Rachel Weisz makes directorial debut at T.O. festival
'Scenes From The Suburbs' is a 29-minute collaboration between American director Spike Jonze and the Montreal rock band Arcade Fire.
Constance Droganes, entertainment writer, CTV.ca
Published Friday, June 3, 2011 12:56PM EDT
North America's largest short film festival, the Canada Film Centre's Worldwide Short Film Festival in Toronto, will feature the directorial debut of Oscar-winning actress, Rachel Weisz.
New films from directors Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry, and Neil LaBute are also on this year's lineup, which runs from May 31 to June 5, and includes 275 shorts from 36 countries.
A-listers such as Colin Firth, Anthony Hopkins, Keira Knightley and Jeremy Irons are also among the lengthy list of actors who will appear in live action shorts, documentaries and experimental films.
"This festival has come into its own in 2011," Festival Director Eileen Arandiga told CTV.ca.
"This year we received 4,200 submissions from 80 countries. That's a record number," said Arandiga.
The festival will also feature its greatest number short films made by celebrities to date.
Noteworthy picks include "Scenes From The Suburbs," a 29-minute collaboration between American director Jonze and the Montreal rock band, Arcade Fire.
The film revolves around two best friends who grow up and grow apart during a summer of militarized occupation.
Weisz's new film, "The Thief," also makes its Canadian debut.
This 14-minute work starring "Mad Men's" Rosemary DeWitt tells the tale of a desperate thief who enters a house looking for money but finds something more valuable.
"More stars are turning to short films because it's so freeing," said Arandiga
"With very little money they can get a short off the ground. That creative and financial freedom is very appealing," she said.
Other celebrity picks include "Sexting," from American director, LaBute. This wry, 8-minute flick stars Julia Stiles as a woman out for answers after she gets a misdirected text message from her boyfriend.
Rupert Friend's quirky entry, "Steve," is another must-see. The 16-minute flick tells an unusual story about an oddball tenant (Colin Firth) who demands a cup of tea from a woman living above him (Keira Knightley).
Possible Oscar contenders
The Worldwide Short Film Festival is one of only four Canadian film festivals accredited by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. That means that winners of this year's 12 competitive programs are eligible for consideration by the Academy Awards, the BAFTAs, and the Genies.
"I think it's very likely that some of our celebrity entries could earn nominations in 2012," said Arandiga.
"But all our shorts are entertaining and eye-opening, whether they're star-studded or not," she said.
Attendees can look forward to eerie Midnight Mania shorts, sci-fi entries, date-night themed flicks, as well as screenings of the festival's family-orientated Shorts for Shorties program at the CN Tower.
Other highlights include a spotlight on filmmakers from New Zealand and Italy.
One top pick from the festival's spotlight on Italy is called "We Love Our Clients."
The 6-minute fictional film from director Beppe Tufarula follows employees at a supermarket who match up lonely-heart customers.
The Swedish doc "Endless Love" is also destined to become a huge crowd pleaser.
The 14-minute entry tells the real story of two people who meet in their 20s, break up and reunite to marry in their 90s.
"This film's so moving on so many levels. But this is what our festival is all about," said Arandiga.
"What we're bringing to Toronto is the cream of the crop in contemporary short films. It's a very exciting time for us and this art form."