TIFF Next Wave is all about the future, so perhaps the most important part of this weekend’s festival is the Young Creators Showcase on Sunday afternoon. Curating a selection of acclaimed recent shorts coming out of film schools in Toronto, this is where you’re really going to find the beginnings of what’s next on the local filmmaking scene.
One thing that is immediately apparent from the program is that animation is alive and well. Five of the fourteen shorts on display are animated, each in their own unique eye-popping styles. Esther Cheung’s In Passing is a wonderfully rich and personal slice-of-life piece about two neighbouring families from a government housing building in 1970s Hong Kong that suggests the languidly poetic style of Studio Ghibli’s more naturalistic work.
Meanwhile, Renee Y. Liang’s Yolk shows us the bizarrely hilarious journey of an egg yolk as it tries to evade being eaten by the boorish human trying to cook it. And then on the more experimental side of things, Emanuel Ntwiga’s The Lost Tribe smartly places drawings and archival photos over an actual interview with director Ryan Coogler about his first trip to Africa in preparation for shooting Black Panther, while Christopher Grant’s XO Rad Magical is a mesmerizing freakout aiming to emulate what it’s like to live with schizophrenia.
On the live action side of things, a few of the shorts delve into the Canadian immigrant experience, including Carol Nguyen’s No Crying at the Dinner Table, an emotional documentary portrait of the filmmaker’s own family and their suppressed trauma. Alicia K. Harris’s PICK is an expertly composed and matter-of-fact look at racial stigmas, showing the subtle humiliations and microaggressions that ensue when a young teen girl decides to wear her afro to school on picture day. And in an entry that was produced at avant-garde filmmaker Phil Hoffman’s Film Farm workshop, Tune In is a trenchant work that finds directors Tiffany Kewageshig and Cassidey Ritchie examining their own Anishinaabe culture and how to move forward with it in today’s fractured world.
Get into the work of these young creators before anyone else, as you can bet you’ll be seeing these names crop up again in years to come.
- Rated: NR
- Genre: Biography, documentary, Drama, Family, Short
- Release Date: 2/16/2020
- Directed by: Alicia K. Harris, Carol Nguyen, Cassidey Ritchie, Tiffany Kewageshig
- Starring: Deragh Campbell, Hazel Downey, Jessica Danov, Phyola James, Robert Blake
- Produced by: Alicia K. Harris, Rebeca Ortiz, Venessa Harris
- Written by: Alicia K. Harris