This year marked the 5th anniversary of the Ottawa International Film Festival and all screenings took place at the iconic Mayfair Theatre. Over the course of four days, twenty-five narrative features, short films, and documentaries from all corners of the world were showcased. Although it was almost impossible to choose just one film, I decided to attend on the night of shorts – that way I could enjoy an abundance of talent in one single night.
Shortly after arriving, I was directed toward the popcorn and, yes, beer stand – there aren’t many other occasions where you get the chance to legally sip a beer whilst enjoying art on a movie theatre screen. Throughout an hour and a half, I was mesmerized by seven comedic shorts, and although every one of them was creative and fantastic, there were three that resonated with me and left me contemplating them further beyond the rest of the night.
In my opinion, James Brylowski produced a work of genius. Shot in the lovely genre of eccentricity that is mockumentary, Tom (Jordan Grey) and Mark (Ned Petrie) set out on a mission to break the world record for “Longest Distance Travelled in a Two-Person Costume”, with the getup just happening to be a donkey. Sweating, arguing, fatigue, and love are only a few of the obstacles that they encounter on the journey from Toronto to Venice Beach, California. Regardless of their conflicting beliefs, doubt, fatigue, temptation, and betrayal, they continue onward, no matter the circumstances, in order to accomplish their goal.
Market Hours (Jon Goldman)
Rendall (Leonard Earl Howze), the security guard at a local market, spends his days lost in imagination rather than fulfilling his job requirements. He imagines the private lives of the vendors at the multicultural urban location, especially Angela (Hong Chau), the pretty little thing who runs her own pastry shop. This is ultimately threatening his job, as lately there have been a string of thefts which he has been oblivious to. When the miniature dog of a local starlet (Ashlynn Yennie) escapes, it gives Rendall the chance to save the day, and everything happens to fall together (in non other than the most comedic way that will have you laughing out loud). Finally, he is able to prove his worth to everyone at the market, and most importantly himself.
Wired (Brendan McNeill and Nick Hillier)
This short holds a special place in my heart as the filmmakers are fellow Ottawarians. The film begins with an abundance of action – guns, car chases, and violence, but the dry humour certainly balances everything out. Soon enough, the audience understands that one of the criminals is in actuality an undercover cop infiltrated into this criminal world. Hilarity ensues as Nick Hillier (filmmaker and unplanned actor in the film) reacts to the mob like crew with much anxiety, insecurity, and confusion.