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Filmmakers Turn TTC Inconvenience into Fodder for Romance

A short film explores the bright side of a long, cold commute.

Everyone knows public transit in Toronto isn’t quite what it could be, thanks to decades of underinvestment and other types of political interference. But filmmakers Dane Clark and Linsey Stewart have somehow managed to make this less-than-ideal state of affairs romantic. Long Branch, a 14-minute short of theirs, was recently released online, and it’s embedded above.

It’s the story of Lynn, a young woman who tries to go home with a guy for a one-night stand, only to find out, after she’s already hopped transit with him, that he lives in Long Branch, where subways fear to tread. The pair have no choice but to talk to each other during the agonizingly long ride. And talking, as Lynn points out repeatedly, is not what one-night stands are about.

(Granted, the film does exaggerate the distance. The trip starts at Bloor and Bathurst streets, which, according to Google Maps, is about an hour away from Long Branch by TTC, even at last call.)

Long Branch was shot in February 2011 but couldn’t be posted online immediately afterward, because CBC owned the rights. The film aired on Canadian Reflections, a midnight showcase of indie shorts.

Clark says the short is loosely based on a true story. He did live in Long Branch, and his girlfriend, Stewart (with whom he wrote and directed the film), did occasionally refuse to go home with him because of the lengthy TTC ride. The pair are currently working on their first feature, and they’re trying to raise funding for it on Indiegogo.

But even despite his occasional frustrating nights, Clark denies that Long Branch is intended as a way of trashing the TTC. “That’s just too easy,” he said.