Thursday, March 31, 2011

Great Artists on their Art: quotes from the 29th Festival international du film sur l'art (FIFA)

The 29th Festival international du film sur l'art (FIFA) ended on Sunday and I thoroughly enjoyed my first time at this unique event. It really was essential viewing not just for film-lovers but for anyone interested in the Arts.

Personally, I found many of the artists themselves quite fascinating, even when they weren't themselves able to articulate what they did and meant with their art. I understand that -- making art and talking about it academically are often two very different things. The best athletes rarely make the best coaches – contrary to the old joke "those who can't do, teach." In art, the best artists aren't always able to decipher what may for them be an unconscious act.

Still, their imagination and creativity was evident in whatever they did have to say. I didn't always agree with everything, but it was interesting nonetheless. I wrote down some of the more intriguing and inspiring quotes from artists themselves from various films at the latest edition of FIFA.

Here they are. Enjoy!

Call for submissions: The 2011 Herman Voaden Playwriting Competition

A call has opened for the 2011 Herman Voaden Playwriting Competition. The competition is made possible by a generous bequest from Voaden’s estate in dedication to his memory and honours his goals to develop a distinctively Canadian art of the theatre and to encourage the writing of Canadian drama.

The competition is open to all Canadians. The competition is only for full-length, unpublished and unproduced plays in English. The winning play will receive a prize of $3000 and a second place winner receives $2000. The first and second place plays will receive a a one-week workshop and public reading with a professional director and cast.

Eight honourable mentions will be named and will receive short written critiques from the final judges. The judges for this competition are Alisa Palmer and Bill Millerd.

The postmark deadline for entries is April 15, 2011.

24th Images Festival of Independent Film & Video, March 31-April 9

Tonight is the launch of the 24th edition of the Images Festival of Independent Film & Video, the Toronto festival for experimental and independent films. Tonight's opening night film is a co-presentation with the Reel Asian Festival, Rivers and My Father by Luo Li. It takes place at 7pm at the Royal Cinema at 608 College Street.

Images 2011 will feature 100 films and videos from 23 countries as well as 28 installations at 14 local galleries, artist­‐run centres and public locations. They will also have 7
live performances that relate to the moving image.

The Festival continues until April 9.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Free Screen at TIFF Bell Lightbox: Radical Light

Tonight's edition of The Free Screen is done in partnership with the Images Film Festival. They will be showing Radical Light: Alternative Film and Video in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is a collection of short experimental works curated by Kathy Geritz.

The screening also serves as a book launch for a volume of the same title.

The Images Festival of Independent Film & Video officially begins tomorrow and continues to April 9.

How to Get Your Film Into Festivals – A Free talk with Allan Tong

Tonight, the Hart House Film Board presents a free talk for filmmakers on How to Get Your Film Into Festivals. The speaker will be Allan Tong who has programmed for various film festivals as both film programmer and also as an industry programmer. He is also a filmmakers himself and a film journalist.

The Hart House Film Board is the film club at the University of Toronto where students and Hart House members can learn filmmaking and rent equipment very inexpensively. Canadian auteur Atom Egoyan started his filmmaking career as a Hart House Film Board member, making 16mm short films while studying International Relations.

The free session begins at 6:30 and goes until 9:30. It takes place in Hart House which is located at 7 Hart House Circle in the University of Toronto.

2nd Toronto Silent Film Festival, March 30 - April 7

The 2nd Toronto Silent Film Festival kicks off tonight at Innis Town Hall (2 Sussex Ave, one block south of St. George St. and Bloor St.).

The opening night screening will be Maciste all'inferno (Maciste in Hell) (1926) directed by Guido Bregnone and starring Bartolomeo Pagano, Umberto Guarracino, Mario Salo, and Elana Sangro. The film will be preceded by SILENT FILMS FROM THE LAWLESS DAYS OF EUROPE 1896-1911, a half-hour selection of short films of 30 seconds to 6 minutes in length. The screening also includes the winning short film from the Toronto Urban Film Festival.

All of the films will be presented with live musical accompaniment. The featured musicians during the festival are Robert Bruce, Andrew Downing & Ensemble, Bill Lasovich, John Lauter, William O'Meara, Laura Silberberg and Andrei Streliaev.

The festival continues until April 7 at various venues around the city.

Call for submissions: 2011 Canadian Jewish Playwriting Competition

A call for submissions has opened up for writers to enter the 2011 Canadian Jewish Playwriting Competition. The plays should be between one to two hours long. You do not need to be Jewish to submit a script, but the play should have some Jewish content.

You are asked to use a pseudonym on the title page of the play so that the jury can read it without knowing your identity. Your information should be provided on a separate letter or email.

The competition winner will receive a professionally performed public workshop in a Miles Nadal JCC’s Between Stages Play Reading in 2012.

The deadline for submissions is June 30, 2011.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Credit where credit is due - Natalie Portman and the stunt double controversy [UPDATED]

Just as the acclaimed film Black Swan is released today on DVD and Blu-ray, it's been hit by another controversy.

Previously, it was embroiled in a minor scandal over costume design. The Mulleavy sisters of the Rodarte fashion house claimed that they were screwed out of a Costume Designer credit because they were responsible for some of the key ballet costumes. The film's actual Costume Designer Amy Westcott was asked to keep quiet because the producers didn't want any friction leading up to the Oscar nominations. But once the nominations came out and Westcott was left off the ballot (likely because people bought into the Mulleavy hype) she finally spoke out and made it clear that she was the department head, the Mulleavy sisters answered to both her and Darren Aronofsky, and that the sisters were properly credited.

Now along comes another claiming she was screwed out of a bigger credit. Soon after Natalie Portman won the Best Actress Academy Award for her bravura performance as Nina, we started to hear some grumbing from her stunt double in the film, Sarah Lane. This was a surprise, since earlier interviews with her made her seem quite gracious.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Yeşilçam Ödülleri’nin - 4th annual Yeşilçam Awards for Turkish film - winners

The Turkish Foundation of Cinema and Audiovisual Culture (TÜRSAK) held its 4th Annual Yeşilçam Ödülleri’nin (Yeşilçam Awards) ceremony tonight at the Lütfi Kırdar Congress and Exhibition Center.

Çoğunluk (The Majority) was named the Best Film. It also won Best Screenplay and Best First Film for Seren Yüce, while Esme Madra won for Best Young Talent. The film had led with eleven nominations.

Yüce didn't win the Director category, however. That instead went to Reha Erdem for Kosmos, which also won for Editing.

Av Mevsimi (Hunting Season) matched Çoğunluk in its total number of awards with four. It won for Cinematography and three acting awards: Best Actor (Cem Yılmaz), Best Supporting Actress (Melisa Sözen), and Best Supporting Actor (Okan Yalabık). Yalabık defeated his co-star Çetin Tekindor to win the award.

Premiile Gopo - 5th Annual Gopo Awards for Romanian film - winners

The Asociaţia Pentru Promovarea Filmului Românesc (Association for Romanian Film Promotion) held their 5th Annual Premiile Gopo (Gopo Awards) for Romanian cinema at the Crystal Palace Ballrooms in Bucharest.

Florin Şerban's debut film Eu când vreau să fluier, fluier (If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle) was the dominant winner of the night in taking six awards. In addition to winning Best Film, Best Director and Best Debut Feature for Şerban, it took awards for Best Supporting Actress (Clara Vodă), Sound and Most Promising Newcomer (George Piştereanu). It also claimed the Public Award determined by box office numbers. It had led with a record thirteen nominations.

Next with four awards was Caravana cinematografică (Kino Caravan). It claimed the prizes for Music, Art Direction, Costume and Hair/Makeup. Its cinematographer Vivi Dragan Vasile also received the Romanian Society of Cinematographers Award.

Three other films won multiple awards. Medalia de onoare (Medal of Honour) received recognition for Best Actor (Victor Rebengiuc) and Best Screenplay. It's screenwriter was Tudor Voican, who studied his Masters in film at York University in Toronto. Portretul luptătorului la tinereţe (Portrait of the Fighter as a Young Man) won for Best Supporting Actor (Bogdan Dumitrache) and Cinematography. Autobiografia lui Nicolae Ceauşescu (The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu) won for Best Documentary and Editing.

Free screening of Arthur, April 4

The University of Toronto's Cinema Studies Student Union (CINSSU) are presenting another one of their free advance screenings. They will be showing Arthur starring Russell Brand, Jennifer Garner, Greta Gerwig, Helen Mirren and Nick Nolte. The screening will take place at Innis Town Hall next week on Monday, April 4 at 7pm.

This film is a remake of the 1981 film Arthur starring Dudley Moore. Russell Brand reprises the title role played by Moore, and Helen Mirren takes the role of the valet previously played by the late Sir John Gielgud.

The screening is free and open to all. You do not need to be a student or attend the University of Toronto. Preference to attend the screening will go to pass-holders. To pick up a pass, go to Innis College, 2 Sussex Ave., Rm. 107 beside the Cafe. The hours are daily from 12-4pm.

For those who don't manage to get a pass, there will be a rush line-up on the night of the screening. Just make sure you join the rush line and not the ticket-holders line.

2011 Africa Movie Academy Awards - winners

This past week was a celebration for the Seventh Annual Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) culminating in tonight's award ceremony at the Gloryland Cultural Centre, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, Nigeria.

The night was dominated by Viva Riva which won six awards, including Best Film and Best Director for Congo's Djo Tunda Wa Munga. It also won supporting acting awards for actress Marlene Longage and actor Hoji Fortuna, as well as cinematography and production design awards. Viva Riva had led the nominations with a total of twelve.

Sinking Sands picked up three awards, with Amake Abebrese winning the Best Actress Award to go with prizes for its screenplay and make-up.

The other two multiple award-winners were Izulu Lami which won Best Film In African Language and for which three actors shared the Best Child Actor Award. Aramotu won Best Nigerian Film and Best Costume Design.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

2011 Juno Awards - winners

The 40th Annual Juno Awards for Canadian music took place this weekend in Toronto, with 32 awards presented in a non-broadcast portion on Saturday night and the final 8 awards presented tonight. The ceremony was hosted by Toronto rapper Drake. He had led with six nominations but was surprisingly shut out altogether.

Montreal band Arcade Fire continued their winning streak (which began at the Grammy Awards and continued into the Brit Awards) by winning four awards tonight. They won Album of the Year, Group of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, and Alternative Album of the Year.

Rock legend Neil Young was also a multiple winner. He won Artist of the Year to go with the Adult Alternative Album of the Year Award he won yesterday and his previously announced Allan Waters Humanitarian Award. Teen favourite Justin Beiber also won two awards. He won Pop Album of the Year and the Fan Choice Award. He didn't attend the ceremony but sent his thanks by video link.

Shania Twain was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. She was introduced with a speech by Bryan Adams. Twain became emotional in her acceptance and spoke about her pride in the Canadian music scene, saying "I'm really so proud of Canada's talent. I sit here tonight in the audience, and I watch these amazing artists up here on the stage, world-class talent, songwriters, singers, performers – we should be proud of these people. They're just blowing me away."

2011 Jameson Empire Awards - winners

The 2011 Jameson Empire Awards took place tonight at a ceremony hosted by Irish comic Dara O Briain at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. The top award for Best Film went to Christopher Nolan's Inception.

The Best Comedy Aaward went to Four Lions. Best Horror was The Last Exorcism, while the Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy prize was given to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was named Best Thriller.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was one of the few multiple winners on the night. Noomi Rapace was named Best Actress. Kick-Ass also won Best British Film and Best Newcomer for Chloe Moretz. Edgar Wright won both Best Director for Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World and the Empire Inspiration prize.

As he's done almost everywhere else for the past few months, Colin Firth won Best Actor for his role in The King's Speech. He joked, "I was going to thank my friends at the King's Speech table, but apparently there is no King's Speech table so to hell with them. I'm with my new friends at the Tinker, Tailor table, which I haven't seen yet but I'm sure it will be a masterpiece."

1st Annual Comedy Awards - winners

Comedy Central and MTV held their ceremony for the inaugural Comedy Awards last night at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. Andy Richter was the announcer for the evening, which featured performances by The Roots and a live version of "I Just Had Sex" by Andy Samberg, Akon and Jorma Taccone backed by a gospel choir.

In the Film Categories, the Comedy Film award went to The Other Guys, while Toy Story 3 took the Animated category. The Comedy Actor winner was Zach Galifianakis for Dinner for Schmucks. Tina Fey won the Comedy Actress prize for Date Night. The Director award was given to Edgar Wright for his work on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. The writers of Hot Tub Time Machine won for Comedy Screenplay. The nominations had been led by Easy A, Cyrus and Kick-Ass, but none of them picked up any awards.

In the Television section, “Modern Family” won the Comedy Series prize. “30 Rock” won for Writing and also Comedy Actor (Alec Baldwin). Kristen Wiig of “Saturday Night Live” was the Actress winner. For Late Night Series, the winner was “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”.

Festival international du film sur l'art (FIFA) - award winners

At tonight's Closing Ceremonies for the 29th Festival international du film sur l'art (FIFA), the festival presented eleven awards for the films in competition. The Grand Prize was given to the film Antwerpen Centraal (Antwerp Central Station) by Peter Krüger from Belgium. It portrays a thoughtful look at the late nineteenth century architecture of the railway station.

The Jury Award went to Patrice Chéreau: le corps au travail by Stephane Metge from France. French actor/director Mathieu Amalric also won a prize, the Award for Creativity for his short documentary Joann Sfar (Dessins).

Saint-Denys Garneau by Jean-Philippe Dupuis was named the Best Canadian Film. Fellow Canadian Jennifer Alleyn won the  ARTV Springboard to the World Award for Dix Fois Dix.

The President of the Jury was historian Manon Blanchette (Canada), the executive director of the Board of Montréal Museum Directors. Joining her on the jury were Harry Bos, who directs the film theatre at the Institut Néerlandais in Paris; Belgian filmmaker Henri de Gerlache; artist and journalist Winston McQuade; and Sylvie Richard of the Institut national de l’audiovisuel (INA) in Paris.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Inaugural Montreal International Poetry Prize - $50,000 prize

An new poetry competition has been announced. Billed as the biggest poetry competition in history, Montreal International Poetry Prize has a $50,000 prize for the winning poem. The winner will be selected by Andrew Motion, a former British Poet Laureate from 1999 to 2009.

They accept submissions from around the world. Submissions must be in English and no more than 40 lines. They must be unpublished and original works by a single author. The top 50 finalists will be published in an anthology by Véhicule Press in the fall. They will also publish a longer e-anthology of the top 150 poems.

The Early Entry Deadline is 11:59pm on April 22 2011, which the Final Entry Deadline at a slightly higher entry fee is 11:59pm on July 8 2011. The fees are lower for "developing" nations and for additional entries by the same person.

Friday, March 25, 2011

53rd Premios Ariel (Ariel Awards) for Mexican film - nominations

The Academia Mexicana de Artes y Ciencias Cinematográficas, A.C. (Mexican Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences) have announced their nominations for the 53rd Premio Ariel (Ariel Awards). The dark drug-crime satire El Infierno (Hell) led overwhelmingly with 14 nominations including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for Luis Estrada, the latter with co-writer Jaime Sampietro. It also picked up nominations for Best Actor (Damián Alcázar), Best Supporting Actress (María Rojo) and Best Supporting Actor (Ernesto Gómez Cruz, Joaquín Cosio).

Next with eight nominations was Felipe Cazals' Chicogrande. Tied with seven nominations each were Diego Luna's Abel and Alejandro González Iñárritu's Biutiful. To the surprise of many, however, Chicogrande and Abel were each nominated for Best Picture and Director, while Best Foreign Language Film Oscar-nominee Biutiful was not.

Año bisiesto (Leap Year) followed with with six nominations, while the most expensive film in Mexican cinema history El atentado (File of Attempted Murder) received five nominations in the more technical categories. La mitad del mundo (Half the World) was next with four nominations.

Final weekend - Festival international du film sur l'art (FIFA)

The Festival international du film sur l'art (FIFA), also known as the the International Festival of Films on Art, draws to a close this weekend. They've announced a good number of additional screenings to augment the schedule. Bonus screenings include opening night film Sur les Traces de Marguerite Yourcenar, the fashion profile Jean Paul Gaultier ou les codes bouleversés, a look at the Bauhaus school in Bauhaus - Model and Myth, and Montreal music films MTL Punk - La première vague (The First Wave) / Karkwa: Les Cendres de Verre.

I've thoroughly enjoyed all the films that I've caught so far and I've been very impressed with the range of programming. As an Arts lover, it's been an embarrassment of riches and there are simply too many good films on offer.

The Tribute to Melvyn Bragg series has been a real eye-opener. Unfortunately, I missed the Masterclass with Melvyn Bragg, but the films themselves have all been fantastic. Bragg made some 750 documentary portraits of artists over a 33-year period for the BBC's The South Bank Show. Most were shot on film and he is a terrific interviewer.

Norman Mailer and Harold Pinter are articulate and engaging as you'd expect. The conductor Sir John Barbirolli is lively and fascinating to watch in action. He manages a rare interview with Ingmar Bergman, who I must admit I'd never seen before, and he offeres great insights into his own films. Francis Bacon was an oddity - not very eloquent, and increasingly drunk as the show progresses - but Bragg helps him along with smart questions that elicit Bacon's full agreement. Strangely, he completely glosses over Bacon's frank admission "I like men!" as that show was done in the 80s. Bragg's own brilliant editing does a fine job of drawing out the meaning of Bacon's work by showing them alongside their subjects or comparable photographs.

Cinéfranco 2011, March 25 - April 3

Tonight is the opening night of the 14th Cinéfranco International Francophone Film Festival of Toronto. Cinéfranco is considered the leading film event of international Francophone cinema in Toronto, and this year they are moving to their new location at TIFF Bell Lightbox.

The opening night screening at 6:45 will be of the film Impasse du désir by Swiss filmmaker Michel Rodde. Rodde and the film's Québec star Rémy Girard will be in attendance. Girard will also attend the following screening at 9:30 of Y'en aura pas de facile (Tough Luck) with director Marc-André Lavoie and producer Esther Long.

In addition to screenings, they will host a Master Class with Moroccan filmmaker Driss Chouika before the screening of his film Destins croisés (Crossed Destinies), and an interview with Professor Eric Jennings prior to Tête de Turc (Turk's Head). Both are free with the accompanying movies. They will also host two free roundtable discussions. The first is Fiction Films: Past, Present and Future, and the second is Documentary challenges: distribution and marketing.

The films come not only from France, but also Canada (both Québec and Ontario), Morocco, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg. Many of screenings will take place with the filmmaker or actor in attendance.

33rd Annual Toronto Storytelling Festival, March 25-April 3

The 33rd Annual Toronto Storytelling Festival kicks off today with a free launch which includes a traditional smudging ceremony led by Festival Elders Dan and Mary Lou Smoke. Lee Maracle hosts this evening and the featured storyteller will be Garry Sault of Mississaugas of New Credit. There will also be presentations from indigenous youth, singing and hand drumming by Spirit Wind. It takes place at Native Child and Family Services, 30 College Street (Yonge and College).

In addition to the many storytelling events, there will also be workshops and seminars. Many of the festival events are free.

The festival continues to April 3.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

TIFF Cinematheque Presents Night Moves: The Films of Arthur Penn, March 24-April 6

Tonight, TIFF Bell Lightbox begins a retrospective of the works of director Arthur Penn who recently passed away on September 28, 2010 at the age of 88. He was a leading director during the 60s and 70s. His Nouvelle Vague-influenced Bonnie and Clyde is considered a groundbreaking work that paved the way for the Golden Age of 1970s films.

In addition to Bonnie and Clyde, the works featured in this series are Alice’s Restaurant, The Chase, Four Friends, The Left Handed Gun, Little Big Man, Mickey One, The Miracle Worker, The Missouri Breaks and Night Moves. Actors in these works include Paul Newman, Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman, Jack Nicholson, Marlon Brando, Jane Fonda and Robert Redford.

Night Moves: The Films of Arthur Penn runs until April 6.

MONITOR 7: New South Asian Short Film + Video

Tonight, SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre) presents its screening of MONITOR 7: New South Asian Short Film + Video. The screening is curated by Montreal-based performance and video artist Ayesha Hameed, currently finishing her Postdoctoral studies at the University of London.

The screening will present 12 new short films and videos by South Asian artists from Canada and abroad (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, UK and USA).

The screening begins at 7:30pm. It takes place at Innis Town Hall, located at 2 Sussex Ave, one block south of St. George St. and Bloor St or just north of Robarts Library.

The screening is free for SAVAC members. For the general public it is $10, or $5 for students with ID.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Call for submissions: 2011 Planet in Focus Film Festival

The call has been put out for the 2011 Planet in Focus Film Festival. Founded in 1999, Planet in Focus is billed as "Canada's preeminent international environmental film and video festival." This will be their 12th edition.

There are two deadlines for submitting your film to the Planet in Focus Film Festival. The Early-Bird Deadline is May 3, 2011. The Final Deadline is June 17, 2011 and requires a slightly higher entry fee.

They are also accepting submissions for the Planet in Focus Green Screen Award Sponsored by Astral's Harold Greenberg Fund. It is an award for film and television productions of any genre that employ green methods. It does not have to be about the environment nor does the film need to be submitted to the festival itself. The deadline for submissions for the Green Screen Award is August 5, 2011.

U of T Film Festival 2011, March 23

The University of Toronto has its own film festival and tonight is the 10th anniversary edition of the U of T Film Festival. It is a scaled-down version from previous years as they have focused primarily on films made by U of T students. The event is free.

Many were made through courses or contests organized by the Hart House Film Board, which is the film club for the campus. Past members of the Film Board include directors Atom Egoyan and Richie Mehta.

The program begins with a reception at 7pm and the screening starts at 8pm. Following the screening, there will be an awards presentation and another reception. 

Hart House is located at 7 Hart House Circle in the University of Toronto campus.

U of T Film Festival 2011 Program
March 23, 2011 – Hart House Music Room
(Note: running order subject to change)

7:00 pm – reception, food, cash bar

(featuring installation art by Christine Sherry and Blake Williams)

YMCA Voices Film Festival, Mar 23

Tonight in Toronto, the YMCA Voices Film Festival will present its third annual edition. It is a screening of films by young filmmakers who have participated in Voices: The YMCA Newcomer Youth Film Project. It is a training program for New Canadians aged 13-24 in film and video-making techniques.

The young filmmakers from this year's program come from Philippines, Thailand, Iran, Cuba, China, United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, Nepal and Mauritius.

Tonight's YMCA Voices Film Festival is hosted by MTV host/producer Aliya-Jasmine Sovani. The screening takes place at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West. There is an opening reception from 5pm and the screening begins at 6pm.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Black Theatre Workshop's Playwright Conference, May 27-28

Black Theatre Workshop in Montreal is accepting applications for its playwright conference entitled “Since Mama Done Got Off the Couch!” This two-day conference at the end of May is for diverse writers and performers. It takes place at Concordia University.

Some of the featured leading Afro-Canadian artists include George Boyd, Amiri Baraka, Pat Darbasie, George Elliot Clarke, Andrew Moodie, Ahdri Mandiela and David Edgecomb.

There are only 30 spots available for the two days of intimate seminars. Black Theatre Workshop encourages members of the diverse theatre community to apply.

The deadline for applying is April 4th.

TIFF now accepting applications for Pitch This! and Talent Lab

In addition to screening an impressive lineup of films, the Toronto International Film Festival hosts a number of initiatives that take place during the festival itself. They have just announced that they are accepting applications for two of their great programs.

Telefilm Canada Pitch This! is a pitch competition in which participants try to sell their movie idea to a jury of industry professionals. One winner or team is selected to receive a $10,000 prize to develop their concept as a feature film. There are many industry professionals in the audience too, so even if the participants don't win the main prize it is still possible to impress the right people so that your project can get off the ground.

The TIFF Talent Lab is a fantastic four-day intensive professional development programme that allows a select number of people to work closely with leading filmmakers. Some of the artists who have participated in Talent Lab as mentors include Lee Daniels, Miranda July, Don McKellar, Deepa Mehta and Danny Boyle. Additionally, you will be asked to participate in a filmmakers competition for which there are three cash prizes to be won, worth up to $15,000.

Both of these programmes are extremely competitive. If you are fortunate enough to be accepted, however, there is no cost for the programmes. In fact, you will receive an industry pass for the entire festival including screenings.

The Free Screen at TIFF Bell Lightbox, upcoming shows

TIFF Bell Lightbox continues with its ongoing series of free films called The Free Screen. They describe the series as a "programme committed to independent and avant-garde works and to an exploration of numerous art forms and disciplines, as they relate to cinema."

On Wednesday, March 23, they present the second of two co-presentations with the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre (CFMDC). This will be a screening of short works by Canadian filmmakers curated by an American scholar Irina Leimbacher. The screening is titled Images of Nature, or The Nature of the Image: Canadian Artists at Work.

Next week on Wednesday, March 30, The Free Screen presents a program in partnership with Images Festival. Pacific Film Archive curator Kathy Geritz will attend to introduce the Toronto launch of Radical Light: Alternative Film and Video in the San Francisco Bay Area. The 24th Images Festival runs from March 31 to April 9.

Complete lineup of films for Hot Docs 2011, April 28 - May 8 [UPDATED]

After announcing 34 titles last week, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival held a press conference this morning at the Gardiner Museum to release their full schedule for the 2011 festival. This year, they will be screening over 199 films from 43 countries on 16 screens across Toronto.

The opening night film will be the Sundance hit The Greatest Movie Ever Sold by Morgan Spurlock. Appropriately for a film about branding and product placement, it has been re-branded POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.

The Canadian Spectrum program will feature 26 titles including 19 features and 15 world premieres. They include films about porn stars (Inside Lara Roxx), poker players (Grinders) and a Montreal neighbourhood (St-Henri, The 26th of August).

The Focus On Retrospective honouree Alan Zweig spoke at the launch and discussed his work. The 2011 festival screens five features and three short films by Zweig.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Free screening of Insidious, March 28

The University of Toronto's Cinema Studies Student Union (CINSSU) and Alliance Films are joining together to present a free advance screening of Insidious, starring Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey and Ty Simpkins. The screening will take place at Innis Town Hall next week on Monday, March 28 at 7pm.

This is a horror film that had its world premiere at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival as part of the Midnight Madness section. It's directed by James Wan, a previous Midnight Madness filmmaker with Saw.

The screening is free and open to all. You do not need to be a student or attend the University of Toronto. Preference to attend the screening will go to pass-holders. To pick up a pass, go to Innis College, 2 Sussex Ave., Rm. 107 beside the Cafe. The hours are daily from 12-4pm.

For those who don't manage to get a pass, there will be a rush line-up on the night of the screening. Just make sure you join the rush line and not the ticket-holders line.

5th Asian Film Awards - winners

The Hong Kong International Film Festival Society (HKIFFS) held their gala ceremony tonight for the 5th Asian Film Awards (AFA) at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Lisa S, Archie Kao, and Angela Chow hosted the event which had the theme “Let’s Meet Here.” The evening began with prayers being sent to the people of Japan.

The Best Film Award went to the Cannes Palme d’Or winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives by the Thai auteur Apichatpong "Joe" Weerasethakul. It was, however, the film's lone win of the night.

The Chinese blockbuster Aftershock won Best Actress for Xu Fan and Best Visual Effects. It picked up an additional prize for being the Top-grossing Asian film of the year. Poetry was also a multiple winner, taking awards for Best Director and Best Screenwriter for Lee Chang-dong. He previously won Best Director for Secret Sunshine in 2008.

Jiang Wen's Let the Bullets Fly and Tetsuya Nakashima's Confessions led with six nominations each, including Best Film and Best Director. Let the Bullets Fly won for Best Costume Designer and a received the People's Choice Best Actor prize for Chow Yun-fat, but Confessions was shut out.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The JUNO Awards at 40: Celebrating Canadian Music on Film

TIFF Bell Lightbox is celebrating the upcoming Juno Awards with a week-long schedule of films about music. Each of these films will be introduced by a Juno nominee or winner, filmmaker or artist.

The screenings begin tonight at 7pm with Jonathan Demme's Neil Young: Heart of Gold presented by Juno-nominated musicians Suzie McNeil and Emm Gryner. This is followed by a screening at 9:45pm of Bruce McDonald’s This Movie is Broken presented by Stuart Berman, author of This Book Is Broken.

Other screenings in this series include the hilarious and outstanding documentary Anvil: The Story of Anvil by Sacha Gervasi, and another excellent rock documentary Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage.

For jazz fans, you can catch Oscar Peterson: Keeping The Groove Alive which screens with the short film Begone Dull Care. Classical lovers and film lovers can look forward to the brilliant Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould by François Girard, which appropriately depicts his life by mirroring the form of Bach's Goldberg Variations, the piece of music most closely associated with him.

25th Annual Genesis Awards - winners

The 25th Anniversary Genesis Awards took place on Saturday night at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles. The awards are given annually by the Humane Society of the United States in recognition of work that raises public awareness of animal issues.

How to Train Your Dragon won the award for Outstanding Feature Film. The Feature Documentary winner was The Elephant in the Living Room.

In television, winners included The Colbert Report, True Blood, Nightline, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Stephen Colbert defeated his colleague Jon Stewart with a segment about bullfighting and joked in character that he "won't rest until animals can carry guns, just like us."

Sex and the City actress Kristin Davis was honoured with the Wyler Award, named after the late Genesis Award founder Gretchen Wyler. Davis was awarded "in recognition of the media attention she has brought to the plight of orphaned African elephants impacted by the increase in elephant poaching for their ivory tusks." It seems that elephants were a big issue for many of the night's winners.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

22nd annual GLAAD Media Awards, part 1 - winners

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) held their first of three award ceremonies for the 22nd annual GLAAD Media Awards. 25 of this year's 32 awards were presented in partnership with RÖKK Vodka and locally by American Airlines and Prudential at the Marriott Marquis Times Square in New York.

Co-founder of hip-hop label Def Jam Russell Simmons was named recipient of the Excellence in Media Award. The other major individual prize was the Vito Russo Award which was given to Ricky Martin. Ricky Martin was the subject of the Outstanding Talk Show Episode winner, "Ricky Martin Coming Out as a Gay Man and a New Dad" on the The Oprah Winfrey Show.

The Oustanding Drama Series was True Blood.

The complete list of nominees is here. The remaining ceremonies take place on Los Angeles on April 10 at the Westin Bonaventure, and in San Francisco on May 14 at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis.

18th Edgy Women Festival, March 19-April 2

Tonight, the 18th edition of the Edgy Women Festival kicks off in Montreal. Edgy Women is devoted to exploring "complexity of contemporary feminism through fun, experimental, and community-building artistic events."

Today's events are Adventures of the Love Art Lab by performance artist Annie Sprinkle and her partner Elizabeth Stephens, followed by a "sensual contortion" performance by Andreane Leclerc; and Slippery: An On-Ice Performance by Karen Sherman who looks at hockey and roller derby in exploring the role of gender in women's sports.

The festival presents performers who come from  Japan, Germany, and the United States as well as Canada. There are also artists talks and professional workshops, some of which are free.

The events take place at various locations, particularly Sala Rossa, La Centrale, Tangente and MainLine Theatre. The festival runs for the next two weeks.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Call for applications: 2011 Astral Media Mentorship

Women in Film and Television - Toronto (WIFT) has begun accepting applications for the 2011 Astral Media Mentorship. It is an opportunity for Canadian producers to learn with industry professionals and to attend the Banff World Media Festival.

Although offered by WIFT, the program is open to both men and women. Many people do not realize this but WIFT has accepted men for some time into their organization. You do not have to be a Toronto resident, but you must be available to participate in the sessions that take place in Toronto and in Banff. You also need not be a member of WIFT to apply, but if you are chosen for the mentorship you are expected to join.

The mentorship, however, is limited to those who are a visible minority, Aboriginal, or an individual with a disability. Their definition of visible minority is: those who are Black/African/Caribbean, South Asian, Asian/Pacific Islanders, Middle Eastern/West Asian and Latin American.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

29th Festival international du film sur l'art (FIFA), March 17-27

Tonight is the kickoff for the 29th Festival international du film sur l'art (FIFA), or the International Festival of Films on Art as it is known in English. It takes place in Montrea from March 17th to the 27th.

They will present films on all the various art forms including literature, painting, dance, music and even fashion, comics and cinema itself. A total of 227 films from 22 countries will be screened. Generally, the films shown are premieres in Montreal, if not Canadian or the world premieres.

Tonight's Opening night gala screening is of Sur les Traces de Marguerite Yourcenar by Marilu Mallet. It provides a portrait of the Belgian novelist and essayist through the eyes of those who knew her.

8th Annual Toronto Japanese Short Film Festival, March 17-20

The 8th Annual Toronto Japanese Short Film Festival starts tonight and runs until Sunday March 20. It opens with a free directors talk and screening.

The event begins at 7pm at the Japan Foundation, 131 Bloor Street West, Suite 213. Attending directors are Isamu Hirabayashi (a featured filmmaker at this year's festival), Rikiya Imaizumi, Christopher Donaldson, Tom Feilr and Samir Rehem. It will be followed by a reception.

The remaining screenings take place at Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Ave, one block south of St. George St. and Bloor St. The closing night party is at Central, located at 603 Markham Street.

Stage Productions on the Screen: Danny Boyle's Frankenstein and more

For some time now, a good number of stage productions have been presented on the big screen. This is the fifth season that Metropolitan Opera has been presented in HD. Many others have followed suit.

Tonight at theatres everywhere, you'll have a chance to see the National Theatre's presentation of Danny Boyle's Frankenstein. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller who alternate the roles of Victor Frankenstein and the Creature. It plays again on March 31.
Danny Boyle’s (Slumdog Millionaire) production of Frankenstein, a play by Nick Dear, based on the novel by Mary Shelley. For the first time ever, National Theatre Live will broadcast two separate performances of a production. Throughout the run of Frankenstein at the National Theatre, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller are alternating the roles of Victor Frankenstein and the Creature. Don’t miss the final performance being broadcast in cinemas March 31st 7:00 PM Jonny Lee Miller (Creature), Benedict Cumberbatch (Victor). Warning: Contains themes of an adult and sexual nature and nudity.

ShopLIFT: 2011 Silent Auction and Film Karaoke

The Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT) celebrates its 30th year anniversary tonight with ShopLIFT, a fundraising auction and party.
Throughout the night you'll find amazing deals on various filmmaking credits and vouchers as well numerous other items including special music and film donations from some of Canada's most acclaimed musicians and film professionals. Thank you to our generous donors and community members. For a full list of items please visit

There will also be Movie-Oke, where you can perform the dialogue to scenes from your favourite films. Live musical accompaniment will be provided by Bob Wiseman (piano), Jeff Burke (bassoon and penny whistles), Mark Hundevad (percussion), Rachel Melas (bass), and Stacey McLeod (saw).

All proceeds go towards LIFT and our commitment to supporting independent filmmaking.
The event starts at 9pm at the Garrison, 1197 Dundas Street West, just West of Ossington Avenue.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Call for nominations: CFC Actors Conservatory

The Canadian Film Centre is now accepting nominations for their CFC Actors Conservatory. This is a program that they began in 2009 to provide advanced training for Canadian actors.

Mentors in previous years have included filmmakers Sarah Polley, Ruba Nadda and Peter Stebbings, and actors Michael Riley, Rosemary Dunsmore and Susan Coyne. They have also have casting directors and various technical instructors. The program chair is Kiefer Sutherland.

To be considered, actors applicants must first be nominated by an agent, casting director, director, producer, artistic director, writer/playwright, broadcast or production executive. Then the CFC will  follow-up via email with the actor and forward the Application Package.

The deadline to apply for the CFC Actors Conservatory is May 6.

Call for submissions: Fly By Night, The Gladstone’s Annual Nuit Blanche Celebration

The Gladstone Hotel in Toronto has put out a call for submissions for its 2011 Nuit Blanche event called Fly-By-Night: Brief Moments And Fleeting Experiences In Ephemeral Environments.

The Gladstone Hotel is a unique and historical building that was renovated with local artists designing each room individually with his or her own vision. The building still functions as a hotel but regularly exhibits artwork and hosts many arts events. 

They are requesting artists of various disciplines to submit their ideas for the many rooms and spaces in the hotel. The deadline for submissions is April 30.

Nuit Blanche in Toronto takes place the night of October 1-2.

Female Eye Film Festival 2011, March 16-20

The 9th edition of the Female Eye Film Festival kicks of tonight in Toronto with a premiere screening of the Student Super 8 Filmmaking Workshop 2011. Many of the directors will be in attendance and will participate in a Q&A session. It takes place at 7pm at WARC Gallery, 122 - 401 Richmond Street West. The event is free.

Tomorrow night, the festival has a more official opening night gala screening of Amazon Falls by Katrin Bowen. This screening and reception takes place at 7pm at the Carlton Cinema, 20 Carlton Street. The film had its premiere at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.

The festival hosts a number of tributes. They will have an honourary director tribute for Canadian filmmaker Mary Harron. The recipient of the Maverick Award & Tribute is producer Anne Tait. In addition, they will have a screening and tribute for the late great actress Cayle Chernin who sadly passed away recently from ovarian cancer.

Apart from opening night, all screenings take place at Rainbow Cinemas Market Square, 80 Front St East. Industry events are pay-what-you-can and take place at the Novotel Toronto Centre, 45 The Esplanade.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Call for applications: NSI Totally Television 2011

The National Screen Institute in Winnipeg has put out a call for applications for its NSI Totally Television program. It's a ten-month training program for television writers and producers. It's structured in a way that allows you to continue working while training -- part-time instruction without requiring you to relocate.

The program accepts up to five teams to participate in the mentoring and workshops. The most advanced projects will get to pitch their projects at the Banff World Media Festival 2012.

The only cost for the program is the application fee. Those accepted will pay no additional fees.

The deadline to apply for the NSI Totally Television program is Tuesday, May 3 at 4:30pm Central Time.

The Canadian Stage Company's Spotlight.Italy - March 15-26

The Canadian Stage Company is launching a new Spotlight Series this year which focuses on the art and culture of a different country. This year's inaugural spotlight will be on Italy, in honour of its reunification 150 years ago.

The festival divides into four sections. The Spotlight on Contemporary Theatre will highlight 4 plays. They are La Natura Delle Cosse, Nunzio, Basso Ostinato and La Festa.

The other three spotlights are on Music, Food & Wine, and Fashion & Art. The Music spotlight features performers Dominic Mancuso, David Occhipinti, the Antonio Ciacca Trio, Vesuvius Ensemble, Roberto Occhipinti, The Sicilian Jazz Project, and Marco Calliari. The restaurants participating in the Food and Wine Spotlight are Biagio ristorante and Vecchio Frak Cafe. The Spotlight on Fashion will display work by Versace and Juliana Carlucci, while the Spotlight on Art focuses on the work of Bruno Billio.

The Canadian Stage Company's Spotlight.Italy runs from March 15-26. It takes place primarily at the Berkeley Street Theatre at 26 Berkeley Street.

34 titles announced for Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto

Although the official announcement for all the titles of the coming Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival will not take place until next week, they have released the titles of 26 Special Presentations and 8 Made in Italy selections.

The Special Presentations includes award-winning films such as Position Among the Stars, which won Best Feature-Length Documentary at IDFA and a World Cinema Special Jury Prize at Sundance. Other prize-winners from Sundance include Buck, Senna, Project Nim and Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey. The Special Presentations are the higher-profile films that often feature celebrity involvement, with names such as Conan O-Brien, Ron Sexsmith, Carol Channing, Ayrton Senna or Chaz Bono.

World and International Premieres include The Hollywood Complex, Dolphin Boy, Becoming Chaz, The Bully Project, Fightville, Limelight and In Heaven, Underground.

The Made In Italy titles are The Castle, Cosmic Energy Inc., Draquila - Italy Trembles, El Sicario, Room 164, Heart-Quake, Housing, I Am Jesus, and The Valley of the Moon.

Monday, March 14, 2011

2010 Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards - winners

The Film Critics Circle of Australia held its awards ceremony last night for the best films of 2010 at the North Sydney Leagues Club at Cammeray in Sydney. ABC Local Radio’s Rod Quinn hosted the event.

Animal Kingdom dominated the proceedings with six awards. It won Best Film, and David Michôd won for Director and Original Screenplay. Jacki Weaver won Best Actress and co-stars Ben Mendelsohn and Joel Edgerton won for Actor and Supporting Actor respectively. Previously, Animal Kingdom had triumphed at the Australian Film Institute Awards and Jacki Weaver received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Essie Davis won Best Supporting Actress for her role in South Solitary. Two child actresses were given special mentions for their promising work. Lily Bell-Tindley received hers in the Leading Actress category for Lou. Morgana Davies received her special mention as Supporting Actress for The Tree

Beneath Hill 60 won for Adapted Screenplay Editing. Curiously, for the AFI Awards, it had been nominated in the Original Screenplay category.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

13th annual Prix Jutra - Jutra Awards for Quebec film - winners

Three nights after coming out on top at the 31st Annual Genie Awards, Incendies continued its winning ways with an even more dominant performance at the 13th Annual Prix Jutra (Jutra Awards) tonight at the Théâtre St-Denis in Montreal.

Incendies had led with ten nominations including Best Film. It won every category in which it was nominated. Two of its nominations, though, were for Best Actress and unfortunately for Mélissa Desormeaux-Poulin, it went to Lubna Azabal. However, Azabal invited Desormeaux-Poulin to join her onstage in accepting the award.

Denis Villeneuve won for both Directing and Screenplay. He graciously offered to present his Directing prize to director Robin Aubert for À l'origine d'un cri (Crying Out) and said, "Robin, you have all my admiration!" Denis Villeneuve previously won the Director award last year for Polytechnique and in 2001 for Maelström.

Barney's Version
managed just two wins, for Makeup and Hair. Makeup Artist Adrien Morot had been nominated for the Academy Awards for his work on this film.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Schweizer Filmpreis, Quartz 2011 (Swiss Film Prize) - winners

Tonight, the Schweizer Filmakademie (Swiss Film Academy) held their awards ceremony at the KKL Luzern (Culture and Convention Centre) for their 2011 Schweizer Filmpreis ‎(Swiss Film Prizes), also known as the "Quartz". Schweizer Filmakademie moderator Susanne Kunz hosted the ceremony, with around 900 guests in attendance.

La petite chambre (The Little Room) came out on top with awards for Best Fiction Film and Best Screenplay for writer-directors Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond. It won out over Cosa voglio di più (Come Undone), Der Sandmann (The Sandman), Sennentuntschi, and Stationspiraten (Ward Pirates) for the main Best Fiction Film prize.

Der Sandmann (The Sandman), Michael Steiner’s Sennentuntschi and Mike Schaerer’s Stationspiraten (Ward Pirates) had led with three nominations each. The only award won between the three of them was a Best Actor prize for Scherwin Amini of Stationspiraten. However, a Special Jury Award was given to Gerald Damovsky for his Production Design for Sennentuntschi.

The winner for Best Documentary was Cleveland vs. Wall Street, one of several English-language films amongst the French, Italian and German-speaking titles representing Switzerland's official languages.