Monday, February 27, 2012

Toronto Youth Shorts Film Festival: T24 Project 2012


Founded by Henry Wong, the Toronto Youth Shorts Film Festival has been giving young filmmakers a creative outlet since 2009. In preparation for the upcoming 4th edition of the festival, the organizers have brought back the T24 Project challenge. The T24 Project pitted fifteen teams of young local filmmakers, to write, shoot, and edit a short film in a 24 hour timeframe. If that was not challenging enough, all the short films had to answer the question: what is your Toronto?

The filmmakers were encouraged to explore not only the cultural richness of the city, but many of the ideologies and myths that encompasses Canada’s largest city. With only 24 hours, the fact that twelve of the fifteen teams completed their films is a remarkable feat. Needless to say the films were as diverse as the city the filmmakers had to capture. I was fortunate to get an advance look at a few of the submissions:

Jan. 31 – Directed by Andrew Millani, the film is a bitter sweet look at to individuals destined to meet one fateful day. Millani takes a simple but extremely effect approach to telling his story, even managing to throw in an unexpected twist.


Appetizers – Directed by Philbert Lui, this comedic tale centres around three vastly different roommates who only seem to connect through their love of food. Though the script could have been a bit tighter, this was one of more amusing films of the shorts I previewed.

Facing the Strain - Directed by Alex Kingsmil, Facing the Strain explores one man’s quest to find himself in a city that was once his home but now seems so foreign. The performances and script could use work, which is to be expected for a film made under such a tight timeline, but Kingsmil’s film touches on a topic that is fairly relatable.

Wake Up – Directed by Roop Gill, this short takes a documentary style approach to looking at how Toronto’s obsession with coffee is starting to overshadow the city’s diverse identity. It is an interesting premise that could be fleshed out more as a feature film length documentary

Metro – Directed by S. Jeysan, Metro follows the lives of individuals as they intersect on the local transit. The film tackles themes of interracial relationships, racism, and the generation clash within families. The performances by the couple in the crumbling relationship are what stood out for me. It would have been nice to see the film tackle just one story in-depth.


Penny for Your Thoughts – Directed by Joy Webster, this film left a rather unexpected lasting impression on me. Using a homeless man to emphasize how little people living in the city actually see each other is not a new concept. However, the way in which Webster goes about making a statement about the need for connection, instead of the quest for commercialism, is what I liked about the film.

Trinity (Spadina) – Directed by Andrew Lee, the short is comprised of three vignettes looking at different Torontonians’ views of the city. Each segment is shot in a vastly different style and genre, and features a character named after a local subway station. The second segment, which plays like a documentary, is the one I enjoyed the most.

The Ivory Giants – Directed by Jamie McMillan, The Ivory Giant is the most ambitious, though least successful, of the films I previewed. The film simply tries to cover too much ground in the short running time. As a result, the mystery of the ivory talisman, or why the main characters are interested in it, is never fully realized.

Although some of the shorts I previewed were more successful than others, there was no lack of creativity. As I mentioned earlier, the fact that the teams were able to make a short with such tight time constrains is a testament to the future filmmakers in this city.

The full T24 Project lineup will be screening this coming Thursday, March 1, at 7 pm at Innis Town Hall (2 Sussex Avenue). Tickets can be purchased online or at the door

4 comments:

  1. Wow 24 hours, that's ridiculously tight. I'd be interested to see some of these but I can't imagine the quality being that great. Should have given them a more realistic target... even just 48hrs would make a huge difference to the quality I would suspect!

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  2. The overall quality varied depending on what each filmmaker was trying to achieve. As a viewer, you have to always keep in mind what restrictions the filmmakers had to work with when watching the final product. Some succeeded rather well and others missed the mark, though not for a lack of trying. Like you mentioned, the films would probably be vastly different if they had 48 hours to play with.

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  3. It is not impossible to make a visually pleasing film in 24 hours. You just have to be confident and practiced in your work flow!! organizational skills are put to a gruelling test.....but if you make a film with a woman raping a man no one will talk about it...its funny how acceptable shows like Law and Order SVU are though when the victims are always female.

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  4. Donna3:52 pm

    As I witnessed during the screening yesterday, great films can be made in just 24 hours. The two winners are proof of that. They may not be super polished but they are still really good and a lot of people in the audience with me were pleasantly surprised at the quality with a majority of the shorts.

    To Laxton, Law and Order never touches violence and rape in such an insensitive and putrid manner. It also never shows the actual act so graphically. That film went through montage after montage of graphic violence with no purpose to the narrative except shock value. And when people laugh through a scene that's supposed to be uncomfortable, how do you expect people to react?

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