These days our entire online world is abuzz with rapid-fire communication, and moving-image "clips" tend to last about the length of a commercial break. Thank heavens there are content creators out there who are treating their communications so seriously that they are making fabulous, artistic, big-screen-worthy cinema! The short-film format has been around since the dawn of cinema, but never has it been so relevant.
All of the individual shorts listed here screen in one of four featured International Shorts programs, which you will also find on this list.
In the Dark Reaches of the Soul
Love, Pain and the Whole Damn Thing
What Defines Reality?
Films in this Series
First he stole her breakfast, then he wouldn’t let her on the bus… why doesn’t she do anything about it? (This project was produced with Reel Youth mentors and the support of the United Way.)
Edon has to find 5 euros, in any way he can.
A boy has a date with the girl of his dreams, but maybe he shouldn’t have eaten that leftover burrito first…
Life looks a little different when you’re wearing a leash.
After years of familiarity, could one small act and phrase rekindle a love’s lost romance?
Two estranged sisters are reunited at their childhood home, where the gulf between them, simmering resentments and long lost bonds emerge.
A vegetable merchant with a bullhorn. Two women on a bench. The intersection of life’s frustrations and melancholic comedy.
When a Marine returns from combat severely wounded, he and his young wife face imposing changes to their lives.
Spoken-word artist Shane Koyczan gives us a new perspective on Charlie Chaplin.
Retired police profiler Ricardo passes his days mired in boredom, which is manifested in an ambiguous morality and a dark secret fetish.
When elderly Ingrid offers old friend Gavin some cherry cake in exchange for his help with the yard work, it’s only one of the delights on the table.
An innocent stop at a coffee bar goes sideways after an unexpected encounter with an old flame.
A poetic folk tale of two scientists sampling deformities around Chernobyl, guided by a Ukrainian folk choir and the spirits of an irradiated forest.
Daniel and his reckless high-society teen friends celebrate his birthday to excess, and of course bad things happen.
Faye Farber, 85 years old, has a movie star attitude and whole lot of spirit. (This project was produced with Reel Youth mentors and the support of Revera.)
A day in the life of José María, a bus driver/drag-queen-performer/family man utterly comfortable in the contradictory worlds he lives in.
This program of shorts highlights stellar acting, and demonstrates how vital this is to the success of a film as a whole, whether a two-hander or an ensemble piece.
As his wife prepares brunch on a Saturday morning, Harvey slumps into his chair and tells her about an eerie and frightening dream he had.
What’s it like growing up transgender? Five transgender young people talk about what life has been like for them.
A program of beautiful, haunting and often disturbing short films—though sometimes in these dark reaches we find hope.
A new worker’s first night of mortuary pickup turns into more than he bargained for.
In this beautiful and disturbing period piece, a family faces a dramatic decision on a night that will be remembered always.
In a must-win situation a soccer team’s manager struggles to win the game on his own terms.
A young man, awoken by his parents, is suddenly confronted by a highly disturbing litany of confessions from them that call into question his very existence.
Joan Cheever builds a stronger community, one three-course meal at a time.
A young boy, an old woman, a little house in Iran, and the unstoppable rain.
Two base-jumpers discover how far they are willing to go to honour the memory of a close friend.
How far will imagination go to hold on to love deeply rooted?
Delinquent teenager Donnie ends up back in a juvenile detention facility, caught in a perennial cycle of conflict he seems unable to break.
A compelling story of the lengths a father will go to for the love of his child, set to Alexi Murdoch’s "Orange Sky."
A program of short films about love, from romantic to tragic, its intoxication and heartbreak, its consequences and, oh yes, its responsibilities.
Cecil the mantis goes on his terrifying first date. (This project was produced at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment.)
Sebastian’s reflections on the transcendent love he feels for his wife and soul-mate, Clara, encompass infatuation through obsession to possessiveness.
In the Canadian arctic, a man is haunted by a young girl that the rest of the country has forgotten. (This project was produced with the guidance of Reel Youth mentors at Inuvik Youth Centre.)
An emergency-services operator fields a call from a desperate young mother whose house is on fire.
A teenaged boy uses time travel in a series of attempts to come out to his crush—but does practice make perfect? (This project was produced with Three Dollar Bill Cinema.)
A determined photographer encounters a seemingly insurmountable string of obstacles…
Stranded on a deserted island, a man and his dog search for a way home.
What would you do if you were a middle-aged man in an unhappy marriage who inadvertently discovered you had two weeks to live?
VIFF is proud to partner with Reel Youth, which has pulled together an insightful, compelling and humorous collection of international youth-made shorts. Chosen by a youth-selection team from 700+ submissions from 20 countries, the festival shows us the world through fresh eyes. Whether an Indian psychological thriller, a Georgian music video about love and diversity, or an Australian romantic comedy about insects, laughing and learning are guaranteed.
As an older couple in a dull, routine relationship play a game of scrabble, the words they spell out seem to imply hidden desires.
Having been nurtured and accepted as a gay man by his parents, Joshua finds the courage to confess that he’s actually not…
For one man in India, the experience of sharing an elevator with a stranger has drastic psychological consequences.
When Sami breaks into a house, he is confronted by Sophia, who lures him into her bathtub—where things get even more surreal.
A woman and a man meet in an abandoned opera house, where they embark on a magical pas de deux between time and space.
For a lonely man, an online relationship has helped him mask his cruel speech impediment.
A young girl, ignored by her volatile, separated parents, does increasingly desperate things to earn money for a school trip to the aquarium.
A fifteen-year-old filmmaker’s award-winning neuroscience research correlates music and images with the selective triggering of emotional states. In this film she uses her discoveries to challenge the traditional division between science and art.
A trip to Romania is like a trip back in time for a stylish woman, who seems out of place in what has become a poor and impoverished country.
An exemplary employee in an old Swiss archive starts responding to all orders with, "I would prefer not to." Melville’s famous phrase has fatal consequences.
A hit-man sees his day go from bad to worse when his principles are tested by a kid, an uncooperative housewife and a nosy neighbour.
The fading star of a resident acting company desperately clings to the past when the theatre owner considers renting out the place.
A journey through adolescence—that runs into the edges of a small town.
A meeting with a Holocaust survivor (Eli Wallach, in his last performance) teaches a self-involved young man that life can change in a moment.
Alice, now a woman, awakes in a magical land with no idea how she got there, and her very life is at stake if she cannot escape.
Following the untimely passing of her mother, a middle-aged woman struggles to cope with caring for her elderly father in their family home.
An Australian and a Turkish soldier encounter one another between the Turkish trenches during WW1.
These days, you don’t need to be on TV to find fame and fortune as a musician.
A series of sticky notes make for a very difficult workday.
This program of shorts probes the title question, as well as what can influence our world views and sense of self.