The disremembered details of a man’s life flash before his eyes as he chokes to death on a piece of meat.

Creative team

Writer/director/producer: Jordan Canning

Filmmaker’s statement

Jordan Canning says:

Seconds was a film originally conceived for the 2012 TIFF RBC Emerging Filmmaker’s Competition, which was open to all participants in the 2011 TIFF Talent Lab. The filmmakers were asked to develop a one to five minute short film on the subject of time. Each filmmaker received a bursary of $500 and had about five months to complete the film.

I was very excited about the vast possibilities that existed with a theme as open-ended as time, but I also wanted to tell a story that was very personal.

I like memory a lot – it seems to come up in my scripts – so I started by making a list of specific moments, many of them my own memories. Memories that the character of Peter Grimsby might be surprised to find returning to him in the final moments of his life. In the end, there are many elements of my own life up on screen. There are shots from my childhood home, and my grandmother. My roommate and a lot of my friends are all in the film. It was a really lovely, collaborative process.

Because there are so many little moments to the film, we decided to spread the shooting out over three days. This was great because it allowed our days to be pretty relaxed – we were just sort of zipping all over town picking up the pieces we needed. The most challenging aspect of the film was figuring out how to create the effect of Peter falling backwards in his chair in slow motion. We needed a way to make it consistent and safe so that we could shoot it several times.

In the end, cinematographer and all-around genius Sam Pryse-Phillips came up with a simple but really clever chair rig with a platform and two long handles that allowed us to affix the camera to the base and slowly lower the chair backwards. It took a few tries to get it right, but once it worked it was exactly the effect we were hoping for.

We filmed over three days in February, with an incredible cast and a small but fierce crew of around five.

In post-production, Jonathan Eagan’s superb editing and Igor Correia’s original piano composition helped bring everything together. I am so proud of this very personal little film, and so grateful to everyone who helped bring it to life.”

About Jordan Canning


Jordan Canning is a 2010 graduate of the Canadian Film Centre’s Director’s Lab. She has written and directed a number of short films that have played at festivals all over the world, including the Tribeca Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival and Interfilm Berlin.

Among them, Bedroom screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and won best Atlantic short at the Atlantic Film Festival; Countdown has won a number of awards including a Golden Sheaf for Best Director; Not Over Easy was a finalist in CBC’s Short Film Face Off; and Seconds won top prize in the 2012 TIFF RBC Emerging Filmmakers Competition. Her most recent film, The Tunnel, premiered at Cannes as part of Telefilm’s Not Short on Talent program.

Jordan is also developing a number of feature films including an adaptation of the award-winning novel Come, Thou Tortoise.


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