Urban dreams

Dundas ‘n’ Bathurst, from http://www.youtube.com/user/TUFFyear1

It’s good news to be able to report the return of TUFF, the Toronto Urban Film Festival. TUFF is an eight-day public film festival held in Toronto, which features urban-themed one-minute films, all of which have to be silent. Last year’s inaugural festival (reported by the Bioscope) produced some remarkably high quality entries – as an example of which, do take a look at 2007’s overall prize winner, the dazzling Dundas n’ Bathurst (an area of Toronto) by Charuvi Agrawal and Jeffrey Tran, or visit the YouTube site which hosted the 2007 entries.

The festival invites entries covering all genres of film, video, and animation from both trained professional, and untrained amateur, artists and filmmakers. National and international submissions are welcomed. Every entry has to fit in with one of the festival’s themes, which this year are:

* Urban Encounters – the moments that make city-living worthwhile
* Urban Fears – the darker side of living in a metropolis
* Urban Growth – from skyscrapers to suburban sprawl
* Urban Imaginary – hopes for the future of municipalities
* Urban Natural – the living city, both nurtured and oppressed
* Urban Secrets – stories about the hidden or forgotten city
* Urban Travels – from taking public transit to practicing Parkour

As stated, all submissions must be silent and exactly 60 seconds in length. The deadline for submissions is 1 July 2008, and the festival itself runs 5-12 September 2008. Films selected by the jurors for each thematic category will play on Toronto’s network of 250 TTC subway platform screens repeatedly during one day of the festival. All selected films will also be eligible to be posted on the festival website, for viewing and voting throughout the festival, as well as for future viewing. Filmmakers can also opt to have their film added to the TUFF YouTube collection.

Finally, not only is it free to submit, but the filmmakers retain rights, and receive $150 per selected film – $75 for taking part in TUFF on the TTC, and $75 for being a part of the website. Full details of how to enter can be found on the festival website.

What an excellent venture, further evidence of the rude health of the silent film today. I’ll publish more on it at the time of the festival itself.