- BLOOD PRESSURE
- THE CONSPIRACY
- THE DISAPPEARED
- THE FRUIT HUNTERS
- THE END OF TIME
- HOTEL CONGRESS
- I DECLARE WAR
- LAURENCE ANYWAYS
- THE LESSER BLESSED
- MY AWKWARD SEXUAL ADVENTURE
- PICTURE DAY
- SHORTS PACKAGE
- STILL MINE
- TOUT CE QUE TU POSSÈDES
- THE WORLD BEFORE HER
Director: Sean Garrity
Screenplay: Sean Garrity
Producers: Sean Garrity, Matthew Miller
Principal Cast: Michelle Giroux, Judah Katz, Jonas Chernick, Tatiana Maslany
Runtime: 94 minutes
Date Venue Guest(s) Fri March 1, 9:50 pm Time to Laugh Comedy Club JONAS CHERNICK, SEAN GARRITY Sat March 2, 4:10 pm Screening Room 2 JONAS CHERNICK, SEAN GARRITY
A uniquely talented and prolific filmmaker who was last at the festival with ZOOEY & ADAM (KCFF’10), Sean Garrity returns with two new features that couldn’t be more different in style. Whereas MY AWKWARD SEXUAL ADVENTURE is a raucous sex comedy he made with his regular collaborator and fellow Winnipeg native Jonas Chernick (LUCID, KCFF’06), BLOOD PRESSURE is a psychological thriller full of mystery and tension.
Michelle Giroux plays Nicole, an unhappily married pharmacist whose drab existence takes a more exciting turn when she begins receiving anonymous letters that encourage her to perform a series of increasingly risky acts. As her obsession with her secret (and somewhat sinister) admirer deepens, she begins to lose her hold on her personal and professional lives. All the while, Garrity maintains a firmer grip on viewers with his coolly provocative study of a woman discovering her dark side.
Director: Rafaël Ouellet
Screenplay: Rafaël Ouellet
Producers: Stéphanie Morissette
Principal Cast: Julien Poulin, Patrice Dubois, Stéphane Breton
Language: French with English subtitles
Runtime: 94 minutes
A tragic accident causes three members of a long-estranged family to forge new bonds in this affecting drama by one of Quebec’s most gifted young filmmakers. Headed by writer-director Rafaël Ouellet – who won the Best Director prize at the Karlovy Vavy festival for his efforts here – CAMION casts veteran actor Julien Poulin as Germain, a trucker and widower whose recent misfortunes prompt his sons to make a somewhat return to their hometown in rural Quebec.
Listlessly making a living as a janitor in Montreal, Samuel (Patrice Dubois) is compelled to face up to the ambitions and desires of his younger self, a process that includes looking up an ex-flame. While the womanizing Alain (Stéphane Breton) may seem to share little with his younger brother, his restless ways disguise deeper insecurities, much in the same way that the low-key nature of Ouellet’s film belies the richness of the characters and storytelling at hand.
Director: Christopher MacBride
Screenplay: Christopher MacBride
Producers: Lee Kim, Aaron Poole
Principal Cast: Aaron Poole, Jim Gilbert
Runtime: 85 minutes
So many movies have blurred the line between fiction film and documentary in recent years that it’s a shock to discover one as original and as chilling as this ingenious first feature by Toronto’s Christopher MacBride. No wonder audiences at genre-movie festivals in Austin and Sitges were blown away by THE CONSPIRACY’s eerie tale of two filmmakers who set out to make a movie about a seemingly loopy conspiracy theorist only to realize that there may be some truth in what he’s saying about a secretive gathering of powerful people.
Thanks to the cunning of MacBride and his lead actors Jim Gilbert and Aaron Poole (last seen at KCFF’10 in SMALL TOWN MURDER SONGS), audiences may be similarly unsure whether these amateur investigators are succumbing to a paranoid delusion or uncovering a genuine threat. Either way, THE CONSPIRACY reinvigorates the mockumentary form by investing it with a palpable sense of menace.
Director: Shandi Mitchell
Screenplay: Shandi Mitchell
Producers: Gilles Belanger, Ralph Holt, Walter Forsyth, Karen Franklin
Principal Cast: Billy Campbell, Shawn Doyle, Brian Downey, Gary Levert, Ryan Doucette, Neil Matheson
Runtime: 86 minutes
Date Venue Guest(s) Sat March 2, 7:10 pm The Baby Grand KAREN FRANKLIN, RALPH HOLT Sun March 3, 12:15 pm Screening Room 2 KAREN FRANKLIN, RALPH HOLT
With this gripping story of conflict and camaraderie among a group of fishermen lost at sea, acclaimed Halifax novelist Shandi Mitchell demonstrates her prowess as a filmmaker, too. THE DISAPPEARED is equally impressive as a showcase of acting talent, with Newfoundland native Shawn Doyle leading a sterling cast as they tackle the challenging task of conveying the hopes, fears and growing desperation of six men who find themselves drifting in the Atlantic in two lifeboats after the loss of their fishing vessel.
Shot off the coast of Lunenberg, Mitchell’s debut feature conveys the profound beauty and the stark peril that surround its characters. Just as unsentimental as the director’s view of the natural world is her portrayal of men forced to confront the thorny questions that are part of any battle for survival. Yet the film’s many moments of warmth and humour demonstrate the human connections that can also be forged in times of trouble.
THE FRUIT HUNTERS
Director: Yung Chang
Screenplay: Yung Chang, Mark Slutsky
Producers: Mila Aung-Thwin, Kat Baulu, Bob Moore
Language: English, Spanish and Italian with English subtitles
Runtime: 95 minutes
Date Venue Guest(s) Fri March 1, 7:10 pm Screening Room 1 MARK SLUTSKY Sat March 2, 12:10 pm Screening Room 1 MARK SLUTSKY
Though you may think you appreciate the overripe objects currently languishing in your fruit bowl, chances are your dedication to nature’s sweetest bounty pales next to the ardency expressed by the subjects in the new doc by Yung Chang, the Montreal-based director of UP THE YANGTZE (KCFF’08). And who can really blame them, given the ever-so succulent qualities of the delicacies on display?
Based on the book by Canadian journalist Adam Leith Gollner, THE FRUIT HUNTERS surveys the very colorful history of mankind’s long love affair with the juicy stuff. Along the way, viewers meet a memorable gallery of fruit obsessives, the most recognizable of which is actor Bill Pullman, the proud caretaker of over 100 fruiting plants at his home in the Hollywood Hills.
Yet for all of the movie’s vitality and good humour, there’s still a serious message at its core about the importance of defending biodiversity in the face of industrial farming and environmental degradation. In other words, you may never look at a mango the same way again.
THE END OF TIME
Director: Peter Mettler
Screenplay: Peter Mettler
Producers: Cornelia Seitler, Ingrid Veninger, Gerry Flahive, Brigitte Hofer
Runtime: 114 minutes
Another mind-expanding documentary by one of Canadian cinema’s most intrepid voyagers, THE END OF TIME sends viewers to a variety of fascinating and highly photogenic sites in an effort to provoke some big thoughts on an even bigger topic. Indeed, this movie’s subject is nothing less than time itself, though Swiss-Canadian director Peter Mettler has the good sense to break it down into slightly more manageable subtopics, like what the smashing of protons in the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva tells us about the Big Bang.
This all makes for a strange journey but a unique one as Mettler and his subjects explore an impressive array of ideas about our relationship to time. And lest this seem like a purely intellectual exercise, Mettler demonstrates his mastery of sound and image by providing an uncommonly intense degree of audiovisual stimulation.
Director: Nadia Litz, Michel Kandinsky
Screenplay: Nadia Litz
Producers: Nadia Litz, Michel Kandinsky, Philip Riccio, Daniel Bekerman
Principal Cast: Nadia Litz, Philip Riccio
Runtime: 71 minutes
A smart, sly drama about love, sex and the complications they create for a pair of Torontonians having a rendezvous away from their respective partners, HOTEL CONGRESS may be as fascinating for its backstory as it is for its more obvious virtues. The movie was created as part of the $1K Feature Film Challenge, a remarkable initiative by Toronto filmmaker and producer Ingrid Veninger that financed five new feature-length films budgeted at $1,000 a piece.
Proving that the right location makes all the difference when money’s so tight, HOTEL CONGRESS was shot in a historic Tucson hotel that John Dillinger once used as a hideout. Another clear benefit is the witty and insightful script by Nadia Litz, an actor and filmmaker well known for roles in movies like MONKEY WARFARE (KCFF’07). Litz also co-directed HOTEL CONGRESS with Michel Kandinsky and co-stars with Philip Riccio. That a film with so much style and savvy was made with such modest means is just one reason to be impressed.
I DECLARE WAR
Director: Jason Lapeyre, Robert Wilson
Screenplay: Jason Lapeyre
Producers: Lewin Webb, Robert Wilson, Patrick Cameron
Principal Cast: Siam Yu, Gage Munroe, Michael Friend, Aidan Gouveia
Runtime: 94 minutes
Some games are to be taken very seriously – just ask the young characters in I DECLARE WAR. For these adolescents, a game of war one afternoon after school becomes a conflict of truly epic proportions, especially when the players resort to adult levels of ruthlessness. An audacious spin on the action flick by Queen’s grad Jason Lapeyre (COLD BLOODED, KCFF’12) and co-director Robert Wilson, I DECLARE WAR is what a Rambo movie might be like if it were ever remade as a very special episode of Degrassi Junior High.
That might be an unlikely combination but the result is wild, imaginative and thrilling. That’s due in large part to the film’s talented cast of young performers, who attack their roles (and their opponents) with an energy that proves to be totally infectious.
Director: Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette
Screenplay: Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette
Producers: Luc Déry, Kim McCraw
Principal Cast: Evelyne Brochu, Sabrina Ouazani, Sivian Levy, Yousef Sweid
Language: French, Arabic, Hebrew and English with English subtitles
Runtime: 101 minutes
This arresting and provocative second feature by Quebec’s Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette is the latest drama by the producers of INCENDIES (KCFF’11) and MONSIEUR LAZHAR (KCFF’12). But whereas those justly celebrated predecessors told the stories of exiles in Canada who struggle with the effects of traumas suffered in long-departed homelands, INCH’ALLAH forces us to consider the physical perils and ethical challenges that face Canadians working in conflict zones.
Evelyne Brochu gives an intense lead performance as Chloé, a French-Canadian doctor working in a women’s health clinic in a Palestinian community in the West Bank. Chloe’s life is as divided as the society around her – when not enjoying clubs and cafés on the other side of the barrier with her Israeli soldier pal Ava (Sivian Levy), she gets closer to the family of Rand (Sabrina Ouazani), a pregnant patient. Chloé’s burgeoning romance with Rand’s brother Faysal (Yousef Sweid) is one of several developments that compel the good doctor to question her non-partisan position, a grave struggle that Barbeau-Lavalette portrays with rare insightfulness.
Director: Xavier Dolan
Screenplay: Xavier Dolan
Producers: Lyse Lafontaine, Nathanaël Karmitz, Charles Gillibert
Principal Cast: Melvil Poupaud, Suzanne Clément, Nathalie Baye, Monia Chokri
Language: French with English subtitles
Runtime: 161 minutes
FREE Closing Screening - screening now taking place at Dunning Hall, Queen's University - 94 University Avenue
A child actor who became an acclaimed auteur at the tender age of 20, Xavier Dolan set the Canadian film scene on its ear when his first feature J’AI TUE MA MERE (KCFF’10) became the toast of Cannes. But even the most flamboyant moments of that debut and its follow-up LES AMOURS IMAGINAIRES cannot compare with the contents of LAURENCE ANYWAYS, his most ambitious and abundantly emotional film to date.
The lead performances by Melvil Poupaud and Suzanne Clément continually energize Dolan’s epic melodrama about a thirty-something writer’s decision to restart his life as a woman, much to the chagrin of the girlfriend who still lives with him/her.
As wild and passionate as the love story at its core, LAURENCE ANYWAYS uses provocative questions about gender and identity to forge a very different and eminently stylish kind of screen romance.
Co-presented by Reelout queer film + video festival.
THE LESSER BLESSED
Director: Anita Doron
Screenplay: Anita Doron
Producers: Christina Piovesan
Principal Cast: Joel Nathan Evans, Benjamin Bratt, Kiowa Gordon, Chloe Rose, Tamara Podemski, Adam Butcher
Runtime: 86 minutes
Adapted from the much admired young-adult novel by Richard Van Camp, THE LESSER BLESSED portrays the lives of its teenage characters in a manner that feels tough, tender and heartbreakingly true. Joel Nathan Evans stars as Larry, a Tlicho Indian growing up in a rough northern town where he’s largely ignored by his peers and indifferent to the efforts of his mother Verna (Tamara Podemski) and her boyfriend Jed (Benjamin Bratt) to draw him out of his shell.
That changes after Larry forms a friendship with Johnny Beck (Kiowa Gordon), a Métis classmate who has all the brashness and boldness that he seems to lack. Larry’s long-time crush on local teen-dream Juliet (Chloe Rose) also comes to a head when Johnny woos her instead. Meanwhile, disturbing flashbacks suggest the truth about the past trauma that may be the real cause of Larry’s retreat from the world. It all makes for an unusually affecting coming-of-age story, handled with great sensitivity and artistry by writer-director Anita Doron (THE END OF SILENCE, KCFF’06, LATE FRAGMENT, KCFF’08) and her remarkable cast.
Director: Simon Ennis
Screenplay: Simon Ennis
Producers: Jonas Bell Pasht
Runtime: 80 minutes
Date Venue Guest(s) Sat March 2, 9:50 pm Screening Room 1 SIMON ENNIS Sun March 3, 3:15 pm Screening Room 2 SIMON ENNIS
For many of us here on Earth, space remains the final frontier. And since it’s the first stop on that journey into the great beyond, the moon has long been the focus of so much of our attention and fascination. Several of its biggest admirers are the subjects of LUNARCY!, an often wryly comic but warm-hearted documentary by Toronto’s Simon Ennis.
Through his portraits of such lunar obsessives as Dennis Hope, a savvy entrepreneur who sells off plots of moon land to future colonizers, and Christopher Carson, a young man who dreams of being the moon’s first full-time resident, Ennis is able to craft a wider parable about human aspirations and limitations. Smart, funny and surprisingly sweet, LUNARCY! celebrates the value of big dreams and the people who dare to dream them.
MY AWKWARD SEXUAL ADVENTURE
Director: Sean Garrity
Screenplay: Jonas Chernick
Producers: Juliette Hagopian, Jonas Chernick
Principal Cast: Jonas Chernick, Emily Hampshire, Sarah Manninen, Vik Sahay
Runtime: 98 minutes
Date Venue Guest(s) Fri March 1, 7:00 pm Time to Laugh Comedy Club JONAS CHERNICK, SEAN GARRITY Sat March 2, 4:00 pm Screening Room 1 JONAS CHERNICK, SEAN GARRITY
Rare is the sex comedy that provides useful answers to all those questions you’ve been afraid to ask. There are plenty more reasons to recommend this affably lewd and surprisingly sweet movie by actor-writer Jonas Chernick and director Sean Garrity (ZOOEY & ADAM, KCFF’10), the Winnipeg-bred and now Toronto-based team that returns to KCFF with two new features this year (we’re just as excited to present BLOOD PRESSURE, a new psychological thriller).
MY AWKWARD SEXUAL ADVENTURE stars Chernick as Jordan, a sheepish accountant who’s desperate to improve his love skills after his girlfriend Rachel (Sarah Manninen) dumps him for being so lousy in bed. His search for guidance leads him to Julia (Emily Hampshire, SNOW CAKE, KCFF’07), a stripper who agrees to be his “sex Yoda.” Judging by the often hilarious scenarios that ensue, she’ll need more than the Force to whip him into shape. Of course, this is very good news for viewers who like their comedies a little naughty.
Director: Kate Melville
Screenplay: Kate Melville
Producers: Kate Melville, Lauren Grant, Peter Harvey, Aeschylus Poulos
Principal Cast: Tatiana Maslany, Spencer Van Wyck, Steven McCarthy, Susan Coyne
Runtime: 93 minutes
One of Canada’s most startling new screen talents, Tatiana Maslany makes a big impression as the brash heroine of PICTURE DAY, a similarly audacious take on the teen flick by Toronto’s Kate Melville. Seen elsewhere at this year’s KCFF in BLOOD PRESSURE, Maslany plays Claire Paxton, a young woman who’s happy to find herself stuck between the worlds of adolescence and adult responsibilities as she repeats her final year of high school.
Showing little interest in changing the behaviour that caused her to flunk the year before, Claire would rather spend her days and nights with James (Steven McCarthy), her newly minted and considerably older musician boyfriend. She also finds time to toy with Henry (Spencer Van Wyck), a geeky boy who she used to babysit. But for all of Claire’s confidence, she’s more troubled than she lets on. Thanks to Maslany’s bold performance and Melville’s skillful script and direction, PICTURE DAY is a coming-of-age story of great energy and surprising complexity.
Director: Kim Nguyen
Screenplay: Kim Nguyen
Producers: Pierre Even, Marie-Claude Poulin
Principal Cast: Rachel Mwanza, Alain Bastien, Serge Kanyinda, Mizinga Mwinga, Ralph Prosper
Language: French, English and Lingala with English subtitles
Runtime: 90 minutes
Date Venue Sat March 2, 7:00 pm Time to Laugh Comedy Club Sun March 3, 3:00 pm Time to Laugh Comedy Club
Canada’s third film in the last three years to earn an Oscar nomination for best foreign-language feature, REBELLE is a powerful portrait of a corner of the world whose troubles and terrors may feel remote to many people living here. In this fourth feature by Montreal’s Kim Nguyen, Rachel Mwanza plays Komona, a teenage girl who is abducted from her home in an unnamed sub-Saharan African country and forced into the brutal life of a child soldier.
Yet Komona’s fate is anything but sealed by this turn of events, especially once her captors become convinced that the girl has mystical powers (hence the film’s English title, War Witch). Mixing scenes of harrowing realism with others that tip into the surreal, Nguyen conveys not just the horrors that exist in lives like Komona’s but other aspects as well, including the possibility of human connection and compassion that somehow survives even in the worst of circumstances.
ASIAN GANGS - Calum MacLeod and Lewis Bennett
THE MONEY PET - Gary Hawes
COUNSELLING - Geordie Sabbagh
THE TAPE - Matt Sadowski
HENRY - Yan England
LIFE DOESN'T FRIGHTEN ME - Stephen Patrick Dunn
Runtime: 75 minutes
The Academy Awards, Alan Cumming and the green Power Ranger all intersect in this year’s Shorts Package. The only Canadian entry in the 2013 Academy Awards® Best Live Action Short Category, HENRY (TIFF’12) tells the story of a great concert pianist who has his life thrown in turmoil the day the love of this life, Maria, disappears mysteriously. Narrated by Alan Cumming, THE MONEY PET is a modern day fable about one man’s relationship with his pet. THE TAPE (TIFF’12) directed by green Power Ranger now turned filmmaker Matt Saduski, explores a distinctly 21st-century problem: how to play a VHS?
Director: Michael McGowan
Screenplay: Michael McGowan
Producers: Michael McGowan, Avi Federgreen, Jody Colero, Tamara Deverell
Principal Cast: James Cromwell, Geneviève Bujold, Rick Roberts, Campbell Scott
Runtime: 102 minutes
Date Venue Guest(s) Thu February 28, 7:00 pm The Baby Grand MICHAEL MCGOWAN Sat March 2, 12:00 pm The Baby Grand
Not since AWAY FROM HER has Canadian cinema produced such a moving love story as STILL MINE, which KCFF is proud to present as this year’s opening film. And like Sarah Polley’s much-honoured debut, the latest by writer-director Michael McGowan (ONE WEEK, KCFF’09) is distinguished by the presence of two great actors working at the top of their craft.
James Cromwell and Canadian screen legend Geneviève Bujold play Craig and Irene, a couple who’ve lived a long and happy life together on their farm in rural New Brunswick. When Irene’s worsening health makes it difficult for her to continue living in their home, Craig’s solution is to use his two hands to build a more suitable house. Alas, his carpentry skills far exceed his patience for the local bureaucrats who don’t take kindly to Craig’s disdain for permits and plans.
Yet these battles take a backseat to STILL MINE’s portrayal of the still-passionate relationship at its core. Eliciting wonderful performances by his leads, McGowan has crafted a screen romance that’s continually enriched by its moments of humour, compassion and grace.
A Q&A with director Michael McGowan will take place at the Opening Reception following the opening night screening on Thursday February 28. Reception location: The Grizzly Grill, 395 Princess Street.
TOUT CE QUE TU POSSÈDES
Director: Bernard Émond
Screenplay: Bernard Émond
Producers: Bernadette Payeur
Principal Cast: Patrick Drolet, Isabelle Vincent, Gilles Renaud, Sara Simard
Language: French with English subtitles
Runtime: 91 minutes
In the latest drama by Bernard Émond – one of Canada’s master filmmakers and a nominee in the Best Director category at this weekend’s Canadian Screen Awards – a melancholy man makes a retreat from the world only to discover that some ties are not so easily broken.
An academic at a Montreal university, Pierre Leduc (Patrick Drolet) gives up his job as a lecturer in order to devote his time to translating the works of Edward Stachura, a Polish poet whose words help give voice to Pierre’s own sorrows. Yet the intrusions of two figures into this cloistered existence – Pierre’s estranged father and a daughter he never knew he had – compel both this sullen figure and Émond’s film to open up in unexpected ways. The result is one of Émond’s most richly nuanced and emotionally moving features to date.
Director: Kazik Radwanski
Screenplay: Kazik Radwanski
Producers: Dan Montgomery
Principal Cast: Derek Bogart, Nicole Fairbairn
Runtime: 78 minutes
A startling and artistically audacious first feature by Toronto’s Kazik Radwanski after the young director’s string of justly acclaimed short films with his producer Dan Montgomery, TOWER wrings something major out of one very minor existence. Derek (Derek Bogart) is a 34-year-old wannabe animator who still lives at home with his parents and has yet to develop much in the way of social skills.
Nevertheless, he is forced to engage with the world in discomfiting new ways due to such developments as his almost-romance with a similarly lonely woman (Nicole Fairbairn) and a battle with some pesky raccoons. With its agile camerawork, intense performances and skillful editing, TOWER presents this unlikely hero with impressive urgency and poignancy.
Director: Caroline Martel
Producers: Caroline Martel, Colette Loumède
Language: French and English with English subtitles
Runtime: 95 minutes
A wide world of sound awaits viewers of this captivating new documentary by Caroline Martel, a Montreal filmmaker who specializes in unusual quests. In the case of WAVEMAKERS, it’s an investigation into the history of one of the 20th century’s most fascinating musical instruments, a forerunner of the electronic synthesizer known as the ondes Martenot.
Capable of producing sounds both eerie and beautiful, this peculiar invention of a former WWI radio telegrapher continues to attract a diverse coterie of devotees, including Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood (he’s one of many musicians who appears in the film). Yet the instrument’s rarity and fragility makes it especially precious both to its players and protectors like Jean-Louis Martenot, the elderly son of its inventor. Thanks to their efforts, the ondes Martenot maintains a place in an increasingly noisy planet, a feat that WAVEMAKERS is right to celebrate.
THE WORLD BEFORE HER
Director: Nisha Pahuja
Screenplay: Nisha Pahuja
Producers: Cornelia Principe, Nisha Pahuja
Runtime: 90 minutes
A much-deserving prizewinner at festivals such as Tribeca and Hot Docs in Toronto and a selection in Canada’s Top Ten, THE WORLD BEFORE HER delves into the often very different lives of its young subjects to shed light on women’s rights in India, an issue that’s become headline news in recent months.
Filmmaker Nisha Pahuja introduces viewers to several contestants in a beauty pageant in Bombay as they vie for the honour of representing one kind of modern Indian womanhood. Among those who vehemently oppose such displays are the militant Hindu fundamentalists who have other ideas about women’s roles. Indeed, they are actively instilling these ideas into a new generation of girls at controversial camps like the one that Pahuja investigates in a far less glitzy corner of the country.
But whether they’re contemplating plastic surgery to perfect their bodies or training for hand-to-hand combat, the young women presented here share one thing in common: a struggle for some form of self-determination in a turbulent and often socially repressive society.