Films & Schedules

  • Cooper's Camera

  • Warren P. Sonoda

93 minutes

Production Company:
Buck Productions/Darius Films Inc.
Executive Producer:
John Kozman
Sean Buckley, Nicholas Tabarrok
Jason Jones, Mike Beaver
Production Designer:
Diana Abbatangelo
Samy Inayeh
Warren P. Sonoda, Aden Bahadori
Rob DeBoer, Tony Grace
Rob DeBoer, Tony Grace
Principal Cast: Jason Jones, Samantha Bee, Dylan Everett, Nick McKinlay, Mike Beaver, Peter Keleghan, Jayne Eastwood, Dave Foley

Canadian Distributor:
Boutique Films

Preceded by:

The Catsitter

Tim Hamilton
Canada, 2008/English
10 minutes

TIFF Tags: Canada  Short Film  Comedy 

Sunday September 0708:15PM VARSITY 8 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Wednesday September 1002:45PM AMC 2 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Friday September 1206:00PM AMC 6 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

This has got to be one of the most caustic comedies ever made. It's Christmas Day, 1985. Gord Cooper (Jason Jones) is thrilled with the brand-new video camera he gave his wife and elated at the thought of recording every little detail of the holiday fun. His wife, Nancy (Samantha Bee), is more excited – suspiciously excited – at the thought of the pending visit by her husband's brother Tim (Peter Keleghan). She is also several months pregnant with the couple's third child, a fact Coopers' Camera plays for all its unseemly glory.

Director Warren P. Sonoda has crafted a film as hilarious as it is excruciating. Jones and Bee – a real-life married couple who regularly mine the comedy of discomfort on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show – are at the top of their form, leading an unbeatable ensemble cast. Each actor contributes to the film's scathing, cringe-laden charm: Keleghan exudes a perfect small-time sleaze, while Mike Beaver, as Uncle Nick, plays the Christmas dinner guest from hell. Then there's Jayne Eastwood as the anti-social live-in grandmother, who insists on retiring to bed early, requesting that they simply slip the turkey under her door. And in what is undoubtedly one of the strangest recurring cameo appearances of the year, Dave Foley helps the film feel like a who's who of Canadian comedy.

Shot in the style of an old VHS home movie and blessed with a brilliant cast, Coopers' Camera taps into proud, zany Canadian comic traditions, recalling such favourites as SCTV and Kids in the Hall. It's one of those rare comedies that keeps getting better as its characters dig themselves into deeper and deeper holes, yet it also achieves an almost surreal poignancy in its penultimate scene. Films that capture the holiday season accurately are rare; Coopers' Camera is one of them – a feature that perfectly depicts the agonizing torment of yuletide festivities.

Matthew Hays

Warren P. Sonoda was born in Hamilton. He studied filmmaking at Ryerson University before moving on to direct more than one hundred music videos. He has written several screenplays and edited a number of features, including Phil the Alien (04). His feature films as director are Ham and Cheese(04), 5ive Girls (06) and Coopers' Camera (08).

Cadillac People's Choice Award