TIFF is almost done and, sadly, I've only been able to attend two screenings so far. This was mostly due lack of time and money, as each screening is over $20 - which isn't that high all things considered but it's too high for me right now. Anyway, I managed to see Programmes 3 and 4 of Short Cuts Canada. I specifically chose to see the Short Cuts programmes because I'm currently in the final stages of editing my first short, and pre-production for my second, and I was excited by the opportunity to see what else is out there. And, honestly, I wanted to see if, based on these films, I would have a shot at getting into a festival.
The answer is...I don't know. The range in quality, both technically and artistically was so vast that it's hard to tell. Technically speaking a lot of the films looked more polished then mine, and I think that comes down to my abilities but also my technology, as I have very limited resources. That's one thing that really stood out, the resources most of these filmmakers had/have are far greater than I. During one film's credits when the sponsors and crew just kept going and going, I believe Shira's comment was, "wow, we're so ghetto." There's nothing wrong with this of course, as story and character are what matter but the production values can't distract from those elements. I don't believe they do with my work, although I'll have until they're completed to fully judge.
So what did I think of the shorts? There were some that were great - my favorite from Programme 3 being the documentary Forty Men for the Yukon directed by Tony Massil and from Programme 4 the charming Mon nom est Victor Gazon directed by Patrick Gazé - but overall I left feeling a little disappointed both nights. I wasn't really engaged by most of them. I don't think this was because of the nature of short film - i.e. is it harder to get attached and care for characters in such a short period of time - nor was it primarily due to stories and themes being explored. Visually, of course, some were more beautifully shot and had a definite visual style then others, and only a couple had elements - usually sound - that drew me out. I think it mostly came down to the acting, writing and pace of the films - not to say that these elements were all bad but just inconsistent, both within the films and throughout the programmes. This inconsistency made the extremes more noticeable.
Of course, experience plays a huge part, as the short film genre is generally the playground of emerging filmmakers. That's why I'm here.