the most famous faces you will see in the Stranger in as Strange Land programme at CFC's Worldwide Short Film Festival, but the film in which Thompson stars and Foley appears, The Immigrant, is not the reason I am recommending that you head to the Isabel Bader Theatre this afternoon (4:15pm) or Saturday night (June 9, 10:15 pm); there are 6 other selections that are worth seeing.

 I AM JOHN WAYNE. This American short takes a different tactic in the boys in the hood genre. When Taco's friend is killed, rather than seek revenge, he finds an alternative that leads to a potential new friendship, and a way in which to deal with his grief. Jamir Daaliya (Taco) is a young actor whose emotive expressions are ideal for the big screen.

ODYSSEUS' GAMBIT. Chess is both a metaphor and a mirror of life in this documentary about a Cambodian refugee who has grown up in the United States, but is not of the United States. Shot numerous times in the head, Saravuth, has created a life for himself on the streets of New York, offering chess lesson, selling CDs of his music and dealing daily with the constant memory of his parents and siblings murder and his breakdowns. One of the original boat children rescued/kidnapped by the United States, Saravuth, is living  monument to history and the aftermath of war.

THE CHANGELING. A medieval couple lose their human child and gain a Troll baby in this German morality tale about prejudice and motherly love. Wonderful animation and a simple script make for a humourous yet thought provoking look at how we chose to deal with difficult situations.

 REINALDO ARENAS. It's amazing what some directors can do in just 4 minutes. Director Lucas Leyva has juxtaposed the familiar immigrant story with the adage about a "fish out of water." To say too much would give away the surprise element in this experimental documentary. Shot predominantly in black and white, with a Latin American flavour, this short will make you marvel about how simple yet complex is the art of creativity.

THE CROSSING OF THE LIVING ROOM. This Canadian dramatic short captures the subtle challenges that a woman must face when dealing with her alcoholism. The presence of an off-screen daughter, the confines of a home, and the steady, natural performance of Michelle Bernard all combine to bring to the screen a heartfelt everyday conflict.

 URSUS. This Latvian animation will hit you right in the seat of your emotions.  Director, Reinis Peterson, and the team behind this animated tale of a motorcycle bear combating loneliness and loss of space is simply brilliant. Charcoal drawings come to life, bringing pathos in every sroke, making us wish that we could leap into the screen and hug this majestic beast. Just when we think all is lost...Go see it and find out;-)

Stranger in a Strange Land 
Isabel Bader Theatre (93 Charles Street)
June 8, 4:15 pm
June 9, 10:15 pm
Tickets: $11 (available at the door)


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