TADFF 2019: Canadian Shorts After Dark

Toronto After Dark Film Festival

Imagine a World (2019)

Imagine A World

Director (and writer): Joanna Tsanis

Cast: Gina O. James, Tevin Wolfe, Rob Notman

Imagine A World tells the story of a brother and sister who lets in a door to door salesman hoping to offer them a plan for a new internet and phone service much faster than the current on they have to find that he will not take no for an answer.

Imagine A World works in a few folds. The first is the horror which is set on the mysterious salesman who is very persistent. While he does feel a bit bizarre through the whole conversation, which will be revealed to be within reason, the horror it brings is of letting in a stranger into too much of the personal information and letting them into the house and the disadvantage of overinformation as a cautionary tale. At the same time, the other side of the spectrum works as to how technology has powered a good part of our life and the necessity of it even the neglect of the importance of having a functional phone signal in a world where actual communication is neglected in the majority of the other non-urgent parts of our lives. Packed with some gory bits and a rather psychological atmospheric build-up, Imagine A World works to help build a tense situation of having a stranger and their persistence being the central focus of giving a sense of fear and possible danger noticed a little too late.

Plainsong (Melopée) (2019)

Plainsong

Director: Alexis Fortier-Gauthier

Cast: Antoine DesRochers, Rosalie Fortier, Antoine L’Ecuyer

Plainsong, originally titles Melopée, is a French-Canadian short film about three friends who go out to a beach house to celebrate St. Jean Baptiste Day when one of them summons a sea creature with a song.

Plainsong is done really well. It goes for about 16 minutes long and pads out quite a decent bit of intrigue although in the heart of French-Canadian cinema also adds in some romance which doesn’t end up having much drama. The short actually works really well and executes its suspense very well probably until the creature reveal which probably could have been done with better poise with a better budget and that ruins the illusion a little. However, using sound as a trigger and having one of the three friends being deaf is a rather common blend as there’s one person that is rather unsure about what is going on while the other one will be disturbed a little more. What does carry here and makes it work is the atmosphere that it gives. For its length, its a little less straightforward than it should be but then, if this were to be expanded into a full feature, this would be a nice concept short film to show an idea that could very well work with much more time to explore these three friends and the sea creature that is summoned. As a short, it lacks a little on both ends whether its the romantic bit or the creature feature bit. A lot of good elements here but put together, its a bit fragmented making the story less effective than it could be.

Moment (2019)

Moment

Director (and writer): Geoffrey Uloth

Cast: Emelia Hellman, Patrick Abellard, Dayane Ntibarikure, Jonathan Bedard, Allan Chou, Jonathan Silver

Moment is about a homeless girl, Charli who is attacked by three masked hoodlums on her way home from a Halloween party when two masked superheroes stop time and help her devise a plan when she wakes up to save herself.

Moment is a spectacular little short. Running at over 20 minutes (which a rarity in shorts that I’ve seen before), this one shows off a fantastic story. Charli is a young adult who lives on the streets with her boyfriend. She’s plays music to pass the time and yet, there’s a hint of the life that she’s left behind and how she struggles with it. Its her own story in this short as she takes the moment in her own hands and saves herself. Not only is it a story about her but its a fun little idea with superheroes that can stop time but can’t change anything, making them break the illusion of the all-powerful, can do everything sort of superhero but one that is honestly there to help but everything still remains in her hands to work with what the moment presents to her. There’s a subtext of what could happen as a follow-up as she also takes that one moment to reflect on the different parts of her life. Moment is a fantastic short and done so very well.

Alaska (2019)

Alaska

Director: Gwynne Phillips, Briana Templeton, Chris Wilson

Cast: Chris Wilson, Gwynne Phillips, Briana Templeton, Paul Beer, Sharjil Rasool, Chris Sandiford

Alaska is a horror comedy about a couple arriving to their friend’s dinner party late and due to his suspicion of being disliked, starts to believe that he is being poisoned.

The charm and stellar points of this short has to go to its script. Although by the last thing before its reveal, its quite obvious what it wants to do, there is such a charm to how dangerous our minds can be especially when one choice can cause everything to spiral out of control. There is also a good group of characters here which are alright and they work well enough, some more deliberately fillers as a means to an end. Still, a fun little short set in Alaska which remembers to bring it into the equation.

No One Will Believe You (2019)

No One Will Ever Believe You

Director (and writer): Frédéric Chalté

Cast: Mandy St-Jacques Turpin, Emilie Lovitt, Maryline Chery

Most kids believed that they had monsters under their bed at one point or another (or in their closet). No One Will Ever Believe You is a horror short that tells the story of a sister who wants to scare her sister on Halloween and when she prepares for it, she notices that there is a monster under the bed planning the same thing.

There’s always this haunting element to using childhood beliefs as the catalyst of any horror event. With this one, the monster under the bed and the whole atmosphere behind it was done really well. Its not that we haven’t quite seen but as something from a third perspective of one character watching another, the whole idea behind it works. Its a bit cheesy at bits and the final part with that one final line was where it breaks the immersion as its not completely necessary. Some things are better left to the audience to deduct which would have given it a much more powerful ending.

Best Friends Forever (2019)

Best Friends Forever

Director: Emily Gagne & Josh Korngut

Cast: Michelle Coburn, Addison Holley, Katelyn Wells, Nicole Samantha Huff, Jen Pogue

Best Friends Forever is a horror short set in 1996 with a group of girls telling the story of Nancy, an outcast in 1970s that was tricked at a party and is now a vengeful spirit haunting teenage girls to find a friend, anyone who lets her into the house. While they were trying to use it as a prank on their friends, it turns out that Nancy actually does exist.

Using legends that come true is rather normal to see in horror stories. Best Friends Forever plays on this with some familiar premise and gathers up a group of girls who share different characteristics. Although this is a short so it quite expands on these characters but it does take the time to give them all different murders each time and keeps it fairly off-screen which also keeps the appearance of Nancy a secret and keeps her appearances rather creepy. They use a tint of neon pink throughout which contrasts well with the dark atmosphere. Best Friends Forever isn’t quite unique but then a lot of its execution is pretty good.

We’re 6!!

Today’s post is going to be short and sweet!

WE’RE 6!!

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In the heart of the next Disney movie in the Baking Through Disney line-up, I just couldn’t resist to use this one as the happy birthday to Tranquil Dreams!

I figured a gif day would be fantastic to just save up my gibberish and these thoughts really capture what my daily moments and possibly the things that started up this blog six years ago!

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Pretty accurate way of saying it. I think a lot and probably overthink much more than I should. The amount of stuff in my head is sometimes incredible. If only, it meant something more and to be honest, having a blog makes those pieces of odd opinions and thoughts have an outlet. Sure, I’m not quite as skillful and write as well and coordinate my thoughts as a lot of you here and I really need to thank you for sticking around because I know I’ve improved and its been fantastic to be blogging with a bunch of such fun and awesome people like you.

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I don’t plan a whole lot for my blog. In fact, the organizing and planning really just started in the last few months. Also, the benefit of making a blog even if that is hard. Then we have living. Do you know how many more reasons I have to go out and embrace being a foodie or going to see a movie or especially checking out all these great events and hiking trails and just having a ton of fun outside of my blog? I never do it deliberately for the blog but it makes me want to experience more and share it with all of you. As much as it seems really odd to say that I’m living more because of owning a blog, I am. I’ve met and collaborated with awesome people, made some cool friends in the process and even started up projects.

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Back to that 2 hours planning thought, six years ago, I started this not really knowing what I was doing. I didn’t know what to write and it started off a pretty personal affair, looking at photography and recipes and just random daily prompt writing and look at what it is now. Not only that, Tranquil Dreams has gone to writing about gaming over at That Moment In, spent a part of of the last year part of That Moment In podcast (also known as The Random Chat Show for a while), then now, I’ve even expanded to our gaming podcast with Elwood Jones, Game Warp. All of this are things I wouldn’t have imagined ever.

I probably talked about this some time before or whatnot but writing in college was those things that my English professors thought I did not have any talent in. If you only saw my marks, man, were they depressingly bad. Its quite a miracle that I’m now writing a blog post every single day. If you aren’t surprised, I’m still embracing that every day and being so happy that you all drop by and check out what I have to say about whatever I choose to write on.

Suffice to say, this blog here has gone through a lot of change in the past year along with the projects I’ve taken on. The experience is irreplaceable and honestly, the last six years have been great for life and just having here as an outlet to have fun and be myself really makes it just so awesome!

Rambling done! To end this…

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THANK YOU SO MUCH! I LOVE YOU ALL!
I have so much for the coming year!
My virtual glass of wine is raised in celebration for the next year in the blogverse!

Photography 101: Moment

Capture a fleeting moment and experiment with blur and movement.

Think about the fleeting moments you experience each day — from a quiet, precious moment with your child to a busy commute through the subway, among strangers. What will you share with us? – The Daily Post

Not exactly a perfect moment but this morning, there was literally a flock of birds fluttering around the evergreen in my backyard. By the time, I got my phone out of my bag and turned on the camera, I only caught the remaining few as they all left for another pine tree in another backyard.

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It was quite an amazing moment because I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many birds in fluttering at the same time so close to me. For my cat, well, that moment was absolute entertainment.  Guess we all had a nice and brief show this morning and we didn’t even need to get out of our house into the cold 😉