By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Over the years, the many various works created by the talents at National Film Board of Canada has always managed to enthrall, entertain and impress. Many have won awards from many well-established shows like the Annecy International Animated Film Festival. Even for an event like the Victoria Film Festival beginning this weekend, the offerings are a lot more this year to acknowledge the short film medium. They have six instead of the usual three specialized programs to spotlight the talent of many a filmmaker, be it local to international. The NFB have eight animated and documentary pieces being featured. In attendance will be Alanis Obomsawin and Hart Snider to present.
If this company’s works are being screened at a film festival near you, please do not hesitate to check them out. Eventually, they will all be offered online or through their streaming service.
Shop Class (BC)
Weds, Feb 7 | 7pm | Odeon 5
According to the NFB’s synopsis, this film is an honest look at growing up through the filtered lens of a teenager who is no longer a boy but is not quite sure what it means to be a man. It is hilarious in its approach because it speaks to every individual in that awkward time of life. Some even felt alienated. Those “nerds” of yesteryears are not like the “geeks” of today, defined by a love for pop culture. Instead, back then the definition was about awkwardness and being socially accepted.
Writer/director Hart Snider is great at bringing those feelings to the fore with a character that was him many years ago. He said, “Junior high is the most embarrassing time in your life. It’s SO dramatic already, and I am totally still recovering from taking that class. Making this film brought it all back! I also got in touch with old friends who were in the class with me, to get their stories about this teacher, which I included in this film.”
The animation style and stereotypes used as his character struggles through shop class is classic! Hart has put himself into this role before in The Basketball Game , and voice actor Fred Ewanuick is amazing at playing up the meekness of Snider’s animated avatar. This short is not necessarily a wonderful trip through memory lane, but it certainly shows to us, as a viewer, that life has never been easy at any age. To recall that moment and see his plight answered with a happy ending will bring a smile to us all.
Plus, it does not help I have another high school reunion coming up to remind me of my time back then!