CanCon at SXSW Online!

26 • 02

As the SXSW Film Festival heads online for 2021, Canadian content and talent are fully in the mix, with awesome projects in competition. We’ve got four features, an episodic series, three interactive VR projects, loads of shorts, a music video and more. It’s all taking place from March 16 through 20, 2021 (as part of SXSW Online).


Narrative Feature Competition:

Martin Edralin’s Islands

Making its world premiere is a Telefilm Talent to Watch-supported debut feature from Canadian filmmaker Martin Edralin. His 2014 short Hole scored a plethora of prizes, including Best Live Action Short Drama at the Canadian Screen Awards; Grand Prix at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival; and a Jury Special Mention at the Busan International Film Festival to name but a few! Islands is about a shy immigrant man scared of isolation and loneliness as his elderly parents, with whom he still lives, are in poor health.

Documentary Feature Competition:

Jennifer Holness’ Subjects of Desire

Subjects of Desireexamines the cultural shift in North American beauty standards towards embracing (or as some feel – appropriating) Black aesthetics and features’’. This insightful documentary by Toronto-based filmmaker Jennifer Holness (who recently won the Established Producer Award at the Indiescreen Awards announced by Canadian Media Producers Association) is also in its world premiere!

Festival Favorites:

Madeleine Sims-Fewer’s and Dusty Mancinelli’s Violation

Fresh off its U.S. debut at the Sundance Film Festival, this Telefilm Talent Fund-supported horror film is about a woman seeking revenge after being betrayed by her sister and sister’s husband. Sims-Fewer (who was named a TIFF Rising Star at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival, where Violation premiered) also stars in this first feature from this Canadian filmmaking duo. Psst: Streaming rights have been acquired by Shudder, who will release the flick on March 25, 2021!

2020 Spotlight:

Malcolm Ingram’s Clerk 

This documentary (Canada/U.S.) about the iconic Kevin Smith (its title of course a nod to Smith’s 1994 comedic classic Clerks) is making its world premiere. Ingram is known for such docs as 2006’s Small Town Gay Bar. (Pssst… Don’t miss the special SXSW event, Clerk and Twerk with Kevin Smith and Malcolm Ingram!)

Episodic Pilot Competition:

Lisa Baylin’s and Julian De Zotti’s For the Record

Connected by songs and soundtrack, this anthology features interlinked characters. Set right after a romantic breakup, the featured pilot episode in this series is making its international premiere at SXSW.

Virtual Cinema Competition:

Ziad Touma’s The Passengers: Her & Him

Making its international premiere, this Canada-France coproduction is an interactive VR experience where viewers help move the story forward; and can think like one of its “passengers.”

Félix Lajeunesse’s Space Explorers: The ISS Experience Episode 2: Advance

World premiere, filmed in space! Set on the International Space Station, this immersive Canada-U.S. collaboration is a series that brings audiences into the missions of eight astronauts.

Virtual Cinema Spotlight:

Adi Lavy’s Once Upon a Sea

After competing at the Venice Biennale and participating in the Cannes Marché du Film market, this interactive VR doc about the ecological plight of Israel’s Dead Sea makes its North American premiere at SXSW. A tale with profound meaning for the director of this Israel-Canada coproduction.

Narrative Shorts Competition:

  • Annie St-Pierre’s Like the Ones I Used to Know (Les grandes claques) – Texas Premiere
  • Ève Saint-Louis’ The Journey (La traversée) – World Premiere
  • Morgan Krantz’s Squeegee – World Premiere
  • Charles Wahl’s The Mohel – World Premiere

Documentary Shorts Competition:

  • Amar Chebib’s Joe Buffalo – Texas Premiere

Music Video Competition:

  • Leah Vlemmiks’s Witch Prophet – ‘Tesfay’


Stay tuned for all the info you need to join us at SXSW Online, plus updates on Canada’s presence at this exciting virtual fest.

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