Short is Good

Short is good. You know, great things, small packages, yada, yada.

Short is good if you like toothy actors who shill for Scientology, like Tom Cruise.

Short is good if you work to live and have a long weekend.

Short is good if you're an MMA cage fighter and that's your temper.

Short is good if your house has low doorways. You know, like Frodo.

And short is great if you are the 2017 Water Docs Film Festival in Toronto (March 29 to April 2).

The festival closes on Sunday, April 2 with a short bang, not a long whimper. Our Water Drops Shorts Program (3 to 5:30 pm) at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema offers six short but powerful documentaries. The films present exhilarating international and Canadian perspectives – whether on Norwegian surfers who make stunning art from found objects beach combing, or a diver working in the surreal floating world of Mexico’s sewage system, or a lyrical depiction of the bond between human and nature created by our country’s well-known watercraft and water symbol – the canoe.

Skeleton Sea: The Tides of Tomorrow

João and Xandi, two surfers in their early 50s, have been working together for 25 years. They clean beaches, picking up trash that they use to create stunning artworks. But living as artists and idealists in Portugal makes for a hard, penurious life and one that takes a toll on their families. Even so, the two are driven by their desire to raise awareness about the ever-growing pollution in our oceans.


Conserving Water in Urban Areas

Brent and Tammy Foster's award-winning film examines an Urban Green Infrastructure Project at Lower Thames Conservation Authority office, in Chatham, Ontario, designed to collect, filter and slowly release roof and parking lot runoff water.

The Diver

Julio César Cu Cámara is the chief diver in the Mexico City sewage system. Amid incredible debris, his job is to repair pumps and dislodge garbage that flows into the gutters, to keep sewage waters running.

En la Orilla (At the Edge) 

Gaspar and his family live in Agua Verde, a 256-person town on the eastern coast of the Baja Peninsula in Mexico. Day by day, they struggle to catch enough fish and make enough money to pay for the things they need, always living at the edge of their means.

Fishing is getting harder every year, but Gaspar still has faith that with enough patience and time he can maintain his family's quality of life. But he knows that this might be the last generation able to manage the tightrope balancing act, so he and his wife Silvia, work very hard to ensure their children will lead a different life.

The Storm Downstream

Peter DeFranco, born and raised in Alabama, tries to save his backyard lake from harmful sediment pollution caused by a large development site upstream. Although human eyes cannot penetrate the murky water, and an end to the problem doesn’t come clearly into sight,  DeFranco arrives at a special understanding in his passionate attempt to save Scout Creek Lake.

The Canoe

If it is love that binds people to places in this nation of rivers and in this river of nations, then one enduring expression of that simple truth is surely the canoe.
— James Raffan

This film captures the bond between human and nature created by Canada’s well-known watercraft and water symbol – the canoe. Through the stories of five canoeists paddling through different parts of Ontario, the film – gorgeously lyrical in visual composition and narration – underscores the strength of the human spirit and how the canoe can be a vessel for creating deep and meaningful connection.

After the films have screened, The Canoe director Goh Iromoto will be on hand to discuss his beautiful film. The Water Drops Shorts Program will be emceed by Canadian actor, comedian and playwright Rick Miller. Get your tickets here. But hurry, time is short.

*Banner photo by Gordon Tsang.