TIFF Short Cuts 2017: Big Films in Small Packages

by Danis Goulet and Jason Anderson

Aug 9, 2017 @ 9:00am

The 2017 Short Cuts lineup is here, and as in past years, it is international and diverse. With 59 short films in 16 different languages in eight programmes from over 30 countries, there is a wealth of fresh, original points of view. Female-directed films make up 40% of the section.

This year's programme offers strong new animation, including the spellbinding hand-drawn NFB film Threads from Oscar-winning animator Torril Kove; Niki Lindroth von Bahr’s The Burden, winner of the Cristal for a Short Film award at the 2017 Annecy International Animation Film Festival; and The Death, Dad & Son by Denis Walgenwitz and Winshluss, the renowned French comic book artist who co-wrote and co-directed the Oscar-nominated Persepolis (07).

The Short Cuts section also features the bold directorial debuts of several well-known actors, including the hilarious FIVE MINUTES by Justine Bateman, and the raw and tender Bird, a drama written and directed by renowned Canadian Molly Parker and starring Amanda Plummer. A former TIFF Rising Star, actor and filmmaker Connor Jessup also returns to the Festival with the evocative Lira's Forest. Among the very notable talents in front of the camera are French film great Tcheky Karyo in Sophie Beaulieu’s delightfully deadpan comedy I Didn't Shoot Jesse James and Toronto’s own Liane Balaban in Bickford Park.

One of the many socio-political issues tackled by short filmmakers in the program is violence against women; Ifunanya Maduka’s heartbreaking Waiting for Hassanashares a brave teenager’s account of the 2014 Boko Haram kidnapping, and Michelle Latimer's Nuuca makes a disturbing link between resource extraction industries' exploitation of Indigenous land and violence against these communities. Among the many stories of migration and the search for new homes are Mahdi Fleifel’s gripping A Drowning Man, Emad Aleebrahim Dehkordi’s devastating Lower Heaven, and Rupture, a powerful effort born out of a collaboration between director Yassmina Karajah and a cast of young refugees in BC.

Bold and provocative stories about family and romantic relationships are just as prominent. Mothers in desperate straits are at the centre of such selections, including Yang Qiu’s A Gentle Night — which won the Short Film Palme d'Or at Cannes — and Mother, an intense new film from Spain's Rodrigo Sorogoyen about every parent's nightmare. And as always, some of the boldest Short Cuts selections delve into matters of love and sex; the results are especially charged in Marc-Antoine Lemire’s sultry and surprising trans-themed romance Pre-Drink, and Sebastian Quebrada’s Treehouse, a drama about two young lovers’ extremely volatile dynamic.

The Short Cuts lineup will be presented in a series of eight short film programmes.

The international films in the 2017 Short Cuts programme:

Airport | Michaela Müller, Switzerland/Croatia
North American Premiere

Blue Christmas | Charlotte Wells, UK/USA
World Premiere

Bonboné | Rakan Mayasi, Palestine/Lebanon
World Premiere

The Burden | Niki Lindroth von Bahr, Sweden
North American Premiere

Catastrophe | Jamille van Wijngaarden, Netherlands
International Premiere

Damiana | Andrés Ramírez Pulido, Colombia/Brazil
North American Premiere

The Death, Dad & Son | Winshluss, Denis Walgenwitz, France
International Premiere

Drop by Drop | Kate Novack, USA
World Premiere

A Drowning Man | Mahdi Fleifel, Denmark/Greece/UK
North American Premiere

Everlasting Mom | Elinor Nechemya, Israel
International Premiere

Fifteen | Sameh Alaa, Egypt
World Premiere

FIVE MINUTES | Justine Bateman, USA
World Premiere

A Gentle Night | Yang Qiu, China
Canadian Premiere

I Didn't Shoot Jesse James | Sophie Beaulieu, France
North American Premiere

Jodilerks Dela Cruz, Employee of the Month | Carlo Francisco Manatad, Philippines/Singapore
North American Premiere

Long Distance Relationship | Carolina Markowicz, Brazil
World Premiere

Lower Heaven | Emad Aleebrahim Dehkordi, France/Iran
International Premiere

Magic Moments | Martina Buchelová, Slovakia
World Premiere

Marlon | Jessica Palud, France/Belgium
North American Premiere

Mon amour mon ami | Adriano Valerio, Italy/France
International Premiere

Mother | Rodrigo Sorogoyen, Spain
International Premiere

Möbius | Sam Kuhn, Canada/USA
North American Premiere

Preparation | Sofia Georgovassili, Greece
World Premiere

The President's Visit | Cyril Aris, Lebanon/Qatar/USA
World Premiere

Push It | Julia Thelin, Sweden
North American Premiere

Roadside Attraction | Patrick Bresnan, Ivete Lucas, USA
World Premiere

Shinaab | Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr, USA
International Premiere

Signature | Kei Chikaura, Japan
North American Premiere

Still Water Runs Deep | Abbesi Akhamie, USA/Nigeria
World Premiere

Together Alone | Mateo Bendesky, Argentina
International Premiere

Treehouse | Juan Sebastián Quebrada, Colombia/France
World Premiere

Waiting | Amberley Jo Aumua, New Zealand
International Premiere

Waiting for Hassana | Ifunanya Maduka, Nigeria
Canadian Premiere

We Love Moses | Dionne Edwards, UK
Canadian Premiere

WICKED GIRL | Ayce Kartal, France/Turkey
North American Premiere

The Canadian films in the 2017 Short Cuts programme:

The Argument (with annotations) | Daniel Cockburn, Canada
World Premiere

Bickford Park | Dane Clark, Linsey Stewart, Canada
World Premiere

Bird | Molly Parker, Canada
World Premiere

Charles | Dominic Etienne Simard, Canada/France
World Premiere

Creatura Dada | Caroline Monnet, Canada
Toronto Premiere

Crème de menthe | Philippe David Gagné, Jean-Marc E. Roy, Canada
North American Premiere

The Crying Conch | Vincent Toi, Canada
North American Premiere

The Drop In | Naledi Jackson, Canada
World Premiere

For Nonna Anna | Luis De Filippis, Canada
World Premiere

Grandmother | Trevor Mack, Canada
World Premiere

homer_b | Milos Mitrovic, Conor Sweeney, Canada
World Premiere

An Imagined Conversation: Kanye West & Stephen Hawking | Sol Friedman, Canada
World Premiere

Latched | Justin Harding, Rob Brunner, Canada
World Premiere

Lira's Forest | Connor Jessup, Canada
World Premiere

Midnight Confession | Maxwell McCabe-Lokos, Canada
World Premiere

Milk | Heather Young, Canada
World Premiere

Nuuca | Michelle Latimer, Canada
World Premiere

Pre-Drink | Marc-Antoine Lemire, Canada
World Premiere

Rupture | Yassmina Karajah, Canada/Jordan
World Premiere

Shadow Nettes | Phillip Barker, Canada
World Premiere

Stay, I Don't Want to Be Alone | Gabriel Savignac, Canada
World Premiere

The Tesla World Light | Matthew Rankin, Canada
North American Premiere

Threads | Torill Kove, Canada/Norway
North American Premiere

We Forgot to Break Up | Chandler Levack, Canada
World Premiere