It takes a special gift to get a short film right, and they can be an important building block to a career as a filmmaker. Here in Atlantic Canada that kind of professional future can often feel like it’s beyond reach, but one of the great things FIN Atlantic Film Festival does is bring together multiple programs of short films every year, allowing up and coming filmmakers a chance to show off their burgeoning chops.
This is a shout out to the few shorts I’ve managed to see at this year’s FIN Atlantic International Film Festival, and a few filmmakers who deserve your consideration if you’re planning to check out any of the many collections of short films at the fest.
Solastalgia is the new short film from Millefiore Clarkes, the director of the moving NFB doc The Song and the Sorrow about the songwriting legacy of Gene and Catherine MacLellan. Clarkes describes her new short as a film that “contemplates the issue of climate grief,” and features poetry by sometime Haligonian and former Poet Laureate, Tanya Davis. I’ve seen Solastalgia, and found it a terrifying, but simultaneously beautiful film, with imagery channeling Terrence Malick’s grace, juxtaposing the domestic with the galactic. It’s set on the quivering divide between the pre- and the post-apocalypse, where the breath meets the teeth, that place we all live right this minute. Solastalgia plays as part of the Reel East Coast Shorts Gala on Wednesday at 6:30.
Newfoundland filmmaker Benjamin Noah’s longish short New Woman imagines a meeting in 1888 between a Newfoundland gentleman and a Hungarian lady in a gothic castle. The imagery and sound design are what makes this one work, and while Jack the Ripper is referenced, this is going to a more supernatural place. New Woman plays at Atlantic Shorts Program 1 on Sunday at 9:10.
Also at the Atlantic Shorts Program 1 on Sunday is Always Going Never Gone, the chilling story of one woman’s investigation of the legend of the banshee. Full disclosure: it’s directed by a friend, the multitalented Newfoundland writer-director Wanda Nolan, but even if it wasn’t I’d suggest it’s very much worth your time. Wanda shared a rough version of the film with me, and it’s got David Fincher-esque levels of icy creep.
Big props to Haligonian filmmaker and actor Taylor Olson. He’s all over these shorts programs, with two in the Atlantic Shorts 2 collection that you can see on Monday at 9:10pm—Masc and Hope—both of which he directs and acts in, and he’s in the Atlantic Shorts 5 program with You Too, Chuckles, acting with fellow multi-hyphenate Koumbie. They both were in the Script Development Program with me last year, and both are serious talents. With Olson also almost complete on his first feature (acting the lead and directing, natch’), which I bet we’ll see screening at #FIN2020, I wonder when the guy sleeps. Finally, congrats to FITI podcast guest and filmmaker Lisa Buchanan for her AFCOOP Film 5 short Baggage, directed by Adam Myatt, also part of Atlantic Shorts 5 (screening Sunday at 3:30 and Thursday at 4:10pm).
UPDATE: Just ran into Taylor Olson, and he told me that, in fact, he’s in seven different projects this year. I apologize for the error and leave it to you, dear reader, to let me know what others I’ve missed.