TIFF Kids 2018: Highlights from Me, My Way Programme

TIFF Kids 2018: Highlights from Me, My Way Programme

New Boy
Dir. Norman Tamkivi

Norman Tamkivi’s film New Boy looks at the awkwardness of trying to fit into a new environment. Mike is the new kid at a school where many of the kids have top of the line electronic visors. Believing that owning one of those gaming devices will bring him acceptance amongst his peers, Mike sets out to raise the funds by doing odd jobs around his neighbourhood. However, when the desire for the visor becomes too great, Mike must decide how far he is willing to go to get what he wants. Despite carrying a moral message that is a tad too simplistic, the performances and relatable plot will ensure that Tamkivi’s film connects with young viewers.

Dir. Andy Newbery

In this intriguing Welsh tale, director Andy Newbery aims to shine a light on the sense of isolation that individuals with epilepsy endure. 10-year-old Elen is excited to befriend the new girl at her school, but is self-conscious of how others view her condition. Tackling a subject not often captured on film, Newbery skillfully blends live action and animation to convey Elen’s feeling of “falling asleep with [her] eyes open.” Crafting a tale of budding friendship, while effectively showing that knowledge and understanding will allow us to rise above our differences, Elen is a touching and thoughtful film.

Dir. Mariel Cortés

Pastel is one of those films that is full of potential, but does not quite hit the mark the way one would hope. The film focuses on Maria attempting to overcome her shyness as she, along with her younger brother, prepare a dance routine for their parents wedding. Mariel Cortés displays plenty of talent in her choice of imagery and the subtle way her character conveys the awkwardness of youth. However, Maria’s layers, much like the supporting characters, are not fully explored. This makes for a film that floats along building up to a payoff that is not as emotionally satisfying as it could have been if Cortés had fleshed out the characters more.

The Glass Pearl
Dir. Tommie Seitajoki

It is often said that it is the journey, and not the destination, that is most important. In Tommi Seitajoki’s The Glass Pearl the journey tells us all we need to know about Daniel. When not spending time with friends, the youngster rummages around garbage bins, grocery stores and the woods of his Finland town. While the item he seeks only becomes evident at the end, what is clear is that Daniel’s life is one of constant struggle. Whether Daniel is attempting to repair his rapidly declining shoes or evading store security, the film skillfully emphasizes that his world is one of desperation. Carefully constructing an intriguing examination of poverty and survival, Seitajoki’s film is effective without ever speaking down to its audience.

Mrs. McCutcheon
Dir. John Sheedy

In the Australian gem Mrs. McCutcheon, the school dance becomes the ultimate battleground for acceptance and defiance. John Sheedy’s engaging film follows Mrs. McCutheon (Alec Golinger) – a 10-year-old who feels more comfortable in a dress than in the clothes often associated with her male birth name Tom – as she attempts to navigate a new school where not everyone is accepting of that which deviates from the preconceived norms. An endlessly charming and moving work, Mrs. McCutcheon’s message of inclusion soars thanks to the wonderful performances by Alec Golinger and Wesey Patten, who plays Trevor, a boy who likes Mrs. McCutheon just the way she is. Showing that the skin we are born in is not always the skin we identify with; Sheedy’s film provides plenty of food for thought while leaving viewers with a big smile on their faces.

This post was written by
Courtney is a Rotten Tomatoes approved critic and the founder of Cinema Axis. He can frequently be heard discussing film as co-host of Frameline on Radio Regent. Courtney has contributed to several publications including Leornard Maltin, That Shelf, Black Girl Nerds, and Comix Asylum Magazine. He also celebrates diversity in cinema as co-hosts of the Changing Reels podcast and is a member of the Online Film Critics Society.
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