×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Canuck-flavored shorts

Helmers fashion personal efforts

TORONTO — A silver anniversary is a great excuse for some naval gazing, and the Toronto Intl. Film Festival is taking full advantage with a celebratory program of custom-made short films called Preludes.

Fest organizers approached 10 well-respected Canuck filmmakers about a year ago and asked them to put together a short in honor of the fest’s 25th anniversary. The 10 — David Cronenberg, Atom Egoyan, Mike Jones, Jean Pierre Lefebvre, Guy Maddin, Don McKellar, Jeremy Podeswa, Patricia Rozema, Michael Snow and Anne Wheeler — represent “a very interesting cross-section of the state of cinema in this country,” according to producer Niv Fichman.

Fichman’s job was to coordinate the films and make sure there wasn’t any duplication. “But I didn’t have to deal with that at all because everyone came up with such unique ideas,” he says. “Some of the shorts are more specifically about the festival, the experiences these filmmakers have had, while some are much broader — about cinema and the effect that cinema has on them.”

One of the filmmakers that Fichman singles out is the enigmatic local artist Snow. “It’s a wonderful experimental artwork,” opines Fichman of the short. “He plays with image and sound, it’s delightful and tricky.”

It’s very different from the slicker and more linear short that came from Rozema that the filmmaker herself describes as “a gentle, loving little sketch” about a fictional film premiere, starring fellow helmer McKellar, Sarah Polley, Mark McKinney and fest director Piers Handling, debuting as himself.

McKellar’s own film is about audiences and comes from his own time working at the festival.

Maddin’s film, from Winnipeg, has 480 shots in five minutes. “It’s pretty fast moving,” says Fichman. “It’s in his style in that it looks like he found the footage in some garbage can somewhere … but it’s all originally shot.”

Egoyan’s film is “one elegant shot, with no editing at all. It’s about waiting in line at the festival”; something with which most Toronto film fest regulars can identify.

The offering from Jones, along with siblings Andy and Cathy Jones, who spring from the old CODCO comedy group, is an out-and-out comedy. “It’s very funny and irreverent,” says Fichman.

Podeswa’s is a personal work about the 1945 classic “Les Enfants du Paradis,” the first film that moved him deeply.

Cronenberg’s short is a characteristically layered work about the death and re-emergence of cinema. “It’s dark, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” says Fichman.

Auds will have plenty of opportunity to see the Preludes individually or all together. “These shorts,” notes Fichman, “are going to be everywhere.”

Each Prelude will premiere before a gala feature and the following day will run before each of the films. On Sept. 13, the shorts will be shown together in a screening that will be open to the public with all of the filmmakers in attendance.

After the fest wraps, they’ll run on Canuck specialty TV (as part of a special that will include the making of the films) and the shorts will be available on the festival Web site (www.bell.ca/filmfest) for downloading.

Ultimately, Preludes will hit the festival circuit as well. With any luck, says Fichman, Toronto’s 25th anniversary shorts series will become a popular ambassador to other film festivals worldwide.

More Film

  • Brett Leonard Boards 'Elijah'

    Film News Roundup: 'Lawnmower Man' Director Brett Leonard Boards 'Elijah'

    In today’s film news roundup, “Elijah” gets a director, a French fry documentary starts shooting and “Uglydolls” moves its release date forward. PROJECT LAUNCH Brett Leonard, best known for directing ”The Lawnmower Man” and “Virtuosity,” will direct the supernatural feature film “Elijah,” based on the Old Testament prophet. The project is set up at Winter [...]

  • SAG-AFTRA HQ

    SAG-AFTRA Commercial Negotiations Set for February

    With no fanfare, SAG-AFTRA and the ad industry have set a mid-February start for negotiations for a successor deal to the union’s master contract, Variety has learned. The current three-year deal — which covers about $1 billion in annual earnings — expires on March 31. SAG-AFTRA and the Joint Policy Committee of the ad industry [...]

  • SONDRA LOCKESONDRA LOCKE - 1986

    Oscar Nominee Sondra Locke Dies at 74

    Actress and director Sondra Locke, who received a supporting actress Oscar nomination in her first movie role for “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” died Nov. 3 at 74. The Los Angeles County Public Health Department confirmed her death. She died due to breast and bone cancer, according to Radar Online, which reported that she [...]

  • Clint Eastwood and Alison Eastwood'The Mule'

    Clint Eastwood: Why Alison Eastwood Came Out of Acting Retirement for Her Dad

    Clint Eastwood’s daughter Alison Eastwood was done with acting after appearing in 2014’s “Finding Harmony.” Or so she thought. It was a Friday night and she and her husband were heading to dinner when her father’s producer Sam Moore called. “He [says], ‘You know, your dad wants you to do this film,” Alison recalls. “I [...]

  • 'Dead Women Walking' Review: Uncompromising, Powerful

    Film Review: 'Dead Women Walking'

    The sober and gripping “Dead Women Walking” focuses on the final days of a series of female inmates facing the death sentence. Divided into nine chapters, each inching its way inexorably closer to the moment of execution, the drama turns the fragmentation of its approach to a powerful advantage. Not only do the individual stories [...]

  • Sam Mendes

    Sam Mendes' World War I Drama '1917' Set for Awards-Season Launch on Christmas 2019

    Universal Pictures has given an awards-season release date of Dec. 25, 2019, to Sam Mendes’ World War I drama “1971.” Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners is producing “1917” through its DreamWorks Pictures brand. “1917” will open in limited release on Christmas Day then go wide two weeks later on Jan. 10, 2020. Mendes wrote the script [...]

  • Ventana Sur Queer Latin Film Panel

    Ventana Sur: Panel Talks Merits, Setbacks in Latin Queer Cinema

    BUENOS AIRES — Four venerable professionals from the cinema world joined on Monday evening for Queer Cinema In Latin America, a frank discussion on Latin America’s role within the queer filmscape for Ventana Sur’s Industry conference series held at the UCA campus in Buenos Aires. Touching on advancements in character arc and notable achievements in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content