There is a hidden gem of a film called The 100 Year Show. It plays withIt's Me Hilary: the Man Who Drew Eloiseand the teaming of the two short docs is perfect: two artists in their seniors years, one 99 and the other 88 expressing their thoughts about their work. Carmen Herrera, who will be 100 years old on May 15, is a discovery to me, just as she was to the larger art world in the early 2000s. A Latin American woman, whose body of work was finally acknowledged publicly in her 90's, her work should have been known decades ago. As one person in the docs says, she should have been celebrated with other hard-edged painters such as Frank Stella and Ellesworth Kelly.
It's Me Hilary: the Man Who Drew Eloisedelightfully amuse bouche of a doc because its subject Hilary Knight, the illustrator who drew the 6 year-old character created by author Kay Thompson. Both Thompson and Knight are larger than life which is probably why a severing of the ways lead to Knight not being permitted to draw Eloise until after Thompson died. Through questions from actor Lena Dunham, who sports an Eloise tattoo, and direction by Matt Wolf, what emerges from this doc the portrait of an incredibly talented man who lives in his own illustrated world, where life is fantasy.
I credit director, Parvez Sharma for taking us along on his personal journey as a gay Muslim man making his pilgrimage to Mecca, but his doc,A Sinner in Mecca, needs to be tightened up. I was very interested in how a Muslim man negotiates faith and sexuality, and I applaud his courage as a gay man going behind the scenes to document the hajj, (where filming is forbidden); however, too many unnecessary shots slow down the pace of his internal and external voyage of discovery. His is a story that needs to be shared, and I am hoping that beyond Hot Docs the film gets edited so that the personal story is strengthened.
Do not pre-judge! Speed Sisters is not about cuties in cars. Director, Amber Fares, documents the story of Palestinian women involved in the racing circuit. Marah, Noor, Mona, Betty, and Maysoon (team captain) are all fascinating individuals which makes for a interesting look at how they each juggle social expectations ( like marriage) while expressing their personal reasons for racing cars. For some, its a release from the stress of living in an occupied territory, for others its the speed, and for all it is for the pride of their country and respective home towns. Despite arbitrary rules (there is no official federation), these women show commitment to their sport as they drift, drive, and extend the boundaries of femininity.
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival April 23 - May 3, 2015 For all details about Hot Docs, visit: http://www.hotdocs.ca
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 behi…
Fall/winter theatre favourite Ross Petty Productions is back with another fairy-tale pantomime! This year's treat is Sleeping Beauty-The Deliriously Dreamy Family Musical. The beauty is Kinky Boots star, AJ Bridal and playing her best pals are Alexandra Beaton and Taveeta Szymanowicz of Family Channel's The Next Steps. Taveeta and Alexandra were in rehearsals but took time out to share some insights into their roles.
donna g: Were either of you familiar with pantomime before being cast in Ross
Petty's version of Sleeping Beauty? Taveeta: Yes! I saw Ross's production of Peter Pan when I was in Elementary school. I remember having such a lovely time. I was thus very excited when I was cast in Ross's 2015/16 production of Peter Pan in Wonderland last year. I was thrilled to be cast again this year! Alexandra: Of course! Growing up in Toronto, going to the Panto at Christmas time was a tradition for a lot of my friends. I even saw a few myself. donna g: You both play Bea…
Five days into TIFF16 and I'm exhausted. Its a happy tired for most of us who cover the festival, because we love film and we want others to love film too, which is why we share what we've been up to. We want to communicate the passion that is in the air around the central hub at King and John streets, the cinemas, and the stages that show the films and host the conversations.
Yesterday, I began my morning standing in the rush line on Queen Street, around the corner from the Elgin Theatre (called the Visa Screening Room during TIFF) waiting to see if I could get into the public screening of Lion, starring Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman. I was number 78 in the line but I got in and had a bird's eye view of the screen from my lovely single seat next to a column in the balcony.
I rarely cry at the movies, but Lion got me in end. Upon sharing this shocking news on social media some friends of mine quickly let me know that they teared up too. This from a feel good movie where we …