A cliché preview of Focus Film Festival

An inside look at this year’s lineup

A scene from Flood Brothers.

In only three days, one of the most anticipated events for student filmmakers will reel into Grant Hall. Focus Film Festival’s gala and screening, “It’s a Cliché for a Reason”, features a wide array of films shot and edited by student artists.  

This year, 11 teams of filmmakers were tasked with shooting a film capturing a respective cliché assigned to them; from “lightning never strikes in the same place twice” to “all that glitters isn’t gold,” these films put a fresh and creative spin on an unoriginal idea. To follow is a taste of some of the films, and what you can expect — besides red carpet struts and a copious amount of popcorn — from this year’s festival. 

The Searching

The Searching is a mystery thriller that follows a young woman on her search to find her missing boyfriend. She seems to have no leads until an unknown number contacts her and what then ensues, no one would expect.


Swapped is all about a selfie gone wrong. A pop star swaps bodies with an average bro. The pop star gets to enjoy a slice of pizza for the first time in a year and the bro realizes that being rich and famous might not be all it’s cracked up to be.

Master of None

The film is about a university student who’s fired from his job and turns to crime to make his rent by the end of the week. But there’s one major caveat: he’s terrible at committing the perfect crime. With each disastrous crime, the same cop appears. While his presence is at first worrisome, he turns out to exceed expectations.

Walk of Fame

When a university student returns to school after releasing a hit song over the summer, the pressure is on for her to create a similar follow-up. As she revisits all of the places she remembers having inspiration for her first song, she learns that lightning never strikes in exactly the same place, or exactly the same way, twice.

Flood Brothers

A family affair, Robert and Vinny are brothers in the mob. Vinny, adopted, had to work his way to the top and prove himself to the family, while Robert had the family title thrust upon him the day he was born. Tension grows when Robert decides he wants to stray from the family business and start his own.

Written Off

Written Off follows a rom-com writer who has recently fallen in love with a woman he’s just met. He attempts to woo her using cliché expressions he’s learned from films. While he may seem like a nice guy, his neuroticism overcomes the drama.

Bread or Alive

Bread or Alive is a neo-noir, dark, detective comedy. The film follows two detectives as they delve into the seedy underworld of the city’s bakery district; it’s not for the faint-hearted — or the gluten-intolerant.

Date Night

Playing on the cliché “the lights are on, but nobody’s home,” Date Night is anything but ordinary. Despite a string of burglaries occurring in the neighbourhood, Shel and Vanessa are determined to enjoy their date night and take certain measures to protect their house from being robbed.

Sound Advice

Sound Advice follows the story of a motivational speaker who’s past the peak of her career. She starts listening to old audiotapes of her speeches, in hopes of mustering up courage and inspiration to reach that potential again. However, her advice wasn’t as sage as she thought it was, eventually leading her down a terrible path. Ever heard of “don’t get high on your own supply”?

Night Shift

Night Shift follows the adventures of two robbers breaking into a building. While the plot at first glance seems simple, the audience should prepare for a twist at the end.

Noir to Go

The film is about an art thief who thinks she’s about to make the biggest heist of her career. Little does she know that the police investigator is about to knock on the door. It uses a lot of classic film noir conventions to tell the story and features cheesy, hardboiled dialogue.


Film, filmmakers, Focus Film Festival, Movies, shorts, student artists

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