Fantasia International Film Festival 2019 review: ‘BORN OF WOMAN’ shorts program scares up attention once again.

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From the Netherlands, Yfke Van Berckelaer’s single-take LILI (North American Premiere) is a mini masterclass in performance and ascension where an actress’ audition grows increasingly less comfortable with every line read.

If you’ve ever been in an audition as a woman, there are moments when direction slides effortlessly into manipulation. This short rebalances the scales with a bite.


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New Zealand gifts us Hweiling Ow’s gloriously strange and disturbing womb-rocker VASPY (World Premiere), in which a pregnant woman develops new kinds of cravings and realizes that she may be eating for more than two.

Pregnancy is weird enough without adding a supernatural element. If you’ve ever heard of the Pica, this is next level. Utterly unsettling.


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From Australia, Mia’kate Russell’s award-winning MAGGIE MAY (Canadian Premiere) is a stylish and sharp-witted black comedy about apathy that sees two sisters trying to reform bonds following their mother’s death, with unexpectedly gruesome results.
This shocking film is actually difficult to watch. It causes a visceral reaction of anger and panic. It’s truly disturbing.


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A young woman hides a recent terminal diagnosis from her friends as they embark on a road trip. They pick-up a stranger and grisly new paths of possibility are revealed in Adele Vuko’s fantastic THE HITCHHIKER (International Premiere).
This unexpected film is cooly lit with quick-witted dialogue. The story is bonkers fun.


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The U.K. delivers THE ORIGINAL (Canadian Premiere), a dark, crushing, science-fiction drama about romantic sacrifice and extreme choices from Mexican filmmaker Michelle Garza Cervera.
Shot in glowing black & white, this sci-fi short has little dialogue but big impact in visual storytelling. Science, love, and morality are all tested.


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From the USA, Mary Dauterman’s WAKEY WAKEY (International Premiere) is an imaginative anti-love story fever-dream.
This 3 minute short packs a lot in. If you’ve ever had any sort of dream dictionary cliche this one will instantly resonate with you.


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Stefanie Abel Horowitz’s SOMETIMES, I THINK ABOUT DYING (International Premiere) is a darkly humorous and touching tale of interpersonal alienation that turned many a head at this year’s Sundance.

Something about this film is hauntingly beautiful. We’ve all felt utter sadness and this film somehow captures that feeling with a pureness that should absolutely be rewarded. Seek this one out.


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A young teen’s first period stirs her curiosity of local legends in Erica Scoggins’ masterfully directed, award-winning THE BOOGEYWOMAN (Quebec Premiere), a standout at Clermont-Ferrand.

A girl’s first period comes with a mysterious urban legend that lurks too close. This short’s audio and dark lighting give you goosebumps.


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Self-taught Canadian visual artist Valerie Barnhart’s devastatingly powerful GIRL IN THE HALLWAY (North American Premiere) is an innovatively animated true-crime poetry slam as nightmarish witness testimony that recently floored audiences at Annecy. Made over a period of three years as an addressment of the inaction that allows the crisis of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women to persist. Few films pack such raw, emotional force. You’ll barely be able to speak afterwards – Mitch Davis

This stop-motion marvel will break your heart within the first two minutes. It taps into the heart of every parent’s guilt. If you don’t already subscribe to the Snap Judgement podcast, this is one hell of an introduction to the power of live storytelling meeting cinema.

 

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