Forget Pants: It's Time for Shorts!

Denmark's Oscar winner Helium
Forget pants: it’s time for shorts! The 2nd edition of It’s Time for Shorts!, the short film fête of the European Union Film Festival, returns to Ottawa May 28-30. This three-day event is FREE to the public and provides a great preview for the range of world cinema to expect when the EUFF returns this fall. Short stuff happens at Club SAW. Seating is limited is limited it Ottawa’s underground screening hole, so shorts fans are encouraged to join the party early with Taste of Europe offering refreshments from the EU Member States and providing a nibble before the show. Taste of Europe serves noms at 6:30 pm, while shorts are served at 7:00pm.

There’s a great range of shorts to see at the screenings. A handful of Oscar nominees are on hand, including the strong 2012 film Death of a Shadow, Do I Have to Take Care of Everything, and the 2013 winner Helium. Films from some EUFF favourites show off more work from Latvia’s Signe Bauman, whose short Dentist will please fans of Rocks in My Pockets, while previous festival selectee Adrian Sitaru (Domestic) screens his short film Art. French filmmaker Laurent Ardoint, finally, will be on hand for a Q&A following his film Un bonne affaire on Thursday, the 28th. Add a dozen extra shorts from just as many countries, and local film buffs have a smorgasbord of shorts!

Select shorts in review:

Do I Have to Take Care of Everything? / Pitääkö mun kaikki hoitaa?
(Dir. Selma Vilhunen; Finland, 7 min.) 

This madcap comedy is a hilarious farce of Murphy’s Law that sees a beleaguered wife and mother (Joanna Harrtti) ready her family for a wedding one chaotic morning. Vilhunen explodes the situational humour and delivers one amusing slice-of-life gag after another. The control of the film couldn’t be better, as this brisk comedy, which plays like a blow-for-blow between Harrtti and Santtu Karvonen as her husband, is refreshing, relatable humour. The comedic timing Vilhunen displays in the editing brings the film to life with a zany energy. (She cut the film herself.) It’s a fun romp for shorts fans.

Screens Thursday, May 28

(Dir. Alan Holly; Ireland, 9 min.)

A favourite from last year’s Ottawa International Animation Festival, Coda takes a more philosophical approach to seeing one’s life flash before one’s eyes with a deep, fleeting meditation on crossing over. This elegiac exploration of the journey from life to death is beautiful, moving, and strikingly composed.
Screens Friday, May 29

(Dir. Anders Walter; Denmark, 23 min.)

The 2013 Oscar winner for Best Live Action Short Film, Helium is a touching story about teaching a child about death and the afterlife. Alfred (Pelle Falk Krusbæk) is a young boy with terminal illness. He asks the janitor, Enzo (Casper Crump), a clumsy man tasked with cleaning Alfred’s room on his first day of work, the story of “helium.” Enzo, sensing the child’s uncertainty in the next step of his life, regales him with fanciful stories about the faraway land of Helium. It sounds like a nice place for escape. Enzo is right and Helium is a great escape for how subtly and lovingly it uses the power of the imagination to harness closure and catharsis. The small touch of fantasy that pops-up at the end of this otherwise soberly realistic drama reminds viewers of the power of storytelling—both as a visual art and as a medium to convey ideas too difficult to put into words. The closing shot of Helium is a delicate, touching, and bittersweet nod to the imaginative flights that connect us all.

Screens Saturday, May 30.

It’s Time for Shorts! runs May 28-30 at Club SAW in Arts Court (67 Nicholas St.)
Screenings start at 7:00pm, but get there early to grab seats and food!

And did I mention that screenings are FREE?

Please visit www.cfi-icf.ca for more information and for the full line-up of films.