Youthful Exuberance: Toronto Canada’s Counterbalance Collective Productions Struts its Shorts

I have reviewed countless films including many “shorts”. Short film is an art as how can you deliver your message in under less than half an hour or sometimes in minutes? It can be done and for many aspiring filmmakers it serves as a valuable training ground.  The budgets can be miniscule and the film can he crafted through friendship and passion as opposed to professionalism and cash.

Counterbalance Collective Productions is where friendship and passion rule over dollars. Having worked as a casting agent in the late 70’s in Montreal I can relate to you film in Canada is a tough gig. And it’s much better now but not a walk in the park. With Counterbalance Collective having over a dozen members give it strength and diversity so no one must go it alone.

The Counterbalance Collective is group of young women based in Toronto and it is a non-profit film development and production organization comprised of women who support each other through new experiences and creations. Its members work in collaboration to build, foster and nurture new communities through the medium of film.

Its mission is to foster women-led and woman focused content in all stages of film, creation, development, direction, production, marketing and distribution: To create a welcoming space to develop ideas and to further individual crafts and learn how to master new ones; and to operate outside of the established industry framework and change the traditional norms of working in film.

Counterbalance Collective, from what I have seen, is a group of multi-talented woman that run along the whole gamut of film. They assume interchangeable roles of writer, director, producer, actor and about any type of role you see as the credits roll at the conclusion of the film. In short it seems they are training for a role they know not what will be!

If you want to learn about the collective check out https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCS6n6oggW9noXLqJFYYUpug

If you want to see the Collective in action you can catch some of the films they have crafted at the links below which are the complete live stream events

I saw two of their films “Gone Wild” and “Overload” in their second steaming event hosted by smooth as butter Joanna Saul who serves as executive producer, writer, actor and director and a rather mirthful Regina Efendieva who has assumed roles of writer, actor and visual artists. In addition to the two shorts (there will be 9 in total) there are in the streaming discussions amongst members of the Collective which are somewhat akin to attending a film festival and attending a press conference after the film has showed with directors, actors and producers. It is obvious the wide range of film production skills members of the Collective have. At one moment they are acting then directing and then writing or producing. The Collective is a training school for some very energetic talent that may soon burst into to “festival circuit” as they gain more film skills. You can make the best film but if you can’t market and distribute it much is lost. I have seen some low budget Canadian indie films that deserve far better than to be forgotten because they can’t reach an audience as they simply couldn’t get an international film distribution deal.

So what is the fate of the Counterbalance Collective? From what I saw they are a bit rough on the edges as to sound quality, cinematography and media savvy but what I can say the films that I saw in the second live steam event” Gone Wild” and “Overload” showed some nascent brilliance.

“Gone Wild” is a delightfully contradictory character study of an apparently sex crazed young women still caught in an adolescent world of teen posters and stuffed animals. A tender and moving portrayal of a young woman played by Valerie Kucher trying to move from teenage bliss into full womanhood with rather comical yet revelatory results. The acting of Victoria Kucher, Alicia Richardson and Izzak Smith is impeccable and the writing by Kucher is sensitive and penetrating perhaps more than she realizes. Kucher exudes to the tee a confused innocence aggressive at one point then but a young woman trying to discover herself.

“Overload” is far from comical but reveals a raw and anxiety ridden character valiantly propped up by Joanna Saul as her companion. Again the poor anxiety ridden Megan Miles is not yet a woman but no longer a teen. She is caught in an anxiety ridden limbo between the two.

Alright down to brass tax not highly polished but more than enough substance to conclude this Collective or at least part of it are destined to make their mark in Canadian cinema. Get in the festival circuit ladies and you will have taken your fist step to international recognition.

You can look forward to 6 more shorts as there were 9 of them shot in nine days the central theme being young woman returning home after a party. Go to the Utube channel above for details as to the upcoming films.

Just to remind you these films and the interesting commentary on those who acted and crafted the two films discussed above film can be seen here  https://youtu.be/kI7KRnkN1cM?t=92

The individual films without commentary and discussion can be seen here

Published by Robert K Sephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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