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Cannes Short Film online contest: FORBIDDEN TREE by Benafsheh Modaressi

Vote until Monday May 17 2010

The National Film Board of Canada, in association with the Cannes Short Film Corner and partner YouTube, welcomes you to this NFB competition, now in its fifth year, and you’re a member of the jury!

Animation work by Benafsheh Modaressi, talented Iranian artist, is now among the 10 finalists.

Watch her 7-min animation about a brave account of those who break taboos and make a city to revolt, and support her by pressing “like” on YouTube page. You have to be logged into your YouTube account (or open an account) to be able to vote.

Synopsis: A story of an imaginary city under a harsh ruler. Love is forbidden, and freedom a distant memory. Few people have the courage to fall in love, challenging the forbidden symbols….This film has no dialogue because the people are too scared to express themselves….in the end the love shines back in to the city, courage of those who dared to love has saved the city and the last clip shows a child, tasting life and freedom by eating the apple (symbol of life) freely.

Bio: Tehranian-born Banafsheh Modaressi worked from 1999 as a freelance photojournalist and reporter for magazines such as Paris Match, Die Zeit, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, as well as several local newspapers. Government restrictions in Iran hampered her photojournalism career, so Modaressi obtained an M.A. in Graphics and Design in 2005 then began teaching at the University of Applied Science and Technology in Tehran. She has had over 20 photo and mixed-media exhibitions, both inside and outside of Iran, and her love of photography and drawing ultimately led her to animation. Modaressi started film-making in the workshop of Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami in 2008 and followed his workshops from Tehran to Villa Arson.

Other Films:


Annie Goes Boating is a laconic portrait of a girl (Alessandra Torresani, Caprica) on a picnic in the park with her friends (including Alycia Delmore, Humpday and Davie-Blue, Bass Ackwards). Shot in stereo 3D, the film provides a restrained yet immersive glimpse into the group dynamics of this boating party.

Bio: Noel Paul is a filmmaker and graduate student in Digital Arts at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA. His work has been exhibited by festivals and organizations such as Slamdance, Los Angeles Film Festival, MTV, and SXSW. Annie Goes Boating is his thesis film.


Dusty paths, broken mirrors, a stopped watch - in "NEXT" an unnamed man is trying to find a little girl only to lose himself in a dream-like state. The film is set far from reality, space or time in an intense atmosphere. "NEXT" feels it's way through deserted corridors and stairs- a subtle journey between dream and reality by Burmese film-maker and cinematographer Thaid Dhi.
Bio: Thaid Dhi, was born in 1983, Yangon, Myanmar (Burma). He's a Cinematographer and Director. He's studying Cinematography at the National University of Art and Culture (Yangon) and recently finished study abroad at FAMU, The Film and TV school of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Czech Republic. He's mostly shooting short documentaries and short films.

CRASH! BANG! WALLOW? by Jon Dunleavy and Keith Wilson-Signer

Crash! Bang! Wallow? is the tale of ex-stuntman Larry LeTan and his fight to find a place in modern world. At the height of his career Larry rubbed shoulders with Hollywood superstars of the 80s. As stuntman to the most popular action heroes, he did all the things the stars couldn't or wouldn't do. He performed Arnie's tumbles, Sly's leaps and Segal's acting. However, with the introduction of computer technology Larry finds himself out of synch with the modern world. Poetry by Luke Wright and Joel Stickley.
Bio: Following the success of directorial debut The Technical Hitch (2006), Jon Dunleavy has been represented by Tandem Films. While working in the commercial field and television, he continues to develop and produce short films, including animated comedy Mummy and Baddy (2007) and fantasy/horror Shadows & Dust (2009). Dunleavy is currently completing work on his new short animation Crash Bang Wallow starring David Soul (Starsky & Hutch) – the bittersweet tale of a suicidal stuntman who tries and fails to stay relevant in a new era of computer-generated imagery.
Keith Wilson-Singer is a writer/director of animated short films. After graduating from Norwich University for the Arts, he directed the short animated comedy Mummy and Baddy (2007), starring Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter). Wilson-Singer followed this up with the twisted comedy short Jacob, which he wrote, produced and directed. He is currently developing a slate of animated and live-action projects for television and film.

LOVE & THEFT by Andreas Hykade

"And I'm still carrying the gift you gave, it's a part of me now, it's been cherished and saved, it'll be with me unto the grave and then unto eternity." (Bob Dylan)
Bio: Andreas Hykade was born in 1968 in Altoetting. From 1988-1990 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart, followed by studies at the Baden-Wuerttemberg Film Academy from 1992-1995. Since 1992 he has been working as a freelance filmmaker and since 2000 as a professor of Animation at the School of Arts and Design Kassel. His films include: The King is Dead (1990), We Lived in Grass (1995), Ring of Fire (2000), Tom & the Slice of Bread with Strawberry Jam & Honey (series, since 2003), The Runt (2006), The Bunjes(2007), and Love & Theft (2010) among others.

MOTHER OF MANY by Emma Lazenby

The most dangerous journey needs a helping hand.

Bio: Emma Lazenby graduated in ‘98 and moved to the highlands to work on films based on Scottish legends. After three years - moving to London Emma animated on adverts, pop promos and series before becoming a Designer for the primary series - ‘Charlie and Lola’. In 2007, Emma moved to Bristol where she designs, animates and directs for the ever award-winning ArthurCox. She completed ‘Mother of Many’ a film about midwifery and childbirth - in October 2009.


A young jumps from a cliff. Before leaving forever, his soul pays a visit to to his two impossible loves: a woman and the stage of a concert hall.


A mother takes her son to visit his father before leaving on vacation. Again this year the man won't be with his family and the child wants to show him his report card. The visiting procedure is always the same: the heavy doors close, the guards' look is severe, the hallways are endless, the rooms are desolate. The mother waits while the child goes to meet his father. The atmosphere is full of tension and the encounter is very emotional.

Bio: Alessandro Celli was born in Rome in 1976 and is an Italian-Canadian graduate from the Master of Arts program at the London Film School directed by Mike Leigh. He has made several short films which have received worldwide critical acclaim, winning more than 30 awards at international festivals. In 2008 his short film "UOVA" won him the David di Donatello, the Academy's highest recognition in the Italian film industry. Among other wins, his work has also obtained special mentions at the Silver Ribbon Awards, Interfilm (Berlin), Expresion En Corto (Mexico City) and has been selected by the French Academy (Cèsar) for the “Short Film Golden Nights - World’s Best Short Films of the Year”. In November 2009 he has been chosen by director Ermanno Olmi to direct “LA PAGELLA” (The Report Card). 


Alessandra is walking in the city when she is hailed by a man she doesn't recognize. Even though he keeps telling her about important moments of her life, his face remains totally unknown to her... 


A cable guy is called in to repair an old man’s TV set. Once inside the client’s home, the repairman realizes there’s nothing wrong with the TV. Rather it’s the images broadcasted on the screen: wars, famine, illness and kidnappings, that are “broken”. Moved by the client’s naïve request, and against his better judgment, the cable guy will attempt to fix the problem.

Bio: Simon Olivier Fecteau has started his career at Radio-Canada, in 1999, with the group Chick'n Swell and its eponym TV show that was awarded best comic TV show in 2004 (Gemeaux Awards). Then, he directed two shorts: Les derniers jours and Le pouce vert. He co-directed the Radio-Canada's Bye Bye in 2006 and 2007. The same year, he is co-directing with Marc-André Lavoie his first feature film, Bluff. He is actually working on his next feature script but he still had the time to make the short film The Technician.

Thanks for reading Cannes Short Film online contest: FORBIDDEN TREE by Benafsheh Modaressi

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