Excerpts From The First Ever TIFF x Instagram Short Film Festival

Posted on 12 September, 2016 by Team Wishberry


With an intent to take the beauty and joy of filmmaking and cinema watching to  a wider audience, this year TIFF joined forces with Instagram and created the TIFF X Instagram Shorts Festival. The idea was simple, yet a beautiful marriage of cinema and social media: filmmakers had to submit their minute-long short films on TIFF’s Instagram page. Those who gained the approval of the fans as well as the jury won an invite to the prestigious film festival.


The jury included talented actors such as Priyanka Chopra and James Franco, esteemed directors Ava DuVernay, Xavier Dolan and Nabil Elderkin, cinematographer Ben Richardson, and animator Rachel Ryle.


The jury and fans picked two winners from a delectable spread of thirty amazing films.


While all the entries were incredibly diverse, the jury and the fans picked 2 winners out of the 30 shortlisted films, we’ve picked our own favourites too. Here are some of our favourite shorts from the festival!


'La Pasión Original' by Ivan Herrera – Judge's Choice Award

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La Pasión Original  is an artistic portrayal of the slums of Dominican Republic where Herrera’s lead bids farewell to life with music, gunshots, rum and weed.  

'Hope' by Mohamed Abdullah – Fan Favourite Award

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Hope won the fan favourite award for its stunning camerawork that captured culture, landscape, loneliness, optimism and faith. The film is an inspiring portrait of young boy Emer Guesmi, a.k.a. Zulu Rema who lost his legs in an accident but still dances through the pain.


The Unseen Face by Nima Niv

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Iranian filmmaker Nima Niv's short The Unseen Face is a re-enactment of a childhood memory, which left a lifelong impression on him. Xavier Dolan critiqued the film as an eerie, aggressive work of a person with high-end taste.   

Girl Woman by Carly Stone

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Carly Stone the writer and director of Girl Woman walks us through that awkward moment when you wake up hung-over to realise you signed up on a website to be a sugar baby.


Vicious Cycle by Oliver Carr and Frank Higson

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Inspired by weird fiction by Lovecraft, Buñuel's The Exterminating Angel and Tarkovsy’s Stalker; Vicious Cycle is a nightmare come to life.​ The filmmakers use Instagram’s loop function to their full advantage.  

Awake & Dreaming by Nimisha Mukerji

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Awake & Dreaming is the inspiring and touching story of a queer Syrian refugee expressing freedom, after leaving his homeland behind.


Stalkers by Fred Tilby-Jones

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The film inspired by Roald Dahl’s dark fairy tale ‘The Magic Finger’, is a suspenseful thriller with an interesting twist at the end.  

The Touch by Sugandha Bansal

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Sugandha Bansal's​ animated film raises a voice on the rampant child sexual abuse, which is not always committed by strangers. James Franco said that the film had, “a very honest and smart way to approach a sensitive subject.”


The Lovers by Carey Williams

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Adapted by a poem of the same name, The Lovers narrates grief, heartbreak and memories of his recently passed lover who hid her sickness from him.  

La Solitude Tropicale by Eduardo Matsuzaki

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The film entirely shot on an iPhone by this award-winning Brazilian filmmaker, explores the feelings of belonging and loss.


Lost Chocolate by Drew Pollins

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Shot in 35mm, Lost Chocolate is a hilarious take on skate culture. Pointing at the film’s cheeky ending, Ben Richardson said, “no relationship is a one-way street, and maybe the problem is you.”


Catch all the other shorts HERE. And, if this has inspired you to go work on your film, do give India Film Project’s 50-hour filmmaking challenge a shot.

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