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Reel Guys TUFF it out Richard Crouse and Mark Breslin get a sneak peek at 10 short films playing on TTC screens

tuff-300x300The Toronto Urban Film Festival begins Friday.

Reel Guys by Richard Crouse and Mark Breslin
Published: September 05, 2011

The Reel Guys take the TTC — usually on the way to a movie — and find that the worst part of the trip is that you can’t watch movies while you wait for the train … until now. Starting on Friday, the Toronto Urban Film Festival will play dozens of movies on the ONESTOP TTC subway platform screens for an estimated audience of 1.3 million daily commuters. The Reel Guys got a sneak peek at 10 of the one minute short films.

Richard: Mark, I liked quite a few of these. A minute from director James Newman is a snapshot of city life from curb level — 60 seconds in the life of the city’s footwear. Is this a fashion parade or a comment on the make-up of the city? You decide.

Mark: In Hang Tough, James Schreyer shoots the current Queen Street scene, including panhandlers and anarcho-hippies, on an old B&W camera, making it feel like lost footage from a far gone era, and linking the scene with Yorkville of the ’60s.

RC: Based on family photographs, Courtship, a watercolour animation by Winnipeg’s Alison Davis, is a poignant look at the beginning and end of a relationship.

MB: Laura Zaylea’s Her House is a deliberately degraded sepia-toned film exploration of a cat, a chair, ancient wallpaper, and some stairs. It could have used a storyline, no matter how slight.

RC: Dystopia, a surreal animated film from Venezuelan director Igor Bastidas, owes a debt to Salvador Dali and Mad Magazine.

MB: In Haircut, by Terry O’Neill and Tara Cooper, a guy gets a haircut in an old fashioned barber shop. Not too interesting, but the camera work and eye popping colour show the filmmakers have talent.

RC: My favourite will probably Rob Ford’s least fave. FLIP HOP by Che Kothari with Elicser & Skamn is an ode to the art of graffiti.  This inventively shot and edited short will make your eyeballs dance.

MB: Shoeshop by Mai Phuong Pham takes place in Hanoi. A shopkeeper plays with his rooster in a shop with shoes piled high to the ceiling. Is the rooster a clever pun? Or dinner, perhaps? A thriller, sort of.

RC: In Fresh Start from Richard B. Pierre a series of optical illusions reignites a heartbroken man’s romantic life. Whimsical and sweet, it tells a complete story in 60 seconds with no sound. Nice.

MB: Woodland by Claire Bennett is a B&W animated tale straight out of the Brothers Grimm. Beautiful to look at — a frightening kid’s tale for all ages.  This one is a complete winner, and I would watch it again and again.

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