Suntan info via CIFF: //On the small Greek island of Antiparos, new town doctor Kostis (Makis Papadimitriou, CHEVALIER) leads a solitary life – until he treats an injured tourist named Anna (Elli Tringou). Middle-aged and awkward, Kostis becomes immediately enamoured by the much younger woman and her easy charm. But when he tries to tag along with Anna and her partying friends, Kostis’ attempts to woo her become increasingly uncomfortable. As Anna’s friends grow tired of Kostis and the summer vacation draws to an end, the doctor’s efforts to relive his youth and win Anna’s love threaten his entire career.
The latest in Greek New Wave, SUNTAN is a deadpan comedy/thriller that offers uncomfortable truths about how we see each other.//
How To Prepare For Prison info from CIFF: //Director Matt Gallagher and producer Cornelia Principe in attendance at both screenings! (K Note: Will be very cool to meet the director and producer.)
HOW TO PREPARE FOR PRISON examines the lives of three very different convicts as they navigate the legal system from conviction through sentencing. The cases aren’t considered in terms of guilt or innocence, but rather pragmatically in terms of each convict’s unique life and emotional landscape.
Director Matt Gallagher (IN HER FOOTSTEPS, GRINDERS) follows Joe, Courtney and Demario (respectively charged with marijuana trafficking, fraud and felony assault) over a period of three years as they work with lawyers and prison consultants to anticipate the needs of their families and emotionally prepare for the physical rigours and threats of incarceration. Gallagher also interviews Lee (sentenced to 40 years for armed robbery) whose open and frank discussion of his experience begs the viewer to consider the difference between the humiliation of punishment and constructive rehabilitation.//
Hooligan Sparrow (流氓燕) info from CIFF: //Chinese activist Ye Haiyan already had a reputation as an agitator when six schoolgirls went missing in her province in 2013. A prominent women’s rights activist, she had made a name for herself protesting for the rights of sex workers while blogging under the name of “Hooligan Sparrow.” So when two school officials are investigated for kidnapping and sexually abusing six schoolchildren, Ye’s fierce protests quickly go viral.
Documentarian Nanfu Wang chronicles the resulting harassment, eviction and violence that Ye endures while also investigating corrupt public servants, plain-clothed policemen that suddenly turn their intimidation efforts towards her. A harrowing whistleblower story shot mostly on a hidden camera and smuggled out of the country, HOOLIGAN SPARROW is a testament to the bravery of both the subject and the filmmaker.//
P.S. 7 minutes video from Guardian. “Wang Yu was the most high profile of the lawyers arrested in July 2015 in a crackdown on rights campaigners in China. She was held on suspicion of inciting subversion after one of her last cases, a sexual assault involving six underage girls and their school headteacher in Wanning City. Despite pressure on the girls’ parents to stay quiet, Wang Yu took up their case, risking her safety to inform the public about their rights, and fighting for the incident to be classified as rape.“
It’s Only The End of The World CIFF2016 info: //IT’S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD tells the heartbreaking story of Louis, a writer who must confront his past near the end of his life. Twelve years after leaving his hometown, Louis receives an invitation from his family to return home for a meal – but he brings with him news of his terminal diagnosis and impending death.
Directed by Canadian festival darling Xavier Dolan, IT’S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD features a star-studded cast of French acting talent like Marion Cottiard (LA VIE EN ROSE), Vincent Cassel (LE HAINE), Léa Seydoux (SPECTRE), Nathalie Baye, and Gaspard Ulliel. The film was named the Grand Prize of the Jury winner at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival while Dolan received a Palme d’Or nomination.//
Burn Your Maps info from CIFF 2016: //Director Jordan Roberts in attendance at the screening on September 23! (K Note: I very much looking forward to watch the film and the CIFF2016 Q&A.)
Eight-year-old Wes (Jacob Tremblay, ROOM) has always felt a little bit out of place. After a family tragedy, Wes comes to realize that he’s not truly a young American boy – he’s supposed to be a Mongolian goat herder, and was born in the wrong place. Enlisting the help of an Indian filmmaker and a crowdfunding campaign, they set off to the steppes of Asia with Wes’ family in tow. Against all odds, trekking across the other side of the world might be just what they need in order to be close together again.
Co-written and directed by Jordan Roberts (BIG HERO 6) and starring Vera Farmiga (BATES MOTEL, SOURCE CODE) and Martin Csokas (NOAH), BURN YOUR MAPS is an comedy-drama filmed in Alberta that highlights the indomitable spirit of humanity, hope and finding your place in a big, crazy world.//
Bending Steel is Carroll’s documentary directorial debut funded out of his and award-winning producing partner Ryan Scafuro‘s own pockets with friends’ help and money from a $25,000 Kickstarter project. Carroll first met the documentary introverted subject Chris “Wonder” Schoeck when he and his dog heard a noise while doing laundry in the basement of the building he and Schoeck lived in and that “startling” chance encounter lead to an idea for a short documentary which turned into a feature-length documentary project that spanned 2.5 years and generated 200+ hours of footage.
I love the spirit contains this excerpt from Schoeck‘s “Why Bend?” blog entry (with emphasis added), “Always remember constant progress. Grab a tougher bar and push with everything you got. The bar may not go at first, but remember if it flexes it can be bent. Through time you will bend it. The struggle forces you to reach deep into your mind. Remember its all about the journey. Soon you pity those that have early success. They miss out on that journey.” Have a watch of Schoeck doing some cool steel scrolling! Love it!
“Introverted, middle-aged Chris Schoeck has lived in the New York City borough of Queens his entire life. He feels no sense of home or belonging—until he starts bending steel, transforming himself into an old-time strongman. Suddenly, his life changes.
I can’t believe this year is already the 100th anniversary of Calgary Stampede. To join in the fun, we went out to one of the many free Stampede breakfasts this morning. And I ran into Calgary city councillor Brian Pincott. I jumped on the chance to interview Brian for a few minutes to talk about Calgary 100th Stampede and the $25 million Calgary Peace Bridge. Yes, before & during last city election, I wasn’t too convinced of the $25 million price tag for a foot bridge even I was and still is a fan of renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. You see, I got hooked on Calatrava when I watched a documentary about his Turning Torso project years ago at Calgary International Film Festival. I will let you watchBrian‘s explanation of how pedestrian foot traffic has exceeded the council’s original expectation and there was an even unexpected added benefit of the bridge.
Wiebo’s War is one of the best documentaries I have seen this year at 2011 CIFF, I highly recommend it as it tells a great story. The film is especially relevant to Albertans as we thought we know a lot about Wiebo Ludwig from TV news but David York’s Wiebo’s War, with intimate access to Wiebo and his family over two years, will show you a lot more.
If you miss the CIFF screening, the film is opening in theatres on Oct 21st, 2011 in Calgary (The Plaza) and Edmonton (Metro). I hope you find the Q&A and my interview insightful to watch.
“This feature documentary focuses on Wiebo Ludwig, a suspect in a recent string of pipeline bombings. The bombings echo a campaign of sabotage he waged against the oil and gas industry in the 90s – barricading roads and blowing up wells. And when a 16-year-old girl was fatally shot on the family farm in 1999, Wiebo’s fight with the industry was thrust further into the media spotlight.
The Ludwig family are part of a Christian community that lives in close adherence to their religious values. The community is comprised of 5 married couples, 7 unmarried adult children and 38 grandchildren. They are self-sufficient in food and energy, but live in isolation and believe that those that don’t share their religious beliefs, like filmmaker David York, are living in terrible darkness.”
My 2011 Calgary International Film Festival starts tonight. Here is a list of my recommendation. Have a great festival. As I said on FM94.7 this morning, CIFF is a great way to check out new films from around the world. Enjoy and have fun.
Friday, Sept 23rd
07:00pm Below Zero (World Premiere with filmmakers in attendance, Plaza, also on Sat Sept 24, 2pm)
“Director Jeff Meyers follows Jack Sanderson, an aspiring Santa trying to recapture the Christmas spirit after his parents’ passing. As Sanderson goes through his journey to becoming a mall Santa for a season, from bleaching his beard and hair to shopping for a custom suit, attending Santa school, and learning the tricks of the trade …“
It’s not quite the Red Mile, but you may just see a different type of red jersey scattered throughout the theatre for BECOMING SANTA. Winner of the audience award at this year’s SXSW film festival, this Yuletide doc will get everyone in the holiday spirit a little early this year.
Director Jeff Meyers follows Jack Sanderson, an aspiring Santa trying to recapture the Christmas spirit after his parents’ passing. As Sanderson goes through his journey to becoming a mall Santa for a season, from bleaching his beard and hair to shopping for a custom suit, attending Santa school, and learning the tricks of the trade, Meyers discovers that the task is harder than anyone would expect, and involves a personal, physical and emotional transformation that few of us are aware of. BECOMING SANTA features a number of interviews with professional Santas and Santa aficionados (including Calgary’s very own instructor and Santa agent Jennifer Andrews from the Victor Nevada Santa School), along with historians who provide a fascinating history of Santa Claus in America.
Warning: This documentary may contain some unwelcome surprises for young children.“
“Narrated by Dustin Hoffman, Eric Bricker’s multiple award-winning VISUAL ACOUSTICS celebrates the life and career of Julius Shulman. Long considered to be the world’s greatest architectural photographer, Schulman’s iconic, instantly recognizable images brought modern architecture to the American mainstream.
Shulman captured the work of nearly every modern and progressive architect since the 1930s, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, John Lautner and Frank Gehry. His images epitomized the singular beauty of Southern California’s Modernist movement, bringing its iconic structures to the attention of the general public. This unique film is both a testament to the evolution of modern architecture and a joyful portrait of the magnetic, whip-smart gentleman who chronicled it with his unforgettable images.
Shulman developed a close association with the modernist architects, principally those active in Southern California, and his images played a major role in crafting the image of the Southern California lifestyle to the rest of the world during the 1950s and 1960s. A prolific author, consultant, lecturer, exhibitor and editor of his own vast archive, Shulman remained active up until his passing in July of 2009.”