Light(s) at the End of the Tunnel

How about a shot of hope? In order to capture a timely snapshot of the moment we are all living through, we asked some of the nation’s talented rising stars to interpret this year’s #CanFilmDay theme: Light at the End of the Tunnel. These 15 emerging filmmakers have created eleven brand new original short films, commissioned by REEL CANADA and Netflix. The films range from one to eight minutes in length and include documentaries, animation and live action, in both English and French, by filmmakers from across the country. 

The filmmakers were given only nine weeks from green light to delivery, with each project receiving $10,000 and some production support generously provided by William F. White International across the country (and MELS for Quebec-based projects). 

The world premiere of these eleven shorts took place on April 21, 2021, with a special event featuring the films, discussions with the filmmakers, and more.

About the films

Director: Sara Ben-Saud | Documentary

Filmmaker Ben-Saud takes us into her family home, where she was confined with her parents and adult brother and sister during the early months of the lockdown, to experience the sometimes funny and sometimes challenging realities of pandemic coexistence.

Sara Ben-Saud is a Montreal-based director and screenwriter whose credits include the documentary series Skindigenous, among others. She is currently studying at L’inis in a new program supporting ethnic minorities created with the financial support of Netflix, and developing the documentary À toi Jeddi, about her Libyan heritage, produced by Nish Media and financed by SODEC.

7:59pm, Mile-End

Director: Mattias Graham | Documentary

A docufiction portrait of residents of the Mile-End neighbourhood in Montreal, QC, pairing reflections on the subjects’ changing relationships to their community with stories from the historic 8pm – 5am curfew.

Mattias Graham is a settler filmmaker from Regina, Saskatchewan (Treaty 4), currently based in Montreal. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Concordia University, and his work focuses on prairie stories, masculinity, and helping others tell their own stories. His short Gas Can (2017) won the SIFA for Best Short Film and the Ruth Shaw – Best of Saskatchewan Award at the Yorkton Film Festival. His upcoming short film Bleach won the WGC English-language script prize at the Cours écrire ton court and will be released in 2021.

Directors: Simon “Paul M” Mutabazi & Dan Boos | documentary

Six clairvoyants guide a young filmmaker through an unexpected journey of self-discovery.

Simon “Paul M” Mutabazi is an award-winning actor from Halifax, NS who got his start as David on the hit Canadian sitcom Mr. D and has since gone on to work with names such as Director X, Cory Bowles and Thom Fitzgerald, and rising stars such as Dan Boos and Seth Smith. Simon is an RBC Emerging Artist in Our Schools for 2020-21.

Dan Boos‘ shorts have screened at many international festivals. His latest film, Thug, won Best Atlantic Short and Outstanding Performance by an Actor (for Simon Mutabazi) at the 37th Atlantic Film Festival, followed by an online premiere with Issa Rae Presents. Originally from Halifax, Dan is now based in Toronto.

Le givre de Bobby-Yves
Directors: Bogdan Anifrani & Ranee Inez | animation

The tenacious Bobby-Yves is pushed to his limits during a journey in an unexpected snowstorm.

Bogdan Anifrani is a Montreal-based filmmaker and animator of Togolese and Ukrainian descent whose credits include DiM and Temporary Comfort. He worked on a vast array of short film projects, commercials, and feature films such as Ville Neuve and Archipel.

Ranee Inez is a queer multimedia artist and soon-to-be graduate of Concordia’s BFA in film animation. Her work includes installation pieces and illustrations exhibited in the Montreal art scene. Le givre de Bobby-Yves will be among her first works as an independent filmmaker and animator.

I’ve Got Blisters on My Fingers
Director: Ryan Steel | live-action

Jesse is a socially awkward loner who has a hard time getting home, after he loses his job due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ryan Steel is an independent filmmaker and animator from Treaty 1 Territory (Winnipeg). His work plays in the intersections of experimental, documentary and narrative filmmaking. His credits include the short films Cease & Desist and The Birdwatcher, both made with support from the Winnipeg Film Group. Ryan has also honed his skills by working on the sets of Guy Maddin, Rhayne Vermette, Mike Maryniuk and others.

Directors: Victoria Anderson-Gardner & Sagi Kahane-Rapport | live-action / animation

Struggling with a tragic loss in her family, Namid finds new meaning in her Grandfather’s teachings and is inspired to reconnect with those who have passed through fancy shawl dancing.

Victoria Anderson-Gardner is an award-winning queer Ojibwe filmmaker from Eagle Lake First Nation, ON, currently based in Thunder Bay. Victoria is focused on creating Indigenous content, showcasing underrepresented communities and using their skills as a filmmaker to educate. Victoria recently won the Glenn Gould Protégé Prize for their work.

Sagi Kahane-Rapport is a Canadian-American film and commercial director based in Toronto, whose award-winning work ranges from feature-length documentary to animation to installation. Sagi is a two-time recipient of the Norman Jewison Filmmaker Award, as well as the Ryan Churchill Promising Filmmaker award, and the Harvey Hart Director’s Award.

On Fire
Director: Dylan Glynn | Animation

The fires of hatred and greed which allow for the greatest atrocities of human suffering, the literal fires of a burning planet rapidly transforming as we race towards climate apocalypse and the fiery passion of movements that work to build a new world for the many and not the few.

Dylan Glynn is a Toronto-based, award-winning animator, painter, and author whose multidisciplinary practice is characterized by its emotion, grace and sense of wild-movement. His work has been recognized and exhibited by Society of Illustrators (Gold Medal SOI 62), American Illustration, Somerset House and the Canadian Screen Awards.

Only Light Will Touch Us
Director: Alicia K. Harris | Live-Action

In the safety of his bedroom sanctuary, a divine light liberates a man’s inner joy, in this celebration of a Black man’s vulnerability and freedom.

Alicia K. Harris is an award-winning filmmaker from Scarborough, ON. Her latest short film, Pick, won Best Live Action Short at the 2020 Canadian Screen Awards. Alicia’s work is dedicated to celebrating Black people, especially Black youth.


Director: Andrew Huculiak | Live-Action

We have been changed in innumerable ways by the historical event of SARS-CoV-2. Ways that we haven’t begun to comprehend. In this short, an individual reflects on the chaos and monotony of the past year.

Andrew Huculiak is a Vancouver-based multi-talented artist known as the animated drummer of We Are The City, a celebrated Canadian experimental rock band, and the award-winning director of the feature films Violent and Ash. His work has won 19 awards on the international film festival circuit.

Shoot Your Shot
Directors: Madison Thomas & Meegwun Fairbrother | live-action

A sci-fi/action comedy that follows Tover, a teenager on the frontlines battling a future alien invasion. However, it’s not the aliens that terrify Tover, it’s the idea of asking out his crush, fellow soldier Savoy!

Madison Thomas is a filmmaker and youth mentor of mixed ancestry (Ojibwe/Saulteux & Russian/Ukrainian settler), based in Winnipeg, Manitoba (Treaty 1) whose nuanced and unique body of work spans multiple genres and formats. Named one of Playback Magazine’s “Five Filmmakers to Watch,” she has won awards worldwide, and her credits include the feature Ruthless Souls, as well as many shorts (Zaasaakwe (Shout with Joy), Fourth Period Burnout, Seven Drinks, and Out of Reach, among others), and television shows (Taken, Burden of Truth, Wolf Joe, and more).

Meegwun Fairbrother is an accomplished theatre and TV actor of Ojibway and Scottish origin, from Grassy Narrows First Nation and Toronto. His theatre credits include the Dora-nominated Isitwendam (Native Earth Performing Arts); Incident at Vichy and Caught among others. His TV credits include CTV’s Carter Files; APTN’s Wynter and Mohawk Girls; CBC’s Burden of Truth; and many more. His directorial debut, the doc Okichitaw – Refeathering the Warrior, premiered at the Dreamspeakers Film Festival.

Director: Christopher Grant | animation

Playful forms must merge together in an anxious wrestle for unified harmony, no matter how difficult.

Christopher Grant is a Mi’gmaq filmmaker from Pabineau First Nation, New Brunswick. Inspired by life and death, Chris animates to express the humour and terror of existence. He has directed music videos and animations, and his work is part of the NFB’s Hothouse project. His work has been exhibited at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, the Gynocratic Art Gallery, Bathurst Heritage Museum and others, and screened at the Maoriland Film Festival and the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival.