Since the Canadian Film Centre took over the Short Film Festival, there's been a definite improvement in the way the fest operates and the quality of programs. Each slate, which shows between six and nine films/videos, has at least one stellar work. Here are some you shouldn't miss.
WOrldwide short film festival through Sunday (June 9) at the Isabel Bader Theatre (93 Charles West) and Royal Ontario Museum theatre (100 Queen's Park). 20-ticket festival pass $100, six pack $40, single tickets $8. See Rep Cinema listings, page 102, for complete schedule. 416-205-8928. www.worldwideshortfilmfest.com. Rating: NNN
INTERNATIONAL PROGRAM #8 at the ROM, Thursday and Sunday (June 6 and 9), 2 pm. Rating: NNNN
This program rocks thanks to the hilarious and slightly disturbing In Search Of Mike, by Aussie Andrew Lancaster. Brian Carbee re-enacts his childhood with his obnoxious mother, whose only response after he lost his Chatty Cathy doll was to tell him it was "up Mike's ass." Carbee's drag portrayal of his mother is both frightening and weirdly touching.
CANADIAN PROGRAM #4 at the Isabel Bader, Thursday (June 6), 6:30 pm, and Saturday (June 8), 4:30 pm. Rating: NNNN
Local filmmaker Scott Treleaven's The Salivation Army is the best Canadian short I've seen in a very long time. The fictional tale of hardass gay boys who start a zine eschewing polite gay politics and embracing rough play and petty crime has an immediacy and energy that keep us riveted. Treleaven is one to watch.
SLAP 'N TICKLE at the ROM, Friday and Saturday (June 7-8), midnight. Rating: NNNN
This program of slightly naughty videos includes the usual singles-looking-for-sex flicks, Elated By Night and The Conquest, but check out the seniors getting it on in The Tea Party and a 70-year-old New Yorker getting back in touch with his libido in Angela. My favourite is the perfect six-minute Flemish gem Fait D'Hiver, which finds a husband and father stuck in traffic making a very revealing phone call home.