Alone Together: A Mini Film Festival

Remember the first time you went to the cinema?  The smell of the popcorn, the cushiony chairs, the enormity of the screen… Seeing a film can be a solitary passion or a fun night out with friends, but regardless of the social circumstances, when we’re in a theatre watching a film, there’s a shared collective sensory experience. 

For two days, SFU Public Square invited you to come and escape into the world of film.  The Alone Together Film Festival featured movies that probed the issues of isolation and disconnection in our urban environment – the things that bring us together and the things that push us apart. 

The Festival opened on Saturday September 22nd with An Evening Tribute to Shorts  – a collection ranging from animation and experimental to documentary and narrative - films that explored the nuances of belonging, migration, identity, and human connection.

On September 23rd, it’s Sunday afternoon at the Cinema highlighting the feature-length documentary “This Space Available” which explored how billboards and commercial advertisements dominate our public space, and “One Voice”, the short music video that demonstrated the power of music as a connecting force.

Hosted at the Westminster Savings Credit Union Cinema in the beautiful SFU Surrey building (at the Surrey Central Skytrain station), the festival connected film buffs and community activists with students and newcomers.  

And the best part of all – it’s free

Free admission. (Seats available on a first come, first served basis)

Saturday An Evening Tribute to Shorts – 7pm to 9pm

Sunday Afternoon at the Cinema – 2pm to 4pm


A Hair on Your Heart

Canada / 2012 / 19 min / 7:00 pm, Sep. 22 (Sat.)

Director: Young Cho

Mike and Erin are pharmacists working in a lab. They have been friends for a long time.  Mike has never been in love, but Erin is quite a love 'expert'. After watching a movie together, Mike finds out that the actress in the movie lives in the same apartment with him. One day, Mike discovers a science report that reveals a hair-like structure growing on a person's heart when one is in love.

Aboard the Pater Noster

Canada / 2008 / 18 min / 7:00 pm, Sep. 22 (Sat.)

Director: Daniel Conrad

Choreographed by Aszure Barton, whom Baryshnikov calls " of the most innovative choreographers of this generation," this film invents a tribe of humans trying to make sense of their dehumanized lives, as they pass through Prague. Riding on a "pater noster," a cyclical, continuous elevator in which multiple door-less cars are strung along the cables like beads on a rosary, and then aboard a streetcar cycling in an endless loop, humans are so submerged in cities that the cycles of our lives are invisible. This film offers new ways of looking at the craving for human contact, and the sense of being alone together.


Canada / 2008 / 12 min / 7:00 pm, Sep. 22 (Sat.)

Director: Penelope Buitenhuis

A woman locks herself out of the house dressed only in a slip in the cold. After getting stuck trying to scale the house, she can only hope that a neighbour will come to her rescue.

Gains + Losses

Canada / 2011 / 4 min / 7:00 pm, Sep. 22 (Sat.)

Director: Leslie Supnet

Through situational vignettes, gains + losses illustrates the filmmaker's thoughts on death and other personal, day-to-day anxieties.  The work touches on internal grief, tempered with a playful sense of humour and lo-fidelity charm.


Canada / 2011 / 5 min  / 7:00 pm, Sep. 22 (Sat.)

Director: Owen Eric Wood

In this video self-portrait, the filmmaker expresses his experiences of migration, both long term and short term, as a tourist and as a resident. Is it possible to connect to foreign lands? Is International travel erasing ethnic and national identity? And, more personally, does the experience of traveling leave the traveler feeling lost?

One Voice

Canada / 2012 / 4 min  / 7pm Sep. 22 (Sat.) / 2pm Sep. 23 (Sun.)

Director: Sarah Van Borek

Premiering at the Opening Night at the Alone Together Community Summit, this inspirational video demonstrates the power of music as a connecting force.

This Space Available

USA / 2011 / 87 min / 2:00 pm, Sep. 23 (Sun.)

Director: Gwenaëlle Gobé

Billboards and commercial messages dominate the public space like never before. Are the efforts to reverse this trend signaling a movement?

From 240 hours of film, 160 interviews, and visits to 11 countries on five continents, this film charts a fascinating variety of struggles against unchecked advertising and suggests that more than aesthetics is at stake. Filmmaker Gwenaëlle Gobé says “yes!” Influenced by the writing of her father, Marc Gobé (Emotional Branding), this new director brings energy and urgency to stories of people around the world fighting to reclaim their public spaces from visual pollution.

Vectors of Autism

USA / 2011 / 50 min / 7:00 pm, Sep. 22 (Sat.)

Director: John Schaffer

“Vectors of Autism” is a captivating look at the experiences of an autistic adult, Laura Nagle. Exploring Laura's experiences and her ideas about autism, along with her unique artistic drawings, provides a window into a story of a life lived on the Autism spectrum. Laura's ability to provide expression to this perspective (her self-described "super-power") is both entertaining and insightful.


Westminster Savings Credit Union
SFU Surrey Theater

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For media inquiries contact:
Scott McLean
Director, Public Relations
Simon Fraser University - Vancouver
P: 778.782.5151
C: 604.505.5519


  • Michael Filimowicz | Festival Director
  • Janet Webber | Program Manager | SFU Public Square
  • Shauna Sylveter | Executive Director | SFU Public Square
  • Novia Shih-Shan Chen | Asst. Festival Director


Thank you to all the volunteers who helped us prepare for the 2012 ATFF before and during the festival.