Sunday, 28 June 2009

It's a Wrap! for the ReelHeART International Film Festival

Had a great time at the ReelHeART International Film Festival. It was my first time attending the festival and I must say it was like going to a fantastic summer camp, with director, Shannon Kelly as the den mother. The mid-size scale of the festival allows for an intimacy that is incomparable with any other festival I've covered in Toronto.

The festival really is international in scope. I met filmmakers from Ireland, Switzerland, and the USA, all with a variety of visions representing their homelands and their own particular styles. Canadian filmmakers held their own among this crowd, presenting films and scripts to make us proud.

I didn't get to the Closing Night Party until late in the evening, but I felt as if I was re-joining a group of friends with so many familiar faces in the crowd. It was as if it was a continuation of the Opening Night. Whoo-hoo!

Some pics from Closing Night:






ReelHeART director, Shannon Kelly (left) and actor/producer Paul J. Alessi (Knuckle Draggers)






Irish director, Louis McCullagh (Call Me Son) and she of the controversial calendar, photographer, Mary-Ellen Bertram (Courthouse Girls of Farmland); actor, Jason Riddle (Upside Brown and Dressed in a Black Flag script readings)






Actor, Jason G. Butler (The Notorious Newman Brothers) looking serious; Screenwriter, Ramona Baillie (The Sleep Clinic)





Our own ice-cream truck for dessert. Mmmm...; Louis McCullagh, Paul J. Alsessi and (I think) a Newman Brother?






"Brooklyn!" Shannon Kelly and director, Johnny "Brooklyn" Salvatore (Sodom by the Sea); a midnight screening of festival shorts upstairs at Southern Accent.


Photos by donna g

The Harder They Come Screens at Bloor Cinema


Thanks to Mirvish Productions, a packed audience was able to see the 1970's Jamaican classic, The Harder They Come at the Bloor Cinema on Saturday, June 27th. With Mirvish underwriting the costs of the screening, the admission price was only $5.00. The brand new print of the gangster film was crisp and the soundtrack, featuring many reggae hits, was a pleasure to listen and groove to.

The screening started with and introduction by director Clement Virgo and the London cast promo of the play, including rave reviews from theatre audiences (many admitting that they had seen the prodcution several times). It will be interesting to see how the UK production fares in Toronto. Mirvish has broght the play to our city for the summer (July 21-August 23). Maybe the 25% off coupon/mock Harder They Come 45 single will help them make up their minds.

Poster #2 courtesy of www.mirvish.com

Saturday, 27 June 2009

ReelHeART Film Festival: The Daring Seniors of "Courthouse Girls of Farmland"

This sweet-looking woman handing out taffy at the ReelHeART Opening Party is the notorius Wanda Grove from Farmland, Indiana. Wanda and six of her bridge club friends posed for a calendar that got some people in and around the small town a bit hot under the collar. While some applauded their move to pose for the calendar to aid in the preservation of an historic courthouse, others saw it as exploitation of seniors and/or immoral. I'm on the side that saw their actions as empowering and community-minded. What great role models for me to follow when I reach my senior years. Go Girls!

The "girls" were a ReelHeART hit, earning a special Spirit award from Festival organizers and adoration from everyone who encountered them and saw their documentary, Courthouse Girls of Farmland. It's been reported that the girls had to be coralled by their handlers to leave a party at midnight. The girls left, but reluctantly.




Partners in life and in film: Producer, Jerome Herron (left) and Producer, Larry Francer (right). Jerome's mother, Eileen Herron is a calendar girl.

Photos by donna g

Monday, 22 June 2009

ReelHeART International Film Festival: June 22 - June 27

Sistah Lois and actor, Jason G. Butler, a cast member of THE NOTORIUS NEWMAN BROTHERS


Had a wonderful time at the ReelHeART International Film Festival launch tonight at Southern Accent Restaurant. Met some very excited filmmakers and interesting non-filmmakers (but film lovers). The combined flavours of the "Indie" spirit, flowing Denison's beer, and amazing food made for a very relaxed comfortable and fun evening. The hostess with the most-ess, Shannon Kelly kept the evenings events rolling along smoothly.
I couldn't tell you the last time I went to a festival event that didn't have sinkholes of boredom scattered throughout the evening. Unlike some opening parties I've been to that look fabulous on television or in "on the town" photo ops in the papers, ReelHeART had, dare I say it? Yeah, I will. It had HEART. No one was stuck up, you could actually engage someone in conversation who wasn't looking for someone "bigger" than you to talk to. It was like a real party is supposed to be: FUN!

For more information about 5th annual ReelHeART International Film Festival please visit: www.reelheart.com

Here are a few pictures of my stupendous evening:

Irish director, Louis McCullagh of CALL ME SON

Swiss director, Mikael Ivan Roost of L'OMBRE DE DEU (SHADOW OF A FIRE)

Canadian directors, Waleed Abdulhamid of LET'S FIND A WAY and Mark Magro of THE STORY OF UXBRIDGE STATION and NONQUON ISLAND

He's a twisted puppy. Director, Cosmos Kiindarius of FAMILY RECIPES.

Sistah Lois aka Afrikan Princess, a cast member of the Lunch n Lean script reading of UPSIDE BROWN

The calendar "girls" of COURTHOUSE GIRLS OF FARMLAND

Jerome Herron, producer of COURTHOUSE GIRLS

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Toronto Fringe Festival 09


Thanks to all my guests who participated in TmTm's 5-MINUTE FRINGE show today. Big THANK YOU to LISE for keeping me sane.  Only having 5 minutes to sell their performances to the listening audience doesn't give Fringe participants a lot of time to go into the "where/when" details, so here they are:

Canary
by Liesl Lafferty
(www.liesllafferty.ca)
presented by Chaos Collective from Vancouver, BC

Canary is a comedy about Lily. Struck by a debilitating aversion to artificial light, our hero turns to medicine, but the results are fruitless. Inadvertently, Lily evokes the spirit of Marie Curie, who discovered radium and ironically, died from radiation poisoning. Lily strives to warn humanity about our toxic world and her journey culminates with the question, ‘Are you next?

Director: Liesl Lafferty
Cast: Tasha Lawrence, Kathryn Haggis and Heidi Waters
Audience: General Audience
60 min.

Venue 8: Tarragon Theatre Extra Space
Thu, July 2 10:00 PM
Sat, July 4 8:00 PM
Sun, July 5 Noon
Mon, July 6 6:30 PM
Thu, July 9 11:00 PM
Fri, July 10 2:15 PM
Sat, July 11 5:15 PM

Fucking Stephen Harper: How I Sexually Assaulted the 22nd Prime Minister of Canada and Where It Got Me
by Rob Salerno
(www.tenfootpole.ca)
presented by Ten Foot Pole Productions from Toronto, ON

We’ve all heard the story of how gay journalist Rob Salerno sexually assaulted Prime Minister Stephen Harper during last year’s election. Come hear Salerno’s side of the story at this performance and signing of his new tell-all memoir, which Maclean’s has called “An hilarious take on Canadian politics, the media, the gay community, and what Stephen Harper’s balls feel like.”

Cast: Rob Salerno
Audience: General Audience
Warning: May offend federal Conservatives
60 min

Venue 12: Glen Morris Theatre
Thu, July 2 8:00 PM
Fri, July 3 3:30 PM
Sun, July 5 1:30 PM
Tues, July 7 6:00 PM
Wed, July 8 10:00 PM
Thu, July 9 3:30 PM
Fri, July 10 7:00 PM

interrogation
by Benjamin Noble
(www.fairlylucidproductions.com)
presented by Fairly Lucid Productions from Australia/Canada

What happens when you cross fiction, fantasy and hidden memories? For The Man, this is his life and he’ll do anything to finish his story, even when he can’t remember a thing. Touching on isolation, storytelling and things we try to forget, “interrogation” brings the Canadian premiere of this award winning Australian work.

Director: Bryn Jennings
Cast: Alex Dallas, Pamela Johnson, Ben Noble, Karie Richards & Vanessa Smythe
Audience: Mature Audience
Warning: Sexual References, Language, Adult Content
80 min.

Venue 8: Tarragon Theatre Extra Space
Fri, July 3 7:00 PM
Sun, July 5 3:30 PM
Mon, July 6 10:30 PM
Tue, July 7 8:30 PM
Wed, July 8 12:15 PM
Fri, July 10 4:00 PM
Sat, July 11 10:30 PM

Morro and Jasp do Puberty
Written and Performed by Heather Marie Annis and Amy Lee
(www.morroandjasp.com)
presented by Up Your Nose And In Your Toes Productions from Toronto, ON

Morro and Jasp have finally reached puberty. This hilarious show explores the trials and tribulations that we all went through, or are about to go through, in becoming a grown-up. Sixty minutes of laughter, longing, tears and tampons! Not recommended for kids.

“The crowned queens of clown” EYE WEEKLY
“Hilariously and heartbreakingly awkward” **** CBC
“Outstanding Ensemble” NOW Magazine

Audience: General Audience
Warning: Language, Content
60 min.

Tarragon Theatre Extra Space
Wed, July 1 7:00 PM
Sun, July 5 5:45 PM
Mon, July 6 4:45 PM
Wed, July 8 9:30 PM
Thu, July 9 Noon
Fri, July 10 8:00 PM
Sat, July 11 1:45 PM

Our Asylum
by Lea Russell
(www.myspace.com/herandmymusic)
presented by Her & My from Toronto, ON

Our Asylum is the journey into madness of Jane, a former child star who fell in love with her father and murdered her sister, and The Doctor, the ambitious forefather of the American ice-pick lobotomy. There is no time, there is no space, for the story takes place within the characters memories and delusions and the walls of The Asylum.

Choreographer: Danya Buonastella
Cast: Lea Russell, Danya Buonastella
Audience: Mature Audience
Warning: Content, Nudity
60 min.

Venue 8: Tarragon Theatre Extra Space
Thu, July 2 8:15 PM
Sat, July 4 9:45 PM
Sun, July 5 1:45 PM
Tue, July 7 10:45 PM
Wed, July 8 6:00 PM
Thu, July 9 3:30 PM
Fri, July 10 6:15 PM

Sara Hennessey Town
by Sara Hennessey
(www.sarahennessey.com)
presented by Sara Hennessey from Toronto, ON

Do you enjoy laughing? How about having the best time? Welcome to Sara Hennessey Town. Population: Amazing. In this original and silly solo variety hour, Sara Hennessey (Much Music’s Video on Trial, Laugh Sabbath) will charm you with stand up comedy, sketch, video, and power point, offering viewers an eclectic taste of her surreal humour and bizarre character sketches.

Director: Steph Tracey
Audience: Mature Aucience
Warning: Language
55 min.

Venue 4: Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace
Fri, July 3 6:30 PM
Sat, July 4 3:15 PM
Sun, July 5 6:15 PM
Mon, July 6 11:00 PM
Tue, July 7 1:30 PM
Wed, July 8 10:00 PM
Fri, July 10 7:00 PM
Sun, July 12 2:15 PM

The Art of Listening
by Carla Faour
(www.southernmirrors.com)
presented by Southern Mirrors from Toronto, ON

Listening is more than hearing. We listen with our hands, our eyes, our breath, even with our ears…. Many say that the speech differentiates us from other animals. Not at all! Knowing how to listen is what gives us humanity. Listening is giving in…. It’s an act of generosity. A Listener…. Five Characters… Confessions… Guilt…. Jealousy…. Love…. Denial…

Audience: General Audience
60 min.

Venue 2: Robert Gill Theatre
Wed, July 1 8:45 PM
Sun, July 5 6:30 PM
Mon, July 6 1:00 PM
Tues, July 7 3:30 PM
Wed, July 8 11:00 PM
Fri, July 10 Noon
Sat, July 11 8:45 PM

The Fever
by Wallace Shawn
(www.fever.davidphoto.ca)
presented by Gitel Productions from Toronto, ON

Fringe personality Risa Morris takes the stage in this moving and thought-provoking production. Wallace’s character leads the audience on a journey of self-discovery as she questions the very basis of her own life and the society she inhabits. She asks compelling questions that invite even more compelling answers. Proceeds to go to Doctors Without Borders.

Director: Margot Massie
Cast: Risa Morris
Audience: Mature Audience
90 min.

Venue 11: Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse
Wed, July 1 6:30 PM
Fri, July 3 10:30 PM
Sun, July 5 1:15 PM
Mon, July 6 8:15 PM
Tue, July 7 1:00 PM
Fri, July 10 5:15 PM
Sun, July 12 7:00 PM

twentysomethings (not able to make the show today, stay tuned...)
Choreography By: Kate Nankervis
(www.ax-sdance.com)
presented by AX-S Dance from Toronto, ON

Determined to capitalize on the fun frivolous times of their twenties, four woman are faced with the responsibility of defining themselves, and their futures. While the realities of the ‘real world’ collide, these ‘twentysomethings’ attempt to overcome the Quarterlife Crisis for themselves and each other. These indie dance artists will propel you through your twenties or remind you of them.

Cast: Amanda Acorn, Vanessa Kimmons, Erin Merrifield, Krista Posyniak
Audience: General Audience
45 min.

Venue 5: Factory Theatre Mainspace
Fri, July 3 7:00 PM
Sat, July 4 Noon
Mon, July 6 6:45 PM
Wed, July 8 11:00 PM
Thu, July 9 9:15 PM
Sat, July 11 2:15 PM
Sun, July 12 1:45 PM

Zdenka Now!
by Precious Chong
(www.preciouschong.com)
presented by Porcelain Penelope Productions from Toronto, ON

There’s a reason the Yugoslavian flag has only one star in it. That star is Zdenka! Come see Zdenka Now! Meet her new friends of this great city of Toronto!

“If we handed out Oscars at the end of the Fringe, Toronto’s Precious Chong would be a front-runner for Best Actress.” ****CBC Winnipeg “A fun, fearless show.” Uptown Magazine

Director: Adam Lazarus
Cast: Precious Chong
Audience: General Audience
60 min.

Venue 9: Royal St. George’s Auditorium
Fri, July 3 7:00 PM
Sat, July 4 Noon
Sun, July 5 10:45 PM
Mon, July 6 2:45 PM
Tue, July 7 10:30 PM
Fri, July 10 3:30 PM
Sun, July 12 7:30 PM


FRINGE KIDS!: The Fringe has shows just for younger theatre lovers. These show take place at the Palmerston Library Theatre-560 Palmerston Ave.Click Here for Fringe Kids listings.


The festival runs from July 1 - 12th.  Click Here to access the Toronto Fringe Festival website.

Listings/photo courtesy of:  http://www.fringetoronto.com

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Talented Youth: Sir Sanford Fleming's First Annual "Fleming Idol" Competition

Babies are cute and kids are precocious, but teenagers are often dismissed or thought of as trouble-makers. June 5th's Fleming Idol competition at Sir Sanford Fleming Academy showed us all that if you get teenagers engaged in activities they enjoy, you will be more than pleased by their skills.

The First Annual Fleming Idol Talent Competition was produced and promoted by Canadian Reggae Music Award-winner, Jannett Scott (a.k.a Lady Luscious), who also works at the school. More than 20 teens took part in the competition which was divided into several categories: Singing, Drama, Rap, Dancing and Music (instrumental/vocal).

CONGRATULATIONS to Fleming Idol Winner, RAELENE BAILEY(Baby Jill Scott as we judges called her).

FLEMING IDOL TOP TEN

  1. Amber Ing-Ducreay (Winner, Music (instrumental/vocal)
  2. Deniqua Gerson-Dixon (Winner, Drama n/a CIUT interview)
  3. Deshaya Luong-Rose (singer)
  4. John Chikezie (singer)
  5. Kevin Graham (Winner, Dance)
  6. Michael Rose (singer)
  7. Phillip Prince Jr. a.k.a “Hazzard” (Winner, Rap)
  8. Raelene Bailey (Fleming Idol winner, plus Winner, Singing)
  9. Sean Ing-Ducreay (drums)
  10. Tamara Williams (singer, n/a CIUT interview)

As one of the 5 judges on the panel, I can honestly tell you that we were all impressed by the confidence of all who took the stage, and by the supportive nature of the audience (every contestant was enthusiastically encouraged by their peers).

Carrie Mullings from Rebel Vibez (from sister station CHRY 105.5 FM) hosted the event. On the judging panel with me were Jamaias DaCosta (from CIUT's Vibe Collective),Tanya Mullings (Reggae singer/Co-host Rebel Vibez), Mike Edgell (Global Television), and Ras Jockey. Farley Flex (Canadian Idol/Plasma Corporation) made a special appearance to give the Idols a motivational speech and pep talk before the show.

On June 13th, I had the pleasure of having 8 of the Top Ten Fleming Idols in the studio at CIUT. It was a crowded in the attic of 91 St. George Street, but everyone was cooperative and in high spirits for their live radio debut. Vocalists had a change to take the mic and show off their skills (even the Top 5 Dance category winner did a spontaneous rap), while non-vocal participants were given the opportunity to tell listeners about the process of putting their performance pieces together.

Fleming Idol was held in memory of Scott's daughter Aleisha Ashley and her best friend Monique McKnight. The two young women were killed a few years ago, when the taxi they were in was hit by a stolen car being driven by another teen (who also died). Jannett's song "See You Later My Friend" was sung by all the performers at the beginning of the talent show in memory of the two women.

Assisting Jannett with the youth-empowering event were Sir Sanford Fleming Academy's Principal, Arnold Witt who also showed off his singing chops, and Vice-Principal, Reiko Fuentes. Many hard-working, behind-the-scenes students and volunteers also participated in making the event a great success.

Yes, Jannett, I will be back next year.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

The Right "Formula" for Pride Weekend

Looking for something to do Pride Weekend? Go see THE BABY FORMULA on JUNE 19th. Bring all of your LGBTTQ friends and allies with you. Stars Angela Vint and Megan Fahlenbock have such great chemistry and the documentary style of the films makes you really believe they are a couple.

If you like such Canadian shows such as This Hour Has 22 Minutes, The Rick Mercer Report or the British version of The Office, you are bound to enjoy the mock documentary style of this film. There is a scene in the film where the characters have told the filmmakers to turn the camera off, but the director motions to the crew to run and follow the women--it's hilarious!

The plot is outrageously funny, but will be close to home for a lot of people. The film deals with the issue of what lengths people will go to in order to satisfy the primal human instinct to have a baby. Characters Athena (Angela Vint) and Lillith (Megan Fahlenbock) are a couple who decide to undergo a hush, hush, experiment in order to have a child. When they break the news to their respective family that there is no biological father, there is confusion, moralizing and more hilarity from Athena's conservative mother (Rosemary Dunsmore) yahoo brother Larry (Dmitry Chepovetsky)and the drink-swilling Scottish great-grandmother-to-be (Jessica Booker). Lillith's parents are a trip in themselves, but you'll have to go see it to find out why and what else happens in this film.

The first weekend is crucial for Canadian films. If the film doesn't make money on it's opening weekend, the theatre calls the producers Sunday morning to tell them that their film is being pulled. Alison Reid and her amazing cast has done a fantastic job with this comedy and I would hate for her to get that call on Sunday.

So mark your calendars and head to the AMC (Yonge/Dundas) with a row full of friends. Be prepared for people to snort with LAUGHTER. I especially liked the ultra-sound scene. Insider Triva: During that scene the actress had to avoid looking at the 3-D monitor because she and her husband did not want to know the sex of the baby they were having. It took most of the day to set up and shoot the scene, so it was a long day for her.

THE BABY FORMULA cast(left to right): Rosemary Dunsmore, Megan Fahlenbock w/child, and Angela Vint

Shout Out! to The First Weekend Club for getting the word out about Canadian films, and to it's intimate sneak peak screening series, Canada Screens. Kelsey and Mars, you rock! Thanks for the giveaways. My listeners had a great time at the screening--as did I.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Worldwide Short Film Festival 09: They're Baaa-aaack!

WALLACE AND GROMIT: A MATTER OF LOAF AND DEATH

They're back! Wallace and Gromit, two very recognizable faces on the screen at the WORLDWIDE SHORT FILM FESTIVAL (WWSFF)and for lovers of the Academy Award-winning Aardman Animation Studio, star in a tasty murder mystery. Someone has been systematically killing off bakers one by one. A dozen are dead, but 13 makes a bakers dozen. As a baker whose mission it is to deliver "dough to door", will Wallace be unlucky number 13? What of his trusty sidekick, Gromit? Will man's best friend nose out the details? Hmmmm....

The program may be called SHORTS for SHORTIES, and recommended for ages 6+, but funny is funny and I had a great time screening this section of WWSFF . This year, the festival is celebrating animation, and Shorts for Shorties has animated films for children from Canada and around the world: Cuba, France, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Two of my favourites come from the Jungle Beat series by South Africa's Sunrise Productions. Watching I BELIEVE I CAN FLY and YOU DON'T BRING ME FLOWERS ANYMORE I had to literally put my hands over my mouth so my neighbours didn't think I was in hysterics. In the first of these two 5-minute shorts, a baby Ostrich tries desperately to fly. His determination is as admirable as it is foolish. It is also hilarious watching him try different and innovative methods to make himself airborne. Learning life lessons isn't easy for any of us, is it?

Ah...LOVE. What crazy thing have you ever done in the name of love? Well, I'm sure you will be able to relate to this romantic Springbok and his attempts to woo a lovely gazelle. It all has to start with an introduction, right? What better way than to say it with flowers. Easier said than done in this belly-laugh of a film.

In just 3 minutes, Canadian director, Jonathan Ng manages to combine funky music (by DJ Kid Koala) and a delightful break dance battle between two kids with different abilities. I enjoyed the lesson, but also the constructing and deconstructing of the animation. JUST ANOTHER FLOOR KIDS BATTLE. Well done!


Several of award-winning artist JON IZEN's work, BLACK AND WHITE are scattered throughout this program. Each film is 1-minute in length and features Steven and David, two squares who think they are the funniest things on two legs. They are like an old vaudeville act, but for children. At present, Jon is directing THE VERY GOOD ADVENTURES OF YAM ROLL IN HAPPY KINGDOM!

KIDS DRAWING WORKSHOP WITH JON IZEN
Join Jon after the screening of SHORTS FOR SHORTIES for a DRAWING WORKSHOP (2-3:30 PM) where kids will learn how to create cartoons. Space is limited to 30 participants. Registrations is on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 11:15 AM when the venue opens on June 20th.

PLEASE NOTE: The Shorts for Shorties film program is FREE for children under 12! Rated G. The Drawing Workshop is $10 with your Shorts for Shorties ticket.

Click here for the complete Shorts for Shorties line up and details about the Drawing Workshop.

Screening Date: Saturday, June 20th, 12:15 PM at the ROM

Tickets/Info: www.shorterisbetter.com

Photo Credit: www.shorterisbetter.com

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Worldwide Short Film Festival 09: I Knew It Was You

I enjoyed the variety of films in the Picture is Up! program; however, the gem in this collection is I Know It Was You, the piece on actor, John Cazale. Who? John Cazele. Who? Okay, the mousy guy from Gene Hackman's film, The Conversation. He was in the Deer Hunter with Robert De Niro... Still doesn't ring a bell? Let me try again... He was Al Pacino's nervous boyfriend in Dog Day Afternoon and...he first worked with Pacino in The Godfather...Pacino's older brother. Fredo. Fredo Corleone. Yea. That guy. I'm not going to say anything else about this film because I want you to get to know this incredibly talented actor through clips of his work (on screen and stage), and recollections by some of Hollywood's major talent.




What lies behind these images of an idyllic summer at the beach?
The mystery methodically unfolds before us as we watch these recorded memories and play detective with the narrator. The film is US (NOUS).







More than JUST A PITCH (JUSTE UNE PITCH) is at stake when you are a screenwriter of Indian heritage being confronted by Parisian custom's officials in a post 9/11 world. This satire takes the interogation process to a differenct and unexpected level.






I wish Don LaFontaine, (the movie trailer guy) was still around to voice KING CRAB ATTACK. This extended save-the-world-from-disaster film/trailer cries out for Don's booming voice to say, "In a world where...giant crabs attack, one man and his mother's teeth, dares to stand alone in a desperate attempt to save the world and the woman he loves from a crustacean-loving megalomaniacal billionaire. " The French filmmakers didn't have Don, but their use of a deliberately bad English dubbing track, and scenes of hyper- emotionality get the job done in this homage to sci-fi B-movies.





I'm getting better at appreciating experimental films. I just let them speak to me instead of trying to figure out what every frame means. I go with the flow, and allow the film to continue to speak to me for as long as it needs to once the screening is done. LAST OF THE KODACHROME 40 FOR A NIZO S800. The title means nothing to me right now; for photographers/filmmakers it will mean everything. I liked it.

Screening Date: Friday, June 19th, 7:15 PM at the ROM

Tickets/Info: www.shorterisbetter.com

Photo Credit: www.shorterisbetter.com

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Worldwide Short Film Festival 09: Oh! CANADA


Amidst the sections of Celebrity Shorts, Award Winners from Around the World, Slap 'n' Tickle and Midnight Mania (to name a few) at the CFC WORLDWIDE SHORT FILM FESTIVAL (WWSFF), there are a couple of short film programs that I wanted listeners to know about. I had a chance to touch on some of these sections with festival director, Eileen Arandiga. Below are some of the Canadian shorts we either discussed or that were highlights for me.

Oh! Canada: CANADIAN COMEDY SHORTS is a program I never miss seeing. There is something about what we choose to laugh about that always interests me. I think it's the fact that we know how to laugh at ourselves.

What can be more Canadian than curling? "Burnt rock", and "hurry hard" are terms I picked up from MEN WITH BROOMS, but hearing these terms during DEADSPIEL's zombie vs. human curling match just made me want to reach for the Tim Hortens. The attitudes were still just so Canadian! .

The quintessential Canadian short, AIR KNOB. Unlike the air guitar that my friends and I have played this neighbour-on-neighbour air guitar battle has the combatants actually playing accurate "air" notes. Who will be the victor in this war of musicianship, male sexual prowess and romance?

Whether he's in your own family or a friend of a friend, we all know a Yahoo (no not the email address, the guy that just can't be explained, but who we put up with). Despite his better judgement, a man leaves his yahoo of a tenant in charge of his cat (hence the title THE CATSITTER) while he goes to meet his Internet girlfriend for the first time. No offense to Timmins, but I'm laughing as I write this because they got the girlfriend so right! From her clothes, to what they are eating on that first date, to where they are eating are all so RIGHT! And that's
just a bit of the film. Warning: drinking hot beverages while viewing this movie could cause burns in embarrassing places.

Click here for the complete Oh! Canada line up.

Screening Info: Saturday, June 20th, 7:15 PM at the ROM

Tickets/Info: www.shorterisbetter.com

Photo Credit: www.shorterisbetter.com

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Poets Corner w/ Professor Tim Conley

Back for a second term on TMTM, Professor Tim Conley joined me on May 31st to talk poetry. Having a professor in the house, I could ask him to define line metres and sonnets, but we also talked about the fact that we don't want people to continue to think of poetry as something that's elitist, snobby or inaccessible. There is a poet out there for everyone. Go ahead and discover a favourite poet this summer. Take a poet to the beach or into your own backyard/balcony, put your feet up and ENJOY!


Marianne Moore's work reminded me too much of my English courses back in the day at UWO. I played a track of her reading her poem, "Bird-witted", and appreciated her talent with words (she is a constant editor), but didn't fall in love. Moore had an amazing life as a 20th century poet, and I am not dismissing her work, just saying that she isn't for me at this time. She may be for you, though. If you connect with her, drop a comment/email my way.


On the other hand, I will be looking for poetry by Lisa Jarnot. Tim read a piece from her most recent work, NIGHT SCENES, and I enjoyed the playfulness of her lines, and her facility with wordplay. Here is Lisa reading from her work RING OF FIRE (animation by Chris Amhaus).



If you are in the mood for something more serious, you might appreciate the talent of Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. It wasn't until Tim started reading a piece from Unfortunately, It Was Paradise, that I recalled that I had indeed heard of the very famous poet. The beauty of his words were unmistakable, the visual quality of the piece drawing me in immediately to a time and place.

I have always loved poetry read in Arabic, even though I don't understand a word besides "habibi/habibti". Here is a reading of Darwish's poem, "State of Siege" read at his memorial in 2008. First in Arabic and then in English.


Visit your local library and spend a few minutes in the poetry section, or ask a librarian for some assistance. If you live in Toronto click here for the Toronto Public Library site. Used bookstores are also great place to start.

Shout Out! to 11 week old Simone for sharing her dad with us.

Photo Credit: photo of Prof. Tim Conley by donna g