10 must-see short films from Storyhive's 2018 edition
Storyhive has only been around since 2013, but the program has already changed the game for emerging filmmakers in Western Canada.
Storyhive is a talent incubator and community-driven competition that’s funded some of the most daring and exciting web series, digital shorts, and music videos of the last several years: projects like NarcoLeap, Coded, Akashi, and Inconceivable.
On September 6, Storyhive released its latest batch of digital shorts created by filmmakers in British Columbia and Alberta.
Here are 10 of our favourites, all crafted by local filmmakers.
These 10 films don’t have much in common – there are documentaries, comedies, dramas, and genre fare – but each and every one of them has us excited about the future of visual storytelling in BC.
A Visitor’s Review
A teen girl who feels very much like an alien gets the chance to watch movies with an alien of the extraterrestrial variety. Funny and self-aware, A Visitor’s Review leans into, and then dismantles, genre film tropes, while also addressing larger themes like what it means to be an “other” and how it feels to be misrepresented on screen.
Eva Brownstein’s documentary introduces audiences to a group of Syrian women who came to Vancouver as refugees and found agency and community through Tayybeh, a catering company that forges bonds through food. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself ravenously hungry for hummus and chicken biryani shortly after the credits roll.
A Typical Fairytale
A Typical Fairytale isn’t your typical fairytale – but we hope it will be, and soon. Director Annette Reilly spins an impactful yarn – in rhyming couplets, no less! – about Queen Sherry, King Larry, and their child, the last of whom isn’t the princess the parents were expecting. Amy Fox (The Switch) shines as a Fairy Godmother who advises Queen Sherry during a moment of intense introspection. We’re not going to lie: we wept. A lot. Disney, take note; this is the kind of fairytale we want to see given the feature film treatment.
If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if Vivian from I Love You So Much It’s Killing Them and Rita from Inconceivable were matched on a dating app and met up for a date, wonder no more, ’cause AutoMate has got you covered – okay, it’s not explicitly that, but AutoMate’s stars Alex Duncan and Katie Stuart won awards for their work in those previous This Is A Spoon productions (Duncan a Leo Award; Stuart at HollyWeb Festival), and it’s a treat to see these two powerhouses working together in this short about a date gone sideways, especially in a production like this where everything – including writing, production design, and chemistry – is on point.
Pookmis digs into local First Nations lore to tell the story of an Indigenous man who is lost to the city and his younger sister’s efforts to bring him home. Says one of Pookmis’ characters about Vancouver: “The stories say it rains here so much because the land is constantly trying to wash itself clean.” This film challenges how addiction is portrayed on screen and we are here for it.
The Rarest Drug on Earth
The Rarest Drug on Earth offers a mind-blowing glimpse into important work that’s being done right here in Vancouver to fight cancer cells – and possibly eradicate them altogether. The short doc introduces audiences to Actinium 225, a chemical element borne of the decay of nuclear weapons material that has been proven to wreak havoc on cancer cells. It’s also extremely rare, and scientists are looking for a cleaner, better way to make Actinium 225 – and the solution might be located within a Vancouver-based cyclotron.
The Day We Met
This deeply moving film – about a Korean adoptee who seeks out his birth mother at the same time that he is contemplating fatherhood – is based on writer and actor Lee Shorten’s real-life experience. “Whether he meets the mother or not is not the point, and I really love how it’s not an ‘Oh, they meet again, how lovely’ kind of story,” says Mayumi Yoshida (Akashi), who co-directed The Day We Met with Nach Dudsdeemaytha. Read more about the film in our recent interview with the directors here.
Karaoke Mamas marks the filmmaking debut of dynamite actresses and real-life sisters, Andrea Bang (Kim’s Convenience) and Diana Bang (The Interview). The sisters wanted to showcase a character we don’t often see in mainstream media: the middle-aged Korean Canadian woman. The result is one of the most delightful offerings in this crop of Storyhive shorts: about a trio of BFFs who enter a karaoke contest to win a new television.
The Logging Road
A young cop patrolling a desolate Northern BC highway at night notices a vehicle making an unexpected turn down a logging road, and decides to follow it. What ensues is a heart-pounding and incredibly effective study in fear – and what it means to be isolated in every sense – that will probably keep you up at night. Sleep well!
Gong Ju is a standout in this Storyhive edition, and of 2018 in general. The film follows a Korean teen named Gong Ju who’s sent to Canada after a video of her assault on a fellow student goes viral. We know that doesn’t sound very funny, but trust us: the film vibrates with moments of raw hilarity. As Gong Ju, Iris Hwang lifts the role above the bully cliché, inspiring empathy even when you don’t want to empathize with her.
Watch all of the Storyhive films here.
For more about Storyhive, visit http://www.storyhive.com.