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