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There's an extra day of action at this year's Vaughan Film Festival
March 6, 2015
By Adam Martin-Robbins

The Vaughan Film Festival has reached new heights in its quest to showcase the power of short films, say the event’s founders.

“In terms of the calibre of films, the quality is a lot stronger this year,” festival co-founder Antonio Ienco said. “I can’t explain how difficult it was trying to narrow it down. ...There were so many strong films that didn’t make the cut.”

The third annual event runs over four days this year, May 25 to May 28, up from three days last year.

Organizers received 192 submissions, from filmmakers around the world and local students, which have been whittled down to just over three dozen, according to Ienco.

And there was a surprising rise in the number and quality of Canadian films, festival co-founder Mark Pagliaroli noted.

“The Canadian content is a lot stronger this year,” he said. “We were very surprised. You receive very good quality films and think this must be American, Hollywood mainstream. And it was like, ‘Oh, this was shot in Toronto'. So we were very impressed.”

Four Canuck productions made the final cut and will air during the festival, including the multi-award winning short film Lines.

That film, directed by and starring Amy Jo Johnson tells the story of a woman who goes to see a dermatologist, played by her Flashpoint co-star Enrico Colantoni, about a simple procedure, but winds up questioning her age and appearance.

There’s also a pair of documentaries - Reunions, by Naomi Wise, and Temperature Drop, a film by Connor McMahon about winter skydiving - which Pagliaroli called “pretty moving".

Screenings take place May 25 and May 27 at Cineplex Cinemas Vaughan (formerly Colossus), while the day in between is dedicated to an industry seminar, still to be announced.

The first block of films to be screened are the 15 shot by students from local schools, including Father Bressani Catholic High School, Toronto District Christian High School and Vaughan Secondary School, among others.

The remaining three blocks feature 22 international films including Wasted Beauty, produced by Eva Longoria and Victor, an award-winning comedy written and directed by Chad Thompson.

“People will get good chance to see how strong short films can be,” Ienco said. “That’s usually the response we get when people are walking out of the theatre. ...Especially within this community, I would say people are very unfamiliar with short films and how incredibly powerful a story can be in under 20 minutes.”

The festival wraps up May 28 with an awards gala at the Paramount Convention Centre.

Tickets, on sale now, cost $10 per screening.

That gets you a block of short films plus access to an after-party, with free hors d’oeuvres and drinks, at either Fionn MacCool’s or Avlyn Gardens in Kleinburg, depending on the night.

“You have the potential of seeing six to eight different films, from six to eight different countries across the globe (in one sitting), so it really is a unique experience,” Ienco said. “And I don’t know where else you can purchase a $10 ticket and get all that included.”

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