TIFF 2014: Short Cuts Canada Program 6 Reviews

The shorts that make up Program 6 all address some kind of exploration. Exploration of other planets, other dimensions, or even just different ways of living. It’s a broad theme that brings with it the best and the worst of the Short Cuts Canada programs.


A standout film, not just in this program but in all of the short programs, is Migration. The story of extra terrestrial beings coming to earth to have a look around is told unlike any you’ve seen prior to this. Director Fluorescent Hill went for a low-fi super 8mm aesthetic and if this effect was simulated, it’s nearly impossible to tell. The egg-like visitors however are clearly animated and not meant to look realistic, a choice that works well despite their earthly surroundings. McKenzie Stubbert also deserves mention for his brilliant musical contributions to an otherwise silent story.


Godhead is about a young man with so much going on inside his head that he can barely communicate with the outside world, so he spends most of his days at the pond with his little brother and their remote control boats. Director Connor Gaston has some very inventive ideas and creates some great moments, but unfortunately the scenes that depend more on dialogue tend to fall flat.

Burnt Grass

There isn’t much in the way of originality present is Ray Wong’s Burnt Grass. A couple discovers a spot in their backyard that clones organic matter, of course it’s only a matter of time before one of them tries it on themselves with less than desirable results. Everything about this about this short feels lazy, from the tired premise to the ambiguous ending.


The Underground

In The Underground, a man living in almost dire poverty relates more to the cockroaches he keeps in jars than he does to the cold city dwellers around him. At times, he can even become a cockroach, though it’s unclear if this only in his mind or if he’s actually going through a physical transformation. The camera work for the cockroach’s POV is the highlight of this strange, imaginative yet at times perplexing short.

The following shorts were not available at press time

Academy Award-winning animator Torill Kove returns with Me & My Moulton, the story about the simple desires of a child and the alienation parents can make them feel when they aren’t fulfilled.

Fire is the second in Raha Shirazi’ short film trilogy celebrating Iranian culture though various rituals.


Set in a small town Quebecois town, The Barnhouse is a drama about a boy who goes missing and a woman who believes her son may be able to shed light on the disappearance. (Noah R. Taylor)


Thursday, September 11th, 6:15pm, Scotiabank 3

Friday, September 12th, 2:45pm, Scotiabank 10


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