Leader of Red Sheep

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Red Shirley, Lou Reed’s 28-minute homage to his 101-year-old cousin, Shirley Novick, had its New York premiere January 15th, as part of the 20th Annual New York Jewish Film Festival which runs through January 27th. Novick (known as Shulamit Rabinowitz before her marriage to the late editor of the Yiddish daily, The Morning Freiheit, Paul… Read more »

How to Open a Festival with a Bang

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There is something unusual about Score: A Hockey Musical, which opened the Toronto International Film Festival this year. For one, it is a Canadian musical. Second, it’s big in every way, from how it was presented at the gala, to how it’s being marketed by distributor Mongrel Media, to the stars it features (including Olivia… Read more »

Do Canadian Indies Depend on American Celebrity?

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Barney’s Version is a Canadian film with a lot of stars, especially American ones like Paul Giamatti and Dustin Hoffman. At a special tribute at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival producer Robert Lantos proclaimed that it’s not that he is opposed to working with a small budget, it’s that the ambitious stories he’d like… Read more »

On the Fast Track of Derby History

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Late last year, Drew Barrymore’s Whip It was released in theaters, giving the mainstream a fictional take on the world of modern roller derby. The story, adapted from the novel Derby Girl by Shauna Cross, focuses on an outcast teen who finds confidence and her inner power by joining the banked track league of Austin,… Read more »

Doc Highlights from the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma

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You may want to check out part one, which offers a festival overview with a focus on its narrative features. It’s always fun identifying the docs in a festival like the FNC, where, often, they’re not clearly billed as such. The story is the thing, and as narratives take on documentary qualities and vice-versa, the… Read more »

Under-the-radar Features from the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma

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If you’ve never been to Montréal, Québec you’re missing out. With cheap rent, creative industries, and multiculturalism seeping out all of its pores, this port city is crawling with artsy & cinematic characters from the très hip to the downright derelict, a cross between Brooklyn, New Orleans, Marseilles and maybe Istanbul. Summer is tropical and… Read more »

Sex, Cats and Rock & Roll

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If anyone captured the spirit of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, it was the codger who hoisted a placard that read: “The Toronto Film Festival is Satan’s Idea of Entertainment.” This middle-aged gentleman was part of a 150-person demonstration protesting the premiere screening of Casuistry: The Art of Killing a Cat. This ominous documentary… Read more »

O Canada!

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“We’re the only full-time underground screening space in North America,” says Blinding Light founder, Alex MacKenzie. This 110-seat microcinema that screens alternative, underground, and obscure film / video works was founded in 1998. “I was personally frustrated by the lack of venues for the kind of work I and others were making, and so decided… Read more »