The short film programmes at TIFF are a really great way to introduce yourself to filmmakers of the future. Films like District 9 and this year’s TIFF selection Rare Exports both got their start as short films, and shorts are an excellent avenue for filmmakers to get their work out there without necessarily producing a feature. If your appetite for awesome shorts has been whetted by Legend of Beaver Dam, there are some really amazing Canadian shorts lined up and if you, for some crazy reason, can’t make it to a Midnight screening, don’t have the attention span required to endure an entire feature, or just want to see some fresh new talent at the Festival, give these films a look.

Firas Momani has created a striking, haunting piece with The Adders Bite, which won the prize for Best International Short at this years Fantasia Festival in Montreal. Like the best of David Lynchs work, Adders Bite shows the dark, sometimes-oozing underbelly of a seemingly normal setting - in this case, a public pool. The aesthetic is somewhere between that of Dark City and Christopher Smith’s Creep, with lots of black, blue, and pale white and oozing, Alien-esque visuals. The depictions of the creatures and their prey are truly stunning, and their craftsmanship is reminiscent of the creatures often found in the films of Guillermo del Toro. I think any self-respecting Midnight freak would absolutely love this, and I really hope to see Momani at the helm of a feature soon.
In Kire Paputtes Animal Control, we are introduced to an amateur surgeon and taxidermist named Larry who falls in love with one of his failed projects - an adorable puppy. Think of this as a graphic Marley and Me with some of the best home surgery and taxidermy I’ve ever seen depicted onscreen. The story is absolutely heartbreaking and the awesome Julian Richings, a bona fide legend in film and television with credits that include everything from Hard Core Logo (Bucky Haight FTW!) to X-Men 3, turns in a riveting performance with almost no dialogue. Animal lovers should definitely check this out, provided that they’re also lovers of seeing those animals eviscerated, stuffed, and put on display.
Nadia Litz is one of my favourite Canadian actresses, playing an anarchist wannabe alongside Don McKellar and the late Tracy Wright in the 2006 TIFF selection Monkey Warfare and also in 2008’s Blindness. This year, Litz makes her directorial debut in the awesomely-and aptly-titled How to Rid Your Lover of A Negative Emotion Caused By You!, guaranteed to be the most twisted little date movie you're likely to see this year. This is a simple two-character piece with the heart of a genre film lying just beneath. Dennis and Sadie are a couple that can't talk to each other. Instead of confronting their issues, Sadie uses a...unique method of ridding Dennis of his negativity. The less I say about this film the better, but suffice to say that any fan of French new-wave horror would be extremely satisfied with this. A great debut from Litz, who I think will truly be a force in Canadian film - both in front of and behind the camera - for years to come.

Shorts like these are a great way to get in in on the ground floor and become a fan of a filmmaker before he or she hits it big, or just to see a bite-sized bit of awesomeness from an established figure in film. Any of these shorts will be a perfect appetizer – even if you won’t necessarily have an appetite afterwards – for this year’s Midnight Madness selections, so get out there and support these Canadian filmmakers and their projects that, like
Legend of Beaver Dam, may end up at the ‘main event’ in the years to come.

The Adders Bite plays in Short Programme 3
Sunday September 12 2:30PM JACKMAN HALL- AGO
Monday September 13 4:00PM JACKMAN HALL- AGO

You can purchase tickets from the official TIFF website.

Animal Control plays in Short Programme 6
Wednesday September 15 9:00PM TIFF Bell LightBox 2
Friday September 17 2:45PM JACKMANHALL- AGO

You can purchase tickets from the official TIFF website.

How to Rid Your Lover of A Negative Emotion Caused By You! plays in Short Programme 1
Friday September 10 9:15PM ISABEL BADER THEATRE
Saturday September 11 1:00PM JACKMAN HALL- AGO

You can purchase tickets from the official TIFF website.

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