Question: What’s 100 minutes divided by nine shorts?

09 • 05

Answer: Telefilm Canada’s Not Short on Talent programme is headed back to Cannes with 11 exciting filmmakers for its 2024 iteration.

Here’s the breakdown:

I was first transported by Catherine Boivin’s use of inventive angles and framing in 6 minutes/km, her short film which featured in the Not Short on Talent programme at Cannes one year ago. Anotc ota ickwaparin akosiin, her subsequent film, confirms her talents as a director of many precise timings and intentions. With a frame split directly down the middle, we see two domestic scenes: Boivin, on one half, doing chores like dishes and laundry; Boivin’s daughter, on the other, playing with her toys and having fun. Atop these images, Boivin has an emotionally honest voiceover in which she addresses her mother; here, with mirrored actions unfolding on both sides of the screen, a remarkable short film is realized.

From watching Grandmothers, Millefiore Clarkes’ short film that featured in the 2022 programme at Clermont-Ferrand, I got the sense that Clarkes had a sentimentality as a filmmaker that was curious, was thoughtful, and was possibly overwhelmed with some grander questions in life (these days, who isn’t?). In An Impression of Everything, her new experimental work, Clarkes summons these emotions and, impressively, assembles chaotic (at times kaleidoscopic) order from pieces of personal footage and assorted archival reels, distilling the doom-and-gloom busyness of today’s frenzied world into a film with a title that’s as apt as it is ambitious.

You should take it.”



It really should be you.”

I’ve been quoting Mashie Alam’s Two of Hearts since viewing it. Richly photographed at the Cressy House in bucolic Prince Edward County, Ontario, this playful tug-of-war between two ridiculous siblings is the perfect excuse for Alam to play a flush hand of deadpan tableaus. It’s half Zoolander fashion shoot, half SNL sketch, all tongue-in-cheek fun as it builds to — pun very much intended — a cheesy reveal of delicious divvying.

What’s the wildest structure you’ve ever seen on screen? For my money, it might be the solar furnace of Uzbekistan, a massive power facility and architectural marvel of open spaces and precise arrays. With so many panels aimed directly at our star, it’s an ideal place to do a lot of reflection. In This World Does Not Fit Into My Eyes, a black-and-white piece by directors Felix Kalmenson and Rouzbeh Akhbari, we spend time with Nasira, a caretaker of this building, who, in her youth, had a glorious career as a singer. In one key scene, we see Nasira basking in former fame as she sits before two mirrors leaning side-by-side; when Nasira moves between both, we’re reminded of the many partitions a single life can contain.

Pushed out the window of a vintage Toyota Tercel 4WD, in Ethan Godel’s funny and bittersweet Anna’s Hands, is the idea that heading to a cottage with friends is sure to be a party. As three friends drive up an Ontario highway — hey, there’s an ONroute! — there’s a sprawling, freewheeling conversation delivered with refreshing verve to enjoy as these motormouths riff on Dostoevsky, Carver, and the myriad mysteries of romantic love, which, evidently, echo unsaid disconnections happening immediately within the car. What do we talk about when we talk about love? The virtues of combining McDonald’s sandwiches, naturally!

There’s an eighth of something in Ernesto’s Bag, and in Isabelle Deluce and Giulia De Vita’s wry and witty short, Ruth, a burnt-out employee at a wedding dress store, is about to learn exactly what. She’s in a tricky spot, you see; Alice, her best friend, her sounding board for rants about the vapidity of the bridal industrial complex, is (surprise!) getting married to…  what’s-his-name? Tim. Ruth, obviously, is super stoked for her friend, not the least bit interested in breaking the whole thing up. But after ranting to Ernesto, a fellow who works in a kitchen beside the bridal store, Ruth receives wisdom from his chill pro-wedding testimony and, well, the contents of his bag — all the magic she needs to say “yes” to the universe and be there for her friend.

With Jamais nulle partdirector Sophie Valcourt brings us back on the road — this time, for a nonfiction nostalgia trip towards Sept-Îles, Quebec. The highway isn’t exactly Memory Lane, but the long stretches and persistent rush of trees flying by proves a lulling backdrop for a group of friends, Valcourt among them, to share candid thoughts about place, the meaning of “home,” and the quirks of lives split between two highly contrasted regions. By the time this warm and meditative short reaches the Côte-Nord, however, one thing is certain: the gap between where we’re at and where we’re meant to be is, as always, transcended through friendship.

The winter woods aren’t as cold as the deepest reaches of outer space, but Jean-Bastien Niyigaruye’s cool and poetic Sirius gives the impression the cosmos is just over the horizon. Told in whispers and voiceover — and with an icy blue palette that chills and burns in equal parts — we see a man tell his wife that he must leave their cabin, but he will return; as he crunches over snow through the dark forest, constellations twinkling above, his story intensifies into the brightest star of our night sky.

Subject: Joseph Édouard Beaupré. Height: 8 ft, 3 in. Weight: 375 lbs. Cause of death: pulmonary hemorrhage following tuberculosis.

The real Édouarda circus performer whose extraordinary body was embalmed after his death in 1904, has had a number of posthumous acts. I mean, c’mon, he was gawped at alive; in death, he’s been dissected, displayed, and shipped around as a massive mummified curio. His latest immortalization, though, is in Alain Fournier’s Géant Beaupré, a stop-motion animation with excellent prop and scene design that gives, with an offbeat sense of humour, Beaupré’s story the theatrical send-off it deserves.

These nine films, playing in the Cannes Short Film Video Library as well as at a screening on May 20, are bold enough to reward anyone who divides their time from the features at the festival.


You can trust me. I did the math.

Participants will attend the Short Film Corner 2024. For more information, contact:


Jake Howell is a Toronto-based writer and film programmer.

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