This afternoon, Toronto After DarkWE is showcasing its Canadian Shorts Program at Scotiabank Theatre. Shorts can be a lot of fun because even if you don’t like one, there will be another one along in a few minutes. And whether you like them or not, you can always recognize the quality of work and talent that goes into creating them.
Black Forest Sanatorium from Diana Thorneycroft plays like a stop-motion Lynchian fever dream. It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but the work that goes into creating stop-motion tales is always something to be appreciated.
In The Shadows by David Emond-Ferrat is a spooky little French confection, that tells a spooky tale of a woman and son arriving at her mother’s for an important weekend, she’s going to break the news of an impending divorce. Unfortunately, there is something waiting for them in the shadows. Delightfully creepy.
Nude by Olivier Labonte LeMoyne is another French offering, this one follows a couple looking to have an erotic escapade in the woods. Are they high? Are they seeing things? Or is there something very odd and unnerving going on amongst the trees and naked flesh?
The Community from Milos Mitrovic is an odd, albeit a very short entry, about a pair of friends who go off to the woods (there’s a theme going on here) and find something they didn’t quite expect. Neither creepy nor scary, this one is just a little off.
The Flying Sailor by Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis is another animated title that uses the Halifax Explosion as a launching point to take us inside the last moments of a sailor who is caught up in the blast and his final moments on Earth. I truly enjoyed the animation style and the look of the production on this one.
The Fore-Men directed by Adrian Bobb is probably my favourite of the bunch. It follows Dr. Samantha Martin (Sophia Walker) who is attempting to understand the changes wrought on the world around her. A temporal slice and compression event has occurred and the world is changed around her with past, present and future colliding and co-existing, but what can she understand of those who come after us?
The Temple from Alain Fournier lets After Dark get its Lovecraft on in this animated tale that sees a German U-boat succumbing to paranoia, fear and mutiny as their sub continues to lose power just as it discovers a horrifying secret in the deep. Loved it!
The Trunk by Travis Laidlaw is the final short featured in the program, and it’s a doozy. A father and daughter find a trunk in the woods, chained and padlocked. So, of course, they bring it home, suspecting that there may be something of value in side. Well, there is definitely some thing inside. This is another favourite of mine.
The shorts program is definitely worth taking a look, and everything in this screening is homemade, so check out some up and coming Canadian talent. Perhaps you’ll see them After Dark!