“Toy Boat” sails into first at Canton Film Festival


A trio of students from our very own Malone University community, Cale Short, Luke Taylor and Dusty Jenkins, recently won in the “horror” category at the Canton Film Festival for their short film, “Toy Boat.”

The idea for the film was inspired by the steamboat scene of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and “Bedfellows,” another ominous short film by Drew Daywalt, which played at the Canton Film Festival last year.

This screen capture of the film begins the nightmarish sequence. (Photo from “Toy Boat”)

“Toy Boat” is about a boy in a nightmare-like world and explores the line between reality and dreams.

“We really wanted to make something really scary and weird that hasn’t been shown in the festival before,” director and producer, senior communication arts major Short said.

“We wanted the audience to experience this manic, maniacal, mysterious character through an 11-year-old boy,” alumnus Taylor, who played the main character of the film, said.

After working on another short film “The Moviegoers,” by alumna Taylor Hazlett, they were inspired to create the film.

Following a couple weeks of story preparation, the idea was filmed in one night, edited the next, and submitted to the festival the following day. It was also the first film any of them had entered into a contest festival—but the three didn’t know it was even submitted.

“Andrew Rudd submitted the film for us, we didn’t even know anything about it,” Short said.

They planned to eventually enter it into a contest, but after the winning, one of the three still didn’t know it had been entered.

“Cale and Dusty eventually knew that it was submitted, but after we won was when I actually found out that it was even entered,” Taylor said.

Taylor said after the surprise of its submission, he was not surprised of the win since he felt it was so well done.

“Filmmaking is an art form…that shows the world as [the artist] sees it…it allows you to capture the world on screen and see that there is hope in the darkness,” co-director and co-producer, and alumnus, Jenkins, said.

All three men were significantly shaped by taking part in either acting or filmmaking throughout their lives. Short made movies with his friends at a young age, Taylor participated in theater during middle school and high school, and Jenkins came to understand his worldview from creating films.

“The award itself is nice, but there’s more to it than that. It’s nice to be recognized especially to hear from friends and those you look up to. It’s good to be proud of what you worked so hard on,” Jenkins said.

Jaynie Cooper is a staff writer for The Aviso AVW.

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