Monday, 17 August 2009

Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2009 Day 3 - Sunday August 16, 2009

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Day 3 is the second long day of the festival spent hiding from the beating rays of sunlight outside while watching 4 screenings in a row. There were epic battles, killer shorts (often with a Christmas tone - was that a popular film theme?) and of course lots of zombies. There were so many zombies in fact the screening for Dead Snow was filled to the brim at capacity which is the best way to watch a zombie movie and this Norwegian Nazi zombie film sure delivered. It was one heck of a day at Toronto After Dark.

To hear and see about Day 3 check out my TADFF'09 Vlog for Day 3.

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Toronto After Dark Film Festival Programming Manager Peter Kuplowsky introduces the Shorts After Dark screening

The Shorts After Dark (International Shorts Film Showcase) is always a highlight of the festival for me, it's a great opportunity to see short film from around the world and it is hand picked for the viewer amongst hundreds of entries. We end up getting to see prize winning, puzzling and sometimes both at the same time genre shorts from around the world. One surprize this year was that the short The Black Dog’s Progress didn't arrive therefore wasn't screened which is too bad. I had the opportunity to see it during it's run at the Worldwide Short Film Festival and it is a fascinating short. All is not lost as it is available to see online here.

When It Will Be Silent
Dir: Dan Sachar
Israel, 7 minutes

Beautiful visually as well as in its message, this post apoclypic short film that threw me for a loop. One of the best of the program.

Die Schneider Krankheit
Dir: Javier Chillon
Spain, 11 mintues

Documentary style short which carefully creates faux archival footage that follows the capsule landing and consequential series of events. Interesting to see a straight-played yet still commentary approach with this technique.

Welgunzer
Dir: Bradford Schmidt
USA, 14 minutes

This short gives us a unique and oddly self sinister look at time travel ambitions and results.

Practical Guide for the Imaginary Friend (Abridged)
Dir: Ciro Altabas
Spain, 19 minutes

Hilarious short that puts together the unlikely pair of pop culture author mogul and the life of an imaginary friend. Enjoyable from beginning to end the film make use of bending the edge of the real along with charming us from cute emotional moments to the realities over everyday lives.

A Little Mouth to Feed
Dir: Jack Daniel Stanely
USA, 9 minutes

Creepy short film following the harrowing journey of a woman who really, really, really wants a baby.

The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon
Dir: Richard Gale
USA, 10 minutes

Trailer-style short film that completely delivers on the promise the title puts forth. Perfect pace, tone and result. No surprize that it has won previous awards, it was a morbid joy to watch and had the audience in an uproar.

Santa: The Fascist Years
Dir: Bill Plympton (Idiots and Angels)
USA, 4 minutes

This is the first film by Bill Plympton I've seen that was narrated (by Matthew Modine) and it completely threw me off. Very quickly captures an alternate, fascist period in the one we call St. Nick.

X-Mess Detrius
Dir: Voltaire
USA, 2 minutes

Another short that keeps with the Christmas theme and possibly environmental, kept a creepy tone through stop motion animation and bizarre imagery.

Zombie Zombie
Dirs: Simon Gesrel and Xavier Ehretsmann
France, 6 minutes

Beautiful homage to John Carpenter's The Thing with action figures. This was a pure joy to watch, as although the sets were pertect it wasn't just a re-enactment but built sweetly on the spirit of the film creating a fantastic tribute. Champion result.

King of Power 4 Billion %

Dir: Paul Roberston
Australia, 14 minutes

Frantic, manic, colourful and the highest energy short of the set. Pixal-ish videogame characters in continual battles leading up to the Ultimate Boss.

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Seems like a new tradition of fantastic shorts playing straight after the shorts program continues this year. Last year it was Deadspiel, this year... 0 (Zero).

0 (Zero)
Dir: Jace Junggru Kim
Canada, 4 minutes

Innovated animation style uses calligraphy style brushwork in a gestural manner that comes to life through a depiction of a physical challenge. I was mesmerized by the artistry of the connection between line, saturation, intensity and sound that broke the line of perfection into the world of true art.

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The Warlords / Tau ming chong
Dir: Peter Chan (The Love Letter, He's a Woman, She's a Man / Gam chi yuk sip)
Cast: Jet Li, Andy Lau, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Jinglei Xu
China/Hong Kong

Epic historical tale of three men that bond as blood brothers during a time war and follows their thirst for power. The battle in the film are not only huge in scale and length, but also provide a fantastic coherence and clarity of character furthering the film as a whole. The fighting is harsh with a reason and the complex tale is compelling from beginning to end. The emotional aspect of the characters with striking performances, specifically from Jet Li and Andy Lau is what makes this film well above and beyond many other historical epics.

Deadwalkers
Dir: Spencer Estabrooks
Canada, 14 minutes

Innovative idea bridging the western and zombie worlds to bring us gun toting, noose wearing and saloon folks together in a survivalistic tale and inevitable bloody result.

See introduction of Deadwalkers screening here

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Dead Snow / Død snø
Dir: Tommy Wirkola
Cast: Vegar Hoel, Stig Frode Henriksen, Charlotte Frogner, Lasse Valdal, Evy Kasseth Røsten, Jeppe Laursen, Jenny Skavlan
Norway

"Who doesn't love Nazi Zombies?" was a common phrase used at the festival and ever since buzz of Dead Snow arose a few months back. The screening was full to the bring of zombies and they certainly got what they were looking for! This new take on the not only zombies but also 'group of people that go somewhere isolate' was a breath of cold fresh air giving us a brilliant white landscape of mountains and snow to fear. A welcome injection of humour keeps us entertained at points where limbs aren't flying around and a fabulous sound track to book. A crowd pleaser, a repeat viewer and lets all cross our fingers for no crappy remake. Tak.

Dead Snow was introduced by an announcement for the Toronto Zombie Walk, see the announcement here.

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Zombies were everywhere!

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Bad Roommate director James Gangl with Toronto After Dark Film Festival Director & Founder Adam Lopez. See the introduction to Bad Roommate here.

Bad Roomate
Dirs: James Gangl & Kevin Whalen
Canada, 5 minutes

Bizarre and hilarious short film following a roomate with questionable actions and rhyming capabilities. Completely off kilter energy and contagious song charmed the audience quickly and swiftly.

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Toronto After Dark Film Festival Director & Founder Adam Lopez with The Revenant director Kerry Prior

The Revenant
Dir: Kerry Prior
Cast: David Anders, Chris Wylde, Jacy King, Louise Griffiths
USA

A undead buddy comedy. What will they think of next? The Reverant brings trials and tribulations that go along with what happens if one half of a friendship ends up.. undead. One of the treats of the film is the strong performance from David Anders as a newly undead creature depicting the struggling with new 'life'style, morale conflicts and relationships. The chemistry between David Anders and Chris Wylde as Bart and Joey provides great groundwork for exploring the what if? scenario. We see them cruise around town in an awesome car and getting into and out of a lot of trouble. Although there were a few moments where it broke the logic of the world it created, ultimately it delivered in laughs and provided a wild sense of realism to the premise of undead being in today's world.

See introduction and selections of the Q&A with The Revenant director Kerry Prior here.

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These were definitely the classic 'slow moving' zombies ...

The Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2009 runs from August 14-21, 2009 at the Bloor Cinema, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

4 comments:

ZedWord said...

A very good rundown of the day. Wish I could go to more of these screenings.

Dan said...

Hi Shannon, as one of the directors of the international shorts program (When It Will Be Silent) it was great to read and to see your review :)

oh man, I wish I could have been there..!! please post any more pics or vids from the event if you have any.

Best,
Dan Sachar.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

The International shorts screening is always such a treat.

Dan, I'm thrilled that you found the review and more so I have to say that your short was absolutely fantastic! Thanks so much for commenting!

The Film Reel said...

This was the first time I really got to sit and watch the International Shorts presentation and it was packed full of great stuff.

The Warlords was pretty good, not usually my type of movie but I did enjoy it.
Dead Snow I had already seen previously and enjoyed it a second time with the TAD crowd. That and the girl who sat in front of us jumped at everything so that was highly entertaining!
The Revenant was pretty good. I felt it got a little slow towards the end but overall a good movie.

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