“Riot grrl” is no longer a term just reserved for the likes of Courtney Love. No, it can also refer to women who refuse to yield to the status quo, the brave souls that go against the grain. Whether they succeed or not is another matter, as these six shorts can attest to. Nonetheless, the films here, mostly shot by women, reveal a sympathetic sensitivity underneath the hardened cynical exterior.
Monica Rho | 2005 | Canada | Video | 5:00
In today’s dog-eat-dog world, a paper clip makes all the difference if you want to get ahead in your career. Or does it? In this superbly animated short, director Monica Rho draws from everyday occurrences to express the complexity of modern life and the isolation felt in today’s crowded yet withdrawn society. Sandra Oh guests as the voice of an everywoman office worker.
Monica Rho was born in South Korea and immigrated to Vancouver when she was thirteen. A graduate from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, she previously made the animated shorts Nightmare and Travel Travel. She was also an animator for the National Film Board of Canada film Roses Sing on New Snow.
You’re Dead After School
Mishann Lau* | 2004 | Canada | Video | 6:00
Chucky this ain’t, but the Barbie-esque dolls in Mishann Lau’s delectably perverse tale of schoolyard horror are still plenty creepy. A pony-tailed redhead is constantly taunted and bullied by a mean Asian girl. Soon, her playtimes with dolls will involve hanging, decapitation and even gruesome forking. Ahhhh!!!!
Mishann Lau is an award-winning sound editor who likes to take pictures and make movies in between sound jobs. Weaned on action-porno double-bills, she loves horror movies, kung-fu flicks and cheesy soft-porn. Her previous film Shaolin Sisters was screened at Reel Asian last year.
Rage of Silence
Justin Lovell* | 2005 | Canada | Video | 5:00
Forget killing Bill – this sword-wielding assassin is ready to deliver swift retribution to those who dare to pursue her. Set in a wintry forest blanketed in snow, this black & white film is brilliantly action-packed and exquisitely choreographed. Hard to believe, but director Justin Lovell shot this 8mm film all in-camera, in sequences and with no editing.
Justin Lovell comes from a background in title design/VFX and editing. He currently operates his own super8 telecine transfer house to assist local Toronto artists. Due to his passion for filmmaking, he has embarked on his first two short features this year: Rage of Silence and Stuntman.
Nicole Chung* | 2005 | Canada | Video | 11:00
“You go, girl!” Within moments into Nicole Chung’s latest short film, we’re already cheering for our rambunctious Kate, the no-nonsense protagonist who proves how foolish it is to mess with an Asian grrl. But far from some gung-ho tale of heroism, Sweater People is a realistic portrayal of a poor university student struggling with debt, tuition fees and lovers and friends. A possible lesbian love interest can’t keep Kate from spiralling into less savoury means of earning income. Can she survive despite being betrayed by everyone around her?
Nicole Chung was a finalist in the Jim Burt/Writer’s Guild of Canada New Screenwriters Contest, and received a Special Jury Prize at the Immaginaria Festival in Bologna, Italy. Her previous works have screened at Reel Asian, Images Festival and Frameline San Francisco, among others.
Taien Ng-Chan | 2005 | Canada | Video | 11:00 | Canadian Premiere
There’s nothing worse than living in an apartment with zero sound proofing. Really, do you need to know every detail that goes on in your neighbours’ lives? For insomniac Lil, the sound of nightly sobbing becomes more than just an irritation. And when crying turns to screams, curiosity gets the better of her …
Taien Ng-Chan is a Montreal writer and filmmaker. Apart from her published work in anthologies and journals, she is due to release her latest book, Maps of Our Bodies & the Borders We Have Agreed Upon. The Red Ribbon, her previous film, was screened at Reel Asian last year.
Annie Ong: Lost and Found
Jeannette Loakman* | 2004 | Canada | Video | 45:00
It is very rare for a documentary to spawn a sequel, but Annie Ong: Lost and Found follows up the story told in Jeannette Loakman’s award-winning debut The Last Seven Days of Annie Ong, also previously shown at Reel Asian. Back then, the adopted Jeannette was looking for her birth mother in Singapore and Malaysia but had no luck finding her. Years later, she receives an email from Holland purportedly coming from her birth mother. Thus begins another journey around the world to find the truth about her adoption. The result is a truly moving portrait of love, loss and reconciliation.
Jeannette Loakman is a Toronto-based filmmaker with over ten years of experience in broadcasting and journalism. She has worked as a reporter at Citytv, a host at WTN as well as the programming associate at Vision TV. She wrote and directed Slippery Blisses, which was invited to the Montreal World Film Festival.
* Directors in attendance