The 2017 Short Dramatic Film Program Showcase

By Margaret DeRosia ● June 23, 2017 09:45


Woman at podium in a theatre.

Erin Burke, CFC's Executive in Charge of Production and Post, introducing the films.


Last night, a VIP audience gathered at TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema for a sneak peek at two films produced in one of the CFC’s longest-running programs – the Short Dramatic Film Program. The annual industry event showcased the films developed this year to an appreciative group of cast, crew, sponsors, suppliers and alumni.

The Short Dramatic Film Program has launched original voices and concepts into the international marketplace, produced high-quality productions, and built long-lasting collaborative relationships for emerging filmmakers – and it has done so for an impressive 26 years and running.

Kathryn Emslie, CFC’s Chief Programs Officer, thanked everyone for celebrating these “great new films and exciting talent, both on and off the screen.” She also acknowledged the Program’s sponsors and post-production partners for their “generosity and continued commitment to these storytellers of the future.”

Next, Erin Burke, the CFC’s Executive in Charge of Production and Post, advocated for why programs such as this one need to continue, programs that give talented filmmakers “the opportunity to continue creating” and the chance to “find their voice, sharpen their storytelling skills and find their visual style.” Burke also happily awarded two outstanding production volunteers, Liz Tompkins and Liz May, for their contribution to and dedication on this year’s productions.


A man and woman standing at a podium in a theatre.

Short Dramatic Film Program directors Liz Cairns and Aaron Mirkin.


Then it was time for the films to screen. The two directors – Liz Cairns, director of HIS NAME IS WILLY, and Aaron Mirkin, director of LUCAS — took to the stage together to introduce their films and thank both their teams and the CFC.

In HIS NAME IS WILLY, estranged siblings Grace (Kelly Van der Burg) and Rayne (Brie Doyle) begin to reconcile as they perform a DIY funeral for their recently deceased mother. Besides Cairns and Van der Burg, other CFC residents and alumni involved in the production were the film’s writer Kathleen Hepburn, producer Heidi Tan, and music by Aimee Bessada and Spencer Creaghan.


Four people standing, two on other side of a film poster.

L-R: Composer Aimee Bessada, director Liz Cairns, Actor Brie Doyle and composer Spencer Creaghan of HIS NAME IS WILLY.


LUCAS also deals with mourning, or whether to mourn when the loss is unresolved. Two months after the mysterious disappearance of her son, Anne’s (Lesley Faulkner) sense of hope and reality begin to disintegrate. Joining Mirkin, other CFC residents and alumni involved in the film were producer Rebeka Herron, writer Michael Hanley, editor Pauline Decroix and composer Neil Haverty.


Five people standing, two on one side and three on the other side, of a film poster.

L-R: Writer Michael Hanley, actor Lesley Faulkner, director Aaron Mirkin, composer Neil Haverty and editor Pauline Decroix of LUCAS.


The CFC warmly extends its congratulations to these filmmakers. Be sure to keep an eye out for both in short film programs as film festival season starts! 

All photos by Sam Santos/George Pimentel Photography.


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Margaret DeRosia

Communications Specialist/Digital Writer & Editor