Articles by Shahbaz Khayambashi

Festival Coverage

Toronto After Dark 2017: Shahbaz on Short Films

Throughout my years of attending the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, I have come to learn a few truisms: 1) if a film is a world premiere, steer clear, 2) the international shorts program usually contains some of the best work at the festival, and 3) the Canadian shorts usually contain a handful of brilliant selections surrounded by others that are…less so.  Being unable to speak to the first (as of now), I am glad…

Festival Coverage

Wylie Writes @ TIFF ’17 – Canadian Slate

Despite all the less-than-stellar changes made to TIFF this year, the festival continues to excel in giving a voice to Canadian filmmakers and video artists.  Representatives of TIFF, once again, gathered in the Fairmont Royal York hotel to announce Canadian films which will play at the festival this year and then – presumably – disappear into Canadian cinemas, where a few of them will compete with the latest Oscar bait and Hollywood slop.

Reviews

The Jazz Loft According to W. Eugene Smith

The documentary form of filmmaking has been around since the very beginning of the moving image.  In well over a century, it has been transformed in a variety of ways, leading to some of the most innovative cinema.  This is exactly why it is always so frustrating when someone takes an interesting individual or event and makes a documentary that takes nothing from this history, instead opting to utilize the same old cookie-cutter style of…

Reviews

Dawson City: Frozen Time

Film, as a physical material medium, is an unusual object: film reels can often survive in strange settings, remaining undiscovered for decades, and yet these same reels can suddenly go up in a blaze, often taking their surroundings with them.  This is an underplayed theme in Dawson City: Frozen Time, the newest work of filmmaker Bill Morrison.  Film is at once destructive and salvageable, destroyed and saved.

Reviews

It Comes at Night

There is a tradition in American horror cinema of making a short film with a lot of effects and minimal plot to be eventually used as a calling card.  It seems like this practice has found its way into the feature length semi-mainstream.  At least, that’s the only explanation for the existence of Trey Edward Shults’ It Comes at Night, a film which shows the director’s abilities as a horror filmmaker – including his great gift for…

Reviews

Urban Hymn

A racially-diverse group of children cause havoc until a teacher comes along and sets them straight.  No, this isn’t about Stand and Deliver or Dangerous Minds.  This is about Urban Hymn, yet another film which takes the familiar plotline and runs nowhere with it.