Small Gauge Trauma 2017

Fantasia’s renowned showcase of provocative and cutting-edge international shorts is back, with nine bold works from six countries. Skin will crawl.

A jolting nightmare from the Netherlands, Nico Van den Brink’s SWEET TOOTH (International Premiere) opens with an apartment dweller frustrated by the constant noise coming from her upstairs neighbour, and closes on a moment that will freeze your blood into next week. An app that connects users with dead people reveals numerous grisly secrets in Spanish filmmaker Alfonso Garcia’s exhilaratingly impressive and original IMEDIUM (North American Premiere).

From the USA, Adrian Selkowitz’s stylish and freakish TASTE (International Premiere) sees an ambitious Hollywood housewife holding an elaborate dinner party in the hopes of landing a gig on a cooking reality show. A twisted series of events crashes the night into an escalatingly grotesque and absurdist fiasco. On a far darker note, Kyle Ginzburg’s meticulously directed CROP (International Premiere) is the unsettling story of a man with vampiric characteristics who abducts victims for use in the underground organ trade. One night, he encounters a woman from his dreams… An alcoholic father leaves his eight-year-old daughter alone in a car while hitting a bar in the middle of the afternoon in William Bloodell’s sharp and surprising BORN OF SIN (World Premiere).

Moving on to Canada, a young, suburban internet troll takes his anger offline, coordinating a violent real-world happening that brings his clandestine web activities into the physical life of one specifically targeted other in Jay Rathore’s PUMPKIN (World Premiere). Italy’s Alberto Vivattene (HARDCORE) returns to Small Gauge Trauma with the sinisterly mesmerizing BIRTHDAY (World Premiere). A cruel nurse in an old person’s home supplements her income by selling patients’ desperately needed drugs to junkies. One day, she meets a resident on her 100th birthday. It will be a special day for them both.

U.K. filmmaker Andrea Niada’s HOME EDUCATION (Canadian Premiere) brings us a uniquely grim family happening steeped in tension and putrefaction. A young girl and her mother stand above her father, who lies dead in bed. Her mother is convinced that this is all a test. He can and will resurrect, if only they prove how deeply they miss him. It will just take time. And patience. And love. Meanwhile, father begins to rot. Just another test, the mother is certain. The daughter has her own theory. An incredible film that positively mortifies.

German filmmaker Paul Phillip’s chilling THE PECULIAR ABILITIES OF MR. MAHLER takes viewers to 1987 East Germany, where special investigator Mahler (VICTORIA’s André Hennicke), whose impressive track record of solving difficult crimes has led to rumours of supernatural abilities, steps into the home of a six-year old boy who’s been missing for weeks. A masterfully staged journey into dread-infused grief.

- Mitch Davis

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