Back from a great weekend at the Kingston Canadian Film Festival. Outstanding effort by all the organizers and volunteers in putting together a well curated and delivered program.
Lots of films to choose from but I wanted to share some personal highlights:
Stella Meghie’s debut feature “Jean of the Joneses” – outstanding script, funny, poignant and real. Beautifully shot and honestly one of the most satisfying stories I have seen in a feature film for quite a while.
British Columbia rolled out the red carpet to celebrate the wide range of screen based entertainment that is created in the Province by proclaiming Monday, July 27, 2015, as “Screen in BC Day”. The Province also delivered on a promise to open a B.C. Film and Television Office in Los Angeles California to further enhance the B.C. industry’s market presence in the region. This new office will support industry wide marketing activities and facilitate new north-south opportunities for B.C.-based producers. More info: news.gov.bc.ca
Shot on location in Toronto and Chandigarh, Toronto-based writer/director Sanjay Talreja‘s feature film debut Surkhaabis described as “a week in the life of a human being trafficked.”
“Jeet, has spent her formative years training hard to become a state level Judo champion. The discipline required has made Jeet into a straight shooter, who is unafraid to say things as they are. Now, trying to adjust to a life after sports, she finds herself tackling the chauvinistic and corrupt world of a life in a village in Punjab… Although she has no trust in them, Jeet is forced to ask the help of the local hustler Balbir and his nephew Kuldeep. Through them she obtains a counterfeit visa to come to see her brother in Toronto.” – Surkhaab Press Kit
The film has recently won Best Foreign Language Film and Best Director awards at the London International Film Festival, the Remi Platinum Award for Best Feature at the Houston World Fest and Best Producers at the Madrid Film Festival. Here’s the trailer.
“After moving into his parents’ home following an unsuccessful stint in the city, Alexander gets hit with a migraine while making breakfast, leaving him to confront things that haunt his everyday existence between reality and his migraine dream.”
Cody Bown‘s Wool is one of 39 short films that is currently screening at Cannes’ Marché du Film. Curated by Danny Lennon, the shorts were selected from over 350 submissions and represent the freshest voices emerging from Canada.
Cody was born and raised in Fort McMurray, Alberta and is a Vancouver Film School graduate. His last film Homesick was accepted into the 2013 Cannes Short Film Corner.
A chain-wallah’s urgent search for his missing son provides a harrowing look at poverty and desperation of India’s slums in Siddharth written and directed by Canadian filmmaker Richie Mehta. The film, Mehta’s second feature, premiered at the 70th Venice International Film Festival in 2013 and was nominated for Canadian Screen awars in acting, sound and screenplay categories in 2014.
“In 2010, I met a man on the streets of Delhi, who asked me for help in finding a place called ‘Dongri.’ I asked him what it was, he told me he thought it was where his lost son was. He went on to tell me his story – that he sent his 12-year-old boy away to work, and never saw him again. He believed his son was kidnapped and trafficked. After the initial shock wore off, I asked him for more details – a photograph, the spelling of his son’s name. He couldn’t answer any of them (being illiterate, and having never taken a picture). Since he was obliged to work every day to support his wife and daughter, all he could do was ask others for help. And he’d been doing this for over a year.
Knowing that this man didn’t have the ability, nor the means, to even properly inquire about his son is an unfathomable tragedy. He barely understood why this kind of thing happens, much less how. This film is my attempt to reconcile my extremely layered relationship with this circumstance. It’s a story made up in equal parts by tragedy and optimism, and I hope what we’ve done here transmits even a fraction of the confusion, sorrow, helplessness, and ultimately, hope that I felt in meeting this man.”
An awkward teenage outcast finds unlikely companions in two aged residents of the retirement home where she works in Wet Bum (international title: Surfacing), the charming and poignant debut by Canadian director Lindsay MacKay.
Expected to work as a cleaner in the seniors’ residence her mother manages, fourteen-year-old Sam (Julia Sarah Stone) endures a daily gauntlet of disgruntled residents. In addition, her slower physical development has made her very self-conscious about her body. Unhappy amongst her schoolmates, Sam finds herself increasingly drawn to two of the seniors at her work. As her relationship with them deepens, she finds worlds far more complex and intriguing than the one inhabited by her peers. Wet Bum is a poignant debut whose hard-won wisdom belies the youth of both its star and director. — Synopsis from TIFF