Technically, the Worldwide Short Film Festival kicks off its 18th annual celebration of micro-cinema with free Sunday screenings in Dufferin Grove Park, but the festival proper begins with Tuesday's opening night gala showcasing international award winners.
While most of the WSFF programs are arranged by tone or theme, the nature of an awards program means format and genre shift radically from one title to the next. Think of it as a cinematic sampler platter.
Iranian-born, UK-based Afarin Eghbal's Grandmothers artfully expands from the confines of a Buenos Aires apartment to confront the terrible history of Argentina's Dirty War, while another Argentine filmmaker, Juan Pablo Zaramella, goes for stop-motion whimsy in the twee fantasy Luminaris.
Léo Verrier's Dripped treats artistic development as metaphor in a sprightly digital short, while French-English collaboration The Elaborate End Of Robert Ebb is a slapstick charmer about a bored movie studio security guard (Paul Hassall) who gets stuck inside a monster suit, which leads to a very short but fairly destructive rampage.
Arnaud Brisebois and Francis Leclerc's Trotteur, selected for this year's Canada's Top Ten shorts lineup, plays out its mythic tale with grim beauty, but my favourite entry is Philipp Kaessbohrer's Armadingen, the very German tale of an aging farmer who tries to give his wife one last pleasant evening when he learns that an apocalyptic meteor strike is just hours away. At 23 minutes, it's the longest entry in the program, but trust me, it flies right by.