Monday, 29 September 2008

Your Faves at TIFF 08



Yes, my guest from a couple of weeks ago Nick Ashdon of El Greco, did like Slumdog Millionaire. I forgive him because he loves Toronto. Kirk Cooper and I had a wonderful discussion with both Nick and Theo Alexander (also in El Greco) about films and how great Toronto audiences are.

Mark Van de Ven, director of the short film Us Chickens loved the editing in Hunger. I enjoyed what Mark had to say in his own film, and both he and I thought very highly of Denis Villeneuve's award-winning short film, The Next Floor.

As for Kirk Cooper, his favourite film from TIFF is the Turkish film Three Monkeys (Üç maymun). I hope it gets released so that I can have a chance to see what he is talking about. We sometimes, after all, do agree on some films.

Festival-goer and blogger, Heidy M, enjoyed the Korean Western,The Good, the Bad,the Weired (Joheun-nom, Nabbeun-nom, Isanghan-nom). An avid Midnight Madness fan, Heidy also thought Sexykiller kicked butt.

Patrick Age 1.5 was a big hit with The More the Merrier fan, Gord, and Anne enjoyed It Might Get Loud.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

donna g’s TIFF 08 Film List and Top Ten Faves

So how did I chose my Top Ten? Emotional response. There are just some films where seeing the title triggers an emotional response and instant images from the film flicker in your head. It was still hard to narrow it down to ten, and I included the short film, Jesus and the Giant in the list because it was such a great pairing with its screening buddy, Medicine for Melancholy, so I guess you could call this my Top Ten and a Half list. The only easy choice was my Number 1 pick, Ramin Bahrani's Good Bye Solo. I love understated films with brilliant performances.

My Number 1 Pick: Good Bye Solo

Souléymane Sy Savané as Solo

1. A Film With Me In It
2. Acné
3. Aide-toi le ciel t'aidera (With a Little Help From Myself)
4. Appaloosa
5. Apron Strings
6. At the Edge of the World
7. Borderline
8. Brabat
9. Brothers Bloom, The
10. Chocolate
11. Control Alt Delete
12. Country Wedding
13. Detroit Metal City
14. El Greco
15. Good Bye Solo**
16. Happy Go Lucky
17. Horn of Plenty (Cuerno de la abundancia)
18. It Might Get Loud
19. JCVD
20. Me and Orson Welles
21. Medicine for Melancholy + Jesus and the Giant
22. Mia et le Migou
23. Patrick Age 1.5
24. Peace Mission
25. Radio Love
26. Rain
27. Return to Hansala (Retorno A Hansala)
28. Slumdog Millionaire
29. Tears for Sale
30. The Stoning of Soraya M.
31. Unmistaken Child
32. Upstream Battle
33. White Night Wedding
34. Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love
35. Zack and Miri Make a Porno

I enjoyed almost all of the films I saw this year at TIFF, the exceptions being the really horrible Radio Love, and People's Choice Award winner,Slumdog Millionaire--and even with that one I loved two thirds of the film.

What films did you enjoy at TIFF? Click on Comments and share your picks with the rest of us.

Friday, 12 September 2008

donna g's TIFF 08 Coverage: What I'm Seeing on Day 10 (Saturday, Sept. 13th)

MIA AND THE MIGOU (Mia et le Migou)


HORN OF PLENTY El (Cuerno de la abundancia)


PATRICK AGE 1.5


CHOCOLATE

donna g's TIFF 08 Coverage: Canadian, Eh?

I go to TIFF to see films from around the world, but I love Canadian films and always always make a point of seeing what our talented filmmakers have to offer. Besides, Borderline and Control Alt Delete, I had to see C'est pas moi, je le jure! (It's not me, I swear!) by filmmaker Philippe Falardeau. I've been a fan of Falardeau since seeing his films, La Moitié gauche du frigo (TIFF 02) and Congorama (TIFF 06). He doesn't disappoint in his new film about a ten year old boy dealing with his parents rocky marriage and eventual separation. I have never laughed so much while watching a heartbreaking film.

Falardeau does a fine job of bringing us into little Léon's 1960's suburban world. It's polyester and smoking, nosey neighbour ladies and the Catholic Church, but it's also a world seen through the eyes of a precocious boy with a penchant for breaking and entering and suicide attempts. I love the sound of this movie--not just the innocently funny dialogue, but also the sound of the wind blowing across the cornfields where Léon and his friend Lea play. We know this secret place will soon be bulldozed into more suburban sprawl and this too references the sadness of the inevitable.

We Are Funny!

Synthétiseur (Synthesizer) directed by Sarah Fortin
Recent break up? Slightly depressed? Discover the exotic sights and scenes of your city's subway system, and maybe meet a new love.

Next Floor
I loved everything about this gorgeously photographed, darkly wicked, and sublimely acted commentary on societal excess. Gluttony has never been so well-examined, or so well-scored.

106
Leave it to us Cannuks to make a movie about a jealous senior who takes out her rival 106-year old.

donna g's TIFF 08 Coverage: Day 9 a.k.a Two for Saturday + Sorry, Brothers Bloom

Canadian or Spanish? The choice is yours tomorrow morning.

BORDERLINE

First time director, Lyne Charlebois, shows confidence in this tale of a young woman dealing with her sexual addiction and turning 30. Isabelle Blais is outstanding in the role of Kiki Labrèche. I especially love the shots of Kiki at various ages walking side by side with herself or passing herself on the street. This film is one of those instances where nudity and sexuality are an integral part of the script and not simply for titilating purposes. I've had a crush on Jean-Huges Anglade since Nikita, and it was a welcome treat for me to see him on screen.

Final Screening:
Saturday September 13 12:00PM VARSITY 1

RETURN TO HANSALA (RETORNO A HANSALA This is one of my favourite shots in this film.

In 2002, director Chus Gutierez explored the issue of illegal Moroccans working in Andalusia in her film, Poniente. In this year's Return to Hansala, we get the story of an Andalusian traveling with a young woman to her village to return her brother's body after it was washed up on the Spanish shores. This is a beautiful film in which the characters are humanized by their personal conflicts and mutual understanding. The music by Tao Gutiérrez is a fitting backdrop to this road picture, featuring two lead actors (Farah Hamed and José Luis García Pérez)whose performances brilliant and unaffected.

Final Screening:
Saturday September 13 01:00PM VARSITY 6

THE BROTHERS BLOOM I loved this scene with Rachel Weisz and Adrien Brody, which is why I'm so sorry I forgot to mention it in my post last night.

Despite the weak ending, I enjoyed this con game movie with Weisc, Brody, Mark Ruffalo (the other Bloom brother) and Rinko Kikuchi. Director, Rian Johnson, follows his debut picture (Brick)with this lively, character-driven film that entertained us all yesterday at the packed Ryerson Theatre. Even the actors appeared to be having fun in this stylistic romp.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

donna g's TIFF 08 Coverage: Day 8 a.k.a That's Entertainment

CONTROL ALT DELETE

Unlike last year's sex comedy, Young People Fucking, this film is funny from beginning to end, and has a social message that is very current, considering that it is set in 1999 on the eve of Y2K. Underneath the geek humour and man-CPU relations, are themes of social isolation and lack of intimacy. Why not get away from the computers and tuck your I-pods away and have a good laugh with this outrageous romp.

Upcoming Screenings:
Friday September 12 06:00PM AMC 1
Saturday September 13 10:15AM AMC 10

WHITE NIGHT WEDDING

The film's director, Baltasar Kormákur, is also directs for the stage. White Night Wedding is based on Anton Chekhov's Ivanov. While watching this film, I kept thinking that I would much rather see this done as a play. There is something about the editing and pace of the film that doesn't quite work, despite the strong cast. There is one paralell scene with the wife talking to the pastor about her failing marriage that is contrasted with a scene of the husband and his new lover. The interior and exterior photography is beautiful, and I especially like the performance of actress Laufey Elíasdóttir, who plays the wife. This film is not bad, but I much prefer another Icelandic film, Country Wedding.
Final Screening
Friday September 12 03:45PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 2

A FILM WITH ME IN IT

I actually laughed so hard I was cackling. The Farce lives! I'm hoping this one comes to a theatre near me because I'm going again. I can never resist the caustic demeanour of actor Dylan Moran of one of my favourite series, Black Books.

ME AND ORSON WELLES

The is a point in the festival when you just want to sit back and be entertained. Well, I was there this evening at 7:15 pm, which is why I went to a Press screening of this film--not originally on my list. Christian McKayis absolutely brilliant as Welles. I also enjoyed the performance by Zoe Kazan. I find that sometimes actress in period pieces have too modern a look, but Zoe fit right in to 1937, and I loved her character. Not Linklater's best work, but I was thoroughly entertained.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

donna g's TIFF 08 Coverage: Day 7 a.k.a Of Bats and Butterflies

TEARS FOR SALE


Thank you Colin Geddes for finding and programming this film. You were so right in saying the film was about "bats and butterflies." For those who appreciate adult fairy tales, caresses, strong women and gorgeous cinematography. Well worth getting up early on a Saturday morning.

Final Screening:
Saturday September 13 10:30AM CUMBERLAND 1

RADIO LOVE

DON'T GO! You know how I told you yesterday that I didn't like Slumdog Millionaire, and that I was one of the few in a huge theatre that didn't? Well, in Radio Love I was with a huge audience that didn't like the film. One lady on her way out kept saying to her friend "What a disappointment. What a disappointment..." Her friend was in total agreement.

UPSTREAM BATTLE

This documentary fits well into the "environmental" category, but it's about so much more. It's about what's lost when you devalue culture. Yes, the salmon run has been reduced from millions per year to thousands, but so have the ceremonies of the first nations people who are tied to the land and the river. The Yurok, Karuk and Klamath people continue to battle Warren Buffet's PacifiCorp, and the jury is still out. Also in the fight for dam removal are farmers who need water for irrigation and ocean fishermen. As Ron Reed said in an interview I did with he and his brother, Mike Polmateer and director Ben Kempas, he has not hear one word directly from Buffet.

Final Screening:
Friday September 12 11:45AM VARSITY 7

Air date for Upstream Battle interview on The More the Merrier (CIUT 89.5 FM) TBA

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

donna g's TIFF 08 Coverage: Day 6 a.k.a I'm Tired Y'all

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
My first film of the day and in a packed Press and Industry screening at the Varsity, I think I must have been one in a handful of people who did not like this movie. Great beginning with a great cast of children. Too bad they had to grow up. I have loved Danny Boyle's work in the past and am sure I will films of his in the future. Next.

As I said, lots of people will like this, so here are the upcoming screenings:
Wednesday September 10 03:15PM RYERSON
Saturday September 13 07:15PM AMC 10

PEACE MISSION
Public screening this time round. This doc is an examination of the Nollywood movie industry that has taken over the African continent, the Caribbean and North America. At the forefront of this developing film industry is Peace Anyiam-Fiberesima, a woman determined that as the industry develops, that Nollywood will continue to produce films by and for the African people.

Catch these upcoming screenings:
Wednesday September 10 02:15PM AMC 1
Saturday September 13 06:15PM AMC 9

MEDICINE FOR MELANCHOLY


Reminiscent of Before Sunrise except it's set in San Francisco and the lead actress is channeling Jean Seberg in Breathless rather than Julie Delpy. Written while the director was working at Banana Republic and made on a shoestring budget (the leads were the only ones paid), this is a sweet romance with interesting characters and dialogue. First time feature director, Barry Jenkins' use of desaturated colours brings a fresh take to this romance, while displaying San Francisco in splendor that would rival Woody Allen's New York.

I'm looking up the soundtrack because I think I want to buy everything that was played.

JESUS AND THE GIANT by Akin Omotoso


I'm glad to see Akin back at TIFF. I had a chance to interview his a couple of years ago. This new short deals with an avenging friend using religious metaphors. The whole film is compiled of still photography and is as arresting in its images as it is in it's sound mixing.

Catch both films on:
Wednesday September 10 05:45PM AMC 2

Monday, 8 September 2008

donna g's TIFF 08 Coverage: Day 5 a.k.a What's in a Face?

Iranian actress, Shohreh Aghdashloo in THE STONING OF SORAYA M.

Bahamian actress, Renel Naomi Brown in RAIN

I didn't plan on seeing The Stoning of Soraya M, but circumstances were such that I found myself at a press screening for the film this afternoon. I promised myself that I would leave if it got too heavy for me to bear. I have known and still know women in abusive situations so guaged my emotional response to the level of violence on the screen--any sensory overload and I would be out of there! Well, it just so happened that I became captivated by Shohreh Aghdashloo. Seeing her on screen reminded me of my one of my favourite actresses, Anna Magnani. The pain in her eyes and the strength of her character drew me in. We know from the beginning that she is Zahra, Soraya's aunt, a woman who remains undefeated despite her suffering. Zahra has the courage to share with a visiting journalist, the story of Soraya, how her virtuous niece was plotted against by a husband who wanted her dead so he could marry a rich girl (death being cheaper for him than a divorce settlement).

The Stoning of Soraya M is set in Iran, and the political climate of the post-Shah era plays an integral role in the film, but this is also about how evil can grow among a group of people to the point that they believe lies, and focus on self-preservation rather than the preservation of truth and human dignity. The stoning scene, when it occurs near the end of the film, is horrific (I had to close my eyes), but the scene that follows is a one of iconic triumph: through Zahra's recorded voice, the world will now know of Soraya's existence and murder. The Stoning of Soraya M is a dramatization of a true story.



While there are no scenes of horror on a grand scale in RAIN, there are scenes of how hard life can be in the Bahamas. This coming of age film introduces us to the face of Renel Naomi Brown. Her luminous, soulful eyes are as captivating as the experienced expressions of Shohreh Aghdashloo. Considering this is her first film, Renel Brown does an amazing job of expressing Rain's emotions through her eyes.

Moving from the loving home of her grandmother (following her death), Rain ends up in Nassau, more specifically a place called "the graveyard". As one character in the film says, "no one gets out of a grave." Well, Rain is determined to not live the life of the crack addicted mother (Nicki Micheaux) she has not seen since she was a baby. With the help of a school coach (CCH Pounder), Rain begins to take steps to improve her life.

THE STONING OF SORAYA M.
Wednesday September 10 02:45PM AMC 9
Friday September 12 09:15PM AMC 1

RAIN
Saturday September 13 12:15PM AMC 9

donna g's TIFF 08 Coverage: Day 4 a.k.a It's a Good Day

I'm not a mid-night blogger, which is why this post is going up Monday morning instead of Sunday night. After wrapping my 5-film day close to the Midnight Madness hour, I realized that my hand-eye co-ordination wasn't going to be at it's best.


My Sunday screenings started at 10:00 am with UNMISTAKEN CHILD. (Yes, those of you who know me, I was out of bed and at the Varsity by 10:00 am on a SUNDAY--I have witnesses!) It's scenes such as the one above that motivated me to get out of bed. I love looking at the landscape of Tibet, and knew that even if the documentary about a monk trying to find his reincarnated master wasn't great, then I would have some visual reward for putting this film on my list. The documentary unfolded as expected with the search, and I loved the landscape but was very conscious of the camera placement, the long shots making me wonder who was filming rather than thinking solely about the story. As the film progressed I found myself getting more involved in the physical and mental journey of monk Tenzin Zopa, a young man adrift since the loss of his master. His journey is extraordinary. Tenzin Zopa has to quickly move from a world where his every step was planned by his master, to a world where he has been given the responsibilitiy of finding the unmistaken reincarnation of his master. The child that Tenzin Zopa eventually finds, befriends and cherishes is another captivating element of the film. Whether this is Lama Konchog or just a gifted, spirited child, the relationship that develops between Tenzin Zopa and the child is both tender and wonderful to watch. A very satisfying film.

Monday September 08 06:30PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 3
Thursday September 11 05:45PM AMC 5
Friday September 12 12:45PM VARSITY 2
Apron Strings, a tale of two sisters and the browning of a New Zealand neighbourhood.

I have never seen a film about South Asians living in New Zealand, and found this aspect of the film refreshing. The accents intrigued my ear, and the food made my lunch of raspberries and an apple even more bland. Besides the two fueding sisters, and the young man who wants to find his Indian roots, I enjoyed entering the home of a white New Zealander whose unhappy home life feeds her anger and resentment of the growing immigrant community around her. The contrast and similarities between the families adds interest to the film as do the warm and cool tones of Rewa Harre's cinematography. This is a feel good movie with a dose of reality that keeps it from falling into the "fluff" category.

Monday September 08 03:00PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 2
Friday September 12 03:45PM VARSITY 2




HAPPY GO LUCKY

I slipped out of one movie that wasn't going anywhere and into Happy Go Lucky. I had no idea what the film was about, so when the movie opens with Sally Hawkins (Poppy) riding a bike and smiling, I'm expecting a bus to come along and smack the smile off her face. Even after her bike is stolen and she continues to smile, I'm expecting the other shoe to drop. No one, let alone a character in a Mike Leigh film, can remain happy for long can they? Well, Poppy can. Happy Go Lucky was a shock to my system in that I had to finally accept that Poppy was a truly happy person. I went from expecting something bad to happen to her, to not wanting anything bad to happen to her. As the film progressed and I accepted Poppy's nature, I wanted to put a protective bubble around her for the purely selfish reason that she made me feel good. Poppy is not unaware of reality and though her happiness may seem child-like, Poppy is not childish. She is aware of social problems and deals with them in a mature way, but she appreciates what she has in life and shows it. How many of us do that? Being cynical and declaring the death of irony is so trendy these days.

Happy Go Lucky has a talented supporting cast in Alexis Zegerman (Poppy best friend and flat-mate) and Eddie Marsan (the driving instructor--En Ra Ha!). There is also a flamenco teacher that you will never forget.

Monday September 08 07:00PM ISABEL BADER THEATRE
Wednesday September 10 09:00AM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 2


GOOD BYE SOLO

GO SEE IT.
Monday September 08 09:15PM AMC 4
Thursday September 11 07:45PM VARSITY 3
TIFF Programmer, Jane Schoettle sums it up better than I could state, so check out what she has to say about the film. All I have to add to Jane's word is that I enjoyed the African, American, and Latina flavour of Winston-Salem North Carolina.

ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO written and directed by Kevin Smith.
If you know who Kevin Smith is you saw it with me last night at the packed to the rafters Ryerson Theatre. If you don't know who Kevin Smith is and title offends you, DON'T GO. REALLY. I MEAN IT. For those who missed it last night you have another chance:
Tuesday September 09 03:00PM VISA SCREENING ROOM (ELGIN)

Don't forget to check out TIFF's Best Betsand Festival Live for up-to-date ticket info and festival news. As for me I'll be seeing RAIN tonight.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

donna g's TIFF 08 Coverage: Day 3 a.k.a Can we get an editor on site?

Can we get an editor on site at TIFF to go around and trim some minutes from a few films? Last night I mentioned that It Might Get Loud was in desperate need of an editor. Well, this afternoon I saw a wonderful film that could have been an extraordinary film if a few scenes had been removed. Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love, is beautifully photographed, and the subject, Ndour, his griot family, his rise to fame and his controversial CD, "Egypt" do hold your attention, but it's way too long. Yes, I recommend the film, but be prepared to squirm through a few unnecessary scenes. The worldwide concert footage is exhilarating. If you are new to Ndour, you will see why he such a superstar. Watching Ndour remain steadfast in his conviction to sing songs celebrating Islam while some of his countrymen ban his CD based on hearsay, is very compelling. You can't help but wonder how you would react in the face of such negative press when all you are trying to do is praise your religion.
You still have a couple of chances to see the film. Sunday, Sept 7 and Friday, Sept. 12.
Aide-toi le ciel t'aidera (With a Little Help From Myself) Shines Thanks to Star Felicite Wouassi (centre)

Directed by François Dupeyron (his film Monsieur Ibrahim et les fleurs du Coran played at TIFF 03), who admits that he enjoys making films about outsiders, Aide-toi le ciel t'aidera is a family drama with comic elements. Actress Felicite Wouassi is well-known on stage and on screen in France, but the film's all Black cast was a first for France and funders were not lining up for this film (French television passed). Felicite is absolutely brilliant. She stole our hearts tonight at the Isabel Bader Theatre. Her screen presence reminds me of American actresses such as Cicely Tyson and Rosalind Cash. Felicite plays a mother trying to hold her family together. The family happens to be African and living in France, but the tale is a universal one. The film hasn't played in France as yet and I would be interested to see if French audiences pick up on this universal theme or if they see only the immigrant story. Aide-toi has two more public screenings:

Tuesday September 09 12:45PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 3
Thursday September 11 11:45AM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 3

Make sure to stay for the song at the end credits. It's an integral part of the film experience.

Visit www.tiff08.ca for all Festival details.

Friday, 5 September 2008

donna g's TIFF 08 Coverage: Day 2 aka The Miscasting of Renée Zellweger

APPALOOSA

Appaloosa wasn't on my "Must See" list of films, simply because my Festival experience is seeing the films without the big stars that may not get distributed. Appaloosa is directed by my love, Ed Harris (who also stars in the film) and has such notable names as Viggo Mortensen and Jeremy Irons. I love Westerns, and an invite to the film had me in line at the elegant Elgin Theatre. While I enjoyed the Marshall (Harris) and his gun-toting, literate sidekick (Mortenssen) battling it out with the bad guy (Irons), I did not enjoy Renée Zellweger in the role of the woman who clings to whatever alpha male is dominating the scene. I kept trying to re-cast her, but it wasn't until I got home that Virginia Madsen's name popped into my head. Virginia would have been perfect and also luminous. Renée may be from Texas, but I wasn't buying her in this one. If you think I'm being harsh everything I've just written was also said by two guys walking behind me who had just come out of the screening. When the guys and I met up at the Tims, we also talked about how it was an odd little movie. We liked it. We weren't bored, but...We couldn't finish off the sentence. Now I think it would have been just plain better without Renée.

IT MIGHT GET LOUD

I also scored another ticket to It Might Get Loud. Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White. This is by no means a perfect documentary (it's desperately in need of editing), but how can you pass up a festival experience where all three subjects of this electric guitar film were going to be there. NO WAY! The audience went nuts, and I actually enjoyed the film better the second time around (at a public screening rather than an advance, pre-TIFF early morning screening). There was also a quick Q & A by Thom Powers, where the three guitarists demonstrated their sense of humour and their devotion to getting the right sound to communicate a particular expression to the listener.

ACNE Spanish with English Subtitles
Don't be fooled by this picture. This is a really touching coming of age movie where a young boy discovers that sex and love are two different things.

My morning started with Acné, a small intimate film about Rafe, a 13 year old boy, going through the agony and self-consciousness of dealing with face blemishes, the ritual act of loving himself whenever possible, his frequent trips to the local whore house and his absolute, starry-eyed love for his classmate, Nicole. I love how writer/director, Federico Veiroj, captures the vulnerability of a boy at this age as well as the daily concerns and interactions in the lives of other young 13 and 14 year olds. Despite Rafa's adult ventures into sex, he is still a boy, just past his Bar Mitvah, who wants to know how to kiss.

For Box Office Information visit www.tiff08.ca or 416-968-FILM

Thursday, 4 September 2008

donna g's TIFF 08 Coverage: Day 1 a.ka. There's Something About Iceland



There's something about Icelandic films that attract me. Maybe it's the austere, beautiful landscape or the sense that I'm watching something that seems close to home but isn't. TIFF Programmer, Steve Gravestock mentioned his penchant for Nordic films when introducing COUNTRY WEDDING (Sveitabrúðkaup),my first and only film on this first day of TIFF 08. Directed by Valdís Óskarsdóttir, the improvised wedding tale benefits from the skills she has honed as an editor for such directors as Lars Von Trier and Gus Van Sant. Shot in 7 days and edited over 8 months, this 99 minute improvised road trip is tightly cut, well-paced, and well-acted by a talented band of theatre-trained actors ( I especially loved Elvis and Grandma). In comparing the similaries between Iceland and Canada, Gravestock believes that "both cultures hold the conviction that the countryside is somehow purer and calmer than the city – a faith that is inevitably called into question the minute human beings show up." Go see Country Wedding. I bet you'll be picking out the family member or friend that resembles someone you know very well.

The film is also generously populated with tunes by Tiger Lillies,a group that Valdís Óskarsdóttir first heard about in London, England.

COUNTRY WEDDING
Sunday September 07 10:00PM AMC 4
Friday September 12 12:00PM VARSITY 4

My next trip to Iceland will be my Press screening of another wedding story, White Night Wedding

Visit www.tiff08.ca for public screenings and ticket information

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

TUFF not TIFF: The Toronto Urban Film Festival Sept. 5-12th


Don't forget to look up in the subway stations on your way to the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). The Toronto Urban Film Festival (TUFF) begins airing in 10-minute segments on the LCD screens on subway platforms. The 1-minute dramatic and comic shorts celebrate the urban environment. Support a filmmaker. Watch and vote for your favourite: torontourbanfilmfestival.com.

Mitch Smolkin's "A Song is Born"


I love storytelling, which is probably why I like Mitch Smolkin's brand new CD, A Song is Born. In Yiddish with a smattering of English along the way, Smolkin's CD takes us on a wonderful aural journey. If you have a chance to see him in concert, even better. As Mitch and I discussed, many of us know a few words of Yiddish (meshuggah, mentsh, nosh etc), but you don't need to understand any Yiddish to enjoy this beautiful CD. Mitch's performance at Harbourfront Centre on Saturday, August 30th also featured guitarist Levon Ichkhanian, Marcelo Moguilevsky and Cesar Lerner from Buenos Aires, Boris Sichon, Paul Brody, and Aviva Chernik whose warm vocals forms a perfect partnership with to Smolkin's.