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Inside the closing night of RUFF, the 15th annual film fest of graduating Ryerson film students

Elle Canada
Culture

Inside the closing night of RUFF, the 15th annual film fest of graduating Ryerson film students

Film still from Pretty Thing. Directed by Matthew De Filippis and Elisia Mirabelli.

The Monday night finale of RUFF—the 15th annual Ryerson University film fest— was a vast, awe-inspiring glimpse of what’s to come in Canadian cinema. The three-day fest, held at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, showcased 25 shorts by the graduating film class of the School of Image Arts. What happens when unbounded creativity meets hard work and a stage to showcase it all, these films are proof that this batch of talented emerging filmmakers is undoubtedly one to watch. Here’s a roundup of the films that premiered on day three of the festival, which ran from June 2-4 this year. Life Doesn’t Frighten Me A young girl faces a terrifying mix of pre-pubescent injustice—think mean girls, menstruation—while her grandfather, a charming appearance by a little-known Canadian actor named Gordon Pinsent, tries to comfort and embolden her with a humour and grace that could save the world. The beauty of this short is in the tiny but skewering ironies—like how a confused pug can make everything better without even trying. Dir. Stephen Dunn. Frontier A visually stunning portrait of colonial life, this short traces the banality of simpler times when a few moments of human weakness attempt to disrupt the monotony. Moving with a swift and subtle grace, the film follows a young woman, played with startling conviction by Linzee Barclay, who seeks comfort in her priest, whose own doubts threaten to crumble the devout faith upon which their tangled lives are built. Dir. Jessica Adams. Click through for more RUFF film picks! Pretty Thing The trouble with butterflies is also their allure: an impermanent beauty that cannot be held captive. Directors Matthew De Filippis and Elisia Mirabelli use this metaphor to define the lost love that continues to haunt a spurned lover into his old age. Though we’re never really told why he’s been rejected—probably her fear of an imprisoning kind of love—her lingering presence remains delicately and beautifully preserved in his memories. Dirs. Matthew De Filippis and Elisia Mirabelli. Rabbits & Coathangers The unintentional hilarity of this doc—about the obsession with collecting Cabbage Patch Kids—lies in revealing onscreen confessions that “doll is a four-letter word.” Surrounded by thousands of those pudgy, chipmunk-cheeked smiles, the collectors—adults, including a male and a historian—share an a unconditional love for these foam-filled babies, a collection which quickly multiplies “like rabbits and coathangers,” as well as a godlike reverence for their creator, Xavier Roberts. Dir. Selka Carruthers. Honourable mentions 1. In The City, a world where superheroes are also self-indulgent, pension-siphoning government employees, the best one-liner comes from a female citizen, countering their overarching machoistic strength: “I Jazzercize, bitch!” Dir. Emily Goode. 2. The sepia and blue-toned lighting that bathes the city of Detroit in A Good Man is Hard to Find proves that while poverty, crime and hopelessness are rampant, a world drenched in colour and childlike play can provide a temporary escape. Dir. Isa Benn. 3. The clay-animated creation myth of Where Birds Come From: what happens when whimsical, otherwordly Tim Burton characters come to life under the rhythmic cadence of a Dr. Seuss-style narrator, set against an idyllic, Van Gogh-inspired backdrop. Dir. Mackenzie Hartidge; Key animator Dennis Mason. 4. The magic of cinematography illuminates the eerie stillness of nightfall as an Adonis-like male uses indistinguishable calculations to navigate his father in world where everything is quickly fading to black in The Architecture of the Moon. Dir. Kyle Sanderson.
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Inside the closing night of RUFF, the 15th annual film fest of graduating Ryerson film students