TIFF 2023: Highlights from Short Cuts Programme 1

Posted in TIFF 2023 by - September 10, 2023
TIFF 2023: Highlights from Short Cuts Programme 1

Been There

I wonder how long it’s been within human nature to desire to see the world around us. Has it always been this way? Discovering what feels unknown, or seeing sites only available via Instagram stories or Google searches? Corina Schwingruber Ilić has created a visual representation of the human aspect behind travel, showing the realities of what others view as normality or mundane, and the impact that world travel has on those residing in such places.  The reality is, we are all just searching for more in the world around us. Yet, by constantly searching for more, will we ever feel like we’ve “seen enough?” 


Unfortunately at the time of screening, DAMMI was still unavailable to the press. 

Gaby’s Hills

Oh, the struggle of growing up. Zoé Pelchat has created a film that anyone over the age of 18 can relate to intrinsically, as thirteen-year-old Gaby (Lou Thompson) struggles with the changes that have occurred when coming back to her father’s house in the Magdalen Islands for the summer. Her friends are different, her body is different, and she’s vastly overwhelmed by the “change” of it all. Discovering what this all means for her new life, she comes to see what we all grasp onto at some point: things may change, but what truly makes you who you are will forever be at the center of it all. 

La Perra

Another take on a classic coming-of-age narrative, yet perspectively focused on a feminine outlook of growing up. Visually appealing from start to finish, director Carla Melo Gampert shifts the focus from mother to daughter, both pulled apart and brought together by the family dog – who raised the daughter from her youth. The narrative focuses on growth, loss, and the true tragedy of self-discovery when it means that not everything can stay the same.


An artistic expression of love, grief, sexuality, and identity, Atefeh Khademolreza uses the juxtaposition between the “women, life, freedom” movement in the Islamic Republic of Iran with the loss of her best friend Amin, a closeted queer dancer, to develop the tragic narrative of how putting sanctions on the human identity creates nothing but heartbreak rather than justice. She brings a visual masterpiece filled with colour and movement, building emotion and flow between each element. She truly makes her viewers understand that these limits are all-encompassing in the eyes of human tragedy. 

Nun or Never!

Trapped in the mundane nature of her life, this film follows the story of a nun exploring the possibilities of escaping the world around her in order to see further than ever thought possible. A whimsical take on religious dedication, the viewer slowly watches as our character evolves from one attached to her discipline to falling deeply in tune with the nature around her. Director Heta JÄÄLINOJA has created a piece of art that demonstrates the struggles of finding oneself in the mists of also fitting into a pre-set narrative structure, and how finding individuality can also show how all of us are just trying to find where we truly belong.

Primetime Mother

A mother’s dedication to her children is truly endless, and Sonny Calvento has presented us with a bold satire on the tenacity of women as they fight for their place on an exploitative game show in order to win 50 thousand pesos for their families. The eerie nature of the film provides discourse between the bright, fun-filled energy of the game show and the struggles these women go through, having spent days outside and away from their children in order for the opportunity to play. As emotions run deep for each of our characters, the question of “good” parenting comes into question. How much are you willing to risk in order to have it all? What narrative will you create in order to be visually appealing enough to the world around you?

This post was written by
Caitie Talty is a teacher in Edmonton, Alberta currently working on her Master's in Educational Studies. As a lover of all things literacy, she is beginning her deep dive into obscure films and texts, and finding new ways to speak her thoughts on both elements into public existence. Outside of building on her film education, she enjoys spending time with her partner, traveling the world, and trying to pet every dog she crosses paths with.
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