Movie Review: HEARING FILMS, Canada, Documentary

HEARING FILMS a eight minute documentary coming to us from Toronto Canada, by director Arsen Martyrosian, is a film following one man and his life-long love of movies, despite his visual impairment. Losing his vision early in childhood, Joe remains a movie fan, relying on descriptive video to experience his films the way one might experience an audio book. HEARING FILMS reminds us that we are all able.


One of the best things about HEARING FILMS, other than the excellent production quality and the loveable hero- is the reminder that cinema is for everyone. It is not exclusive to people who can see. As our hero recounts to us, films make him feel joy, feel happy, feel sad- he is not denied the emotional experience, simply because he hears the story instead of seeing it. A film the reminds us of the ability in everyone, and the resilience of those in the face of adversity, HEARING FILMS is a bright, upbeat story about an incredible man with an incredible passion for movies.


Review by Kierston Drier

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

HEARING FILMS, 8min., Canada, Documentary 
Directed by Arsen Martyrosian

A story of visually impaired film enthusiast Joe Sidarose, that questions the perception of film as a visual medium and exposes the way descriptive cinema influences audience.

CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!



This sweet and comical eight-minute Canadian web series comes follows one Alpha female and her sweet shy friend Terri as they navigate a meet-cute gone awry. After utterly bombing trying to get a cute guy’s attention by “accidentally on purpose” stealing his hat, Amber convinces her friend that she needs to end her long distance relationship and join her for a girls’ Night.


What is most enjoyable about this comedy, is the character-chemistry that carries the show. The antics are just slightly over the top for the modern millennial and the result is like looking into a funhouse-mirror version of a 20-somethings Instagram account.


Big, bright, loud and awkward this piece is still relatable to all ages. Although this piece is certainly about millennials, every generation can relate to wanting to bust free of the “modern humans” rutt and break the mould of their own life. Join the ride with COOL GIRLS and watch them take on the world- one crazy hurdle at a time.

Review by Kierston Drier

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

Directed by Laura Commisso, Sarah Campbell

After a tragic “breakup” with her love interest, James, Amber convinces Terri to end her long distance relationship with Tom. In turn, the two decide to throw an emergency girls night. Amber preps Terri for the occasion.

CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!



This five-minute comic web series hailing out of Canada from director Eugene Smirch tells the stories of two underprepared adults who revile in their inability to handle their lives. After spending their paychecks on drugs and party hats, the girls team up for some quick cash and taking on a gig to kill a man- but they have no idea how to go about it.


Part glitter, part puke and part gleeful comic train-wreck, HEINOUS GIRLS boasts hilarious comic performances. Hold on to your hat and keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle, because these women are on a wild. The best part about HEINOUS GIRLS, is that, as a web series, the fun never has to stop.

Review by Kierston Drier

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

HEINOUS GIRLS, 5min., Canada, TV WEB SERIES/Comedy
Directed by Eugene SmirchTwo ladies join a gang to excuse their already erratic behaviour.

CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!

Film Review: SUNLIGHT OVER WATER, Canada, LGBT/Drama


With bold cinematic choices and a strong narrative voice, SUNLIGHT OVER WATER tells the story of the tumultuous friendships between high schoolers Merit and Julien. Their friendship already heavily laced with sexual tension, Julien makes a sexual overture to Merit, who accepts, but is then confused when Julien is distant, cold and even aggressive afterwards.


Painfully relatable and authentic, this piece captures the fragile rollercoaster that is adolescence, offset by the compounded pain of loving in vain.  A fascinating dive into the world of young, confusing love, where tempers burn and passion paves the way for dramatic self discovery, SUNLIGHT OVER WATER offers no easy answers to the problems growing up creates. Perhaps that is what makes this film so appealing- it takes you into Merit’s world, while leaving Juliens’ unknowable- the way Julien appears to Merit. A compelling look into young love and the experiences that shape us into the people we become, SUNLIGHT OVER WATER is a beautiful and intense short.  

by Kierston Drier

WATCH the Audience FEEDBACK Video: 

SUNLIGHT OVER WATER, 15min., Canada, LGBT/Drama
Directed by Jesse Gotfrit

High-schooler Merit discovers his sexuality through a tumultuous relationship with his friend Julien.

CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!

Film Review: POST NO BILLS, Canada, Animation/Adventure 

Bright, fun and full of eye-catching pop-culture, POST NO BILLS, a five minute Canadian animation adventure from director Robin Hays, details the heroic journey of a small anthropomorphized Noodle-Box who comes to life from his advertisement poster. Falling in love with with the beautiful humanoid-fortune cookie a few posters away, our hero must journey across several other poster-advertisements to meet his dream girl/cookie. His journey turns deadly though, went the Urban wall all the advertisement posters are stapled to begins to get painted over.

POST NO BILLS is bright, with action and adventure in every frame. Highly polished, with a clean glossy feel to it, this is a joyful romp that will leave the viewer smiling from first scene to last. What makes POST NO BILLS special though, is that it also packs in a deeper message for the viewer. The film alone is bright enough, colorful enough and action-packed enough to be enjoyable. It is the ‘Cherry on top” of this film that adds that extra jolt of satisfaction. It is a message found as our hero completes his journey- that the sweetest things in life are uncovered in the lengths we’ll go to for love.

Review by Kierston Drier

POST NO BILLS, 5min, Canada, Animation/Adventure 
Directed by Robin HaysOn an urban city wall plastered with posters Noodle Boy must make his way through a series of obstacles and challenges in order to save his crush, Miss Fortune from the city’s clean up crew.

CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!

Movie Review: THE MARCH SWEATER – PART 1: THE CARETAKERS (Canada, LGBT, Documentary)

Played at the August 2017 DOCUMENTARY Short Film Festival

by Kierston Drier

This special part 1 of March Sweater, follows two seniors, Peter and Vincent, who shared their lives together as a married couple, and become caregivers to Peter’s 95-year-old mother. A fascinating peer into at a community from an often-overlooked angle, Peter and Vincent talk about their lives together and the various lessons they learn through loving each other.


From their meeting, to their courtship and through to their marriage of cohabitation, they address the major areas of their world- compromise and sacrifice, but also the love that makes it so very worth it. “I don’t want to think about life without Vincent,” a notable line from Peter that seems to distill the depth of their feelings. For anyone who has ever loved another person, they are, as a couple,  instantly relatable.
This film sparkles. Peter and Vincent are easy to love. Peter’s laugh is infectious and warm and Vincent’s’ kindness and compassion are clear in every word. The March Sweater, PART 1 is a testament to true love ability to transcend any obstacle, culture, society, age. They are proof for any skeptic- love always wins.

Directed by Cory AshworthLGBTQ2+ seniors speaking of life, love and the wisdom that comes with growing older.

CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!

Under 5min. Film: MOUNT ROYAL 2017-09, 2min, Canada, Experimental

Played at the Under 5 Minute June 2017 Film Festival

MOUNT ROYAL 2017-09, 2min, Canada, Experimental
Directed by Jeremy EliosoffA short, non-narrative montage in which scenes from Montreal’s Parc Mont Royal are transformed via custom computer software into a dreamy cascade of colourful, abstract shapes, set to a melodic, sample-based soundtrack.

CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!

Review by Kierston Drier

This two minute Canada experimental piece is a study of colors, sounds and recognition. It takes classic images of places in Montreal and throws them bright contrast. A true local will understand the scenes, but for anyone who has never been there, this film will be a dazzling experimental carnival ride for the eyes.

MOUNT ROYAL does an excellent job of making the audience question what they are seeing. The pictures are never in full clear focus, which means the onus is on the viewer to link the picture to the location. MOUNT ROYAL is a bright, light and delightful piece that will spark the imagination of Montreal’s locals and tourists alike.

Film Review: FIRST ROUND DOWN (Canadian Feature)

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:

first_round_down.jpgA former hockey star turned hitman returns home after ten years to take care of his younger brother, but his checkered past catches up to him faster than he can deliver pizza.

Directors: Brett M. Butler, Jason G. Butler
Writers: Brett M. Butler, Jason G. Butler
Stars: Dylan Bruce, Rachel Wilson, Rob Ramsay

Review by Gilbert Seah

 FIRST ROUND DOWN begins with a very impressive start. Hockey stud looks at himself in a tight polo shirt in the mirror. He drives a vintage plymouth with the voiceover saying something about hockey as he speeds his car to deliver, yes, deliver pizzas. He is given flack including insults like “Loser!” But this never gets him down. The recycle trash cans by the street indicate it is not a period piece but a contemporary story. This culminates with a catchy “The Good old hockey game (is the best game you can name)” played to the opening credits and voiceover where the audience learns more of the film’s protagonist.

Set in small town Hamilton, the Butlers capture the spirit of the Canadian small town mentality. The guys, especially the hockey fans are loud, obnoxious and male chauvinist pigs. The women are slutty, talking dirty among themselves while the older folk talk of the town’s past glory – i.e. Timothy Tucker’s glory days.

The film is split into three parts, titled as periods as in a hockey game. The story revolves around Tucker (Dylan Bruce from ORPHAN BLACK), a former hockey prodigy, who returns home to take care of his younger brother after their parents pass on. Having spent the last ten years as a hit man for the mob in Montreal, Tucker now lives on the straight and narrow as a pizza delivery driver, laying low and paying the bills. However, a chance encounter with his former girlfriend, Kelly Quinn (Rachel Wilson, THE REPUBLIC OF DOYLE) coupled with the Sterling Cup reunion and the untimely arrival of his old mob boss in town has Tim’s checkered past catching up to him faster than he can plan one final heist to move on once and for all.
The film falls into the trap of having the same identical plot of many small town movies. We have the hero who has returned to the small town to prove himself. He finds his former girl engaged and tries to win her back. There is some celebration organized to remember his glory and the man obviously proves himself. All these elements are present in FIRST ROUND DOWN.

Stage, television and film actor Rob Ramsay must be ‘complemented’ for playing the most obnoxious and annoying character in a movie so far this year, probably beating Jack Black an actor I just cannot bear to watch. Bobby, who Ramsay plays not only annoys the audience with his shouting and weird noises, but also annoys every character in the film – his best friend, his mates and the girls. Dylan Bruce is ok as the lead hunk who has the good looks for a star hockey leading man.

For hockey as the inspiration for the Butler’s film, there is surprisingly few hockey games on display.

FIRST ROUND DOWN started well – funny, stylish and offbeat. But the film unfortunately gets mired down in its silly predictable story



Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out:

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month:

Film Review: DIRTY POOL, Canada, Animation

Played at the March 2017 ANIMATION Film Festival

  MOVIE POSTERDIRTY POOL, 1min, Canada, Animation
Directed by Brent Forrest

This film is a quick ode to the pool hall where we drunken animators used to spend our evenings.

Review by Kierston Drier:

Full of round, polished, pleasing visuals, this is a story about Balls! Ehhem, pool balls. Pool balls and etiquette. Coming to us from Canada and directed by Brent Forrest, DIRTY POOL is a two minute glance at what can go wrong when you try to play pool with your buddy at the bar.

The story is cute, clear and comical- our heroes go out to play some pool and it all goes frighteningly wrong. But where DIRTY POOL makes it mark is in its visuals. Shiny, bright, visually engaging and with a strong attention to detail, this is a film that will make you want to stop blinking.

If you have ever taken a childlike delight in staring at a old time gumball machine full to bursting with glistening multi colored gumballs, then you have the visual equivalent of watching this film.

Tantalizingly rich, this is a film you can simply watch and enjoy. No need to dissect any deeper philosophical meaning- just watch a great film with great picture, about some hapless dudes making enemies on the wrong side of a pool table.

Sit back and enjoy Dirty Pool, it’s a delight to see.

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK VIDEO. Moderated by Matthew Toffolo:

Film Review: POKER NIGHT, 11min, Canada, Comedy/Romance

Played at the March 2017 COMEDY Film Festival

  MOVIE POSTERPOKER NIGHT, 11min, Canada, Comedy
Directed by David Metcalfe

A fun, comedic short film about a group of twenty-somethings living in Toronto; poking fun at stereotypes, and breaking expectations.

Review by Kierston Drier:

This subtle, sweet romance-comedy film will test your knowledge of relationship boundaries. Poker Night is a great Date-Night discussion piece directed by David Metcalfe. When the girls’ poker night is crashed by the hosts boyfriend, the tension is palpable. But it gets worse when the boyfriend invites over his own friends to alleviate his boredom.

His heart’s in the right place it would seem, as he brings his friend to set him up with the one single-lady of the group- but is this ill thought plan going to work?

Falling more on the romance spectrum of comedy, this bright, Canadian piece will remind you of (or make you think of) the youth en metropolitan. The cheap beer, late nights, romance-in-the-eyes-of-every-stranger intoxication that is so often associated with the youth that almost has life figured out. Too old to be kids and too young to be adults, Poker Night will make you chuckle at the good-will but sloppy execution of our leading man and will definitely lead a viewing couple to discuss who “crossed the line” in crashing poker night.

Poker Night does one more amazing thing- it gets tops marks with this reviewer for a kissing scene nothing short of magical. It captures the nervousness, delight and excitement that all the best movie moments have- maybe even more, as it feels so authentic. For that, bravo to Metcalfe, and the ensemble of Poker Night.

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK VIDEO. Moderated by Matthew Toffolo: