Tom Choi in "Til it Blooms" (2022)
Calling all moviegoers! The Future of Film Showcase kicks off tomorrow, and believe me, you will not want to miss this year’s tremendous lineup. Running from June 17-26 at the Scotiabank Theatre in Toronto, the 2022 FOFS presents a showcase of Canadian short films that explore a range of subjects and complex storytelling.
One of the shorts premiering at the festival is Wendy Xu’s “Til It Blooms,” a 10-minute horror-comedy about grief. A distraught father, just before his big speech at his own father’s funeral, desperately tries to suppress a “grief flower” sprouting from his face and body. Written, directed, and edited by Xu, the film has an original premise around the significance of flowers at a funeral. Not only can grief be difficult for mourners to express into words, but the process of grieving is often hard for family and friends to understand. Flowers are a visual condolence, an expression of sympathy and healing. The life of a flower is also fragile, beautiful, and fleeting.
“Til It Blooms” explores the flower as an expression of grief, that the film’s protagonist Bo (played by Tom Choi) wants to push away. The film uses florals to convey body horror and achieves realistic-looking effects. An eerie scene of a flowerbed in a bathtub, rising and falling as if taking breaths, stands out as a vivid image. The film has a strong sense of place; as a viewer, you feel immediately drawn to the setting and understand the weight of being in a room of mourners. Xu strikes a great balance of fantasy, horror, and drama with an interesting concept. The film makes a memorable mark among this year’s FOFS lineup.
“Til It Blooms” premieres June 19 at the Scotiabank Theatre Toronto. Visit www.fofs.ca for online and in-person tickets. The shorts program will also screen nationwide on CBC Gem starting June 20.