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.

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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.

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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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