Monday, June 22, 2015
Story & photos by Allan Tong
The fourth Italian Contemporary Film Festival wrapped on Friday evening with a lavish red-carpet gala party at the Ritz-Carlton. Italian comedy star Edoardo Leo picked up The People’s Choice Award for his film, Noi e la Giulia, that he both directed and starred in. Leo also appeared at ICFF in the comedy, I Can Quit Whenever I Want.
Mischa Barton (Hope Lost) received an Award of Honour from the festival. Sergio Navaretta, an Italian-Canadian director, captured the Castlepoint Numa Award for his romantic-comedy, The Colossal Failure of the Modern Relationship, at the gala. (Full review here.)
The Toronto Film Critics Association presented their award to The Invisible Boy (Il Ragazzo Invisibile) prior to the closing night ceremonies. The Invisible Boy is a smart family film that puts a new spin on the invisible man genre.
Overall, the films at this year's ICFF were the strongest in its history, avoiding the inconsistency that plagued earlier editions. Ticketgoers agreed with over 20,000 entering the cinemas in Ontario and Quebec where the ICFF played for nine days. In partnership with TIFF, ICFF even brought Roberto Benigni to Toronto to launch a retrospective of his career.
The closing gala was another lavish affair full of deliciously Italian cuisine, wine, desserts and live models that resembled an Italian wedding.
The day before, ICFF hosted an Industry Day at the Pinewood Toronto Studios and co-presented with MyETVmedia, ETV Film Inc. and Sheridan College’s screen industry research and training center (SIRT). The focus was split between animation and motion-capture technology. Sheridan showcased some dazzling work by its animation students.
Animatrik Film Design and Zero Hour Industries provided a fascinating live demonstration of "mocap" where professional actors were photographed before a green screen and were instantly transformed into larger-than-life heroes and monsters.
Every film festival boasts that it just closed a "successful" edition whether that's true or not, but in this case with ICFF 2015 the claim seems to be authentic. Again, the quality of films was strong, and the organization was good, especially with so many events taking place at once in Toronto, Montreal, Hamiltion, Vaughan and Quebec City. This augers well for next year's ICFF.