Three partner organizations, the National Film Board of Canada  (NFB), Telefilm Canada  and Quebec’s Société de développement des entreprises culturelles  (SODEC), have joined their efforts so that audiences across Canada can take part this year in The Shortest Day Short Film Celebration , an event started by the Centre national du cinéma et de l’image  (CNC) in France that has now spread to some 20 other countries. This free event, dedicated to the promotion and screening of short films, is a first for North America and is presented with the support of the CNC. It offers an entertaining way of welcoming the winter solstice—the shortest day of the year—on December 21.
The Shortest Day Short Film Celebration will feature screenings of more than 30 Canadian shorts organized into four thematic programs: Kids, Family, Comedy/Dark Humour and Festival Films. These films reflect the diversity of this very contemporary art form, a genre that is becoming more and more popular in this era of Facebook, YouTube and smartphones. From Newfoundland and Labrador to Yukon, more than 60 participating venues—mainly movie theatres, cultural centres, associations, festivals and libraries—will join the event and hold screenings of one or several of the four thematic programs. It’s an opportunity to discover films and filmmakers close to home—whether you like going to the movies alone, with family or with friends.
“Telefilm Canada is very pleased that this event is taking short films to larger audiences across the country,” said Michel Roy, Chair of Telefilm Canada. Through initiatives such as The Shortest Day and Not Short on Talent , Telefilm promotes Canadian talent around the world. On December 21, we’ll have the opportunity to discover some of tomorrow’s leading filmmakers, given that many of those who direct short films at the start of their careers go on to become feature-film directors.”
“With support from Telefilm Canada and SODEC, and with our networks, The Shortest Day is one more way of letting people learn about our creative talents and providing access to their accomplished, amazing and often avant-garde works,” added Tom Perlmutter, Government Film Commissioner and NFB Chairperson.
“From Baie-Comeau to Alma, by way of Rimouski and Sherbrooke, movie lovers of all ages will have the chance to discover a variety of creative and fascinating movie worlds during The Shortest Day,” said Doris Girard, Chair of SODEC. “We are particularly pleased by the extraordinary response to the initiative from movie theatres across Quebec. They have shown a keen interest in short films by including this day dedicated to short film in their programming. SODEC appreciates the support that exhibitors are giving to short films and thanks them for their participation.”
On the menu, a bold and interesting line-up of films in all genres, premieres and award-winners, all worth seeing—or seeing again. These include:
- Gloria Victoria, by Theodore Ushev, and Subconscious Password, by Chris Landreth, two works produced by the National Film Board of Canada and both award-winners at the Festival d’Annecy and on the shortlist of 10 shorts in the running for a 2014 Oscar nomination;
- Chef de meute (Herd Leader), by Chloé Robichaud, in competition at the Festival de Cannes, 2012;
- Joanna Makes a Friend, by Jeremy Lutter, Audience Choice Award, TIFF Kids International Film Festival, 2012;
- Life Doesn’t Frighten Me, by Stephen Dunn, winner of the CBC’s Short Film Face Off, 2013;
- Mémorable moi (Remember Me), by Jean-François Asselin, Télé-Québec Audience Award at the Festival du cinéma international en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, 2013;
- Merci mon chien (It’s a Dog’s Life), by Julie Rembauville and Nicolas Bianco-Levrin, a France-Canada coproduction, Audience Award, Festival de cinéma pour enfants de Québec (FCEQ), 2013; and
- Seconds, by Jordan Canning, winner of the RBC Emerging Filmmakers Competition, Toronto International Film Festival, 2012.
At the same time The Shortest Day Short Film Celebration unfolds in Canada, six homegrown short films will be shown in France during its event on December 21, under the title Je suis reject. A wonderful opportunity for audiences abroad to discover talented Canadian filmmakers who have been honoured at the Oscars and in Berlin, Cannes, Toronto and Annecy.