Canadian Shorts: Fine, Refined, and Redefined

Shelly Thompson (Left), director of Duck Duck Goose, and Rebeccah, director of A Woman’s Block during a Q&A at Kingston Canadian Film Festival’s Canadian Shorts: Fine, Refined, and Redefined. Photo by Bill Gowsell.


Sunday morning brought me back to the Baby Grand for the Kingston Canadian Film Festival and the showing of the Canadian Shorts: Fine, Refined, & Redefined. In the line up were eight films with wide ranging topics.

Duck Duck Goose focused on the personal moments that teachers and students experience when a lockdown is called. Moments of fear are ratcheted up when the teacher is confronted with the worry of where a missing student is.

Titanyum is about a young figure skater named Zeynep, and how she confronts and deals with her own doubt. The joy of skating only comes out when Zeynep is skating with her little sister, far away from the competitive world.

A Woman’s Block is about a young woman recovering from mental illness by interacting with the people on her street.

A Certain Texture focuses on Alex Unger as he attempts to navigate a double life of exploring and creating music, while farming cattle. Alex thought that farming was a chore and has realized that everything he disliked as a kid about farming is what he has come to love now. For Alex, music is the escape, farming is his life.

Emptying the Tank is about Chippewa mixed martial artist Ashley Nichols. What does it take to be a mixed martial artist? We watch as Ashely talks about the strength and courage she has developed through this avenue, as well as how she has built up her physical and spiritual health.

Turning Tables follows Joshua DePerry, the pioneering “PowWow Techno” music producer and performer. Viewers get a chance to see where he came from, how he built up his own strength and how he moves to the world’s techno capital in Germany, Berlin.

Herd is the story of Alex, and while she is getting prepared for a very important dance audition, no one in her house seems to care. Rather than getting support from her mother as Alex prepares for this important moment, she is forced to look after her disabled sister.

Veslemoy’s Song is about a young woman named Audrey Benac who traces her family connection to the late great Canadian musician Kathleen Parlow. Audrey travels to New York City to listen to the only copy of a rare recording involving Parlow called ‘Veslemoy’s Song.’

Each film had its merits, and all stood out for their unique storytelling perspective. The ones that stood out to me were Duck Duck Goose for its masterful ability to place the audience in the shoes of a teacher as a lockdown drill is called. The ability to follow the prescribed orders during an emergency drill like this, and the anguish that you feel as the teacher hears the student who was out of the room before the lockdown asking to get back in.

After the films were screened a short Q&A was held with the directors of Duck Duck Goose and A Woman’s Block.

Director Shelley Thompson of Duck Duck Goose found that she was impacted by the news cycle and the changed world that we live. The school shooting in Florida last year inspired her to bring this film to the screen.

Rebeccah Love the director of A Woman’s Block, used her own experiences recovering from bi-polar disorder to help craft her story. Her own interactions with her neighbours as she was recovering formed the basis of the story. Love was interested in not telling the high energetic side that often gets shown on the silver screen, but more the moments of just interacting with regular people.

The Kingston Canadian Film Festival showcased amazing work by talented Canadian filmmakers. There are countless stories waiting to be told, and thankfully through this film festival we have a chance to see the outstanding  work of Canadian filmmakers.

Bill Gowsell

Bill has been an elementary school teacher for the last 12 years. His passion for writing includes a wide variety of interests, from history, food, pop culture, and anything to do with Disney. Recently he published his second book, Extra Magic Days: Thirty Years of Walt Disney World Vacations. Learn more about Bill...

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