Family First | Bravo!FACT Shorts Under the Stars | Review

Posted by manori.ravindran & filed under Film.

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Torontonians were not fazed when the first biting cold evening of Fall coincided with Nuit Blanche, the city’s contemporary art festival. Among the night-long festivities of artwork and performances was Bravo!FACT’s Shorts Under The Stars, a screening of Canadian short films.

Playing in the popular CTV parking lot on Queen Street West, a large crowd braving the cold trickled in at 9:00 p.m. to watch the free outdoor screening. Projected onto a large screen along the brick walls of Chum Studios, the audience was pleasantly surprised with quirky, high quality shorts by talented Canadian artists.


One of the twelve films showcased was Toronto filmmakerJennifer Liao’s short,Family First. Described as a “dark comedy about family approval and the blindness of love,” the film is about siblings Rob (Peter Mooney) and Ashley (Shira Leuchter). They love each other – a lot – and a family dinner sets the scene for a startling confession.

Directed by Chris Hanratty and produced by Jennifer Liao and Jennifer Mesich, Family First is a sweet and disturbing tale about two people who probably shouldn’t be, but are, in love. It also speaks to the timeless complications of telling your family about a new relationship.


A sharp cast delivers a hilarious mix of shock, horror and bewilderment. Interestingly, a glance back at the audience reflected similar sentiments. Incest, after all, tends to make people a little uncomfortable.

Sure, the film takes the romantic comedy to a completely new level, but it’s a level that works. Instead of Boy Meets Girl, Boy Is Related To Girl – Now, that’s not something movie-goers see coming. And isn’t that what film is all about?

A complicated romance that’s all in the family–it pays off to put Family First.



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