CBC’s Short Film Face-Off

I, quite by accident, came across a new program on the CBC-TV. Short Film Face-Off is an hour-long program hosted by our pal, Matt Rainnie. It was my recognition of Matt’s voice on the TV that inclined me to stop and watch.

I guess it’s a contest kind of show, where the best short film of each episode goes on to the next round? But it seems the contesting aspect isn’t a primary focus of the show, which is good. If last night’s episode is indicative of the whole series, then each episode 3 short films are presented (with the each film-maker present in the studio) and a panel of 4 critics/judges/knowledgeable persons? provide comments. I’m assuming it’s the same 4 panelists each episode. Matt keeps the proceedings going.

This is what I was expecting:
– people who were way too serious about film-making talking, preciously, about film.
– holier-than-thou proclamations from the panelists about the lackings of, or brilliance of, aspects of each film.
– boredom

This is what I got:
– people who seemed to enjoy films without being overbearing and pompous about it.
– proclamations from the panelists of likes and dislikes with little to no holier-than-thou-ness
– interest

It seems like a good mix of panelists, and I’m glad that they, each, are not shy about offering negative criticism, and do so with lots of “it’s just my opinion, and not the gospel” kind of attitude, which is nice. I was glad that they allowed themselves enough time, after each short film was presented, to actually discuss the film. Just enough time to get into a bit of discussion without getting boring, and more than just blurbicisms (I may have just coined that phrase? quick, short criticisms like you hear the American Idol judges provide).

Matt’s personable, offers a friendly face to the film-makers should the panelists be too tough, and does a good job of moving things forward. Although, there is the feeling that his hosting duties seem a bit superfluous to the whole proceedings. I would like to see him be involved more, but I don’t know how, or what he could do.

I like that the film-maker is there to talk about their film before it’s presented. And I like that the film-maker pretty much just sits there after the presentation and takes in the criticism. I don’t want to see film-makers defend their decisions too much, so I was happy to have the panelists give their opinions and have the film-makers nod and take those opinions in.

Honestly, I didn’t watch the end of the show. With about 15 minutes of the hour still left, I thought they’d present a fourth film-maker (15 minutes to each), but they didn’t. Matt said that after the break, we’d come back and the panelists would decide which of the three films they liked the best. I wasn’t interested in hearing 15 more minutes of discussion of these films from these people, so I didn’t bother watching. So I can’t comment on that part of the show. I suspect, however, that the final deliberation segment should be shorter.

Will I watch again? Probably not. Not because I didn’t enjoy it, but just because it’s on at a time (Wednesday’s at 7pm) that isn’t a time I usually watch television, and it didn’t move me enough to want to seek it out. If I happen upon it again, though, I’d be more than willing to check it out.

1 Comment

  1. CALL FOR ENTRIES
    12th Annual LA Shorts Fest is the largest short film festival in the world. We are accredited by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences. In past years, 29 participants have earned Academy Award nominations. Last year’s award winners received prizes totaling over $100,000. The festival annually attracts more than 10,000 moviegoers, filmmakers and entertainment executives looking for the hottest new talent. We have honored some of Hollywood’s legends of the past: Charles Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, and Robert Wise; along with actors Martin Landau, James Woods, Gary Oldman and directors Tim Burton, Bryan Singer, Jan de Bont and Paul Haggis.
    DEADLINES:
    Regular: April 25, 2008
    Final: May 26, 2008
    Submit Online: http://www.lashortsfest.com

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