Films to look out for at this year’s Vancouver Short Film Festival

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PHOTO: Courtesy of Prapye Srisa-an / Streetcar

By: Izzy Cheung, Arts & Culture Editor

The Poem We Sang (2024) 
Content warning: mentions of genocide. 

Photojournalist, cinematographer, and filmmaker Annie Sakkab unearths the emotions and memories behind forced migration. The documentary delves into a family’s flight from Palestine during the Nakba bombings in 1948, as well as their eventual return to discover their home had been overtaken by settlers. It’s artfully shot in black and white as well as colour, “transforming lifelong regrets into a healing journey of creative catharsis and bearing witness.” 

What Good Canadians Do (2024) 

What Good Canadians Do is a culmination of creative efforts from Mi’kmaw poet Rebecca Thomas, Halifax-based artist Andrea Dorfman, and Indigenous artist Phyllis Grant. The short animated film features an original poem performed by Thomas which holds “Canadians accountable for who they believe, and say, they are.” Despite the topic, it is accompanied by Grant’s colourful, child cartoon-like designs. 

NIGIQTUQ ᓂᒋᖅᑐᖅ (The South Wind) (2023) 

Based on a true story, NIGIQTUQ ᓂᒋᖅᑐᖅ (The South Wind) explores Marguerite, a young Inuk girl, and her life as she moves away from her home in Nunavut. She encounters difficulties in assimilating to the culture of the South until she receives a letter from home that helps her “discover what’s really expected of her.” 

Streetcar (2023) 

Streetcar is a short film that follows an actor’s growth as they adapt to the characters they must present themselves as within their work. Kaylah Zander-Nuñez, a Latinx actor from Vancouver, stars. A key cog in the production of this film is Patrycja Mila Kamska, a Polish Canadian filmmaker who is also an SFU graduate. Follow along as themes of personal discovery are unfurled. 

Tiny (2023) 

Produced by Ellen Reimer, Tiny explores the life of ‘Nakwaxda’xw Elder Colleen Hemphill through intricate clay-based stop-motion animation constructed by Ritchie Hemphill and Ryan Haché. With its delicate designs and poignant retelling of Hemphill’s time growing up on the Pacific Northwest, the film is sure to move audiences of all backgrounds. The film has previously been shown at the DOXA Documentary Film Festival, Short Circuit Pacific Rim Film Festival, Grand River Film Festival, and more. 

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