Monday, March 21, 2011

MDFF presents First Generation at Lichter Frankfurt

This is a guest contribution from Toronto-based filmmaker Kazik Radwanski (Green Crayons) - D.D.

Later this week Dan Montgomery and myself (from Medium Density Fibreboard Films) will be traveling to Frankfurt for the Lichter Filmtage. They invited our latest short film Green Crayons to play at the festival and it will be the third consecutive year that one of our films has played there. To celebrate this, they also invited our first short film Assault (2007), and invited us to curate a program of short films. We were given carte blanche and told that we could program anything we like as long as it related to Toronto. Frankfurt is Toronto’s sister city and one of the festivals missions is to celebrate that fact. However, we soon found that all of our favourite local filmmakers were from somewhere else.

This program centres on the notion of the director being informed by a place and its inhabitants, yet removing this context from their films. The following five short films share a connection to one of Frankfurt’s sister cities, Toronto, Canada. They have been created by directors that spent time in Toronto, but did not necessarily film there. These temporary-residents play a role in Canadian cinema: their films maintain a connection to Toronto, while defining their own territories and landscapes.

Director Igor Drljaca, was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and is currently finishing his Masters degree in Film Production at Toronto’s York University. Nicolas Pereda was born in Mexico, and has since relocated to Toronto. Similarly, Chris Chong Chan Fui was born in Malaysia and spent some of his formative years in Toronto.

These three foreign-born directors are at the beginning of their careers. Most of the conceptual and audiovisual underpinnings of their current production developed through their short films.

In Chong Chan Fui’s Pool, a village pool bearing the name USAID awaits completion in post-tsunami Indonesia, while the village children learn to swim in it. In Block B, concrete homes and contrasting soundscapes frame the lives of an expatriate community. Both films won Best Canadian Short Film at the Toronto International Film Festival in consecutive years (07 and 08). His debut feature film, Karaoke, premiered at the 2009 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight and he is currently developing his second feature, The Tour.

In Drljaca’s Woman in Purple, a young Sarajevo orphan, Mirza, who earns easy money by assisting a local drug dealer reconsiders changing for the better. The film has screened at numerous festivals including Telluride, Encounters and Tampere. Drljaca’s other short, On a Lonely Drive, depicts a father attempting to calm down on a leisurely drive, unaware that his actions may have tragic consequences.

In Pereda’s Interview with the Earth, a series of interviews and enactments share the story of Nico and Amalio, two children who lost a friend while climbing a mountain. Successful on the festival circuit in its own right, the film also relates to Pereda’s most recent acclaimed feature film, Summer of Goliath, which won the Orrizonti Prize when it premiered at the 67th Venice International Film Festival. - Kazik Radwanski

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