The official selections for the 5th annual Toronto Urban Film Festival (TUFF) were announced today at a press conference held on the southbound platform of the Dundas subway station and attended by TTC Chair Karen Stintz.
Sixty-three silent, one-minute films made the cut from over 370 works submitted from Canada and around the world. TUFF runs September 9 – 18, 2011 on the Onestop network of digital platform screens located across the Toronto subway system. Unique in North America, TUFF screens a variety of genres at 10 minute intervals throughout the day. Also announced at the press conference were two new initiatives: Urban Screens: Creating for an Urban Public panel discussion, and The Screening Room – both located at The Drake Hotel.
“TTC customers get so engrossed in the TUFF experience that it isn’t unusual for them to miss their train,” said TTC Chair Karen Stintz. “We know that this year will be no exception given the calibre of filmmaking we have seen so far.”
“We’re pleased to broadcast TUFF,” added Michael Girgis, President and CEO of Onestop Media Group. “It’s an experience unlike any other and a way for everyday commuters to see new film art and animation.” Onestop continues the tradition, started in the festival’s third year, of providing places for commuters to watch films uninterrupted. This year’s designated “Film Zones” are located on the north and south platforms of Bloor station, as well as at Dundas and St. Andrew stations.
TUFF selections were chosen by jury members Angie Driscoll (CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival; Hot Docs) and Guillermina Buzio (Inside Out; Planet in Focus). The top three films of the festival, as well as the winner of the Naish McHugh Award for Emerging Filmmakers, will be selected by Canadian filmmaker, Atom Egoyan (Chloe, Exotica) and presented at a special awards ceremony on Sunday, September 18th.
“I am overwhelmed by the talent and sense of visual invention in the entries. TUFF is an amazing platform for new work, and it’s certainly ‘the better way’ when it comes to expanding a film audience,” said Atom Egoyan.
Although it may look dead simple, it’s not easy to make a TUFF film.
“Filmmakers must work within a tightly constrained list of criteria,” noted Sharon Switzer, TUFF’s Executive Director. “Not only are films one-minute in length but they are also silent. This results in some very interesting artistic choices.”
TUFF 2011 highlights include:
- a minute – James Newman, Mont Royal, Canada 2011 – A silent film with a visual beat.
- Courtship – Alison Davis, Winnipeg, Canada 2008 – A relationship blooms and then goes into decline. A water colour animation based on family photographs.
- Dystopia – Igor Bastidas, Caracas, Venezuela 2011 – A stylized and symbolic journey though a dystopic urban landscape.
- FLIP HOP – che kothari x elicser x skam Toronto, Canada 2011 – Based on a series of flip books in tribute to the amazing talents of local hip hop practitioners.
- Fresh Start – Richard B. Pierre, Toronto, Canada 2011 – A different perspective on life changes one man’s world.
- Haircut – Terry O’Neil and Tara Cooper, Toronto, Canada 2011 – Time for a haircut in the market.
- Hang Tough – James Schryer, Toronto, Canada 2009 – A snapshot of Toronto’s Queen Street West, filmed on a 1960’s 16mm Bell and Howell.
- Her House – Laura Zaylea, Atlanta, USA 2011 – An exploration of a house created by an adept experimental filmmaker.
- Shoeshop – Mai Phuong Pham and Ha Thanh Phung, Hanoi, Vietnam 2011 – A youngster works as a shoe seller on Le Duan St., a busy street in Hanoi.
- Woodland – Claire Bennett, Toronto, Canada 2011 – An unusual visual tale of a babe in the woods.
Viewers are encouraged to cast their vote for the TUFF Viewers’ Choice Award. Starting today, films can be viewed and voted on, with the top 10 picks being screened on Saturday, September 17th. The film with the most votes wins a new iPad2.
On Friday, September 16th, the work of renowned Toronto video artist, Stephen Andrews, is featured in a special ‘Spotlight’ program celebrating Trinity Square Video’s 40th anniversary.
New to this year’s program is Urban Screens: Creating for an Urban Public, a lively panel discussion featuring Rebecca Carbin (Public Art, City of Toronto), Angie Driscoll (CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival; Hot Docs) and Janine Marchessault (Faculty of Film, York University). Urban Screens takes place at The Drake Hotel – Underground, Wednesday, September 14th at 6:00 p.m. Admittance is free.
TUFF has also partnered with The Drake Hotel to present The Screening Room. Relax, kick-back and enjoy 67 minutes of back-to-back TUFF. The Screening Room takes place Friday, September 16th to Sunday, September 18th from 11 AM to 5 PM in Room 222. Admittance is free.