WSFF: Day 4 - Date Night!

Power of Love
Day 4 had one of the screenings that I’d been looking forward to most during the Worldwide Short film Festival: “Date Night”. Not that I planned to squeeze in a hot date during the festival, but the screening was by far the most original event listed in the programme. “Date Night” offered a screening of love-themed films and took place at the CN Tower. The event included a trip to up to the second level of the Tower, plus coffee and dessert at Horizons restaurant. Never having been to the CN Tower, this event was a lot of fun – and a huge bargain at only twenty bucks! In the spirit of the evening, I’ll discuss the movies first and end with dessert. 

Blind Date
“Date Night” puts moviegoers in the mood with the animated film Bob by Jacob Frey and Harry Fasty. Bob is a hilarious and sweet tale of a hamster that runs his wheel across the globe in pursuit of another pretty hamster… some guys just like the chase! Some other guys just like Celine Dion, so says the Canadian documentary Power of Love (Celine Dion Fans in Kenya). Directed by Joyce Wong, Power of Love is an intriguing story of music’s ability to transcend borders and reach fans across the globe: it’s one of the few films I saw at WSFF that might actually be best in feature length, especially if the filmmakers can find other Celine fans lurking in different corners of the globe. One film, however, that makes exceptional use of a mere eleven minutes is the bittersweet Brit comedy Blind Date. Directed by Joe Rosen, Blind Date stars Abigail Blackmore (who also wrote the film) as a lovelorn woman who wanders into the pub in search of her blind date. To her good fortune, she instead meets a charming pub-dweller (played by Cavan Clerkin). The pair hits it off and shares a few pints whilst waiting for her beau. Blind Date is one of the talkiest films of WSFF, but thankfully so, as it’s incredibly witty and offers honest, natural dialogue. Blackmore and Clerkin also make a brilliant comedic pair. Blind Date is followed by the dramatic, but equally sweet Super.Full by Niam Etnay. Super.Full will pique interest because it affords the rare opportunity to see a film from Qatar and Lebanon; however, moviegoers will surely cherish its mature and sensitive portrait of two newlywed expats who are also deaf mute and members of the lower class.
Danny & Annie
The most memorable film of “Date Night” is Danny & Annie by Tim Rauch and Mike Rauch. Danny & Annie is a documentary that takes audio recordings from soul mates Danny and Annie, and creatively adds a visual element to their story by using animation. Danny & Annie is a beautiful story about staying in love while growing old, and there was barely a dry eye in the room once the final credits rolled. The high bar set by Danny & Annie is not upheld by the next short, Along the Road, an observational film that tells of a secret romance between two truckers. Along the Road affords little emotional payoff and begs less reflection. More appealing is the love tango Bare Knuckle Duet by Canadian director Lindsey Connell. Starring Suzette Araujo and Derek Scott as a singer and dancer, respectively, who compete for the best performance space in Toronto, Bare Knuckle Duet will surely catch some interest not only for its sense of place, but also for its snappy one-two pace. After the catfight of Bare Knuckle Duet are the puppy dog romances 12 Years and Man’s Best Friend. Finally, fate and destiny lead to romance in the offbeat And the Number Is… and the documentary Endless Love. Another story of aged romance, Endless Love offers a similar tale and message as Danny & Annie, but it pales by comparison. It’s simply outmatched in both form and content by its animated colleague.

After the movies, we all made use of our tickets and went up to Horizons for dessert. There were plenty of decadent options to choose from, but I opted for the warm banana turnover with pineapple salsa and rum-raisin ice cream. It was really good; however, the best item on the menu looked to be the trio of crème brûlées – one coffee, one mango, and one vanilla bean. After dessert, we moseyed on up to the glass floor and flipped our stomachs with some vertigo while peering at the ground below us. Overall, “Date Night” was probably the most fun I had at WSFF, and a nice alternative to the usual festival format. 

Best short: Danny & Annie.