5/31/2012

WSFF: Christmas in June

Margo Lily - the standout of "Christmas in June"
Still have the Christmas lights up? Well, you best turn them on and help make this event extra festive! (And it’s half way to Christmas, anyways, so there’s no point taking them down now.) Come celebrate Christmas in June with the aptly named “Christmas in June,” which is one of two pre-festival screenings to get you excited for the upcoming Worldwide Short Film Festival. (The other is "Shorts for Shorties: Flick-Nic".) Not only does this lineup of films screen amidst the stars and Christmas light pollution of Dufferin Park, but this event is FREE. So grab the leftover fruitcake and join in the Christmas cheer.

Christmas Piggy
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring … except for one soon-to-be Christmas ham. “Christmas in June” opens with the imaginative animated film Christmas Piggy (Denmark, 8 min.), which is about a jolly little piggy who realizes that his goose is cooked when his owner starts preparing apples and sharpening knives. He is also tipped off by the succulent aroma of Christmas dinners cooking in neighbouring houses, but this little piggy won’t go down without a fight. Christmas Piggy is a delightful and surprisingly moving little tribute to the roasts of Christmas past. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll oink.

You’ll definitely cry, though, with the next short, Margo Lily (Canada, 8 min.). Directed by Dane Clark and Linsey Stewart, Margo Lily is a Toronto-set drama that benefits from the dramatic turn of Christmas Piggy and offers enough power to eclipse a feature-length drama. Rachel Wilson and Aaron Poole star as a couple that puts a brave face on their Christmas celebration by planting a tree in the dead of winter. Margo Lily is an absolutely devastating story of moving forward and letting go, but it’s ultimately a comforting and reaffirming film thanks to excellent performances by Wilson and Poole, as well as the honest minimalism with which Clark and Stewart approach their difficult subject. Margo Lily easily stands out as the best film in of the programme; it also ranks as one of the best films at the festival.  

After Margo Lily, “Christmas in June” lets viewers wipe their eyes and witness the real life Griswolds of Brampton, Ontario. Clarke Kent (Canada, 11 min.) is a documentary about Kent Butcher, a visually impaired man who spreads Christmas cheer by decorating his house with the only form of ornament he can fully enjoy: Christmas lights. It might seem overboard at first, but Kent’s Christmas spirit is truly infectious. The Christmas Spirit lives on in the next short, Toot Toot (Australia, 8 min.), a sure to be crowd-pleaser about one child’s premature rummage through Santa’s goodies. Light-hearted and breezy, Toot Toot offers a nice bit of holiday warmth. After Toot Toot comes another tale from down-under, Ebony Society (New Zealand, 12 min.). Directed by Tammy Davis, Ebony Society is a realist coming-of-age story set amongst the working class. New Zealand looks to be one of the places to watch in terms of up-and-coming indie films (did anyone catch “New Zealand’s Got Talent” at last year’s festival?) so Ebony Society provides another reason to see this free screening. It also played at Sundance, if one needs another incentive!
Music for One X-Mas and Six Drummers
Finally, “Christmas in June” caps things off with a festive little Christmas carol. Music for One X-mas and Six Drummers (Sweden, 5 min.) is a quirky story of an old-age home that is visited by a group of carollers on Christmas Eve. Not a troupe of the conventional “God Rest Ye Marry Gentleman” type, the carollers give an impromptu jam session using the found materials of the seniors’ home. Music for One X-mas and Six Drummers is toe-tapping fun, and a good note on which to end the programme. Music for One X-mas and Six Drummers also makes a good segue to the dance party that’s expected to follow the “Christmas in June” screening, so it might be a good idea to sneak a little egg nog in with that fruitcake and get ready for a good time! Rumor has it that Santa’s elves will be in attendance, so if you want to avoid the Naughty List this Christmas, be in Dufferin Park and join the party!

“Christmas in June” screens at Dufferin Grove Park on Sunday, June 3 at 9:00 p.m.
Once again, admission is FREE.

Please visit www.shorterisbetter.com for tickets, program/film info, and show times.
(And check back here for updates & reviews of this year's Worldwide Short Film Festival.)

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