Saturday, November 28, 2015

The 10th anniversary of La Fête des vins du Québec, Nov 27-29

The 10th anniversary of the Fête des Vins du Québec launched yesterday at the Marché Bonsecours in Old Montreal. The day began with an awards presentation to Quebec's winemakers and sommeliers. The list of lauréats is provided below.

The event presents thirty vineyards arranged in five wine regions: Eastern Townships, Lanaudière, Est-du-Québec, Basses-Laurentides and Montérégie. There is a section devoted to regional, artisanal cheese. You can meet vintners and learn all about the wines and cheeses of Québec, from the production process through appellations and origins and wine-and-cheese pairing. Aficionados can enjoy making new discoveries through workshops, talks and tasting sessions.

There is also a room with a range of other food products such as charcuterie, jams, spreads, balsamic vinegar, and chocolates. The quality of the food offered is excellent. Products may be purchased on site.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Call for submissions: NFB’s Hothouse 11 program

Apply by December 11 for the chance to be part of the NFB’s Hothouse program for emerging Canadian animators
NFB studios across Canada to take part in Hothouse’s 11th season

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is seeking submissions for its Hothouse apprenticeship program for emerging Canadian animators, now in its 11th season.

Canadian filmmakers and artists can apply at by December 11 for the chance to be one of six participants in a 12-week paid apprenticeship program with NFB animation professionals—a one-of-a-kind experience working with the NFB’s Oscar-winning Animation Studio.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Producers Guild of America announces PGA Awards 2015 documentary feature nominees

The Producers Guild of America (PGA) announced today its Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures nominees that will advance in the voting process for the 27th Annual Producers Guild Awards. All other nominations and names of eligible producers for the Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures will be announced on January 5, 2016. All 2016 Producers Guild Award winners will be presented on Saturday, January 23, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles.

During the awards show, the Producers Guild will also present special honors to Jim Gianopulos, David Heyman and Shonda Rhimes, among others. The 2016 Producers Guild Awards Co-Chairs are Michael DeLuca (SOCIAL NETWORK, CAPTAIN PHILLIPS) and Jennifer Todd (ALICE IN WONDERLAND, CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER).

2015 American Music Awards

The 43rd Annual American Music Awards took place at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles last night. It was hosted by Jennifer Lopez, who led off the evening by dancing to a medley of more than a dozen of this year's hits.

Taylor Swift was the big winner of the night with three awards. She won Song of the Year for “Blank Space,” Favorite Album (Pop/Rock) for “1989” and Favorite Artist (Adult Contemporary). One Direction claimed the Artist of the Year prize for the second year in a row. They also took Favorite Duo or Group (Pop/Rock).

Other double prizewinners were Florida Georgia Line for Favorite Duo or Group (Country) and Favorite Album (Country) with “Anything Goes”; Nicki Minaj for Favorite Artist (Rap/Hip-Hop) and Favorite Album (Rap/Hip-Hop) with “The Pinkprint”; and The Weeknd for Favorite Male Artist (Soul/R&B) and Favorite Album (Soul/R&B) with “Beauty Behind The Madness.”

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Award winners of the 18th Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal (RIDM)

The Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal (Montreal International Documentary Festival or RIDM) will close tomorrow, Sunday November 22, after presenting 143 films and numerous parallel activities and events. The award winners for the 18th annual RIDM were announced this evening during the closing ceremony at Concordia University’s Alumni Auditorium (H110).


Presented by TV5, the Grand Prize for Best Canadian Feature is awarded to Jean-François Lesage’s Un amour d’été, the jury particularly appreciated this “ode to coexistence and joie de vivre that freezes time. A subtly political declaration celebrating the happiness that comes from being together; a nocturnal interlude whose deep appeal to the senses is underscored by remarkable imagery.”

Friday, November 20, 2015

the 28th image+nation Montreal International LGBT Film Festival, Nov 26 – Dec 6

image+nation, Canada’s longest-running LGBT film festival, is all set to return for another 10 days of the finest LGBT cinema from across the globe.

From 26 November - 6 December, image+nation 28 will bring to Montréal the cream of world LGBT cinema for an incredible 28th year in a row. With a line-up of unflinching, powerful documentaries, beautifully shot art-house creations, hilarious comedies and more, image+nation 28 has something for all tastes.

This year, for the very first time, The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts will host image+nation in the cultural heart of Montreal. As well as opening and closing events, the museum will be a primary venue for the duration of the Festival. As part of the image+nation @ MBAM series, where monthly image+nation screenings have been taking place throughout the year, the festival includes Welcome to This House: A Film on Elizabeth Bishop / Where Are The Dolls on Nov 28. image+nation @ MBAM is an intimate series of films and interviews that introduce a new voice and vision exploring the interweaving of identities and cultural expression.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

10 live action shorts advance in 2015 Oscar race

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 10 live action short films will advance in the voting process for the 88th Academy Awards. One hundred forty-four pictures had originally qualified in the category.

Members of the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch viewed all the eligible entries for the preliminary round of voting.

Short Films and Feature Animation Branch members will now select five nominees from among the 10 titles on the shortlist. Branch screenings will be held in Los Angeles, London, New York and San Francisco in December.

10 animated shorts advance in 2015 Oscar race

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 10 animated short films will advance in the voting process for the 88th Academy Awards.  Sixty pictures had originally qualified in the category.

Among the films shortlisted are two works produced by the National Film Board of Canada. They are Carface (Autos Portraits) by Claude Cloutier and If I Was God… by Cordell Barker.

Members of the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch viewed all the eligible entries for the preliminary round of voting.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Abbas Kiarostami: Doors Without Keys

Story & photos by Allan Tong

Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami is opening a sublime photo exhibition of 50 life-sized doors on Nov. 21 at Toronto's Aga Khan Museum.

Yes, doors. Ancient doors. Wooden doors. Steel doors. Pelling doors. Padlocked doors. All locked, in fact. None with people opening or closing them. None identifying their locations. Doors Without Keys is as nameless and enigmatic as the renown photographer-filmmaker-poet intended.

I would add haunting and beautiful. Evocatively lighting their fading greens and reds, the doors demand a closer look. Notably, the detail on these images is amazing. You can see the grain of the wood behind the peeling paint. Others lie in mysterious shadow. For others, their chains and locks glisten in the sunlight.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Cinema Eye announces nominees for 9th annual Nonfiction Film Awards

Thirty-eight feature films and five shorts will vie for this year’s Cinema Eye Honors awards for Nonfiction Filmmaking as nominees were announced this evening at a reception at CPH:DOX in Copenhagen, Denmark. Winners will be announced at the 9th Annual Honors Ceremony on January 13, 2016 at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City.

Cartel Land, Matthew Heineman’s gripping account of violence and vigilantes on both sides of the US-Mexico border, led all films with five nominations, including Outstanding Nonfiction Feature. It is joined in the top category by Asif Kapadia’s Amy, Camilla Neilsson’s Democrats, Stevan Riley’s Listen to Me Marlon, Crystal Moselle’s The Wolfpack and Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence. The latter, which received four nominations, and Cartel Land were the only films nominated for Outstanding Feature, Direction, Production and Cinematography.

The 5th edition of La Grande Dégustation de Montréal

The curtain came down Saturday evening on the fifth edition of La Grande Dégustation de Montréal, which took place November 5, 6 and 7 at Place Bonaventure, Montreal. This year’s event marks an important milestone in what has become Quebec’s premier wine event. Presented by the Association québécoise des agences de vins, bières et spiritueux and the Société des alcools du Québec, La Grande Dégustation de Montréal welcomed more than 13,000 visitors over three days. This represents an increase of almost 11% compared to last year. This year’s edition of La Grande Dégustation de Montréal brought togethernearly 200 producers who showcased some 1,200 products.

“We are thrilled with the public’s growing interest in La Grande Dégustation de Montréal. We can see the emergence of a growing crowd of well-informed youth who are very curious about wine,”states Daniel Richard, President of La Grande Dégustation de Montréal. “With such a wide selection, private imports and events enjoyed by beer, wine and spirits enthusiasts, we welcome this success as a driving force for editions to come.”

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television announces Special Award Winners

The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television is pleased to announce six Academy Special Award winners for the 2016 CANADIAN SCREEN AWARDS: Ivan Fecan, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Ana Serrano, Mark Starowicz, Karen Walton and the Performing Arts Lodges (PAL Canada).

"Each of these outstanding Academy Special Award winners has made innovative and stellar contributions to our Canadian screen-based industries," says Academy Chair Martin Katz. "We are extremely proud to celebrate them and their ongoing achievements at the 2016 Canadian Screen Awards."

These Academy Special Awards - as well as additional ones to be announced in the coming weeks - will be presented during 2016 Canadian Screen Week (March 7 - March 13, 2016).

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Mark Anthony wine tasting

by Allan Tong

Atop the TIFF Bell Lightbox on an unusually mild November evening this past Wednesday, Mark Anthony Fine Wines held its third annual portfolio tasting, showcasing nearly 40 brands.  Here are my picks (all prices as listed at the LCBO):

A fine suite of reds. Tenuta Sant'Antonio's Telos il Rosso Valpolicella Superiore (2nd from left, $24.95) was dryer than the Scaia Corvina (3rd, $14.95) which was noticeably sweeter and exceptionally smooth. Tenuta Sant'Antonio's lone white wine (on the far right), Bianco, was aromatic and strong, but not overpowering. Also under their Scaia label, it was savoury and spicy with a fine finish and, at $13.25, a value wine.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

16 Animated Feature Films Submitted for 2015 Oscar Race

Sixteen features have been submitted for consideration in the Animated Feature Film category for the 88th Academy Awards.

Several of the films have not yet had their required Los Angeles qualifying run. Submitted features must fulfill the theatrical release requirements and comply with all of the category’s other qualifying rules before they can advance in the voting process. At least eight eligible animated features must be theatrically released in Los Angeles County within the calendar year for this category to be activated. In any year in which 16 or more animated feature films are eligible, a maximum of five motion pictures may be nominated.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Andy Warhol: Stars of the Silver Screen

review & photos by Allan Tong

TIFF's winter exhibition, Andy Warhol: Stars of the Silver Screen may well have been called Andy Warhol: Starfucker. Though it boasts some rare photographs, intriguing films and a miniature replica of Warhol's Factory of the mid-sixties (below) where the pop artist held court, the overall exhibition is disappointing.

Warhol fans, such as myself, won't be surprised by the exhibition's theme: the artist's adoration for movie stars, such as Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor. Display cases jammed with books, photographs and other Hollywood memorabilia, plus dozens of movie posters spanning the decades until Warhol's1987 death, hammer home the one-note idea that a shy, sensitive and gay man growing up in industrial Pittsburgh escaped into the movies. Well, so what? Don't we all watch movies to escape? Don't we hang photos of movie stars because we want to be like them or be with them?