A scene from To All My FriendsBromance is an international collection of eight short films about male friendship and the inevitable competition, machismo, rivalry and resignation. It is an official selection of the Worldwide Short Film Festival, screening Friday, June 3 at 7 pm at the Royal Ontario Museum and Sunday, June 5 at 4:30 pm at Varsity Cinema.

Swim
Haunted by his role in the death of his childhood BFF, a filmmaker reflects on regret and loss, Animorphs and blowjobs.

This opening short was shot in Toronto near Lakeshore Boulevard. The voiceover feels disconnected from the on-screen images as the narrator recounts his story and his friend explores Lake Ontario. The story itself is interesting, but it almost becomes a choice between paying attention to the visuals or the audio.

Zach and Andy
When Zach decides to move out, his roommate Andy tries to create a new life for himself, without his best friend. But it’s hard to cut ties cold turkey, especially at Christmastime.

This is a situation many roommates face at some point in their friendship – one or the other arrives at a point where they are ready to build a nest with their significant other, leaving their roommate behind. Andy is going a little overboard with the Christmas decorations and the holiday in general, while Zach tries to make the transition as painless as possible. The results are some awkward conversations and a video Christmas card.

Needle Exchange
Two recovering addicts tattoo themselves and each other, marking new life experiences and pets onto their flesh. Ink is their link, but their bond is tested when a new romantic relationship threatens the friendship. An intimate Irish documentary of he said, he said.

Their choice to trade their heroin needles for tattoo needles is inspiring. One of them is clearly more focused and ambitious than the other, turning his love into a business versus bouncing from one hands-on interest to the next. However, the introduction of a woman into the dynamic causes a strain in their relationship, but they’re both sure their friendship will survive.

52
Scott Thompson (The Kids in the Hall) has a nightmare about aging. This bizarre fever dream packs a punch.

Canadian Thompson is quite popular at this year’s Short Film Festival, being included in more than one program. His nightmares about growing old are hilarious, losing his dentures to a young prospective lover only to find himself lying next to an even older man. Only three minutes long, the short doesn’t allow a second to go to waste, including the final punch line.

Bike Race
Who is the best cyclist of all time: Eddy Merckx or Lance Armstrong? A pair of competitive real-life friends put national pride and romantic relationships on the line in pursuit of their own “Tour de Force” title.

This minimalist, black-and-white American animation is actually quite attractive; particularly the changeover of scenes and positions within scenes. The parallel stories of the Tour de Force and the growing attraction between two friends are appealing. In addition, the people giving voice to the tale are quite lively and attention-grabbing.

North Atlantic
An isolated air traffic controller in the Azores makes contact with a lone pilot caught helplessly adrift, without fuel, over the North Atlantic. It’s a quiet and profound tribute to a real life event that connected three strangers.

This 15-minute UK/Portugal short is inspired by true, moving events. The conversation between the controller an doomed pilot is sad but inspiring. With only two hours of fuel remaining for a four hour flight, the men take comfort in each other’s voices and some music. Quite possibly the most stirring moment of the film is after the screen goes to black and the pilot’s final message to his new friends is shown.

35mph (Vivre à 35 milles à l’heure)
Two buddies geek out over a shared passion for dirt bikes. They love talkin’ torque and mountings, balls and bearings. But their friendship is also based on an understanding that only they share, on an internal, blood-and-guts level.

They are obsessed with motocross and believe they are hardcore riders. They appear to share almost everything and are closer than most boys their age. However, as the story unfolds, more elements about each of them are revealed – the most significant aspects deal with death and betrayal. It is this slow reveal that makes this Canadian narrative so intriguing.

To All My Friends
Punks Mark and Sonny are thick as thieves and stuck like glue. When Mark gets the chance to move to the big city and Sonny doesn’t approve, a destructive power struggle emerges, posing as loyal friendship.

These guys are full-fledged, hardcore punks. They hang out with a tight group of friends, but share an elite bond that leaves everyone else in the cold. Mark is growing out of the non-stop drinking and fighting, but Sonny knows no other life – nor does he want one. In a sense, by rejecting their lifestyle, Mark is simultaneously rejecting Sonny despite his best efforts not to alienate him. The Danes truly make emotionally-charged movies.

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