Big Stars, Short Form at TIFF

Posted by Brandy Dean October 8, 2014 0 Comment 4922 views

Hot on the heels of the introduction of the new Short Cuts International short film programme at the Toronto International Film Festival (in addition to the annual Short Cuts Canada), TIFF is introducing short films into the year round programming at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. The monthly shorts offering launches on Thursday, October 9 with Big Stars, Short Form at 6:30 pm.

The conventional wisdom regarding short films centers around the piece being a showcase for promising new voices. This is mostly true – hey, it’s easier to finance a 10 minute film than a 120 minute film, right? But this initial shorts programme in the new TIFF series turns that notion upside down by featuring short films made by big names and known talents. The pay off is immense.

Trouble and the Shadowy Death Blow

From director Stephanie Laing, this short stars Tony Hale (Arrested Development, Veep) as Jim Funkle, a promising food scientists whose career is destroyed by a terrible accident. His attempts to redeem himself are thwarted by bullies and naysayers until a twist of fate grants him some mysterious powers.

Much like many of his other roles, Hale is the perfect everyman – if the everyman is totally mediocre and thoroughly average. For anyone who’s been knocked down a few times (in other words, everyone), Laing creates a darkly funny, wry look at the cost of being a dreamer.

The Human Voice


The Human Voice, from director  Eduardo Ponti and starring the magnificent Sophia Loren, is the crown jewel of this programme. Adapted from a play by Jean Cocteau, the film is the tale of late life love and love lost. Taking place in a single apartment, with a few flashbacks to happier times, Loren’s character clings to the last gasps of love via the telephone.

The film is beautiful and heartbreaking and proves that Loren, while no longer a sex symbol, has the acting prowress to rivet an audience.

Three Stones for Jean Genet


30 years ago rock icon Patti Smith collected stones for Jean Genet. Fate dictated that she never got to deliver them. Three Stones for Jean Genet, co-directed by Smith and Frieder Schlaich, documents her visit the grave of Genet in Morocco to deliver the promised cargo. Clocking in at just 7 minutes, the film is a super-short but no mere trifle. Fans of Patti Smith will love it but so will anyone who has born the burden of a thwarted promise.

Satellite Beach


This goofy but charming little film proves that Luke Wilson is more than a pretty face. Wilson plays Warren Flowers, a guy whose tasked with the delivery of the space shuttles Endeavour and Atlantis to their new homes at the California and Kennedy Space Centers.

Co-directed by Luke Wilson and brother Andrew, Satellite Beach is a celebration of dreaming – whether those dreams are quite valid or not. It’s a lovely little film and a fine example of the magic that can be achieved by investing in the short form.

For more information and to purchase tickets for Big Stars, Short Form, visit

About Brandy Dean

Social media consultant, blogger for hire, and lover of classic movies and silent films.

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