Canadian short film investor Bravo!FACT already has a dedicated YouTube channel to reach a wider audience beyond the TV set.
So with 10 of its shorts screening at this week’s Toronto International Film Festival, how does the festival circuit factor into the life of a Bravo!FACT film go once it’s had its red-carpet run?
Judy Gladstone, executive director of Bravo!FACT, told Playback Daily that how one of her shorts is recognized at TIFF and on the fall festival circuit influences its future plays on TV, online, mobile and other digital channels.
“We put [Bravo!FACT] films on the festival circuit before they go on air. And when the film wins recognition as we let it do the festival circuit in Canada and at SXSW, Sundance and in Europe, then we are ready to promote it for on air or online,” she explains.
Here the festival circuit does for short films where domestic theatrical does for the features, driving the size and likely success of a later release into home video, TV, the internet and additional digital platforms.
Of course, there’s another reason for the shorts bowing in festivals: TIFF and the CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival shun a short if it has been broadcast or streamed on the internet.
“The assumption is, if it’s been broadcast, people won’t turn up at festivals,” Gladstone said with resignation.
But she adds Bravo!FACT-funded shorts do well on the festival circuit – as reflected in their strong TIFF presence – because they amount to far more than the amateur video that dominates online video sites.
She contends Bravo!FACT shorts represent the work of emerging and established directors in need of eclectic expression at various points in their careers.
“We’re not going out and saying ‘we need you to do a comedic short’ and then giving specific guidelines. These are people coming to us with their ideas,” Gladstone said.
An example is one TIFF entrant, the comedy Sorry Rabbi (pictured) by Montreal director Mark Slutsky and starring Jacob Tierney and Jessica Paré.
In the short, Tierney must prove himself to a hot-tempered girlfriend, played by Paré, and a learned Rabbi out to discover whether he attacked his Hasidic followers in apparent rage.
Another Toronto-bound Bravo!FACT short is Up in Cottage Country, a re-imagining by director Simon Ennis of Franz Kafka’s In The Penal Colony, where a man, played by Josh Peace, stumbles in cottage country on an elaborate torture machine operated by a defunct officer, played by Julian Richings.
Ahead of the 10 short films’ TIFF screenings, Bell Media is getting behind the Bravo!FACT contingent, with CP24 letting viewers know about the films, and eTalk promoting their festival showcases.
At the same time, Gladstone points out that, while Bravo!FACT funds the shorts, the film rights reside with the directors, who ultimately choose whether to go the festival route to launch their films or whether to instead allow Bell Media to directly showcase their shorts online and on air in a bid to get into Canadian living rooms countrywide.
by Etan Vlessing