Sunday, November 27, 2016

Ben Wheatley Book Launch ! (Nov 30 @ The Royal)

This upcoming Wednesday, November 30th come to The Royal for a launch of Adam Nayman's new book Ben Wheatley: Confusion and Carnage (Critical Press) and a double-bill of Down Terrace (7pm) and The Kill List (9:30pm) with a Skype interview with Wheatley himself. It should be a great opportunity to discover or revisit the films of this singular this genre auteur. The book makes for some compelling and fun reading too! Highly recommended.

MDFF Fundraiser: Winter 2017 at The Royal

Just a heads-up to a seasonal fundraiser to help MDFF bring some critical and festival favorite films such as Bi Gan's Kaili Blues, Ted Fendt's Short Stay and Philippe Grandrieux's Malgré la Nuit to Toronto. There are some cool and affordable perks for donating such as tote bags, DVDs and my favorite the MDFF branded mug with original animal illustration by Toronto artist Caitlyn Murphy. Help them out if can, and don't forget they're having a screening of Celia Rowlson-Hall's film Ma on December 1st. The Toronto film-going community is much richer with this series in activity. See some of you there?

Jean-Marc Vallée in the News

Taking a break from the post-production of Big Little Lies (that needs to be completed by December 23rd), Jean-Marc Vallée held an intimate master class with a group of eight at-risk teens from the Emmett Johns school as part of Dans la rue and Québec Cinéma. Two new articles from La Presse and Le Huffington Post Quebec recount what went on. After a screening of Dallas Buyers Club, the students and some journalist, were there to ask him some questions and get him talking. He liked the experience so much that he hopes to return for another event.

From the event: Vallée said that Demolition is the favorite of his films even though it was a commercial disappointment. While being bored at cégep he took at course called ‘Cinema and Society’ whose prof Yves Lever gave him the desire to dream and become a filmmaker. Big Little Lies is described as a police procedural and drama of manners while Vallée also sees some connections between it and his breakthrough film C.R.A.Z.Y., which shows that he’s conscious about how his American projects rework and refine his earlier Québécois films. But the real scoop of the pieces is when he discusses his upcoming projects: Sharp Objects with Amy Adams as a TV series will be his next project, though unfortunately the more personal Janis Joplin film has been scrapped (most likely due to copyright issues). But whats really exciting to hear is that he’s planning to return to filmmaking immediately after with two Québécois projects. But during his American hiatus there was a new generation of Québécois filmmakers that imposed themselves: Stéphane Lafleur, Anne Émond, Philippe Lesage and Sophie Goyette. The competition has grown. But it’s still a positive gesture that he's taking more control of his oeuvre by returning to Montreal to create more personal stories and to engage more with his community.

So what exactly are these new films? Could they include the adaptation of Dominique Fortier’s Du bon usage des étoiles? I’m skeptical of this since its grand historical narrative of John Franklin’s trans-Atlantic journey would suggest the necessity of an English-language transnational co-production. And what ever happened to his planned French production? More information will hopefully come.

A director of red herrings, false starts and who makes sure to keep you guessing: Jean-Marc Vallée, or how to start again anew, be loyal to oneself and engage with society and the world.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Kickstarter : Wexford Plaza

A new Toronto film is premiering soon at the Torino Film Festival and it can use some help to get there. Wexford Plaza tells the story of a lonely security guard in Scarborough whose life changes when she meets a charming bartender. The filmmaker Joyce Wong describes the project as, “Wexford Plaza is about two people who are struggling to make sense of their existence. While we get the impression that their efforts are futile, the characters’ whole-hearted belief in what they’re doing gives us a window into the complexities of modern adolescence, and its unique mix of humour and sadness.” The emergence and diversity of more local filmmakers makes the Toronto film community richer and more exciting, and by making a modest contribution, less than the cost of seeing a new mainstream release, you could watch Wexford Plaza as soon as later this month. A small token can make a big difference. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016