New in this week’s NSI Online Short Film Festival: Pop the Grapes and Nina

Two films in this week’s NSI Online Short Film Festival from directors Nicole Dorsey and Rheanna Toy.

Pop the Grapes

Pop the Grapes is directed by Nicole Dorsey.

Stephanie needs $500 for an advanced self-defense course in the big city. When she finds an envelope full of cash, she reluctantly turns it over to a security guard. Assuming he’s used the cash to buy a pair of high-class cowboy boots, Stephanie shows the security guard the meaning of brute force.

Producer Deborah Robinson says, “Desiree (Lavoy) and I had been working together on various comedy projects since 2009.

Since that time we have won countless awards for our live performances, including Best New Format 2012 for Happy Contest Time (a show we created where Japanese schoolgirls judge stand-up comedy.) We showcased at NXNE, and we were guests at both The Boston Women in Comedy Festival and Halifax Fringe Festival.

When coming together for Pop the Grapes, we knew we wanted the challenge of making a film, we knew we wanted the script to be quirky because that’s who we are as comedians and we knew we wanted to surround ourselves with talented women.

It all fell into place perfectly – Stephanie Kaliner (Versus Valerie), and Sara Hennessey (Video on Trial), are our amazing leads. Then once Nicole Dorsey signed on as director, we knew we were in good hands. We all came together to make this happen and Desiree and I are so thankful for the experience. We hope you enjoy watching it as much as we did making it.”


Nina is directed by Rheanna Toy.

Mainstream depictions of women and a diet-crazed mother have made eight-year old Nina increasingly self-conscious about the way she looks. When a boy at school kisses every girl but her, Nina takes matters into her own hands and starts a dangerous habit.

Rheanna Toy says, “Never has it been more pertinent that artists, especially artists in the media, drive home the importance of body acceptance and self love.

Too many women in the media are portrayed as nothing more than perfect bodies, distorting young viewers’ sense of self. Nina is my reaction to a lifelong struggle with eating and body image.

Through the creation of this short film, as well as the blog I kept during the process, I learned a lot about myself and about the distorted ideas I grew up with.

I immersed myself in this topic, volunteering weekly with an organization for young girls that promotes health and positive self-esteem.

I learned that making honest work can bring many talented people to you.

I am so thankful for the talented cast and crew that helped me to create this film. Through everything, I discovered how much of an impact the media has on us, and the importance of positive role models. As a young filmmaker trying to find my voice, this realization will impact all of my future work.”

• • •

Throughout December, we’ve celebrated Shaw Media Fearless Female Director month with a collection of films from our favourite female directors.

In the final installment this week we’re highlighting The Smoke Shack by Kaniehtiio Horn and Awkward by Kellie Ann Benz. Read more.

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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