Short films have been a way for independent filmmakers to taste the fame and notoriety associated with the Oscars. Each year, five live-action and five animated shorts are chosen to participate in the annual ceremony. So, how do you get nominated? Step one comes in getting qualified. Thousands of short films are winnowed down to hundreds by appearing at film festivals throughout the year, including HollyShorts and the Palm Springs Shorts Festival. Here are four qualified films from Canada hoping to compete in April.
From writer/director Alicia K. Harris, Pick stars young actress Hazel Downey as a girl who wears her afro to school and must deal with the unexpected consequences. Lorry Kikta says, “While Pick is only about 10 minutes long, it speaks volumes about the black femme experience…So that all the Karens and Chads in the world may begin to understand what effect their casual mindless racism has on BlPOC.” Pick Full Review
A financially struggling man comes up with a scam to better the lives of his family. It’s simple, throw yourself in front of a car and collect the insurance money. Who better to play the “victim” than mom? But what does mom think? Directed by Kaveh Mazaheri, “much of the story is the tension created by Sarah’s hesitance to go through with the scam and Majid’s assurances that it won’t be bad.” Funfair Full Review
Recovery is a long road, and for Cameron, he’s reached a five-year sober milestone. The problem is he fell off the wagon the day before the celebration in Philip Thomas’ Cake Day. Alan Ng says the short film is “a powerful exercise of building empathy.” Cake Day Full Review
Simon Gionet’s Cayenne plays on one’s fears of working the nightshift at a gas station in the middle of nowhere when a suspicious customer comes to your window, asking for help. What do you do? Is this how you want to spend what could be the last day of your life. Gionet will stir up your anxieties in this 11-minute thriller. Cayenne Full Review