The National Film Board of Canada will return to the Toronto International Film Festival (Sept. 10-20) this year with an impressive lineup of features and shorts, including the world premiere of Howie Shia’s BAM. The film will be presented in the Short Cuts Program along with three other NFB productions in a variety of genres.
BAM (5’48”) is a modern adaptation of the myth of Hercules, and tells the story of a young boxer struggling to negotiate between his shy, bookish nature and a divinely violent temper. The film delves into questions of nature vs. nurture and the complexities of masculine identity as the reluctant hero confronts where this powerful rage comes from.
For this, his fifth short with the NFB, Shia collaborated with his musically inclined brothers Leo Shia (hip-hop artist LEO37) and Tim Shia (composer), who co-created the soundtrack. The director also drew on the experience of his Taiwanese grandfather, who was a top-ranking police official as well as an acclaimed calligrapher and poet. BAM is produced by Maral Mohammadian and executive produced by Michael Fukushima for NFB’s Animation Studio.