Thursday, October 21, 2010

Writing for short film

How to write a good short film script Marilyn Milgrom, script consultant

Short Film Script: Five Feet and Rising by Peter Sollett

Victor, a twelve year-old boy growing up on New York City's Lower East Side experiences what growing up is all about.

Peter Sollett
Born in Brooklyn in 1976, writer-director Peter Sollett studied film at New York University. He won the Best Short Film Prize at both the Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals in 2000 for "Five Feet High and Rising". It would be the inspiration for his feature film debut "Raising Victor Vargas", a charming coming-of-age comedy set on the Lower East Side of New York City.

Interview with Peter Sollett

Thursday, September 23, 2010

2010 Films - Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

2010 Films - Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Higher Learning Fridays presents David Cronenberg

Join Toronto’s own David Cronenberg and his longtime editor Ron Sanders on September 24 from 11-2pm at TIFF Bell Lightbox as we inaugurate Higher Learning Fridays, our ongoing series of FREE events for university and college students and faculty.

The duo will introduce the screening of Cronenberg’s body-horror masterpiece Videodrome, followed by a Q&A session with students.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Impakt Channel

Impakt Channel, our brand new online database of video and audio art, is open to the public. The intention of Impakt Channel is to host a wide variety of qualitative video and audio works produced by artists around the world. Many of these works were only displayed in galleries, museums or public screenings, but from now on they can also be viewed online anywhere at anytime.

We currently host six works selected from our Impakt Festival 2009 programme including works from Doug Fishbone, Reynold Reynolds, Clorinde Durand, Manuel Saiz, Witte van Hulzen & Sander Breure, and Erikka Nissinen. In the future the plan is to expand the Impakt Channel database with old and new artworks from famous and less famous artists that have been shown before on the Impakt Festival or the Impakt Events.

Impakt Channel makes use of a streaming server to serve the files to your browser and even your mobile phone or iPad! Because Impakt Channel makes use of the new HTML5 standard, we are fully prepared for the future of video streaming.

Impakt Channel can be visited at the following URL:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Old Ways - Screening at TIFF

The Old Ways will have its world premiere at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.

Public Screenings:
09/10/10 9:15pm Isabel Bader Theatre
00/11/10 1:00pm Jackman Hall AGO
Press & Industry Screening:
09/12/10 10:00am Jackman Hall AGO
Tickets go on sale September 3rd. For information please visit

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Canada's short film lineup at TIFF 2010 - Industry Centre - National Screen Institute

Below is the list of Canadian short films chosen for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) 2010.


  • File Under Miscellaneous [Jeff Barnaby]
  • Les fleurs de lge [Vincent Biron]
  • The Legend Of Beaver Dam [Jerome Sable]
  • Manges [Sophie Goyette]
  • Marius Borodine [Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais]
  • La Metropolitaine [Dan Popa]
  • Mokhtar [Halima Ouardiri]
  • On The Way To The Sea [Tao Gu]
  • Poudre [Ky Nam Le Duc]
  • Le Projet Sapporo [Marie-Josee Saint-Pierre]
  • Sophie Lavoie [Anne Mond]
  • La tranche [Claude Cloutier]
  • Vapor [Kaveh Nabatian]


  • Above The Knee [Greg Atkins]
  • The Adders Bite [Firas Momani]
  • Animal Control [Kire Paputts]
  • The Camera and Christopher Merk [Brandon Cronenberg]
  • Eggcellent [Martin Sokol]
  • Green Crayons [Kazik Radwanski]
  • Home: Life Advice [Aaron Phelan]
  • Interregnum [Nick Fox-Gieg]
  • Living History [Isaac Cravit]
  • Love. Marriage. Miscarriage. [Darragh McDonald]
  • The Old Ways [Michael Vass]
  • Open Window [Cam Woykin]
  • Tsunami, Horses and Civilization [Carla Susanto]
  • Turkey [Sara St. Onge]
  • Wapawekka [Danis Goulet]
  • Yesno [Brian D. Johnson]


  • Negativipeg [Matthew Rankin]
  • Warchild [Caroline Monnet]


British Columbia

  • A Fine Young Man [Kevan Funk]
  • Sad Bear [Liz Van Allen Cairns, Joe LoBianco - a Crazy8s film]
  • Woman Waiting [Antoine Bourges]

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mockler Tips: One-Minute Script Exercise

One-Minute Script Exercise

This writing exercise works well for screenwriters of all levels because it challenges the writer in many areas important to screenwriting such as word economy, image, premise, and storytelling. So much of screenwriting relies on the writer being able to say as much as they can in as few words as possible while at the same time developing story, character, and theme.


Go for a walk and take note of all things and people you see. Who do you see in the park or at the hospital or in the school or the doctor’s office or wherever you happen to be? Watch the interactions of the people around you. Make detailed notes. What does their body language say? What do their facial expressions convey? How does the way they dress or the actions they perform provide you with insight into their personalities and relationships?

Next, look for comparisons in these scenes. What does their behaviour remind you of? Are there larger social, economic, religious, or political implications in their actions? Think about the ways you can mine theme from the images you see in the world around you.

One-Minute Script Exercise

1. Write a one-minute film with one location, no dialogue, and no more than three characters.
2. Sound effects may be used, but the story must be told through visuals and action.
3. Ensure that your story is self-contained (avoid writing a scene) and that it has a theme. In other words, your story should mean something outside of itself—it should have a point.
4. The length of your script should not exceed two pages in proper screenwriting format.

Written by Kathryn Mockler

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mockler Tips: Where to Get Feedback in Canada

You’ve just finished your first feature film script and now what do you do? How do you know if it’s any good? Where can you get advice? This is a tough one because generally you’re not going to get someone with experience to read your script for free. But to become a better writer, you need feedback.

For new screenwriters, taking a screenwriting course can have a couple of benefits. Not only will you get feedback on structure, dialogue, character, etc. from your instructor, but also you will meet other screenwriters who will be willing to read your script for free after the course is over and who will help you begin to build a community of writers where you live. Online writing courses can be a good alternative for those living in smaller or remote regions. Most cities with colleges or universities have continuing education programs, and they often offer screenwriting courses. And if they don’t, suggest that they do. These classes will fill. Local independent filmmaking co-ops such as LIFT, AFC, CSIF, FEMA, IFCO, and others found on AFC’s resource page often offer screenwriting classes and workshops.

Another option is to do an undergraduate or graduate degree in screenwriting. Humber has both degree and non-degree programs in screenwriting. UBC and York have MFA programs in screenwriting and there are many others in Canada and in the US. Some universities have low-residency MFA programs for those who are unable to relocate. NSI has a variety of professional development opportunities for writers, and the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) offers a feature film writing residency and a TV writing program for those with a little more writing experience.

You certainly don’t need a screenwriting class to become a screenwriter, but the support, encouragement, and feedback found in these courses can often be invaluable.

If you’re beyond the beginner stage and have already taken classes and have a few screenwriting buddies but want more in-depth or critical feedback, then you may consider paying someone to read your script. Be careful about scams especially online. Many people claim to be experts and charge big fees.

A great resource in Canada is the Praxis Centre for Screenwriters. They offer a reading service at reasonable rates. All of the readers are professional story editors or working screenwriters. Praxis also holds two screenwriting competitions a year where 4-6 writers receive individual workshops with a veteran story editor or screenwriter.

The Editors’ Association of Canada lists editors who are willing to provide feedback on scripts (also called coverage).

Make sure you check the credentials of anyone claiming to be a story editor or professional script reader. IMDb should be your first stop. Does the writer have screen or story editing credits? Don’t be afraid to ask for references. Are the clients satisfied with the feedback they have received? Fees for reading feature films in Canada can range from $200 to $500.

The fees for veteran story editors with lots of film and TV credits can be in the thousands. Editors at this level are usually hired by production companies—once they’ve optioned your film.

Some screenwriting contests offer coverage for an additional fee. Proceed with caution with contests and coverage as you have no way of checking the credentials of an anonymous reader.

Before you send out your script to anyone, it’s a good idea to register it with the Writers Guild of Canada.

Written by Kathryn Mockler

Monday, May 31, 2010

Interview with John Candy via NSI

World Wide Short Film Festival Symposium


Hosted by the CFC Actors Conservatory
Presented by Canwest and supported by the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation

10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Join us for an inspiring Master Class with award-winning director Atom Egoyan (CHLOE, ADORATION, THE SWEET HEREAFTER) and actor Devon Bostick (DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, ADORATION, SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD) on the director/actor relationship. Using their film ADORATION and drawing on their other films, Atom & Devon will discuss their approaches to storytelling in an intimate conversation.

Known for directing and writing films with nuanced characters often in ethical dilemmas, Atom will give insights into how he works with actors and his considerations within this essential relationship. Devon will discuss his approach to dramatic character, how he prepared for his role, as well as how he works with other actors and directors. Focusing on achieving great performance, Atom and Devon will look at the collaborative nature of the director/actor relationship from the casting and audition process, rehearsals and how they prepare for the camera.

Using clips, they will look at specific scenes in ADORATION and talk about how they approached the scenes, how they evolved from script to screen and how communication and preparation can deliver a complex and thoughtful performance that conveys the overarching story.

George A. Romero - Survival of the Dead Q&A

Senior Editor Jeff Goldsmith interviews writer-director George A. Romero about Survival of the Dead

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Toronto Screenwriting Conference 2010

By gathering together the best creative talent, authors and speakers in writing for film and television, the Toronto Screenwriting Conference aims to provide an unprecedented level of education and focus for working screenwriters, producers, executives, agents, and students from across the country.

Four high-profile Marquee Speakers will address the entire conference. Between these sessions, Breakout Speaker classes will feature book authors and professional writers working on current and well known projects in Canada and in the United States. All speakers will present in 90-minute seminars, as well as panel discussions moderated by local industry professionals, and smaller classroom workshops.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hello Friend (PDX) (2004) by Harrell Fletcher

Harrell Fletcher (b. 1967)

Hello Friend (PDX) (2004)

Part of a series of similar videos shot in different places with local people. Walking around the neighborhood, the person I work with picks up objects off the ground and then presents them to me in their opening hand. The original project was done in Portland, OR with Jess Hilliard. This series from Queens New York was a collaboration with Raymond Denson.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Heavy Metal Parking Lot (1986)

(1986) 17 min

HEAVY METAL PARKING LOT is considered one of the greatest rock and roll movies of all time. The quintessential '80s magnum opus.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Dogme95 Vow of Chastity

Harmony Korine Interview about Julien Donkey Boy and the Dogme'95 Vow of Chastity

The name of this book is Dogme'95" Richard Kelly, (Thomas Vinterberg)
("The name of this film is Dogme'95" Saul Metzstein)

Harmony Korine interview about Julien Donkey Boy and the Dogme'95 Vow of Chastity
Also features Ewen Bremner, Anthony Dod Mantle and clips from the film with Chloë Sévigny and Werner Herzog

Thursday, February 25, 2010

... Drunk History vol. 3 - Featuring Danny McBride

Watch the gripping tale of Oney Judge, George & Martha Washington's favorite slave. Late one night Jen Kirkman drank a bottle and a half of wine and then discussed an historical event... Derek Waters Presents: Drunk History vol. 3

Funny or Die HBO Series

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Trailer: Welcome to the Dollhouse by Todd Solondz (1996)

From Todd
"I was born in Newark, New Jersey, and grew up in the suburbs. At New York University Film School, I made several short films, one of which, 'Schatt's Last Shot,' was particularly popular. A screening was set up in Los Angeles, and the next day I was seated in the office of the (then) president of 20th Century Fox, Scott Rudin. A three-picture writing deal with Fox was quickly followed by an additional three-picture deal with Columbia. Unfortunately, the only thing I really liked about these deals was telling everyone I had them. I had a script I then took to Propaganda Pictures, who then got Polygram to finance it as my first feature. This was a not a happy experience. Released by The Samuel Goldwyn Company, the movie, 'Fear, Anxiety and Depression,' (which I would rather have had titled 'The Young and the Hopeless'), was 'a disappointment.' Afterwards I left 'the business' (or it left me) and, lacking any marketable skill, became an ESL (English as Second Language) teacher to newly arrived Russian immigrants. Pretending I had never gotten involved in film in the first place, I lived happily for several years. But then one day, when a lawyer/friend of mine said she was able to raise financing for a low-budget independent feature, I felt it was time to have second thoughts. I had written the screenplay for 'Welcome to the Dollhouse' years before, when I was still 'active,' in part to redeem myself from the horror of my first feature experience, and it was a script I had always been fond of. Evidently, I decided to reactivate." - Todd Solondz, from Sony Pictures Classics' official Welcome To the Dollhouse site

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Domestic Arrivals: Canadian Film at Museum London

Last Thursday of the Month
Films begin at 7:30 pm
Admission is $10

Museum London continues to bring you the latest in Canadian film. As part of our mandate to support Canadian art and culture, we are pleased to announce that our partnership with the Toronto International Film Festival's Film Circuit was so successful last year that we will continue to screen the best films made in Canada from 2009.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Clip from Human Remains by Jay Rosenblatt (1998)

Human Remains is a haunting documentary which illustrates the banality of evil by creating intimate portraits of five of this century’s most reviled dictators. The film unveils the personal lives of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin, Francisco Franco and Mao Tse Tung. We learn the private and mundane details of their everyday lives -- their favorite foods, films, habits and sexual preferences. There is no mention of their public lives or of their place in history. The intentional omission of the horrors for which these men were responsible hovers over the film.

Human Remains addresses this horror from a completely different angle. Irony and even occasional humor are sprinkled throughout the documentary. This darkly poetic film is based entirely on fact, creatively combining direct quotes and biographical research. Though based on historical figures, Human Remains is contemporary in its implications and ultimately invites the viewer to confront the nature of evil.

Trailer for Bubble by Steven Soderbergh (2005)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Nobody Waved Good-bye by Don Owen (1964)

This award-winning feature-length drama from the 1960s tells the story of a teenage boy who rebels against his parents' middle-class goals and conventions.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Everybody is writing screenplays...

"Everybody is writing screenplays, from the waiter at your favorite bar or restaurant to the limo driver, the doctor, the lawyer, or the barista serving up the White Chocolate Dream Latte at the local Coffee Bean. Last year, more than seventy-five thousand screenplays were registered at the Writers Guild of America, West and East, and out of that number maybe four or five hundred scripts were actually produced."

Excerpt from Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting by Syd Field (2007)

Friday, January 1, 2010

SEBASTIAN'S VOODOO by Joaquin Baldwin

The National Film Board of Canada, in association with the Cannes Short Film Corner and partner YouTube, welcomes you to this NFB competition, now in its fifth year.

Director: Joaquin Baldwin
Running Time: 4'06
Country: U.S.A.
Category: Drama

A voodoo doll must find the courage to save his friends from being pinned to death.

Joaquin Baldwin is an Annie Award nominee director and animator from Paraguay. Living in Los Angeles, he is now finishing his MFA in animation at UCLA. He has received over 50 international awards for his animated films Sebastian's Voodoo and Papiroflexia, and also several grants including the Jack Kent Cooke full Graduate Scholarship in 2006.