Harold Greenberg Fund backs three short films as possible features

Gebriel Deneke's Cul-de-Sac, Kim Miller-Pryce's Baby Half Lie and Kobi Ntiri's Fading will now be developed as possible feature-length dramas after they were finalists in Toronto's City Life Film Project.

Astral’s Harold Greenberg Fund was to recently award a prize to one of three short films produced for Toronto’s City Life Film Project.

But John Galway, president of the fund’s English-language program, tells Playback Daily that he liked all three projects – Gebriel Deneke’s Cul-de-Sac, Kim Miller-Pryce’s Baby Half Lie and Kobi Ntiri’s Fading – enough to help them be developed into treatments for possible feature films with the help of story editors.

“Not every short is destined to be a feature, but all three have a kernel of an idea that could be expanded into long form,” Galway explains.

The City Life Film Project, which helps at-risk youth get a leg up in the film and TV industry, is a collaboration of Calum deHartog, a former cop-turned-film and TV producer, The Remix Project and Temple Street Productions.

All three short films debuted at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in January after Deneke’s Cul-de-Sac was mentored by director Leonard Farlinger, Miller-Pryce’s Baby Half Lie was mentored by Ruba Nadda, and Ntiri’s Fading received mentoring from David Weaver.

Galway says each short springs from its director’s personal life growing up in Toronto.

“These are all personal films that they created and that gives them an extra weight and importance,” Galway explains.

Gebriel Deneke turned to filmmaking after writing poetry, hip-hop and R&B music, while Kim Miller-Pryce, who was born to a teenage mother, is eyeing a career in film as she develops her storytelling and editing skills.

And Kobi Ntiri shot his first film, Young World, a documentary about young entrepreneurs in Toronto, in 2009, and recently co-directed his first narrative short, The Gesture.

Galway says all three filmmakers will develop a treatment and then return to the Harold Greenberg Fund and Telefilm Canada for possible feature film development coin.

“It’s part of the learning process,” he adds.

The support for the three possible short-to-long form adaptations follows the fund’s English-Language Program and The Movie Network in November 2011 launching a short film program to encourage emerging filmmakers to eventually make a debut feature film.

The strategy is to choose short films that can succeed on the festival circuit, and possibly fit the TMN pay TV movie brand.

The Harold Greenberg Fund more recently launched a $1,000 comedic short film award to be handed out at the upcoming Just For Laughs Montreal Comedy Festival in July.