CIFF 2020

Canadian Independent Film Festival CIFF Official Selection 2020

Official Selection 2020

Project TitleSynopsisDirectors
Well SpentMarooned in a trench thousands of miles from home a group of young men cling to the few things they have left as the veneer of what was supposed to be an exciting war has faded away.Matthew Tompkins
Detectives 313Detectives 313 is a nine minute short film about undercover detectives in Detroit, who go into a drug deal with unexpected results.Chin Yang 
Hostage“The T-shirt Soldiers” a tribute to the fallen ones. Based on the events that occurred during 2017 protests in Venezuela.Nestor Villasmil
Guardians of the Grasslands

Canada’s native grasslands are disappearing at an alarming rate – in fact, they are one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world. Guardians of the Grasslands is a collaboration between dedicated conservationists and local ranchers, which seeks to showcase how cattle continue to create hope on what’s left of these iconic landscapes for the plant and animal species that call them home.  
Sarah Wray , Ben Wilson
EXTIn the snow-covered ruins of 24th century Toronto, AEGIS, a humanoid war machine, leads a team of five robot-bound digital-humans into the the real world (aka the “E-X-T”) to retake an enemy-occupied server installation vital to the survival of their digital homeworld.
During an attempt to ambush a large pack of enemy controlled war-drones, AEGIS recalls an interrogation with the enemy’s founder, an extremist named KYM MINAMOTO…AEGIS’s mother. 
As AEGIS fights for her life in the real world, she recalls the emotional fight for her identity in the INT (the digital world), as she and her mother argue over the true nature of humanity and inclusion of digital-persons within it.
Adrian Bobb
UnbecomingWe all try to be something, to become someone. Unbecoming chronicles the life of Logan, as he fights to “unbecome” everything he’s been until now, that wasn’t really him in the first place, as we follow his story from early childhood, to a traumatic adolescence, and beyond.Navid Mashayekhi
Biggest ThingsTwo Failing East Vancouver Artists embark on a road trip to photograph the worlds largest roadside attractions.Micah Henry
F*ck U! In the Most Loving WayF*ck U! In the Most Loving Way is a short documentary film that follows a group of talented feminist activists as they stage a controversial DIY national feminist art exhibition during the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign. See what a collective of feminist artists, curators, gallerists and academics learned from organizing an art exhibition in San Francisco over a seven-month period that culminated with the historic Women’s March of January 21, 2017.Mido Lee
Making TimeAn art film telling the tale of our modern day struggles expressed through poetry, dance and music. A time keeper begins the journey by setting the metronome in motion which awakens the poet to begin his prose. Two dancers simultaneously transform the poets words in to movement.  Blake Rupert
FRIENDS & LOVERSThis Rocky Mountain love story tells the tale of two best friends on a camping trip who discover something very special about each other – that friendships can turn into love. DC Brandon
I Resign“I Resign” is the first public short film about Institutional Racism that received over 343,000 views on Youtube within 7 days! It is alarming to note that anti-national, anti-constitutional ideas of racism and race superiority are spreading fast in the land of freedom, especially in enterprises, threatening the very own foundation this great country was built upon. This short film is a look into the question – Is racism spreading in United States now? 
The short film and its makers have gained a wide followerbase of over 35,000 people, who would be excited to know about the inroads this little film is making and each film festival it gets nominated would be an exciting avenue of interest for our followers. Our team of 7 would be excited to be present during the film festival premiere event and network. We are also excited in supporting the festival in any way we can if there is an opportunity.
Jay Mohan
Little French FishLea is an artist from an Eastern European Jewish family. Djamil is а young man from the Middle East. They accidentally meet in Paris and fall in love. Their story is filled with passion, romance, and profound tenderness, but it cannot last long as they choose family traditions over their own happiness. Being apart is unbelievable, but will they change their mind if one day they have a second chance? One day, when they accidentally spot each other in a dark cinema hall.Eva Lanska
TANDEMThe film invites us to share the intimacy of Hugo and Magda (a long standing couple) who are resigned to living out their fantasies independently of one another.Vivian Altman
TANDEMThe film invites us to share the intimacy of Hugo and Magda (a long standing couple) who are resigned to living out their fantasies independently of one another.Vivian Altman
John Heward, Words and SilenceA vibrant testimonial to artist John Heward, born in Montreal in 1934 and deceased on 6 November 2018. It was on 8 December 2017 that painter Stéphane La Rue first met Heward in his studio on Murray Street in Montreal, and they began a dialogue around the words “painting,” “music,” “abstraction,” “gesture,” and “life.” In the uncluttered space of his studio, the words slowly accumulated. More than 100 of Heward’s works are conserved at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec.Mario Cote
TRUE NORTH: Paud Mulrooney’s Irish-Canadian Adventures in Super 8“TRUE NORTH: Paud Mulrooney’s Irish-Canadian Adventures in Super 8”, is a new half-hour film by Deirdre Mulrooney offering a rare window into the life of Native Canadians via an Irish Family who were fortunate enough to share their path in the 70s & 80s. “TRUE NORTH” offers a unique representation of Irish-Canadian experience via Paud Mulrooney’s never-seen Super 8 films and self-developed photographs of life on Cat Lake and Ogoki Post Reserves in the 70s and 80s, with his young family, (including the film-maker).Deirdre Mulrooney 
Good FamilyGood Family, 2019 is an emotional and painterly reflection on a mixed race family living in Germany in the late 1960’s. Old and contemporary super 8 videos set a bittersweet mood in this exploration of childhood memories.Ruth Owens
MuteMute follows a middle aged woman as she unloads the details of her husband’s infidelity on a deaf hitchhiker. What starts as just a ride becomes something much more sinister. Mute is based on the short story of the same name by Stephen King, acquired through his Dollar Baby program for emerging filmmakers.Constance Hilton
In betweenBased on audio recorded stories, In between is an animated documentary exploring the invisible aspects of birth.  From the interior, we access an intimate experience through sensations and emotions as voices bring together the body and the soul, opening the door of a possible world.Marie-Josee Archambault
The Last Man on EarthAs a young television news reporter, Annie Harper covered the exciting story of “Evolution 2”; the vaccine that promised to eradicate all birth defects in an attempt to achieve genetic perfection.  Now, in the aftermath of a resultant global pandemic, Annie is a sole survivor who shelters in the devastatingly lonely spaces of the television studios, broadcasting a desperate message in the hope of finding other survivors.  Her enormous relief at discovering she’s not alone quickly becomes a new fight for life and she is forced to question what makes a human worthy of survival.  Who would you trust to be mankind’s last hope?April Phillips
Me, the grand beautifulAmélie, 20 years-old, has been deaf since birth. Her twin brother Marc brings her everywhere, trying to integrate her as much as possible. Causing some frustrations for Amelie, her quest for autonomy and emancipation is still undermined by Marc’s interventions. Nevertheless, their mutual support and their great complicity will help Amélie to go one step further towards her acceptance and independence.Alexia Roc
Velvet gameRegardless the fact that she hasn’t come out yet, Amber suddenly invites her girlfriend, Beatrice, to a family supper pushing their individual insecurities to the surface. The evening then turns to a conflict resolution and puts the relationships of the two young women in danger.Nina Laffitte
“Seven Seas”Seeking closure, a grieving widower sets out on a journey to the seven seas; an adventure he had originally planned with his late wife.Martin-Philippe Tremblay
You are at the Bottom of my MindA hand-drawn animation commissioned for the BBC’s centenary programming about the Iolaire disaster, in which 201 sailors returning from WWI drowned just yards from home on New Year’s Eve. First-hand Scottish Gaelic accounts from survivors and witnesses describe the disaster and its lasting impact on the Lewis community, set to a powerful musical score by Sarah-Jane Summers. The animation is drawn in charcoal style and layered with poignant Iolaire-related photographic details.Catriona Black
The Roads Most Traveled: Photojournalist Don Bartletti Pulitzer prize-winning photojournalist Don Bartletti shares heart wrenching stories from his forty-year career documenting history as it unfolds.  
Internationally recognized for his commitment to photographing the migration of Central Americans to the United States, Bartletti’s images reveal the never-ending saga of illegal immigration by individuals desperate to improve their lives.  
Bill Wisneski
Sandra Loves Guns1990. New York. In an interview with an underground reporter, a cocaine wholesaler reviews his life.Julia Tarissan, Swann Darcy
Running HomeWhen Inma learns her biological mother was Sahrawi, she runs a marathon in the Sahrawi refugee camps in Algeria where she must confront a painful history she had long ignored.Michelle-Andrea Girouard
The animal that therefore I am“What does the animal see when it looks at me?” Three animals and a woman in an enclosed space. As they study each other, their own methods of communication create a wordless conversation. We view them in close-up and from various perspectives, with the woman as a solitary species in this universe. 
Bea de Visser
a Three Player ScrumOlivia and Aude have played rugby sevens together for years. After the new girl’s first game, Oli only has eyes for her.Danika Vermette
Office Song It’s another office affair – one of thousands. But in Office Song, the inner world of ordinary office workers and their humdrum lives bursts into life with poetry and something greater than the sum of their tedious working day is revealed.Marcus Markou 
The Manhattan ProjectWhen a small-town cocktail-enthusiast decides to end his life after being diagnosed with a terminal illness he must deal with the repercussion his choice has on his son and his community.Matthew Campanile
IslandsFollowing the tragic loss of her husband, Marian finds herself caught in a time warp of memories when she visits the remote island where he disappeared.Darren Borrowman
Origin BoundBased on true events.  Howard Wang, megastar movie actor, has wealth, fame and the attention of fans worldwide. A sudden discovery of late stage lymphoma sends him crashing back to reality. Faced with impending death, Howard decides to fulfill his wish of seeing the outside world on his own terms while blogging his travels for his social media fans. As the countdown to the end continues, fate has more surprises for Howard, as he gains new perspectives of life and reconciles with people from his past.David Li
This Wild LandOver the past 3 years, we have been developing a short documentary film centered around protecting the Boundary Waters. The film’s focus is on the people who help spread appreciation for the land and carry on, in their own individual ways, the legacy of Sigurd Olson, a writer and conservationist who was responsible for the area’s National Forest designation in 1978.
The goal of the film is to reiterate the importance of human interaction with nature and preserving the places on earth that still allow for it. Threats to the Boundary Waters have taken many forms over time, but the dedication to keeping them safe has endured.
Today, more than ever, we must realize what is at stake if we fail to protect these wild lands. We each carry our own ability to protect this place, just as Sig did. With enough understanding and enthusiasm to protect these lands, the generations to come will not hesitate in picking up right where Sig left off.
Brendan Harris
NightshiftZein, a young man in his mid 20s, seems content with his job as a customer service representative for an internet service provider. During one of his shifts, way past midnight, he receives a call from a customer, Akram. Complaining about a malfunction, Akram’s frustration starts growing. His dissatisfaction with the process gradually becomes an abusive rant, during which he lashes out at Zein, exposing to him the drudgery of his work, his powerlessness, and the ugliness of his life.Karim Shaaban
The Light ThiefWhen the essence of Love is snatched from someone and locked away in a vessel with no name , what happens to those persons and how do they change? How can the broken hearted souls break that curse and recover from their pain? Can they regain their spark by overcoming dark supernatural forces? Eva Daoud
UnExposedEmily is grappling with depression when a discovery from her past changes her world.Vahid Keshavarz
My Dad MarieMarie & Charlie navigate their Parent/Child relationship in the early stages of Marie’s Transition.Maj Jukic
Baby TeethWith the help of her childhood best friend, Ana sets out to fulfill her mother’s last wish: bury her corpse in the woods. Sonya Chwyl, Anik Desmarais-Spencer
Safe SpaceFilmmaker Leon Oldstrong takes viewers on a deeply personal journey through his experiences with racism. He illustrates how white people absolve themselves from racism by dissociating from ‘traditional’ racist behaviours whilst excusing more subtle forms as something else. He explores how so-called white liberals display their disapproval of the black body as black people are made to feel they don’t belong in the places that were allocated to them, where communities were formed and havens from racism were established.
With testimonials from a range of individuals with different experiences of racism from Glenda Caeser who was affected by the Windrush scandal to Reverend Sheridan James, the white Welsh vicar of a majority-black church, Safe Space opens the conversation about race in a way that cannot easily be dismissed.
Leon Oldstrong
ChancesWhen Emma and Michael literally bump into each other by accident, do they take the opportunity to say what they really want to say? Rob Heschl
Not Your Average BearA daring robbery pulled off by the most unlikely of culprits. What an average man will do when pushed to his limits.  Cliff Skelton
SycamoreAn old man spends the day wandering the streets of Istanbul. He communicates with the trees and seagulls rather than other people. All day, he checks the ATMs to find change like a child, even though he does not own an ATM card. He gets happy when he finds money and indignant when he doesn’t. For the old man, life is like a game that has remained from his childhood. And the sycamore leaves are a part of this innocent game. 
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