The film festival season unofficially begins in snowy Sundance followed by Tribeca, Cannes and all of the corresponding hype that follows. Come fall, it's Canada's turn to host the glitterati and a roster of impressive filmmakers beginning in September with TIFF, followed by two fests on the West Coast that filmsters flock to.
For nothing more than a laugh, my husband and I signed up for a local agency responsible for wrangling movie extras. And we get called -- a lot. Our availability limits what we can do, as we both have 9-5 day gigs, but I happened to have this past Monday off which co-ordinated nicely with an extra opportunity for a feature film.
My favourite film to deal with life in Vancouver -- maybe even my favourite film to be made here -- remains Bruce Sweeney's 1998 offering, Dirty. Workshopped in a way informed by Sweeney's experiences at a VIFF forum with Mike Leigh, the film digs into the muck of the city's damaged psyche, offering characters that are unforgettable and all too familiar in their dysfunctionality -- including a pot-dealing dominatrix (the late, terrific Babz Chula); a painfully lonely schlub from Port Alberni with anger-management issues (Ben Ratner); a student saddled with massive student loan debt and an eating disorder (Nancy Sivak); and an anal, preening UBC student with a secret need to be spanked and humiliated (played by the great local actor, filmmaker and UBC professor Tom Scholte).
Timing is everything in B.C. politics. And wouldn't you know, it's also the essence of thousands of Bollywood films. A chance meeting that develops into forbidden love? Bollywood. The moment the evil uncle clunks granny on the head and makes off with the family fortune, leaving the heroine a pauper? Bollywood. But who thought India's prolific Hindi film industry would be at the centre of a dramatic saga of its own, playing out on location over the next five months across British Columbia's political soundstage?
The B.C. premier announced this week Metro Vancouver will host the Times of India Film Awards. Reactions within the South Asian community are mixed; some are touting it as a political ploy to gain South Asian votes. What remains to be seen is if the community and businesses at large will be able to tap into the longer term business opportunities an event of this nature can provide.