New in this week’s NSI Online Short Film Festival: Bearhug + What Remains

Bearhug

Above: Bearhug

Two new films for you in this week’s NSI Online Short Film Festival.

In Bearhug, directed by J. Adam Brown, three living teddy bears deliver bad news. From an overdue bill to losing a job, their ‘bear hug’ can make troubles vanish. After discovering she’s been dumped, Madison, has never felt better – all thanks to the bears.

Soon, Madison begins to sabotage her own life, along with the rest of the town. With junkies desperate for hugs, a violent riot forces the teddy bears back into the woods. As the mob goes through withdrawal, Madison creates the first batch of small, furry bears, as something to get by on.

With this band-aid solution in place, the teddy bears arrive back with re-enforcements, only to discover they’ve been replaced.

J. Adam Brown says, “Origin stories seem to fascinate people – after all, what’s more interesting than seeing how something unique came to be that way? In the closing moments of the film when Madison creates the original teddy bear, there’s a satisfaction in seeing that: this is how teddy bears came to be – albeit in a sinister and fictitious way.

I’ve always wanted to tell a story that doesn’t try to sway an audience’s opinion on a layered issue but presents an interesting talking point, objectively. I believe there are more questions that arise from this story than answers. Madison finds herself addicted to a world without bad news. Her motivations are similar to that of a drug addict looking to escape reality. But what if the drug doesn’t have any negative repercussions on her life? What if it truly is just a bad news eraser, similar to Robert Solomon’s idea of the ‘Happiness Box?

It’s clear that the bears intentions are altruistic, and the results of their practice have undeniable benefits, so why not let people enjoy them? Some might argue, for example, that Madison loses the relativity of experience. Some wouldn’t. That’s what I like about this story. The watching of it is engrossing, and afterward people weigh in on where they stand.

The tone is not that of a standard fairy tale  We’re trying to break conventions of the genre to create something akin to an adult fairy tale where the bad news our world faces has one magical element at the centre of it all. There is no doubt that element is well intentioned, but whether it’s ‘good’ is up to the audience.”

What-Remains_photo-by-Mike-Tompkins

Above: What Remains

What Remains, directed by NSI grad Eva Madden, tackles complex relationships in a family where the recklessness of youth collides with the uncertainty of aging. As one young relationship cements its roots, another nears its end. Gentle and conversational, this is a story about an unkind truth of love.

Eva Madden says, “‘Wise men say only fools rush in.’ And with this headstrong enthusiasm, What Remains begins. In this film I am exploring the obligations of love and unforeseen loss through illness, inside the confines of an aging marriage.

Through the prism of a soon-to-be-married young woman, we explore her grandparents decaying relationship, now suffering in the grip of dementia. Her bitter grandmother is no longer the wife by her husband’s side, his love, and his partner. Instead, she’s become his mother and nursemaid. Soon she will be a stranger to him, just as he has become to her. Despite her loneliness and resentment she continues to care for him, day in and day out. Her love is failing but her sense of obligation is deep seated.

Who knows what life has in store for us when we commit to the idea of forever. What would you do if you found yourself caring for a partner you no longer love? With no easy answers, What Remains attempts to open that conversation.”

The NSI Online Short Film Festival is currently accepting film submissions until 4:30 p.m. CT today (December 10, 2012). Find out how to submit your film.

The NSI Online Short Film Festival is made possible through the support of Presenting Sponsor Shaw Media, Program Partner Telefilm Canada, Comedy Award Sponsor Blue Ant Media, Female Director Award Sponsor Shaw Media, Overall Best Film Award Sponsor A&E Television Networks, and Supporting Sponsor Netflix.

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