Friday, September 25, 2015

Ontario VQA Wine + Fall Harvest Tasting

Last night, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) and Wine Country Ontario hosted the Ontario VQA Wine + Fall Harvest Tasting at the Burroughes Building on Queen Street West.

Twenty-two Ontario wine producers sampled a total of 24 wines to go along with eight food stations representing local chefs, cheeses and foods. The wine and some of the food was available for purchase at the site.

Each winery presented a single wine, mostly in the $15-20 range. The one winery that sampled a higher-end product was Norman Hardie from Prince Edward County. Their table poured their Unfiltered Niagara Pinot Noir ($39) which was noticeably denser and richer than the others. Still, the other Pinot Noirs from Henry of Pelham, Coyote's Run, Rosehall Run and G Marquis (Magnotta) were tasty and fresh, as well as being excellent values.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

imagineNATIVE Announces Feature Films and Documentaries

imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival
Announces Feature Films and Documentaries
The Witching Hour Program • Industry Series

imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, with presenting sponsor Bell Media, announces the Festival’s feature length films and documentaries, the return of The Witching Hour: Late Night Program, and the FREE Industry Series with panels, talks and case studies.

The 16th imagineNATIVE Festival will present feature length films from October 14-18, 2015 such as Esprit de Corps, a Filipino film about two military cadets in a brutal training camp during the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship; The Dead Lands, the first-ever Maori-language action film, starring Lawrence Makoare (The Lord of the Rings) and James Rolleston (Boy); Chasing the Light, a dark comedy by Blackhorse Lowe with comparisons to Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino films; Le Dep, a French film about a young Innu woman held at gunpoint while working at her father’s dépanneur; and The Last Saint, a film with an unapologetic look at gang wars and drug addiction, directed by Rene Naufahu, known for his role in The Matrix trilogy.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Buffy Sainte-Marie’s Power In The Blood Wins 2015 Polaris Music Prize

Buffy Sainte-Marie has won the 2015 Polaris Music Prize for the album Power In The Blood, besting the nine other albums on the Polaris Short List.

Sainte-Marie performed the songs “Power In The Blood” and “Carry It On” during her Polaris Gala set.

The Prize, which goes to the best Canadian album of the year based on “artistic merit without regard to genre, sales history or label affiliation,” was determined by a Grand Jury of 11 music media professionals drawn from the greater Polaris jury pool of roughly 200 writers, editors, broadcasters, DJs and personalities from across the country.

Call for submissions: 2016 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival

Submissions for Hot Docs 2016 are now open.

Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival is North America’s largest documentary festival, conference and market. Each year, the Festival presents a selection of approximately 200 cutting-edge documentaries from Canada and around the globe.

The 2016 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival will take place from April 28–May 8.

TIFF 2015 review – Der Nachtmahr

Der Nachtmahr
Directed by AKIZ

Review by Allan Tong

Sixteen-year-old German Tina (Carolyn Genzkow) attends a wild drug-fuelled pool party one night with her friends, imagines her own death and slowly descends into madness. Or does she?

The premise of Der Nachtmahr is a riff off Polanki's 1965 psychological thriller Repulsion which director AKIZ freely acknowledges as an influence. The key difference between that film and this is that Tina sees an E.T.-like creature that nobody else does, so her parents and friends believe she's nuts.

TIFF 2015 reviews – Keith Richards: Under the Influence / Janis: Little Girl Blue

Keith Richards: Under The Influence
Directed by Morgan Neville

Janis: Little Girl Blue
Directed by Amy Berg

Reviews by Allan Tong

Documentaries of two sixties rock icons screened at TIFF last week. Of the two, Morgan Neville's Keith Richards: Under the Influence attracted more attention because its subject flew into Toronto and personally presented this film the night before its worldwide release on Netflix.

Neville, who directed the Oscar-winning 20 Feet From Stardom (good, but overrated), described Under the Influence at a press conference as a “scrapbook” that he never intended to be an adaptation of Ricahrds' superb memoir, Life. On those terms, Neville succeeeds and it explains the holes in the documentary. Notably, the film completely ignores the influences of early Stones' guitarist Brian Jones and first wife Anita Pallenberg in Richards' early life and career. Also, while it's true it's been done to death, there's no mention of Richards' drug addictions and drug bust.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Toronto International Film Festival announces award winners for 2015

The Toronto International Film Festival® today announced award winners from the 40th Festival, which wraps up this evening.


The short film awards below were selected by a jury comprised of the head of the shorts program and creations unit at Canal+ France, Pascale Faure, film writer John Anderson (The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times), and actor Rizwan Manji (Outsourced, The Wolf of Wall Street).

The Shorts Cuts Award for Best Canadian Short Film goes to Patrice Laliberté for Overpass. The jury remarked, “For its seductive, elliptical and graceful manner of exploring the nature of grief and the unconventional ways that families react to loss, all of which was elevated by the performance of Téo Vachon Sincennes.” The award offers a $10,000 cash prize.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Call for submissions: Doc Circuit Montréal Talent Lab

Doc Circuit Montréal (DCM) is delighted to announce that the highly anticipated Talent Lab will take place again this year. This second edition will invite a select group of forty emerging filmmakers to three full days of specialized conferences and exploratory workshops with a roster of artists and experts from the RIDM and Doc Circuit Montreal programmes.

The Talent Lab will take place from November 14-16 2015 - on the final day, Monday November 16th, Talent Lab sessions will combine with DCM industry programs to encourage cross-pollination between emerging and established creators. A tailor-made mentorship program will also be offered to seven selected filmmakers.

The Talent Lab workshops will be held in the round, moderated by producer, consultant and former Hot Docs director of programming Sean Farnel and by the award-winning producer Isabelle Couture (The Amina Profile). The convivial format, the small number of participants, and the continuity provided by the moderators will allow for an intensity and intimacy to develop over the course of the 3 days of discussions and training. Sessions will touch on the intricate aspects of being a documentary filmmaker today: the issues and ethics of using reality as a medium, and insider advice on how to best integrate current industry structures.

TIFF 2015 – Birks Diamond Tribute to the Year’s Women in Film

For the third year in a row, Telefilm Canada and Birks partnered to celebrate Canadian women in film during the Toronto International Film Festival. Nine Canadian women, film directors and actors who made their mark this year were selected by a pan-Canadian jury of arts, culture and entertainment journalists. The event was held at the Shangri-La Hotel in Toronto.

The 2015 honourees were directors Sophie Deraspe; Anne Émond; Patricia Rozema; Kari Skogland; and Ingrid Veninger, as well as actors Katie Boland; Suzanne Clément; Catherine O’Hara; and Karine Vanasse.

Monday, September 14, 2015

TIFF 2015 – the Canada Party at TIFF

The Directors Guild of Canada and the Canadian Film Fest hosted the Canada Party at TIFF on Sunday night at The Fifth Social Club at 225 Richmond Street West.

The Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) is a national labour organisation that represents over 3,800 key creative and logistical personnel in the screen-based industry covering all areas of direction, design, production and editing. The Canadian Film Fest is a non-profit organization devoted to the celebration, promotion and advancement of Canadian filmmaking talent. By exclusively featuring Canadian films, its goal is to provide filmmakers with valuable showcasing and networking opportunities and to offer the public homegrown productions to view and enjoy.

It was a lively and packed affair. The highlight for many was the appearance of esteemed director Jean-Marc Vallée. He spent a good portion of the night spinning tracks at the DJ booth, including Out of Time by the Rolling Stones, as requested by Chino Kino's Allan Tong.

TIFF 2015 – the Canadian Film Centre barbecue

The Canadian Film Centre held its annual barbecue on Sunday afternoon at their Windfields Estate location.

Although it was a somewhat gloomier day than usual for the outdoor affair, many hundreds from the Canadian film industry nonetheless showed up and had a great time. The CFC barbecue is always one of the best parties at TIFF.

All pictures by Allan Tong.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Au Contraire Film Festival announces its 2015 program


Paradis Urbain is proud to present the 3rd annual Au Contraire Film Festival (ACFF) program. The festival will showcase edgy and thought-provoking feature and short films and documentaries from around the world, to be followed by panel discussions on key topics on mental illness.

This year’s ACFF program was chosen from over 400 submissions, more than double the amount received for the 2014 edition, from all around the world” said Philip Silverberg, festival founder. Our roster will screen, in English and French, 3 feature and 8 short length jury selected films including 5 Canadian Premières. All of these films Challenge the Myths and Change the Perspectives surrounding mental illness.”

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

11th Montreal International Black Film Festival announces lineup

The Montreal International Black Film Festival celebrates History from Martin Luther King to Malcom X and of course Rosa Parks, with a bold, diverse and meaningful programming

Today, at the Former NFB Theatre, programming for the 11th edition of the Montreal International Black Film Festival (MIBFF) was announced. The MIBFF, created by the Fabienne Colas Foundation and presented by Global News Montreal, will take place from September 29 to October 4, 2015 with a variety of memorable events that will leave a mark in the Festival’s history.

Canada’s biggest black film festival, the Montreal International Black Film Festival, is returning with a rich and bold programming honouring Afro-American History. The programming includes the “Black Market”, exciting special events, the “Cinema Without Borders” professional development activities program for the youth from the South, tributes, attendance of international guests and much more. In addition, the MIBFF will debut an exhibition and after parties. Moviegoers will get the chance to watch uncut, quality films; feature-length, mid-length, shorts, documentaries and narrativefilms will all be presented, most making their Canadian debut! Festivalgoers will also get the chance to see actors and directors from all corners of the globe sharing their passions. And there's something for everyone!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal (RIDM) announces 12 films in this year’s festival

The 18th annual Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM) will be held from November 12 to 22. As a sneak preview before the announcement of the full line-up, the festival is pleased to pre-announce 12 films from this year’s program.

This year’s international competition will include The Other Side by director Roberto Minervini. Selected by both the Cannes Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) this year, the film follows the daily lives of marginal people living in Louisiana, taking us a modern American abyss.

Homeland by Abbas Fahdel, named best international feature at the Visions du Réel festival, is a chronicle of life in Iraq before and after the American invasion of 2003. An epic work of incalculable importance, Homeland is an unprecedented journey inside a country’s descent into the chaos of war.

Monday, September 7, 2015

2015 Festival des Films du Monde awards – winners


President: Dany Laferrière, writer (Canada)
Luis Urquiza, filmmaker (Mexico)
Gerardo Salcedo, festival programmer (Mexico)
Peter Rainer, writer & film critic (United States)
Ventura Pons, filmmaker, (Spain)
Tea Falco, actress (Italy)