Still image from Reclamation

Programmers’ Picks – Stephanie Berrington, Short Film Programmer

Programmers’ Picks are back and our final pick is by Short Film Programmer Stephanie Berrington! Check out all of our Programmers’ Picks on the GFF Blog!

Still image from Ink in MilkThematic Shorts Program #2 – A Look in the Mirror

As I was working out the thematic shorts programs, I kept referring to this one as the “selfie” program. While the new title is much nicer (thanks for the suggestion, Aaron!), I liked the subtle gendered connotations of the working title – selfies were for a long time associated predominantly with young women and derided for being a sign of vanity, a need to be constantly affirmed by others, to see yourself reflected back to you. This program attempts to counteract the internalized culture-wide sexism that causes us to discount the experiences and opinions of young women as silly and inconsequential, by privileging the stories and voices of (primarily young) women instead.

Eight of the nine films in this program are directed by woman filmmakers. Each of the films explores the self and its relation to others – whether through our physical presence as bodies existing in space and time (of various shapes, sizes, chromosomes, and colours), our art practice and our emotional and intellectual response to the art of others, or the way we subjectively come to perceive and understand the world through our unique brain chemistry and personal histories.

As Gernot Wieland’s narrator says in “Ink in Milk,” “how we place our bodies in relation to each other is the start of politics.” But bodies, in all their genders and colours and sizes, do not paint the whole picture and this program takes us beyond the bodily experience to one that is soulful and artful and hopefully highly empathetic. Buy your tickets here!



Still image from The GOOSEThe Goose
dir. Mike Maryniuk
Due to a series of lucky scheduling coincidences, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this movie at festivals across the world and each time it has this wonderful ability to transport me right back home to Manitoba. It is just so Manitoba (I say that lovingly!) – so full of familiar faces and places and cinematic nods to other local films. It’s like taking a bike ride through West Broadway in July, running into old pals in the parking lot of Safeway on River and ending up at the old haunt together, drinking unremarkable pints of Fort Garry Dark at Cousins. The colours and set design are dazzlingly good and seeing it at home in Manitoba’s Interlake after a recent move across the country seems just right to me. Buy your tickets here!



Still image from ReclamationReclamation, a short film by Thirza Cuthand

This short mockumentary by Thirza Cuthand constructs a vision of a future devastated by climate change, in which white people have fled to Mars leaving Indigenous folks behind to heal Earth. The film and its subjects imagine a queer utopia characterized by healing from environmental destruction, capitalism, heteronormativity, and colonialism. Balancing between scathing and inspiring (and so funny!), Thirza’s film and the entire Visions of the End thematic shorts program should not be missed. Buy your tickets here!



Still image from Killing Patient ZeroKilling Patient Zero
dir. Laurie Lynd

This is a fairly straightforward film that packs a seriously devastating punch. Laurie Lynd’s documentary is made up of a series of interviews with people connected to and impacted by the AIDS epidemic in the ‘80s and the person who’s been blamed for bringing it to North America – Patient Zero aka Gaetan Dugas, a French-Canadian gay steward working for Air Canada. The moving testimonies of those involved, from friends and colleagues of Gaetan to CDC employees and medical researchers (all generally interesting and often endearing narrators), paint a sensitive and deeply human picture of a generation-wide tragedy and its unjustly appointed villain. Buy your tickets here!



Still image from Nap TimeIFA Shorts

I haven’t yet seen all the films Roger Boyer has included in this program, but every year the Indigenous Filmmakers’ Association offers an excellent selection of films during the IFA Shorts screening at GFF. Always an eclectic mix of works by local talent, this screening is sure to be fun! Buy your tickets here!



Check out Stephanie Berrington’s playlist she made inspired by her top pick from GFF 2018!