Spotlight on TIFF

The Right Kind of Wrong (A Poem)

Ryan Kwanten | Posted 11.20.2013 | Canada
Ryan Kwanten

2013-08-12-blog_spotlight_on_tiff_v01.jpg Jeremiah Chechik, a directing magician Helmed the story to film fruition Surrounding me with a most stellar cast A Canadian crew that were built to last And vistas that take your breath away It's no wonder I'm rhyming today

Hateship Loveship Departs From Alice Munro's Iconic Story -- But Still Does Her Proud

Grace O'Connell | Posted 11.17.2013 | Canada
Grace O'Connell

2013-08-12-blog_spotlight_on_tiff_v01.jpg Hateship Loveship is a thematically inside out version of "Hateship Friendship Courtship Loveship Marriage"; Munro's story is about silence, whereas the movie is about finding a voice. Both are worthy stories, but Munro's asks more of the reader than Hateship Loveship does of the viewer.

Quick TIFF Reviews: Prisoners (Dir. Denis Villeneuve)

Stuart Henderson | Posted 11.11.2013 | Canada
Stuart Henderson

2013-08-12-blog_spotlight_on_tiff_v01.jpg This film, Denis Villeneuve's first in English, demonstrates a stirring talent on the rise. The tension, the anxiety, and even the damp cool of the late November air are delivered to us through a heap of well-chosen images, daring shot construction, and carefully-managed set design.

The Moral Flaw in Miyazaki's Final Masterpiece

Joshua Ostroff | Posted 11.11.2013 | Canada
Joshua Ostroff

2013-08-12-blog_spotlight_on_tiff_v01.jpg The Wind Rises is a biopic of Jiro Horikoshi, the brilliant designer of Mitsubishi fighter planes used extensively in the Sino-Japanese War and WWII. Yet despite legendary director Hayao Miyazaki being an avowed pacifist, the film glosses over Horikoshi's culpability in making war machines. By avoiding politics, the movie becomes undone by it.

After 35 Years and 135 Rejections, My Novel's a Movie at TIFF

Tim Sandlin | Posted 11.10.2013 | Canada
Tim Sandlin

2013-08-12-blog_spotlight_on_tiff_v01.jpg My novel Sex and Sunsets was optioned as a movie. The option ran out, and it was optioned again, and again. Option cheques arrived for 25 years. I gave up on it being made....

Quick TIFF Reviews: Night Moves (Dir. Kelly Reichardt)

Stuart Henderson | Posted 11.10.2013 | Canada
Stuart Henderson

2013-08-12-blog_spotlight_on_tiff_v01.jpg Kelly Reichardt has made her career on the fringes of the Hollywood system, making complex, austere films on tiny budgets, and building up a reputation for a singular vision. But, with Night Moves, a generic take on the moral questions associated with terrorism, Reichardt's vision feels blinkered.

Quick TIFF Reviews: Gravity (Dir. Alfonso Cuarón)

Stuart Henderson | Posted 11.10.2013 | Canada
Stuart Henderson

2013-08-12-blog_spotlight_on_tiff_v01.jpg A quick-paced, hard-charging adrenaline ride of a movie, Gravity takes us into the heart of an infinite darkness and then leads us home. As exciting as it is technically virtuosic, it invites us to reconsider the possibilities of the "popcorn movie." Thank god for that.

Quick TIFF Reviews: Enough Said (Dir. Nicole Holofcener)

Stuart Henderson | Posted 11.10.2013 | Canada
Stuart Henderson

2013-08-12-blog_spotlight_on_tiff_v01.jpg Despite the utter unlikelihood of the plotting, everything about Enough Said feels lived in and true. Sparkling, light and yet awash in thoughtful insight into the particular challenges of new love in middle age, this was easily my favourite comedy of the festival so far.

Quick TIFF Reviews: R100 (Dir. Hitoshi Matsumoto)

Stuart Henderson | Posted 11.10.2013 | Canada
Stuart Henderson

2013-08-12-blog_spotlight_on_tiff_v01.jpg Like some psychedelic mash-up of Eyes Wide Shut, The Trial and Naked Lunch, R100 is by turns disgusting, hilarious, and tedious. For the most part the audience must surrender to the demented flow of the thing in order to have any fun.

Quick TIFF Reviews: 12 Years a Slave (Dir. Steve McQueen)

Stuart Henderson | Posted 11.09.2013 | Canada
Stuart Henderson

2013-08-12-blog_spotlight_on_tiff_v01.jpg Between long, punishing shots of brutal whippings, lynchings, hangings, and rape, and the pervasive repugnance of the situation more generally, Steve McQueen has mounted the most affecting film about American slavery that has ever been made. But, does that in and of itself recommend it?

Drawn From a Hat TIFF Reviews: Hi-Ho Mistahey!

Marni Soupcoff | Posted 11.09.2013 | Canada
Marni Soupcoff

2013-08-12-blog_spotlight_on_tiff_v01.jpg Hi-Ho Mistahey! is not the joyless catalogue of wrongs I feared. For every grievance the film portrays, it offers equal evidence of inspiring First Nations youth working proactively to improve their situation. Still, while It would be nice if the fix for education in Attawapiskat and other reserves were as straightforward as a better building and more money, the solution is very unlikely to be that easy. The engaging movie would have more impact if it recognized more explicitly that securing more government funding for on-reserve schools is just one piece in a much larger, and more complex, puzzle.

The Week in Review: There's More To TIFF Than Long Lines

Marni Soupcoff | Posted 11.08.2013 | Canada
Marni Soupcoff

This week saw the kickoff of the Toronto International Film Festival and all the line-ups, cameras, parties, celeb sightings (and stalkings), road closures, red carpet poses, and chaos that go with it. TIFF usually makes me cranky. The whole lining up for tickets you've already bought thing makes no sense. And why the herding of audience members outdoors in inclement weather? Enter HuffPost's Spotlight on TIFF blog series. Hearing from directors such as Atom Egoyan and Alanis Obomsawin has been a refreshing reminder of what the festival is really about. It's not just a venue for waiting around and celeb stalking. It's the place an incredibly creative, hardworking group of people choose to share their deeply felt visions with an audience for the first time. Looked at that way, TIFF feels more like a privilege than a hassle.

Will You Tear Me Apart After Seeing Me In 'The Husband'?

Sarah Allen | Posted 11.08.2013 | Canada
Sarah Allen

2013-08-12-blog_spotlight_on_tiff_v01.jpg The interviewers, who were all women, all asked me the same two questions with a grimace: "So did you have a scene where you had to... be physical...with a 14-year-old?" And I tried to explain, to make light, to assure them that it was... obviously uncomfortable but really honestly it was...fine. But I didn't have the time to explain myself; the interview moved on. Judgment was passed. My character in the film doesn't have a good defense.

What Happened When a Girl From Attawapiskat Made Her Voice Heard

Alanis Obomsawin | Posted 11.06.2013 | Canada
Alanis Obomsawin

I'd describe my own school experience as "hell." I'm 81 years old now, so you can imagine how bad it was back then. Canadian history, as taught in school, was really anti-First Nations people, depicting us as savages and really designed as a campaign of hate.

What Metalhead Will Teach You About the Power of Art

Ragnar Bragason | Posted 11.06.2013 | Canada
Ragnar Bragason

2013-08-12-blog_spotlight_on_tiff_v01.jpg Metalhead is a personal film. I grew up in a small community in the remote part of Iceland and as a teenager sought refuge and inspiration in heavy metal music. With this film I want to celebrate the music and the impact and influence it has had on me and millions of others around the world.

The Devil's Knot that Bound the West Memphis Three

Atom Egoyan | Posted 11.04.2013 | Canada
Atom Egoyan

2013-08-12-blog_spotlight_on_tiff_v01.jpg Twenty years ago, three young boys were found murdered in a forest. The crime scene was appalling and -- most mysteriously -- there was no hard evidence. Who could have committed these horrors? If the evil force that killed the boys couldn't be found, then a comprehensible solution needed to be conjured. For all the talk of Satanic ritual and blood sacrifices discussed in the case, it is my firm belief that the only real act of magic was performed by the prosecution team as they convinced a jury to find three young men guilty in the complete absence of any physical proof.

How to (Legally) Stalk Celebs at TIFF

Vicki Hogarth | Posted 11.04.2013 | Canada
Vicki Hogarth

2013-08-12-blog_spotlight_on_tiff_v01.jpg I've watched enough rabid fans make terrible stalking mistakes only to be shut down by security to know exactly how I would track down my favourite celebs if one day I were to lose my press credentials (knock on wood). So you want to meet famous people, too? Forget the TIFF 2013 premiere schedule; you've got much smarter stalking to do.

A Native Storyteller's Long Journey to TIFF

Jennifer Podemski | Posted 11.02.2013 | Canada
Jennifer Podemski

2013-08-12-blog_spotlight_on_tiff_v01.jpg A part of me wanted to quit; it seemed pointless. I was only sent out for Native roles and even those were few and far between. Something was wrong with the industry. Growing up, I had almost never seen Native people on television. I was frustrated and angry, but something inside me told me if I wanted to change things, I had to stick with it.