Robot Hospital

Imagine Cup:
Robot Hospital / Miracle on the Han River

After Paper Heart won first place in last year’s Microsoft Imagine Cup in India, Sam, Ryan, Meg and I were barred from ever entering the Imagine Cup’s short film category again. But we were still allowed to enter other categories, and a couple of months ago Sam and I put together a little piece for the photography competition on this year’s theme, “Technology enabling a better education for all.”

The first round piece, "Robot Hospital", got us to the finals in Korea, and we've just finished work on our 36-hour photo essay challenge, "Miracle on the Han River". Ryan is also back, this time with his friend Patrick. You can check out their essays here.

You can follow our Asian adventures (and check out our essays) on my photoblog. We're sticking around in Korea for a few days after the competition, and then it's off to Hong Kong and maybe Thailand...

Round 1: Robot Hospital
  Round 2: Miracle on the Han River
Skinema (2007)

George and Mildred are a normal couple. Perfectly normal. Except that they're haunted by the ghosts of a hundred years of cinema.


Skinema took the Grand Prize and People's Choice award at this year's UWO Film Festival, and screened in the London Canadian Film Festival.

Dir: Nick Haffie-Emslie ( email )
Prod: Jenn Godbout
DP: Ryan Marr ( website )
Starring: Dylan Dewdney, Sarah Shields

Windows Media 480p
(5:00, 480p, 70Mb)
QuickTime Medium
(5:00, 640x360, 35Mb)
Paper Heart / Trevor Watson Story (2006)
After two previous attempts, Canada has finally taken the top prize at the Microsoft Imagine Cup. Paper Heart sent Sam, Ryan, Meg and I to the finals in Agra and Delhi. The Trevor Watson Story, completed during the 36-hour on-site film challenge in Agra, helped to push us to the top of the podium and fund the rest of our adventure with a giant $8000 cheque.

Paper Heart tells the story of a young girl who finds a damaged heart in the forest and tries to nurse it back to health. It speaks to the theme of the contest, "Imagine a world where technology enables us to live healthier lives." Except for the final scene, Paper Heart was shot as a series of still frames on a Canon 30D digital SLR. Images were shot at 5fps to CF cards that we swapped out and dumped to a laptop. We roughly doubled the framerate in post, requiring the actors to act in slow motion. The jerky motion helped to establish the surreal, dreamlike tone of the first part of the film, and the camera's image processor, the file format, and the prime lens came together to produce a rich image that would have been impossible with digital video.
The Trevor Watson Story is a mockumentary about a fictional Canadian competitor in the Algorithm Invitational at the Imagine Cup. Trevor has unique needs, and the film documents the hardships that he faces as a result of the insensitivity of the competition organizers and the other competitors.

Here's my old blog where I was documenting the trip. After the week-long competition, we spent a couple of weeks exploring Delhi and the Himalayas of Haridwar, Rishikesh, and Dharamsala to the North.

Created by:
Nick Haffie-Emslie ( email )
Sam Chow ( website )
Ryan Marr ( website )
Meg Majewski
Starring: Sarah Shields ( email )
  Both films can be downloaded from the project's website,

There are some other goodies up there too, including storyboards, production stills, and outtakes.
Left By Time (2005)
A music video for "Left By Time" by Time Is Up, the celebrated electronic trio from Murmansk, Russia. The song is from their new album, "Northern Dancer," available now (visit the band's website).

Dir.: Nick Haffie-Emslie ( email )
DP: Ryan Marr ( website | email )
Prod.: Chris Spavins ( email )
Starring: Lise Moule, Jason Pooley
(256x120, 3 Mb)
WMV Medium
(320x150, 10 Mb)
QuickTime Medium
(320x240, 19Mb)
WMV Fullscreen
(640x300, 66 Mb)
QuickTime High
(640x480, 40Mb)

The Thought-Pulse / Phone Trap (2005)
This year's Microsoft Imagine Cup entries representing Canada at the world finals in Yokohama, Japan. The first film, "The Thought-Pulse," was a futuristic spec commercial for a thought-transfer device. It fit well with the competition's theme, "Technology dissolving the boundaries between us," and after a tough semifinal round, it proved to be our ticket to the finals in Japan at the end this past July.

Once we arrived and got settled in, we were given a Sony PD-170, an editing station, and 36 hours to make a 2-and-a-half-minute film. After much scrapped footage, street drinking, and bicycle touring, we finally came up with "Phone Trap," a less-than-serious meditation on the boundaries erected by cultural ignorance.

Based on a combination of audience voting and judges' evaluations, the films landed us a sweet $3k and a 3rd prize win for Canada.

The Thought-Pulse:
Writ./Dir.: Evan Aagaard
Prod.: Nick Haffie-Emslie
Editing/VFX: Evan Aagaard & Nick Haffie-Emslie
Starring: Derek Comeau, Ashley Ferraro

Phone Trap:
By: Nick Haffie-Emslie, Bryce Hunter, Derek Comeau
Starring: Derek Comeau
Thought-Pulse (Low)
(5:30, 320x180, 11Mb)
Coming Soon
Thought-Pulse (High)
(5:30, 480x270, 63Mb)
Phone Trap (Low)
(2:23, 320x150, 4Mb)
Phone Trap (High)
(2:23, 640x300, 23Mb)
Victor (2005)
A short film about desire and death.

Writ./Dir.: Nick Haffie-Emslie
DP: Evan Aagaard
Prod: Katie McGowan
Starring: Paul Myers, Joshua Richardson.
Windows Media Med
(12:00, 400x186, 49Mb)
Coming Soon
Man on a Hydrological Dam (2004)
A man finds himself alone in a pipe on the face of a dam. Will he be able to escape his troubles? An animated tragicomedy about the power and futility of despair.

Winner: Grand Prize & People's Choice (2004 UWO Film Festival), Best Animation (Student Shorts Film Festival, Nickel Independent Film & Video Festival).
Windows Media Med
(6:00, 600x370, 22Mb)
Coming Soon