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Brief Encounter

FILM FESTIVAL

Brief Encounter
Short film festivals can be rather like that old saw about the weather - if you don't like it, wait a moment and it will change. But there's plenty to like about the Worldwide Short Film Festival, taking place in Toronto from June 15 to 18. In addition to creative and business-oriented seminars, there are five full programs of Canadian short films, while for music fans, there's both the "Scene Not Herd" program of music videos (which emphasises videos from around the world) and a symposium on how to score a short.

Canadian films are loosely organised under vague headings like "Desperate House Lives" but under these banners, one finds a remarkable diversity of films. Two drug store shoppers vying for the last tube of toothpaste break into remarkably choreographed hand-to-hand battle in Extreme Shopping, an effort skilled enough to get director Pascale Marcotte a job helming Daredevil 2. Meanwhile, Pizza Shop takes just three minutes to tell a based-on-true-events story written by and starring Stefan Brogren (better known as Degrassi's Snake), whose celebrity interrupts a late night domestic dispute. Also part of this program is 9 Months, 6 Blocks, a documentary that follows three very different lives in a Parkdale neighbourhood.

"He Got Game" is another wide-ranging line-up that offers up a remarkably compelling chess story in The King Hunt, artfully animated delight in Accordion, and a quite hilarious musing on heterosexual male domestic bliss in Groomed. There are also Quebecois sci-fi mimes, so it's not all gold. Whether it's the ever-popular "Slap 'N' Tickle" showcase on hilarious, sexy shorts or spotlights on region (India) or genre (sci-fi), the Worldwide Short Film Festival offers up its treasures a little bit as a time. For more info, log onto http://www.worldwideshortfilmfest.com.
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