Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Short lists announced for short film Oscars - animated and live action

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) today announced their short list of contenders in the two Short Film categories. Ten animated shorts in each category were selected from the thirty-three qualifying animated entries and the seventy-six qualifying live action entries. The films were chosen by the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch Reviewing Committee, and will be further whittled down to the final three to five nominations per category on January 25th when all the nominees are announced.

Included in the animated short film list are studio films such as Pixar's Day & Night and Warner Brothers' latest Roadrunner cartoon Coyote Falls. Also shortlisted in the Animated Feature category for Idiots and Angels, director Bill Plympton made the short film shortlist for The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger.

2010 Montreal English Critics Circle Awards (MECCA) Winners

Two weeks after announcing their nominations, the Montreal English Critics Circle Awards (MECCA) presented the awards at a ceremony at Theatre Ste-Catherine. The musical Haunted Hillbilly by the company SideMart Theatrical Grocery won Best Production and Best Director (Andrew Shaver). The wacky musical-comedy-horror story tells of a country singer who sells his soul to a vampire. A Line in the Sand, however took the Best Actor and Best Actress awards as well as Best Set Design. The winner of Best Ensemble was My Christmas in New York.

Two women shared the honour for Best Text. Amy Lee Lavoie wrote Rabbit, Rabbit and co-winner Joanna Nutter was the playwright for My Pregnant Brother. Miss Sugarpuss Must Die had received four nominations as did Haunted Hillbilly but came away with a single win for Best Costume Design for the team of Catherine Allan, Holly Gauthier-Frankel and Paul Van Dyck.

2010 Film Independent Spirit Awards nominees announced

The day after a big night at the 2010 Gotham Awards, Debra Granik's Winter's Bone is poised to dominate the 26th Film Independent Spirit Awards. Winter's Bone led the field with seven nominations, followed by Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right which received five nominations. Black Swan, Greenberg and Rabbit Hole each took four nominations.

The Best Feature nominees were 127 Hours, Black Swan, Greenberg, The Kids Are All Right and Winter’s Bone. Unlike the other Best Feature directors, however, Noah Baumbach (Greenberg) did not receive a nomination for Best Director but was edged out by John Cameron Mitchell for Rabbit Hole.

Winners will be announced on February 26, 2011 at a ceremony on the beach in Santa Monica. The host for the event will be actor Joel McHale.

2010 Gotham Independent Film Awards winners

On Monday night in New York, the Independent Feature Project (IFP) presented their 20th annual Gotham Independent Film Awards. The Gotham Awards are an East Coast version of the Independent Spirit Awards, whose nominees will be announced today Tuesday, November 30. The big winner of the night was Debra Granik's Winter’s Bone which took Best Feature and Best Ensemble Performance. Surprisingly, however, the much-lauded performance by Jennifer Lawrence did not win the Breakthrough Performance award which went to Ronald Bronstein for Daddy Longlegs.

Kevin Asch was a bit of a surprise winner of the Breakthrough Director award for Holy Rollers. Many had felt Lena Dunham (Tiny Furniture) was the favourite. The Best Documentary prize went to the excellent Laura Poitras film The Oath, while the controversial documentary Waiting For ‘Superman by Davis Guggenheim took the Festival Genius award which was decided by online voting. Mike Ott's Littlerock was the winner of Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

2010 Blue Dragon Film Awards (Korea) winners

On Friday, November 26, the 31st annual Blue Dragon Film Awards took place at the National Theatre in Seoul, South Korea. The hosts were actor Lee Bum Soo and actress Kim Hye Soo who was hosting it for her 12th consecutive year. The Best Picture prize went to Secret Reunion but oddly enough it did not pick up any other awards.  

Moss won three awards (Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director) as did I Saw the Devil (Cinematography, Lighting, Music). Housemaid, Cyrano Dating Agency and The Man From Nowhere each took two awards.

Yoon Jung-hee (Poetry) and Su Ae (Midnight FM) shared the award in the Actress category. Choi Seung-hyun (aka TOP) of Into the Fire on the other hand won two prizes himself - Best New Actor and the Popularity award which he shared with three others. As with many Asian actors, TOP began as a pop star.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Award winners announced for 23rd International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)

The world's biggest documentary festival still runs until Sunday, but today at the 23rd International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) they announced their award winners. The opening night film Stand van de sterren (Position Among the Stars) by Leonard Retel Helmrich was the big winner, taking both the top prize VPRO IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary and also the Dioraphte IDFA Award for Dutch Documentary. Helmrich becomes the first two-time winner of for Best Feature-Length Documentary, having won in 2004 with The Shape of the Moon. Both films were part of a trilogy begun in 2002 with De stand van de zon (The Eye of the Day) about the Sjamsuddins, a Christian-Muslim family in Indonesia.

A Special Jury Award was given to the Canadian film You Don't Like the Truth – 4 Days inside Guantánamo by Luc Coté and Patricio Henriquez. It is a provocative film that uses actual interrogation footage of the Canadian prisoner Omar Khadr in Guantanamo to make a good case that he may very well be innocent, and even if guilty should be recognized as a child soldier. He has since pleaded guilty, which in light of this film seems to be a sad realization that a plea was his only path to freedom. Also from Canada, Katerina Cizek won the IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling for her interactive documentary HIGHRISE/Out My Window which was developed with the National Film Board (NFB). This is the first year IDFA has given the DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling and the environmental Best Green Screen Documentary award (Into Eternity).

2010 Festival du Film Brésilien de Montréal, Nov 26-Dec 2

Starting tonight, you can catch a full week of Brazilian cinema at the Festival du Film Brésilien de Montréal (Brazilian Film Festival of Montreal). The films tonight are O contador de Historias (The Storyteller) and Terra Vermelha (Bird Watchers) with French and English subtitles respectively.

The program consists of six features (Besouro, Blue Eyes, Elvis & Madona, and Time of Fear in addition to tonight's films) and four documentaries (A Night in 67, Beyond Ipanema, Dzi Croquettes and Diary of a Crisis). Most films are screened twice. All films are in Portuguese with subtitles in either French or English but Dzi Croquettes will be screened in both, French first and then in English at the second screening.

This is a larger sister festival to the Brazil Film Fest which took place in Toronto last month from October 21-24. All screenings take place at Cinéma du Parc at 3575 avenue du Parc. Tickets are $11, $8 for students, seniors and on Tuesdays.

4th Festival Bach de Montréal (FBM), Nov. 26 to Dec. 8

Today, the 4th Festival Bach de Montréal (FBM) - or Montreal Back Festival en Anglais - kicks off 13 days of music by Johann Sebastian Bach with a performance of the St. John Passion by Arion Orchestre Baroque & Les Voix baroques. In addition to concerts, the festival includes a talk by Harvard professor and director of the Leipzig Bach Archive Christoph Wolff and a masterclass by period cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras. The closing concert will be a complete performance of the Cello Suites by Queyras.

Highlights of the festival include Flying Bach, a performance by breakdancers(!) to Das Wohltemperierte Klavier (The Well-Tempered Keyboard). Catrin Finch plays the complete Goldberg Variations on harp. The Children’s passion is a family-friendly show. Michael Zaugg and the St. Lawrence Choir present a singalong program of Christmas chorales plus music by Buxtehude, Praetorius and Mendelssohn, as well as traditional carols. In addition to high-profile ensembles such as The English Concert and l'Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, a you can catch a free lunchtime concert by young up-and-coming organists.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nominees announced for France's Prix Louis-Delluc

The nominees have just been announced for France's respected Prix Louis-Delluc, given since 1937 to the best French film of the year in honour of groundbreaking film writer Louis Delluc (1890-1924). The first winner was Jean Renoir for Les Bas-fonds (The Lower Depths). Other previous winners have included Alain Resnais (a three-time winner), Jacques Tati, Jean Cocteau, Jean-Luc Godard, Robert Bresson, François Truffaut, Claude Chabrol, and last year's winner Jacques Audiard for his thrilling prison drama Un Prophète (A Prophet).

Eight films in total are vying for the prize this year. The nominees include the full five-and-a-half hour version of Carlos about the mercenary familiar to some as "The Jackal."  Des hommes et des dieux (Of Gods and Men) previously won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival and is France's official submission to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. Although Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer is in English, he is a French citizen and the film is French-made. Mystères de Lisbonne (Mysteries of Lisbon) is mostly Portuguese and directed by Chilean-born filmmaker Raoul Ruiz.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tim Burton at TIFF Lightbox

Bell Lightbox, the new home of the Toronto International Film Festival, will host a number of upcoming events to honour director Tim Burton. He appears in person today at 4-5:30 pm for a signing of his books The Art of Tim Burton; Burton on Burton; and Tim Burton - Masters of Cinema Series as well as his Dark Horse Journals.

Today, Tim Burton launch his project Cadavre Exquis, which is a crowd-sourcing story project. He started it off with a tweet this morning. Anyone can contribute to the story at the website http://burtonstory.com.

On Tuesday,  November 23, he will host a master class at Bell Lightbox that is free to all students and faculty from 10am-12pm. Tickets are on a first-come, first-served basis and are available at TIFF Bell Lightbox Box Office one hour before the event start time. Seating is limited. Students and faculty must show valid university or college identification (e.g. student cards; faculty cards or faculty/administration business cards). Limit one ticket per person.

Free screening in Toronto of Barney's Version

Tonight at Innis Town Hall, located at 2 Sussex Ave., Toronto, ON (right beside Robarts Library), the University of Toronto hosts a free advance screening of Barney's Version. Directed by Richard J. Lewis, the film is an adaptation of the prize-winning comedic novel by Mordecai Richler. It stars Paul Giamatti, Dustin Hoffman, Minnie Driver, Rosamund Pike, Bruce Greenwood, Rachelle Lefevre and Scott Speedman.

The screening begins at 6pm sharp. You do not need passes and anyone may attend - you need not be a student. Doors will open at 5:45.

After the screening, the film's producer Robert Lantos will be on hand for a Question & Answer session.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Award winners for 2010 Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal

Although the 13th Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal (RIDM) continues all day today, the Closing Night screening and Awards ceremony were held last night at the auditorium in the Grande Bibliotheque. The major awards went to Jia Zhang-Ke's I Wish I Knew which took the international Kino Pen Award, and Philippe Lesage's Ce Coeur qui bat (The Heart That Beats) which Cinémathèque québécoise Award for Best Film from Québec or Canada. Ce Coeur qui bat also won the Prix Meilleur espoir Québec/Canada for most promising filmmaker. Other films which won more than once were Cuchillo de palo by Renate Costa and Helena Treštíková's Katka.  

Chercher le courant by Nicolas Boisclair and Alexis de Gheldere received a special mention for the EcoCamera Award, but then claimed the Audience Award. It screens again later tonight at 7pm. All awards other than the Audience Award were decided by a jury of industry professionals

The screening was of the Oscar short-listed film Waste Land. Director Lucy Walker was unable to attend, but taped a personal greeting and introduction to the film which was shown prior to the film. After the film, the closing night party took place at the Cinémathèque québécoise.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

47th Golden Horse Film Awards - winners announced

Today in Taoyuan, northern Taiwan, the 2010 Golden Horse Film Awards for Chinese-language films were handed out. Taiwanese indie films dominated the evening, as the family drama When Love Comes won Best Feature Film in addition to Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction. Taiwan's Chung Mong-hong won Best Director for The Fourth Portrait which also won Best Supporting Actress and Outstanding Taiwanese Film of the Year. Taiwanese gangster film Monga won awards for Best Leading Actor, Best Sound Effects and Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker of the Year.

The gay romance from China, Spring Fever, won Best Editing and Best Original Film Score awards. Legendary martial arts action star Sammo Hung won Best Action Choreography for Ip Man 2.

This is the 47th edition of the awards which are given by the organization which also hosts the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival and which honours Chinese-language films from Taiwan, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Malaysia and Singapore. Previously, the Golden Horse Film Awards excluded films from mainland China, but began allowing them in 1992 after a protest by famed Australian cinematographer Christopher Doyle (Hero, In the Mood for Love). 

Friday, November 19, 2010

3rd Annual Breast Fest Film Festival, Toronto, Nov. 19-21

The Breast Fest Film Festival in Toronto is world's first breast cancer film festival. Now in its 3rd year, it hosts screenings, contests and discussions and runs from November 19-21.

Tonight, it kicks off with a screening of Busting Out with the filmmaker Francine Strickwerda in attendance. The closing night film on Sunday night will be the Japanese film April Bride. The Live. Laugh. Lunch! event is for women who have experienced breast cancer and features esteemed author, Ruth Rakoff. She will read from "When My World Was Very Small. A Memoir of Family, Food, Cancer and my Couch" and lunch will be served.

Screenings take place at the Royal Ontario Museum Theatre in downtown Toronto.

2nd Annual Ekran - Toronto Polish Film Festival, November 19-21

The 2nd Annual Ekran - Toronto Polish Film Festival begins tonight and runs until Sunday night. The screenings will be held at the Revue Cinema, 400 Roncesvalles Avenue in the heart of the Polish village. Some screenings will take place with invited special guests. All screenings are in Polish with English subtitles.

The screening on Saturday at 1pm of animation and short films is a free screening. All other screenings of features and documentaries are $10 admission.

In addition, cinematography Prof. Maria Kornatowska from the Polish Film School in Lodz will preseent a lecture about Polish Cinematography at University of Toronto on Monday, November 22.

Call for participants: the 69 Hour Film Challenge

Darryl Gold is back with this year's 69 Hour Film Challenge. In addition to his annual Hard Liquor and Porn Film Festival (which is really just a raunchy comedy festival) which he hosts in Toronto and Montreal, he runs the 69 Hour Film Challenge in which filmmakers are required to make a film in 69 Hours incorporating at least 3 items from a secret list of 10 which is revealed at the contest start. Films are to be 5 minutes or shorter, including credits.

The contest begins at 9pm EST on Thursday, December 2, when the secret list will be revealed on the website http://hardliquorandporn.com/. The submissions must be received by 6pm on December 5, 2010 EST in Toronto (location to be determined) or uploaded online. The entries will be shown on Thursday December 9, 2010 at 10pm at The Comedy Bar (945 Bloor St.W, Toronto). An award will be given for best 69 Hour Film.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Best Documentary Oscar short list of 15 films announced

This has been an particularly strong year for documentaries that has many people speculating that a documentary may even crack the Best Picture category for the first time. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has whittled down the record 101 eligible submissions and today they announced the short list of fifteen films that will be vying for the eventual five nominations. Included in the list of fifteen films is the outstanding Canadian film Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould, one of my favourite films of 2009. To the surprise of many, the highly-regarded Last Train Home did not make the list.

There are many other surprises with the announced list of films. The controversial documentary (or is it fiction?) film Exit through the Gift Shop made the cut and some feel that it now becomes a favourite. But another sort-of documentary that was a possible nominee Catfish did not have the same luck and is not on the list. The Afghanistan war doc Restrepo made the list but the equally strong (some say stronger) Danish-made Armadillo did not. Two popular but dubious anti-public education films made the list, Waiting for 'Superman' and The Lottery. But many strong documentaries didn't make the final fifteen including The Oath, A Film Unfinished, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work and Frederick Wiseman’s La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet. Marwencol was not eligible this Oscar season, but will be the following year.

2010 Montreal English Critics Circle Awards nominations announced

The nominations have been announced for the 2010 Montreal English Critics Circle Awards (MECCA) for English-language theatre. Miss Sugarpuss Must Die and Haunted Hillbilly each received four nominations including Best Production. A Line in the Sand also received four nominations, but missed out on the Best Production category.

This year's ceremony will be held at Theatre Ste-Catherine on Monday, November 29.

The MECCA awards were initiated in 1998 by Gaetan Charlebois, a local theatre critic.

Originally just a widely-distributed media list of Montreal’s best English-language live performance achievements over the past season, the MECCAs have grown to encompass a live presentation ceremony. Over the years, participating media have included representatives from CBC, CKUT, Montreal Gazette, The Suburban, Montreal Mirror, Hour Magazine, and more.

European Union Film Festival 2010, starts today in Toronto and Ottawa

Tonight is the opening night for two Canadian editions of the European Union Film Festival. the traveling film festival of European cinema. One takes place in Toronto while the other is in the nation's capital Ottawa. The Toronto edition opens with the Belgian film The Barons and runs until November 30, while the Ottawa edition also starts with a Belgian film The Perfect Match and spills into the next month and wraps up December 5. Vancouver has their own European Union Film Festival, which begins next week and runs from November 26-December 9. Although there is a lot of overlap in the selection, there are slight differences in the programming. All three will show 23 or more films, generally one from each of the European Union countries which submitted a film. 

The Ottawa and Vancouver festivals are partnered at the website http://www.euff.ca/. The Toronto festival has a separate website, but it has the added benefit of being a free festival. They accept donations at each screening, however it isn't mandatory.

11th aluCine Toronto Latin Film & Media Arts Festival November 18-21

Tonight is the opening night of the 11th aluCine Toronto Latin Film & Media Arts Festival which focuses on excellence and innovation in contemporary independent film/video and new media by Latin artists. In addition to a number screenings, they host installations, workshops and performances. Many of the events are free or pay-what-you-can (PWYC).

A good number of the events will also have the artist(s) in attendance. Check their website here for details. The festival runs until Sunday night, when it closes with an awards screening and closing ceremony.

Free screening of SING-ALONG MESSIAH documentary

Just in time for the Christmas season, you'll have an opportunity to get into the holiday spirit with a free screening of Sing-Along Messiah in Toronto. The documentary film looks at the popular oratorio by George Frideric Handel as performed by the period-instrument group Tafelmusik.

Their annual interactive performance in which the audience is invited to participate in the music-making began in 1986 and has been a Toronto tradition ever since. It is always a rousing, sold-out event, attracting about 2,700 enthusiastic audience members each show. Choir Director Ivars Taurins usually conducts the concerts dressed up as Handel himself.

The screening is this Thursday night at 7pm at the Regent Theatre, 555 Mount Pleasant Rd. The movie will air on the Bravo! network next month.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Call for submissions: 2nd annual Everyday Heroes Film Festival

The Everyday Heroes Film Festival has announced a call for submissions for their 2nd annual festival. Like the Toronto Urban Film Festival, Everyday Heroes is a free festival that plays silent one-minute short films in the ONESTOP screens in the Toronto subway system. Films are expected to be mini-documentaries about real people who make a difference with there large or small acts of environmental "heroism." 

Awards will be given in the categories of Activism, Education, Conservation and Great Ideas. They will be decided by a jury consisting of Kathleen Mullen, Brenda Longfellow, Jed Goldberg and Sharon Switzer. Deadline for submissions is March 1, 2011. The festival runs April 15 - 24, 2011.

Call for Submissions: Write From the Hip 2011, Nightwood Theatre

Nightwood Theatre in Toronto has put out a call for submissions for their mentorship program Write from the Hip 2011 for women playwrights aged 18-29. You only need to apply with an idea that you will develop over the course of the program. The program will run from April 2011 until the following year, culminating in a staged reading of the completed play.

Deadlines for submissions is December 3, 2010.

Write from the Hip
Are you an Emerging Female Playwright?

Monday, November 15, 2010

15 films qualify for Best Animated Feature Oscar nomination

This year, only fifteen films qualified for consideration in the Best Animated Feature category of the Academy Awards. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) released their list of qualifying films today, and the list did not reach the magic number of 16. According to Academy regulations, if there are 16 or more qualifying films, then there will be five nominees as was the case last year. If there are only 15 or fewer films, then the number of nominees is limited to three.

This is causing some angst in Hollywood, since it's assumed by many that Toy Story 3 and How To Train Your Dragon are shoo-ins. That leaves one spot left for some other heavy-hitters including Despicable Me, Shrek Forever After, Megamind, The Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, L'illusionniste (The Illusionist) and Tangled.  Personally, I'm hoping one of the hand-drawn films gets selected, especially L'illusionniste, Sylvain Chomet's follow-up to his Academy-Award nominated Les triplettes de Belleville (The Triplets of Belleville). The other hand-drawn films are the Chinese feature The Dreams of Jinsha, Bill Plympton's Idiots and Angels, Summer Wars and My Dog Tulip. This year lacks the good number of stop-motion animated films that last year had.

2010 Inside Film (IF) Awards for Australian film - winners announced

Last night in Sydney, the teen action flick Tomorrow When The War Began dominated the Inside Film (IF) Awards, winning each of the four categories for which it was nominated - Best Film, Best Actress, Best Script and Best Music. It bested Animal Kingdom and Mao's Last Dancer, even though both of those films led with seven nominations each. Animal Kingdom managed wins for Best Director and Best Actor, but Mao's Last Dancer failed to win any of its nominated categories and only took the Box Office Achievement Award for receipts totaling $15.5 million.

The Inside Film Awards are the people’s choice awards for Australian films. The awards were created in 1999 by IF Media, and votes are tallied from audiences attending one or more of the 20 major film festivals and cinema screenings, and from IF eligible DVD releases.133,000 votes were cast this year. The exceptions are in the categories of Living Legend Award (won by actor-producer Bryan Brown), the Independent Spirit Award (Caught Inside), and the Rising Talent award (Ariel Kleiman) which are decided by industry panels.

2010 Reel Asian Film Festival award winners announced [updated]

At the Closing Night gala of the 2010 Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, award-winners were announced prior to the screening of Au Revoir Taipei. Winners included Vancouver-based animator Jeff Chiba Stearns taking the NFB Best Canadian Film or Video Award for his personal documentary One Big Hapa Family. Jane Kim's Seeing Through the Spider's Web won the WIFT-T (Women in Film and Television - Toronto) Award and CFC graduate Gloria Kim received the LIFT and Fuji Best Film Award for short film The Auction. Japanese director Miwa Nishikawa won the Astral's Harold Greenberg Fund Best Film or Video Award for his comedy Dear Doctor. The Features Jury consisted of Jari Osborne, Marina Di Pancrazio and Darcy Murphy, while the Canadian and Shorts Jury was comprised of past Reel Asian filmmakers Randall Okita, Paul Wong and Mishann Lau. [UPDATE] The winner of the Reel Asian Audience Award was announced after the closing festivities. The award winner was Naoko Ogigami for Toilet. The favourite feature film was chosen by the audience by secret ballot and the award comes with a $500 cash prize.

The winners of the So You Think You Can Pitch? competition were Shahrzad Nakhai and Rich Williamson (Sugar Bowl) in the Emerging category; and Tricia Lee and Ryan Reaney (Searching for Wonder) in the Professional category. The jurors for the competition were Toronto-based filmmaker Nobu Adilman, Worldwide Short Film Festival director Eileen Arandiga, and Toronto Irish Film Festival director Lila Karim.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

2nd annual Governors Awards honour Coppola, Godard, Wallach, Brownlow

On Saturday, November 13, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences (AMPAS) held its second annual Governors Awards at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center. Honorary Oscars were presented to Jean-Luc Godard, Eli Wallach, and Kevin Brownlow. Francis Ford Coppola was presented with the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award. Last year, the decision was made to have a separate ceremony from the main Academy Awards ceremony, so that they could honour several people for career achievement and more properly take time to celebrate them without worrying about time constraints. Last year's Governor's Award recipients were Lauren Bacall, Roger Corman and Gordon Willis, with the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award going to John Calley.

Jean-Luc Godard's award was considered controversial selection by some who believe him to be anti-Hollywood and/or possibly anti-Semitic. He did not attend the ceremony and will personally be presented with his award at his home in Switzerland by Academy president Tom Sherak. Six different governors gave tributes to him. Phil Alden Robinson addressed him humourously in absentia, saying “Mr. Godard, in your long career as a filmmaker and provocateur, let’s be honest – you have said things that undoubtedly have upset everyone in this room, at least once. You have also had unkind things to say about Hollywood and the Oscar – but then again, so has everyone in this room, at least once. None of that has deterred this board of governors from bestowing upon you the highest honor we can for artistic achievement. Let’s be clear - this ain’t the Hersholt Humitarian Award.” Robinson's speech was received with great laughter.

Call for submissions: 2011 SummerWorks Theatre Festival

While November 15 is the deadline for applications to the Toronto Fringe Festival, the applications have opened for the other summer theatre festival in Toronto, SummerWorks. This year, SummerWorks takes place from August 4-14. It's a juried festival that only takes 35 plays during its 11-day run. Their focus is on new Canadian works and writers from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.You do not have to be a Toronto resident.

To apply, you must fill out the application form (both online and a hard copy) and send in your support material and two cheques. The first $25 reading fee is non-refundable. The second $700 fee is an entrance fee that only gets cashed if your project is accepted. All other cheques are destroyed. The artistic producer of the festival Michael Rubenfeld reads all of the submissions with a jury consisting of four theatre professionals.

The deadline for entries is 6pm on Tuesday, February 1, 2011.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

25th Annual Gemini Awards, winners announced

The Gemini Awards celebrated their 25th edition at the Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto on Saturday night. The big winner at as the Winnipeg-based comedy Less Than Kind, which won Best Comedy Program, Best Writing in a Comedy or Variety Program, and Best Actor in a Comedy for Benjamin Arthur. It was a bittersweet night for the show as their cast and crew are still mourning the death of its lead actor Maury Chaykin, who died in July on his 61st birthday.

Best Dramatic Series went to CBC's Irish-Canadian co-production The Tudors about King Henry the VIII. It beat Flashpoint, which entered the night as the favourite with 15 nominations. Its only win was for Best Direction in a Dramatic Series for David Frazee.

The evening was hosted by Calgary-born star of Glee, Cory Monteith. But the night was also a big one for U.K. attendees. In addition to wins by The Tudors, Scottish actor Robert Carlyle won Best Performance by an Actor in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role for his part in Stargate Universe. Elvis Costello won  Best Talk Series for Spectacle: Elvis Costello With...

HTMlles 2010: Festival of Media Art and Digital Culture, November 13 to 20

Tonight, the 9th edition of the HTMlles Festival of Media Art and Digital Culture kicks off in Montreal. The festival is a unique gathering that showcases "women’s independent media artworks from all facets of contemporary technological creation, including but not limited to: digital storytelling, cyber art, short film and video art, audio and electronic art, installation, locative media, 3D animation, game art, virtual reality, electronic publishing, design, performance and interdisciplinary practices." Opening night events include a performance by Moe Clark, a tribute to media art pioneers Louise Poissant and Jade Raymond, and the launch of .dpi 19.

The name HTMlles is a clever merger of HTML and "elles," the French pronoun for women. The Festival was begun in 1997 by Studio XX. It is curated this year by Anne Briard, Anne Golden, Cindy Poremba, Émilie Grenier, Kat Baulu, Louise Poissant and Paulina Abarca-Cantin. All of the events take place at their location at 4001 rue Berri (near Duluth).

Friday, November 12, 2010

2010 Hollywood Post Alliance Awards winners announced

On Thursday night, the Hollywood Post Alliance held its 5th annual awards ceremony at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. The HPA Awards are given to those working behind the scenes in motion pictures, television and commercials. Nominations were announced in September and special awards were also previously announced, including a Lifetime Achievement Award for Ted Gagliano, President of 20th Century Fox

The HPA describes itself as "the trade association serving the professional community of businesses and individuals who provide expertise, support, tools and the infrastructure for the creation and finishing of motion pictures, television, commercials, digital media and other dynamic media content."

In the feature film categories, Inception won for Outstanding Editing, District 9 received the award for Outstanding Sound, Alice in Wonderland  took the Outstanding Color Grading using a DI (Digital Intermediate) Process, and Avatar received the award for Outstanding Compositing.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

13th Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal (RIDM) starts tonight

The 13th Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal (RIDM) begins tonight and over the next twelve days, you'll be able to see many of the most eagerly anticipated documentaries before they are released theatrically or broadcast on television. They released their full lineup of films two weeks ago. The opening gala film tonight is Stephanie Lanthier's Les Fros, which takes a look at the people from around the world who work as lumberjacks in Quebec ("fro" is slang from the English word "foreigner"). This film was made through the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). Afterwards, the Opening Party takes place featuring the franco-bluegrass band Canailles.

RIDM will screen a total of 100 films. In addition, there are a variety of other events such as master classes, discussions, special presentations and parties. The Doc Circuit Montreal is an essential networking event for filmmakers developing projects, and takes place from November 10-12. The festival continues to November 21.

Nuit Blanche Toronto: 2011 Call for Artist Submissions

Toronto's Nuit Blanche is an event held yearly on the weekend prior to Canadian Thanksgiving. Only a month after this year's event, the organizers are looking ahead to next year's edition. They have put out a call for submissions, and artists can apply in the categories of Open Call Projects or Independent Projects.

To learn more information, the City of Toronto is providing two information sessions, on November 23 and November 30, from 6-9pm. To attend a session, you can
RSVP to info@scotiabanknuitblanche.ca

The deadline for submitting an Open Call Project is Wednesday December 15, 2010, while the Independent Project deadline is Tuesday, February 15, 2011. The 2011 Nuit Blanche takes place on Saturday, October 1, 2011.

Toronto Fringe Festival Applications Due November 15, 2010

In Toronto, the two large theatre festivals that take place in the summertime are the Fringe Festival and Summerworks. Of the two, Summerworks is a juried festival and takes place in early August (their applications are due January 3, 2011). The Fringe Festival takes place earlier in July and is non-juried. Instead of the usual application process, they hold a lottery to decide who gets to mount a show. This makes it much easier for emerging writers and directors to mount a production.

The resulting quality of the productions can be quite varied as a result, but people can be more bold and daring. Shows are often performed in unusual locations. And when they work, they really work. They can often grow to become substantial hits such as The Drowsy Chaperone, which went on to become a Broadway hit.

To apply for the lottery, go to the Toronto Fringe website. The deadline for applications is November 15, 2010 at 5:00pm.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

2011 People's Choice Award nominees announced

The People's Choice Awards are returning for their 37th edition and today they announced the nominees for this year. Their awards are fan-based and this year they've introduced a number of new categories that were also chosen by online voters. In the film categories, the dominant film was The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. The teen vampire movie received eight nominations for Favorite Movie, Favorite Drama Movie, Favorite Movie Actor (Rob Pattinson and Taylor Lautner), Favorite Movie Actress (Kristen Stewart), Favorite On Screen Team (Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner), and Favorite Movie Star Under 25 (Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson).

Robert Downey Jr. was himself a multiple nominee for his work on Iron Man 2, receiving nominations for Favorite Actor, Favorite Action Star and Favorite On-screen Team with Don Cheadle

Over 35 million votes were cast online to decide the new categories and this year's nominees. Voting begins today at http://www.peopleschoice.com/. The awards ceremony takes place in Hollywood on January 5, 2011. Queen Latifah is slated to host the event which will be broadcast by CBS.

14th Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, November 9-15

The 14th Annual Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival kicks off tonight. The opening gala screening is the martial arts comedy Gallants. The screening starts at 7pm at the Bloor Cinema, and although it is sold out, there will be tickets available at the door. But get there early if you want to get it.

In addition to the many exciting screenings scheduled, there are many useful industry events worth checking out. You do not have to Asian of course to participate.

The festival continues until Sunday when it closes with a screening of Au Revoir Taipei

Monday, November 8, 2010

Restored Metropolis screening, German film screenings

Coming up in the next couple of months, Toronto will have a good number of films of particular interest to Germanophiles. The Goethe-Institut Toronto has partnered with some of the city's festivals and arts organizations to present some exciting programming.

Topping the list as a must-see is the full-length restoration of Fritz Lang's classic masterpiece Metropolis, playing at the TIFF Bell Lightbox with a live orchestra. There had been many restored versions in the past, but this one includes 25 minutes of new footage from a complete print discovered in 2008 at the Museo del Cine in Buenos Aires (read the story of its discovery at the New York Times site). Using the latest technology, they've cleaned up as much as possible (about eight minutes was unsalvageable) and there are entire subplots now present that have not been seen in decades.

screens November 9 and 19 at 8pm at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, with a newly commissioned score by Gabriel Thibaudeau performed by a live orchestra. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

2010 European Film Award Nominations announced

Today at the Seville European Film Festival, the European Film Academy and EFA Productions announced the nominees for the 2010 European Film Awards. Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer led with a total of 7 nominations for best film, director, screenplay, cinematography, actor, production designer and composer. The other nominees for Best European Film were Bal (Honey), Des Hommes et Des Dieux (Of Gods and Men), Lebanon, El Secreto de Sus Ojos (The Secret in their Eyes), and Soul Kitchen. Surprisingly, Olivier Assayas lengthy epic Carlos was not nominated for the top award but it did receive nominations for directing and editing.

Many of the nominees are already prize-winners from festivals and other awards ceremonies. Des Hommes et Des Dieux (Of Gods and Men) won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival while Lebanon took the Golden Lion and the Nazareno Taddei Award at Venice in 2009. The excellent film El Secreto de Sus Ojos (The Secret in their Eyes) was the surprise winner of the Best Foreign Language Film at the 2010 Academy Awards for Argentina (it is also nominated here as it is a co-production with Spain). Cell 211 was the big winner at Spain's Goya Awards. Two weeks ago Submarino won the 2010 Nordic Council Film Prize, the top Scandinavian film award. 

Call for proposals: Inside Out Queer Video Mentorship Project

The Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film and Video Festival has announced a call for proposals for their mentorship program. Eight people between 17-24 years of age or over 55 and who self-identify as LGBTTI2QQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgender, Two-Spirit, Intersex, Queer and Questioning) will be selected to participate. They will be guided through the process of filmmaking by Inside Out in partnership with Charles Street Video and will then each make their own short video.

The deadline for submissions is December 6, 2010. Instruction begins in January of 2011. The short videos will be shot and edited from February to April, in time for the Inside Out Festival which takes place in 2011 from May 19-29. The completed films will be given a screening during the festival.

Friday, November 5, 2010

18th Annual Rendezvous with Madness film festival, November 5-13

Tonight marks the opening of the 18th Annual Rendezvous with Madness film festival, Toronto's specialty festival about mental health and addiction. It starts with a reception at the new TIFF Bell Lightbox. Then the opening night film screening at Lightbox is Carl Bessai's Repeaters. He will be attending and participating in a panel discussion after the film moderated by Dr. Kwame McKenzie.

Throughout the nine days of screenings, there will usually be a discussion that takes place after the screening. With the exception of the opening night film, the screenings take place at Workman Arts Theatre, 651 Dufferin Street. Additionally, there other industry events and parties. Some of them are free. The festival closes with a screening of The Man of a Thousand Songs with subject Ron Hynes in attendance, followed by a concert and closing gala party.

Free Scott Pilgrim vs. the World screening in Toronto

In advance of next week's DVD/blu-ray release of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, director Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead) is in Toronto to attend a signing and free screening. Today at 12:30pm, Wright will be joined by graphic novelist Bryan Lee O’Malley and actress Ellen Wong for a signing at the HMV store on Yonge Street at Dundas. You will have an opportunity to pre-order the film on disc. You can also win tickets for the screening later in the evening.

The free screening of the film takes place at 7pm at the Bloor Cinema, 506 Bloor Street West at Bathurst. Wright, O'Malley and Wong will be joined by director Don McKellar for a Q&A session after the screening. Tickets will be given on a first-come, first served basis starting at 6pm. You can also win tickets at hmv.ca, purehmv.ca and beguiling.com.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New call for submissions: One Minute Film & Video Festival

The One Minute Film and Video Festival previously put out a call for submissions on April 14, 2010. Unfortunately, they did not receive enough submissions to hold their usual November screening and so they've canceled that. However, they have opted to put out another call for submissions with a different theme. Whereas the previous theme was "social," they've asked for new submissions to be based on the theme "media."

The deadline for submissions will be January 15, 2011. Some time later in the spring, the festival will screen a program of films from both rounds of submissions. They will still accept films made with the previous theme "social."

For more information, visit the website at www.minutefilmfest.com

2011 Cinema Eye Honors - nominees announced

Today at the Sheffield Doc/Fest in the United Kingdom, the nominees were announced for the 4th Cinema Eye Honors ro recognize "excellence in artistic achievements in nonfiction filmmaking." The outstanding look at Chinese migrant workers Last Train Home by Montrealer Lixin Fan led the way with 7 nominations (Outstanding Feature, Direction, Production, Cinematography, Editing, International Feature and Audience Choice), a record 6 for Fan himself. Armadillo (one of my top 10 films from TIFF) and Exit Through the Gift Shop followed closely behind with 6 nominations. The Oath and Marwencol each received 4 nominations.

109 films were eligible for the 2011 Cinema Eye Honors and 88 of those films received votes from at least one member of the nominating committee which consisted of top documentary programmers from international film festivals.  This year’s nominations committee was chaired by Sean Farnel, programmer for the Hot Docs Film Festival.  Committee members included Meira Blaustein (Woodstock), David Courier (Sundance), Heather Croall (Sheffield), Joanne Feinberg (Ashland), Tine Fischer (CPH:DOX), Elena Fortes (Morelia/Ambulante), Ben Fowlie (Camden), Tom Hall (Sarasota/Newport), Doug Jones (Los Angeles), David Kwok (Tribeca), Amir Labaki (It’s All True), Grit Lemke (Dok Leipzig), Arthur Libehart (Planete Doc Review), Veton Nurkollari (Dokufest Kosovo), Janet Pierson (SXSW), Rachel Rosen (San Francisco), Charlotte Selb (RIDM), Sky Sitney (Silverdocs), Sadie Tillery (Full Frame), David Wilson (True/False) and Brit Withey (Denver).

2010 Cinemania French Film Festival, November 4-14, 2010

The 16th Cinemania French Film Festival gets underway starting tonight at Montreal's Imperial Theatre. Billed as the "leading French film festival in the Americas," all of the films are shown with English subtitles. They will screen 30 feature films from around the world, each film screening twice at the Imperial. Tonight's opening gala is Copacabana starring the renowned actress Isabelle Huppert. Huppert and director Marc Fitoussi will be in attendance at the screening. The closing night feature is Potiche with an all-star cast featuring Catherine Deneuve, Fabrice Luchini, Gérard Depardieu, Karin Viard, Jérémie Renier and Judith Godrèche.

The rest of the lineup looks to be equally impressive. Un homme qui crie (A Screaming Man)  
was winner of the Prix du Jury (jury prize) at the Cannes Film Festival and one of the best films I saw at the Toronto International Film Festival. Other award-winners include Lourdes, which was the winner of the FIPRESCI prize at the Venice Film Festival. Most of the films are Quebec and/or Canadian premieres if not North American premieres.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Call for submissions: 2011 ReelWorld Film Festival

The ReelWorld Film Festival is Toronto's film festival which celebrates multiculturalism. It is dedicated to screenings films by and about people of colour and others under-represented onscreen. They have put out a call for submissions for their 11th edition of the festival which will take place from April 13-17, 2011. 

The festival was founded by actor Tonya Lee Williams (Dr. Olivia Winters from TV's The Young and The Restless) in 2001. A Canadian actress who studied at Ryerson Theatre School in Toronto, ReelWorld was her response to the lack of diversity on North American screens. 

The deadline for submissions is December 5, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Film Review: Handsome Harry

Writer: Nicholas T. Proferes
Director: Bette Gordon
Producer: Jamin O’Brien, Jamey Sheridan, Eric Goldman and Marilyn Haft
Cast: Jamey Sheridan, Steve Buscemi, Mariann Mayberry, Aidan Quinn, John Savage, Campbell Scott , Titus Welliver, Karen Young.
Indie drama
1 hour 34 minutes

Mark Twain once said, “for the majority of us, the past is a regret, the future an experiment.” But sometimes the events of our past affect us in ways in which we aren't aware. With that in mind, Bette Gordon's latest film Handsome Harry takes a look at how an incident of violence haunts the five people who participated in the cruel act.

Harry Sweeney (Jamey Sheridan) is a well-liked electrician in his 50s, but is something of a loner. Having been divorced, he has an awkward and tense relationship with his adult son. When an old navy buddy from the Vietnam days Thomas Kelley (Steve Buscemi) calls him out of the blue to say that he's dying, he goes to visit him in hospital. Kelley tells him that decades later he's still heavily burdened by guilt from a vicious beating that they and several others gave to a shipmate Dave Kagan (Campbell Scott). Neither can remember the precise details as they were all very intoxicated, but each thinks they might have been the one to crush Kagan's hand, ending his potential future as a pianist.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Nominees announced for 2010 Moët British Independent Film Awards

The nominees and jury members for the 2010 Moët British Independent Film Awards were announced earlier today at St Martins Lane, London by Jared Harris (of TV's Mad Men and son of the late Richard Harris). The King’s Speech led the pack with a total of eight nominations for Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, two Best Supporting Actor nominations, Best Supporting Actress and Best Technical Achievement (Production Design).

Not far behind, there was a three-way tie with six nominations for Monsters, Never Let Me Go and The Arbor. The comedy Four Lions received  five nominations, while another three films tied with four: Another Year, Made in Dagenham and Brighton Rock. Impressively, filmmaker Gareth Edwards personally received four nominations for his directorial debut Monsters.

The Jury for 2010 includes:  Mags Arnold (Editor), Finola Dwyer (Producer), Matthew Goode (Actor), Matt Greenhalgh (Writer), Andy Harries (Producer), Gemma Jones (Actress), David Mackenzie (Director), James Marsh (Director), Hannah McGill (Writer, Critic & Festival Programmer), Sean Pertwee (Actor), Jamie Sives (Actor), Jason Solomons (Film Critic), Gary Williamson (Production Designer).