Short Film Movie Review: MERKUR

by Amanda Lomonaco

Review of the short film.
Played at the September 2015 WILDsound FEEDBACK Film Festival.

I’ve never liked the saying “a picture is worth 1,000 words.” I’ve often believed pictures can lie just as well, and just as often as words can. After watching this film I’m not so sure anymore that conviction.

Merkur is quite a simple animation, with simple, humanoid characters, basic chunky background structures, and an intricate play on light to enhance the composition. With these very basic structures, two minutes, and no dialogue, the makers of Merkur create a beautiful short film, that expresses and emphasizes the importance of curiosity, and exploration.

The film itself does not parade a grand act of defiance, nor does it go through great lengths to explain the characters’ internal though process, or even the initial storyline. In fact the film seems to propel your focus almost entirely to the end result of the main character’s unique act. By simply turning and running in the opposite direction of the crowd, the humanoid is able to create something of great beauty, and seemingly release themselves from constraints that neither audience nor character seemed previously aware of.

As it seems to be a theme for this month, and is in fact a general characteristic of short films, this one also has some room for interpretation. Despite the beauty of the ending, it could also be argued that the defiant humanoid’s actions led to its own destruction, as well as that of the rest of the group. But that’s what makes short films so wonderful; they’re not tied to the conventions of traditional cinema, they don’t need to give us a beautifully wrapped conclusion, they let us take from them what we will.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of MERKUR:

Deadline TODAY to Submit your Short Film, Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:

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

Short Film Movie Review: A SIGN

by Amanda Lomonaco

Review of the short film.
Played at the September 2015 WILDsound FEEDBACK Film Festival.

This one left me intrigued, and a little confused, but I couldn’t help but love it. It follows a mature Belgian prostitute who has lost her faith in God, and tries to find a greater meaning in life. The symbolism in the film is enormous, of course the title itself leaves you constantly searching for “signs”, symbolism, and messages that could hint at the final conclusion.

If nothing else touches you about this film, the cinematography ia absolutely brilliant. I felt like I could have watched this film on mute, and I still would have thoroughly enjoyed the beauty of the images parading across the screen. The contrast in colours, the lighting, the set dressing, it all helps convey the main character’s state of mind, and the “signs” that constantly surround her, silently trying to reach her.

One of my favourite things about short films, is when they make you think you could watch them a dozen times and come up with a different interpretation every time. A Sign certainly achieves this purpose. The film tells you just enough to allow you to understand the plot, without explaining every aspect that goes on. It leaves you to wonder, and to guess what made the main character so joyful in what should have been such a miserable moment. It leaves you to piece together all the different moments in the film, and break them into their individual “signs” to build the puzzle of its full meaning.

It’s often quite easy for experimental, poetic, and artistic films to leave with a sense of question. To open up a realm for numerous interpretation, and emotional response. It’s quite rare, however, for a film that follows a traditional storyline structure to achieve the same feat. There is very little that is abstract about A Sign, and yet so much of it is left to personal interpretation.

As I said, I would easily watch this film on mute, if nothing else to just enjoy the beauty of it. I would even watch it several times over, just to see how much of it I could piece together. I’m still not quite sure if there was a moral to this film, or quite what the ending was intending to achieve, and still I can’t wait to get a chance to see it again.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of A SIGN:

Deadline TODAY to Submit your Short Film, Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:

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

Short Film Movie Review: ROBBIE THE RABBIT

Review of the short film ROBBIE THE RABBIT.
by Amanda Lomonaco

Played at the September 2015 WILDsound FEEDBACK Film Festival.

So this one was… particularly unique. The child actors were amazing and the story itself, though rather dark, maintained a certain level of innocence and comedy throughout. The end, however, could be described as somewhat off-putting.

Most classical stories tend to at least attempt some form of morally acceptable conclusion, and something about a story involving children seems to cry out for a “moral of the story”. Robbie the Rabbit, on the other hand, seems to have selected the unexpected as its ideal conclusion. Although the finale is alluded to throughout the film, some part of you can’t help but resist the idea that such an ending is even possible. Perhaps it was that very resistance that the filmmakers were attempting to invoke, forcing the question of why we are so unwilling to accept that anyone would choose to undergo such a procedure.

Despite its disturbing ending, you can’t help but appreciate the cleverness of this short in all its detail. The production itself is of an impressive quality, and the quaintness of the characters hooks you from the start. The character of the sarcastic teacher, making cynical remarks to a group of kindergartners, disrupts the reality of the rest of the story, and is the first indication that something about this is a little odd. In fact the character of the teacher himself somewhat removes this film from the realm of traditional reality, if nothing else simply by the self-reflexivity of his comments. Or perhaps it is his very cynicism that traumatizes Robbie into the adult state we find him in.

I feel like this could be a bit of a divisive movie; one of those “love it or hate it” situations. Granted that’s always likely to happen with oddball films like this one. Steer clear if you’re really squeamish, but otherwise give it a try; you might learn something new about yourself.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of ROBBIE THE RABBIT:

Deadline TODAY to Submit your Short Film, Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:

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

Watch the September 2015 Best Scene Screenplay Readings

DEADLINE: Submit your best scene from your screenplay. Have it performed using professional actors:

Best Scene Reading of AMONG US
September 2015 Reading

Written by Renana Hancock


NARRATOR – Allison Kampf
EDDIE – Ben Hur
MERAZURE – Angelica Alejandro
VEE – Holly Sarchfield

Best Scene Reading of FEI JI
September 2015 Reading

Written by James C. Peters


NARRATOR – Laura Kyswaty
TOM – Ben Hur
HUNG BO – Chris Reid-Geisler
COLONEL PAO – Gabriel Darku
JOAN – Angelica Alejandro

September 2015 Reading
Written by Carolyn Reese


NARRATOR – Holly Sarchfield
THE DUKE – Ben Hur
MARSHALL – Laura Kyswaty
CONTESTANT 1 – Gabriel Darku
CONTESTANT 2 – Chris Reid-Geisler
CONTESTANT 3 – Angelica Alejandr

Best of Festival Tweets for Today

Read the best of Twitter Tweets from Festivals from around the world:

Today’s Best of Tweets in the Festival World

Read the best of Twitter Tweets from Festivals from around the world:

Watch the best of DATE Stories and Movies from the Festival

Watch the best of DATE Movies from the Writing and Film Festival:

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

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

Russia, Romance

June 2015 Reading
Written by Yancey Derringer Banks

TV SPEC – NEW GIRL “Summer’s Over”
February 2014 Reading
Written by Micah Goldman & Griff Kohout

June 2015 Reading
Written by Michelle J Brezinski

April 2015 Reading
Written by Felicity Flesher

January 2014 Reading
Written by Michael Sieve

Romance / Time Travel, UK

8min, USA, Comedy

March 2015 Reading
Written by Debbie Bolsky

1st Scene – THREE PLAY
March 2015 Reading
Written by John-Arthur Ingram

by Ginnie Siena Bivona

Miss Know it all
Poetry Reading by Ondrea Tye

A Night to Remember
by Joseph J. Cacciotti

Interview with Kelly Michael Stewart, Festival Director for Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival

A weekend long festival celebrating the best in contemporary Canadian horror filmmaking.

Matthew Toffolo Interviews Artistic Director Kelly Michael Stewart:

Matthew: Why is the city of Toronto the perfect fit for what you’re showcasing at the festival?

Kelly: In many ways I don’t think Blood in the Snow (BITS) could have happened in any other city. We have a thriving festival culture in Toronto with over 70 festivals in the city including of course TIFF.

The film scene here is very collaborative and filmmakers really do like to help each other here. I’ve been told from filmmakers from other regions that that don’t get along the way that Toronto filmmakers tend to do. It can be competitive but its rarely done in a backstabbing way here. Part of BITS success comes from the other filmmakers plugging and supporting the films playing at the festival, so in a way I wouldn’t want to do the festival in any other city.

Matthew: What is the goal of your film festival?

Kelly: To highlight the best in Canadian contemporary horror genre films for the fans. For the filmmakers, our goal is to give them an ideal place to launch their films. I’ve always said that premiering your film is like your wedding day or giving birth to your child and you only have one chance to get it right. So our job as festival organizers is to throw them one hell of party for them.

Matthew: How has the festival changed since is began until now?

Kelly: We originally had it at rep cinema in the east end but for the past couple of years we have had it at Carlton, which is ideal for us because it is very central in the city and has large lobby for us to have a vendor village and availability to add additional screenings if we need them. Also our team has grown significantly since its inception in 2012. In our first year I basically put the whole thing together and had a few volunteers helping out. Now we have a staff of 10 along with another 15 volunteers. So it has grown into a fairly large operation.

Matthew: How many films are you showcasing at your Film Festival this year in how many days?

Kelly: As I write this, we haven’t announced our 2015 dates yet but we usually have it over three days in late November and showcase about 8 features and 15 shorts.

Matthew: Can you give us a sneak peak of what to expect for the 2015 Festival?

Kelly: We experimented in 2014 in added an educational component with having a seminar for filmmakers. I’d like to expand that more in 2015. Our festival is very filmmaker focused and want to continue that emphasis.

Matthew: Is there going to be an overall theme for the 2015 festival?

Kelly: We don’t really have a theme for our festival each year. It really is just about getting the best Canadian films to show on screen and put on an amazing event for film fans in Toronto.

Matthew: Where do you see your festival in 5 years?

Kelly: I’d like the festival to be creditable cinematic institution in Canada. Somewhere where filmmakers can count on to launch their films and for audiences know that they are getting the best in brand new genre films. I think we are on our way to achieving that already but I hope that it continues on the path that it is on now.

Matthew: What’s the current status of the Film Scene in Toronto?

Kelly: In a word; thriving.

Toronto gets the nickname “Hollywood North” for a reason with so many film productions being shot here. You certainly don’t make much money making films here but everyone seems to be working all the time and the films tend to find an audience which is good too.

Matthew: What film have you seen the most in your life?

Kelly: Most likely The Godfather.

Matthew: What else are you passionate about besides running this festival?

Kelly: I’m also a film producer and writer. I have two film in circulation at the moment, a short called ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD that has played about 20 festivals so far and a new full length film called LATE NIGHT DOUBLE FEATURE that will be playing around the world in 2015. You can find out more info on them both at

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Matthew Toffolo, Interviewer BIO

Filmmaker of over 20 short films and TV episodes, Matthew Toffolo is the current CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival. He had worked for the organization since its inception in 2007 serving as the Short Film Festival’s moderator during the Audience Feedback sessions.

Go to and submit your film, script, or story to the festival.

Go to and watch recent and past winning writing festival readings.