FESTIVAL SCHEDULE: April 8

Lira's Forest

No dialogue.

As the end of her life approaches, an elderly woman encounters a strange spirit from a nearby forest. Drawing on the patience and minimalism of Japanese cinema and anime, Lira's Forest is filled with mystery and wonder. It’s no surprise that this little gem premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival to rave reviews.

Themes: afterlife, nature, the meaning of life, elders

Morit Elena Morit (Wake Up, Elena, Wake Up)

In Sámi with English subtitles.

This atmospheric tale follows a young girl and her reindeer as they try to escape the menacing darkness of colonial oppression in Sápmi. Guided by a spirit, she is reminded to listen to her inner voice and trust her instincts. Both directors draw inspiration from their family traditions.  d Inga-Wiktoria Påve is from a Sámi reindeer herding family in a small village called Lannavaara in Sweden, and Anders Sunna was raised in a reindeer herding family in Kieksiäisvaara.

Themes:  colonialism, protecting cultural traditions, coming to conscience

 

Mr. Night Has a Day Off

No dialogue.

Sometimes making a drastic change is as easy as flicking a switch on your day off. Changes are afoot when Mr. Night takes a break for the day! A comical and ambitious stop-motion concept executed with precision and flair, this film was an audience favourite at the Annecy Animation Film Festival in France. 

Themes: live-action/animation, mischief, science, comedy

My Father's Tools

No dialogue.

In this documentary Stephen weaves traditional baskets with the knowledge his Mi'gmaq father passed down to him. He finds and harvests the wood, painstakingly prepares it using mostly traditional tools, and assembles each basket with love, As Stephen weaves, there is a sense of peace and connection to all his father taught him.

Themes: mentorship, craftsmanship, traditional practice, cultural preservation

Nadine

Sam must summon his inner samurai to fight the monster known as his anxiety. Real courage is conquering fear, but that doesn’t change the fact that it can be terrifying to speak to the girl you like. Combining live action and several types of animation, Nadine captures the hormonal rollercoaster of first feelings. 

Themes: fear, pressure, finding balance, cultural lessons

Negative Space

Sam's dad is constantly leaving on business trips. Since there aren’t so many opportunities to connect, Sam bonds with his dad over the finer points of efficiently packing a suitcase, a skill that he's naturally adept at. Effective travel preparation is elevated to the level of high art in this heartwarming and dry humoured stop motion animation, which just happens to be nominated for an Academy Award.

Themes: family (father/son), death, memory

Advisory: A funeral scene is handled with humour.

Poles Apart

It’s winter up North yet the ice seems to be melting; also, the food supply is scarce. A tough-talking, sassy polar bear (voiced by two-time Oscar nominee Helena Bonham Carter) and an aloof, enthusiastically earnest grizzly bear (voiced by Joseph May) end up in an unlikely circumstance, negotiating an unlikely rapport. Can they really be friends with each other, or are they destined to be food? 

Themes: friendship, climate change, food security, bears

Shaman

No dialogue.

Based on an Inuit legend, Shaman recounts a traditional story in which a polar bear is transformed into an iconic mountain in the community of Nain, Labrador. Original animation and throat singing bring this tense narrative to life using elements of landscape and culture that are rarely seen or heard.

Themes: family, landscape, nature, survival, music

The Burden

In Swedish with English subtitles

The sublime banality of a hotel, a fast food joint, a call centre, and a grocery store set the stage for an auto-tuned musical. Whimsical animals sing their existential malaise via dance routines that conjure the magic of Broadway. This inspired stop-motion animation premiered at the Director’s Fortnight at the Cannes film festival and won the Cristal Award for Best Short Film in Annecy, France.

Themes: musical, meaning of existence, self-reflection, work

The Little Bird and the Caterpillar

No dialogue.

High up in a maple tree, a little bird cherishes the green leaves that its home is made of. Resolutely, a hungry caterpillar sets out to eat the appetizing leaves, and a comical pursuit ensues.

P.S. There will be farting.

Themes: animals and insects, motivation, friendship, survival

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