Shorts Not Pants Film Festival 2023 Celebrates Record Attendance And Announces Film Awards

The Carlton Cinema played host to the 2023 edition of the Shorts Not Pants Film Festival, showcasing an eclectic mix of Canadian and international short films that captivated audiences and celebrated the art of concise storytelling. This year marked a significant milestone for the festival, witnessing a marked increase in attendance, affirming its growing popularity among cinephiles and film enthusiasts.

Founder, Executive Director, and Programmer James McNally expressed his enthusiasm for the exceptional quality of submissions and the overwhelming response from the audience. “Shorts Not Pants continues to be a platform where innovative storytelling thrives, and this year’s selection of films truly exemplified the depth of creativity and diverse perspectives within the short film format,” McNally remarked.

Playing a significant role in our sponsorship this year is HollywoodSuite, a major supporter of Canadian film, generously offering a $1,000 cash prize to the filmmaker behind the top Canadian film. 

Additionally, the Toronto Animated Image Society (TAIS) demonstrated their support for young local talent by presenting two one-year memberships. Our heartfelt thanks also extend to Woodhouse Brewing, our steadfast friends in beer, who have been our original sponsor from the start!

The festival presented awards in five categories, recognizing the outstanding achievements in narrative, documentary, animation, Canadian films, and the coveted Audience Choice award. The jury members, composed of industry experts and seasoned professionals, deliberated on the exceptional entries to determine the winners and special mentions.

And without further ado, we are thrilled to share with you our winning films:

Best Canadian Short: Tiny
Directed by Ritchie Hemphill and Ryan Haché (Canada | 16 minutes)
(Jury members: Jennie Punter, Courntey Small, Steve Gravestock)
HollywoodSuite Sponsorship $1,000.00 cash prize
Jury Statement: For their use of artfully detailed stop-motion animation and compact, cinematic storytelling to portray the childhood story of Colleen Hemphill, and conveying both wonder and danger by skillfully weaving the Nakwaxda’xw Elder’s contemplative voice and perspective with images of her young self exploring the wild, watery spirit of the Pacific Northwest, the jury awards the Best Canadian Short award to Ritchie Hemphill and Ryan Haché for Tiny.

Jury’s Special Mention – Skin
Directed by Liam Hoban Thrush (Canada | 19 minutes)
Jury Statement: For its powerful and indelible portrait of the devastating impact of obsession, compulsion and mental health challenges, as well as its distinct look and style, the jury awards a special mention to Liam Hoban Thrush’s Skin.

Best Narrative Short:  Spiral (Kierre)
Directed by Salla Sorri, Eva-Maria Koskinen (Finland | 18 minutes)
(Jury members: John Trefry, Nicole McControversy, Steve Gravestock)
Shorts Not Pants $US250.00 cash prize
Jury Statement: Spiral was a total stand-out. The performances were brilliant, especially by the lead actor and young cast. The striking cinematography brought us into a perfectly paced story, unafraid to face the repercussions of childhood trauma echoing into adulthood.

Jury’s Special Mention – Baba
Directed by Anya Chirkova, Meran Ismailsoy (Canada | 13 minutes)

Jury Statement: Baba is expertly crafted, diving headlong into intergenerational tension through the lens of the immigrant experience. The acting was brilliant as was the kinetic cinematography, both ratcheting up the stakes and emotional tension.

Best Documentary Short: A History of the World According To Getty Images
Directed by Richard Misek (Norway | 18 minutes)
(Jury members: Gina Dineen, Phyllis Ellis, Julian Carrington)
Shorts Not Pants $US250.00 cash prize
Jury Statement: The jury felt that this was a compelling, intelligent and important film that engages us through a clever narrative and was a pleasure to watch.

Jury’s Special Mention – Could You Be Free Yet Locked In?
Directed by Kazi Arefin Ahmed (Bangladesh | 9 minutes)
Jury Statement: The jury found this to be a beautifully crafted and compassionate film.

Best Animated Short: Ice Merchants
Directed by João Gonzalez (Portugal | 14 minutes)
(Jury Members: Sol Friedman, Max Cox, Celeste Koon)
Shorts Not Pants $US250.00 cash prize
Jury Statement: Ice Merchants impresses with strong visual storytelling and impeccable technical execution. This film catches the eye with its distinctive style and use of simple colors, creating a magical atmosphere. The absence of dialogue doesn’t diminish the story’s beauty, which is carried through the character design, use of narrative restraint, and effective world building. Ice Merchants skillfully captures the heartfelt emotions of parental love.

Jury’s Special Mention – Maurice’s Bar
Directed by Tzor Edery, Tom Prezman (France | Runtime: 15 minutes)

Jury Statement: Maurice’s Bar, a film whose beauty both in story and animation technique moved us to the point of tears.

Also in the Animated Category:
Receiving One Year TAIS Membership: The Pest (Director Jungwoo Choi) – Toronto
Receiving One Year TAIS Membership: End of the Line (Director Marc Salvatore Lajoie) Toronto

Audience Choice Award: Linda
Directed by Joe Lycett (United Kingdom | 8 minutes)
Shorts Not Pants $US250.00 cash prize

The festival also recognized the top 10 Audience Award vote-getters:

  • Linda
  • Ice Merchants
  • Soundscape
  • A Dead Marriage
  • Death to the Bikini! (À mort le bikini!)
  • This Is What The World Looks Like When You’re Gone
  • I & I
  • Tiny
  • Cups
  • EITR

Congratulations once again to all the filmmakers for their exceptional work and contributions to the Shorts Not Pants Film Festival!

About Shorts Not Pants Film Festival.
Shorts Not Pants Film Festival is an annual celebration of short films, showcasing the best works from Canada and around the world. Spanning 12 years, Shorts Not Pants was founded in 2012 by James McNally as a series of quarterly screenings, transforming into an annual festival in 2018. The festival is renowned for its curated selection of exceptional short films and engaging events that bring together filmmakers, industry professionals, and film enthusiasts. Shorts Not Pants Film Festival is committed to promoting the art of short filmmaking and providing a platform for filmmakers to connect with their audience.