Thursday, August 27, 2015

EVOLUTION and MEN & CHICKEN Among Indiewire's "Hidden Gems"

Indiewire plumbs Vanguard's depths

Indiewire's Eric Kohn includes TWO Vanguard films in his "7 Hidden Gems from the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival."  He recommends Evolution, directed by Lucile Hadžihalilović, writer/director of Innocence (2004) and screenwriter of Enter the Void (2009): 

Evolution...focuses on the experiences of a 10-year-old boy trapped in a remote village where a hospital subjects him and others to cryptic experiments. The mystery behind his situation sits at the center of the film, but Bailey suggested viewers won't get any easy answers. "It's a really odd, creepy, weird, Lynchian thing," he said, comparing aspects of the production to Under the Skin.

And Kohn, like the rest of us, is unable to resist the lure of Mads Mikkelsen's Madstache in Anders Thomas Jensen's Men & Chicken.

The delightfully-titled Men & Chicken finds him re-teaming with Mads Mikkelsen as one half of a sibling duo who come together for their father's funeral only to learn that he wasn't their father at all. The ensuing comedy follows the troubled men on a journey to an abandoned island in the hopes of meeting their true parent. It's there that their family problems get a whole lot weirder.
Who can resist the fascination of the Madstache? No one. No one can.

EVOLUTION Screening Times:
Mon., Sept. 14, 9:30pm at RYERSON
Wed., Sept. 16, 4:30pm at BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Sun., Sept. 20,  8:30pm at TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX

MEN & CHICKEN Screening Times:
Mon., Sept. 14, 9:00pm at SCOTIABANK THEATRE
Wed., Sept. 16, 10:00pm at SCOTIABANK THEATRE
Sun., Sept. 20, 3:30pm at SCOTIABANK THEATRE

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

LACE CRATER First Look: Title Treatment and Stills

Lace Crater is one of Vanguard 2015's most mysterious titles. It's the debut feature by director Harrison Atkins and it's produced by celebrated indie director Joe Swanberg (Drinking Buddies, Happy Christmas). Poke around online for more info about the film and you'll find only the striking title treatment above and precious few stills.

We do know, however, from programmer Colin Geddes' programme note, that the film's plot has a seriously kinky hook: it's about the (bodily) horrific aftermath that a woman faces after a sexual encounter with a ghost.

Tuesday, Sept 15th, 9:30 PM SCOTIABANK 10
Tuesday, Sept 17th, 9:30 PM SCOTIABANK 14
Sunday, Sept 20th, 3:15 PM SCOTIABANK 9

FEBRUARY First Look: Promo Art

Earlier this year a small town 50km south of Ottawa was abuzz over a film production that had moved in. Residents of Kemptville, Ontario played spot the actress as Emma Roberts (American Horror Story), Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men) and Lauren Holly (NCIS, Dumb & Dumber) filmed writer and director Osgood Perkins' feature film debut February. Two girls Kat (Shipka) and Rose (Lucy Boynton) become stranded at their boarding school over the winter break after their parents mysteriously do not pick them up. At the same time a young woman (Roberts) leaves a bloody path behind her as she makes her way towards the boarding school. The closer the woman gets toward the school, the more possessed by an unseen evil force Kat becomes.

Below is a piece of promotional artwork that doubles as a poster for February, which plays this year's Toronto International Film Festival within the Vanguard programme.

(Source: Bloody Disgusting)

Further information about February can be found on the Festival website, as well as on the film's Twitter account.

FEBRUARY screening times:
Saturday, Sept. 12th, 5:00 PM SCOTIABANK 1
Monday, Sept. 14th, 6:45 PM SCOTIABANK 9
Friday, Sept. 18th, 6:45 PM THE BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA

Sunday, August 23, 2015


The Toronto International Film Festival® revealed today its Vanguard programme featuring new work from 14 daring filmmakers who are transcending the boundaries of creative vision where art house and genre films will spectacularly collide.

“Delving into the dark side of humanity and dangerously sexy, this year’s Vanguard lineup has something unique for everyone,” says International Programmer Colin Geddes. “We’re leading audiences into a wild world of emotional sensations, demons and strange sea creatures — delivered with Vanguard’s distinctive twist on storytelling.”

The 2015 selection includes a mysterious fantasy from French director Lucile Hadžihalilović; an eccentric comedy from Spanish cult favourite Álex de la Iglesia; an erotic 3D epic from Gaspar Noé; a twisted family tale from Danish filmmaker Anders Thomas Jensen and South Korea’s Ryoo Seung-wan busts out with action and thrills.

Films screening as part of the Vanguard programme include:

Kwon Oh-kwang, South Korea, World Premiere 

Young and unemployed Gu is desperate to make some money and participates in a clinical trial for a pharmaceutical company’s new drug. As an unknown side effect, he slowly transforms into a fish. This bizarre situation becomes Korea’s hottest news and fish man Gu is catapulted into the spotlight and becomes a superstar, only to fall from grace just as quickly.

Marcin Wrona, Poland/Israel, World Premiere 

Peter is a stranger in the hometown of his future wife Janet. As a wedding gift from the bride's grandfather, he receives a piece of land where the two can build a house and raise a happy family. While preparing the land for construction, Peter finds hidden bones of human bodies in the ground beneath his new property. Then very strange things begin to happen.

AKIZ, Germany, North American Premiere 

When 17-year -old Tina passes out at a party, she assumes it was just the side-effect of her wild lifestyle on the decadent Berlin-party scene. Soon she becomes unsettled and nervously manic as a mysterious ugly creature starts to haunt her, in both her dreams and waking hours, and nobody believes her.

Lucile Hadžihalilović, France, World Premiere 

A 10-year-old boy discovers a dead body in the sea just before he is brought to the hospital for a mysterious injection. Before long, something appears to be growing inside of him
Osgood Perkins, USA/Canada, World Premiere 

In February, beautiful and haunted Joan makes a bloody and determined pilgrimage across a frozen landscape toward a prestigious all girls prep school, where Rose and Kat find themselves stranded after their parents mysteriously fail to retrieve them for winter break. As Joan gets closer, terrifying visions begin plaguing Kat while Rose watches in horror as she becomes possessed by an unseen evil force.

Harrison Atkins, USA, World Premiere 

On a weekend trip to the Hamptons with friends, Ruth (Lindsay Burdge) encounters a mysterious ghost (Peter Vack) haunting the guest house. One thing leads to another and they find themselves in the throes of an unexpected one-night stand. Soon, Ruth begins suffering from a bizarre sexually-transmitted disease that leaves doctors and friends confused and frightened. As her body and social connections begin to disintegrate, she must find a way to reconcile her condition with the world around her, or risk losing herself to a void from which she may never emerge.

Gaspar Noé, France, North American Premiere 

January 1, early morning. The telephone rings. Murphy wakes up next to his young wife and two-year-old child. He listens to his voicemail: Electra’s mother, sick with worry, wants to know whether he has heard from her daughter. Electra’s been missing for a long time. She's afraid something really bad has happened to her. Over the course of a long rainy day, Murphy finds himself alone in his apartment, reminiscing about the greatest love affair of his life: his two years with Electra. A burning passion full of promises, games, excess and mistakes. 

Anders Thomas Jensen, Denmark, North American Premiere 

Men & Chicken revolves around two special-natured brothers, Elias and Gabriel (Mads Mikkelsen and David Dencik). Upon their father’s passing, they find out through their father’s will that they are adopted. Elias and Gabriel decide to seek out their natural father and set out for the island Ork, where their biological father lives. Here they discover a most paralyzing, yet liberating truth about themselves and their family.

Álex de la Iglesia, Spain, World Premiere 

The story unfolds amidst a frenzied and lavish New Year's Eve television special, taped during a sweltering hot August in Madrid. An unemployed Jose is sent to join hundreds of extras cooped up on set, day and night, as they hysterically celebrate the fake coming of the New Year — over and over again. The star of the show, Alphonso, is a charismatic ratings-chasing diva; and Adán, a young Latino singer, is being hounded by fans that are trying to blackmail him.

A.D. Calvo, USA, World Premiere 

The Missing Girl tells the story of Mort, the lonely and disillusioned owner of a comic book shop, and Ellen, the emotionally disruptive, aspiring graphic novelist he's hired. The story involves the search for a girl who isn’t missing and the discovery that it's never too late for late bloomers.

Ryoo Seung-wan, South Korea, North American Premiere 

A tough cop targets the tyrannical heir to a mega-corporation in this hard-hitting thriller from South Korean cult auteur Ryoo Seung-wan (Crying Fist, City of Violence).

Previously announced Canadian titles in the Vanguard programme include André Turpin’s Endorphine, Bruce McDonald’s Hellions, and Mark Sawers’ No Men Beyond This Point.

Bruce McDonald, Canada, Canadian Premiere

Seven years after his much-loved zombie thriller Pontypool, Canadian maverick Bruce McDonald returns to the horror genre with this deliciously creepy tale about a pregnant teen whose home is besieged by a ghastly crew of trick-or-treaters.

Mark Sawers, Canada, North American Premiere

This wry mockumentary from Vancouver director Mark Sawers envisions a world where women have become asexual and are no longer giving birth to males, and where the dwindling population of men are desperate to reclaim their place in the sun.

The 40th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 10 to 20, 2015. Purchase Festival ticket packages online 24 hours a day at, by phone from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET daily at 416.599.TIFF or 1.888.599.8433, or visit the Gupta Box Office at TIFF Bell Lightbox in person from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET daily at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West, until August 26 while quantities last. TIFF prefers Visa.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Listen to THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY Director Peter Strickland's "The Len Continuum"

"Darling, I'm off to the Lepidoptery lecture." "I think I'll stay home and listen to 'The Len Continuum.'"

Did you enjoy Peter Strickland's The Duke of Burgundy at Vanguard last year? Or maybe his tribute to giallo and sound design, Berberian Sound Studio, which premiered at Vanguard? Do you wish you could enjoy more dramas by Peter Strickland? Well you're in luck--Strickland has a radio drama "The Len Continuum" airing on BBC Radio 4. It features Toby Jones (Berberian Sound Studio) and it sounds plenty promising.

The debut for radio by the critically acclaimed British filmmaker Peter Strickland, writer and director of cult films Berberian Sound Studio and The Duke of Burgundy.

Sometime in the early eighties, struggling actor Len is increasingly overshadowed by his wife Alice's successful career in local radio. As his bitterness grows, he comes by a chance to finally prove himself.

Surreal soundscapes and black humour with Toby Jones and Belinda Stewart-Wilson.

Will there be mole crickets singing? Listen to find out.  You can listen to it on the Radio 4 site for another three weeks.
Hope you enjoy the show, everyone!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Farewell for Now, Beloved Vanguard Blog Readers...

Welp, we thought if we just pretended like TIFF never ended we could keep living the Vanguard dream forever. Except it did. Two weeks ago. Wait, or is it three? You’re telling us it’s OCTOBER tomorrow?

Well, dang.

In any case, this was one of our best Vanguard years ever but we have a tendency to say that every year so it would be best to just start mentally preparing yourself for 2015 right now. We know we are.

All of our beautiful Vanguard babies have gone off in the world to other festivals and/or acquiring distribution and we could be more proud. Spring will be delighting even more audiences thanks to Drafthouse and Raven Banner. Shrew's Nest, Waste Land and Over Your Dead Body also played The Fantastic Fest. The Voices won two well deserved awards at l'Etrange Festival. Hyena will be distributed in North America by Tribeca Films. IFC Films scooped up Duke of Burgundy. Third World will be releasing The World of Kanako in 2015. Radius/The Weinstein Company will be bringing the terrifying children of Goodnight, Mommy to North America. Music Box picked up Alleluia for distribution and Media Luna will be distributing Luna (no relation).

So if you didn’t see these amazing films at TIFF (ugh, what a jabroni) you have a chance to redeem yourself during their theatrical releases. Just don’t mess it up this time, alright?

Until next year, beloved Vanguard Blog readers. Now, if you'll excuse us, we have something in our eyes. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Fashions of Vanguard '14

We really need to get Evan from Spring some new clothes. 

We really need to get you some  new clothes.

Evan from Spring has just the one outfit and he wants to look nice for his new cthonically ancient special lady. We have some advice for him--and for you, if you want to look good red carping and at the Preëms, as the fanciest of festival-goers say. Fortunately, we have a variety of looks from the Vanguard programme films this year... and even a few from the Midnight Madness movies!

Ryan Reynolds suggests this inspirational shirt.

(Ryan Reynolds? Ryan Reynolds, man.)

There's always the elusive beauty of the semi-imaginary moth boy.

Pro tip: Wooden fingers are so hot this year!


Mesh tank tops and leather pants are back! (Not that they ever really went away…)

The fashionable lepidopterist always wears stocking and heels and sometimes hats, gloves, and capes, when the weather calls for it.

The gloves and capes make for a classic look. Of course, sometimes you might want something more classically mad science. Consider a long gown and bandages.

Or perhaps just a mask. Masks are very on trend this year.

The mud and touches of moss really bring the look together.

Or if you want your face to show, you can do a bold eye liner and a bold lip with a bearskin.

You can even try mixing a message t-shirt with an animal mask, bringing 3 looks together.

But with a full stag head, you might want to balance it with the vulnerability of nudity.

Speaking of balancing revealing skin with tantalizingly covering it up, Cal keeps his excellent penis sheathed in what appears to be a paisley thong.

But before you go full Seventies, just ask yourself, Does this mustache really express me?

It’s important for vampires to always look their best, even when vacuuming the flat.

And always be prepared for fashion mishaps. Uh oh, looks like Viago got blood on his dandy suit. Some soda water and paper towels should get those stains out.

Or you could simply change into this embroidered distressed denim jacket while your clothes are in the wash.

There are a few Fashion Don'ts however...

Creepy ex-boyfriends who give you sexually transmitted hauntings are a definite fashion no no.

When wearing blood, it’s important to blend and remember to never overdo it, Montse. Why not borrow some club soda and paper towels from Viago and tone it down a bit.

Best to make sure that dressmaker’s dummy you’re using isn’t one of Montse’s victims.

An Indiana Jones hat and double tiaras are great accessories for any discerning film fan, but only if you have Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead with you at all times.

Of course we know who the real fashion Peeps Choi Award Winner is...

He might not have won Vanguard Blog Mascot, but he won our hearts with his adorable boxing gloves.

We hope this helps, and remember to use fashion responsibly because fashion is danger. We've seen a lot of decapitations this year, and we don't want to see any more.

(Hell yeah, there's a mix of Vanguard and Midnight Madness films in this because we're Vanguarders and we do what we want. Also, we love the Midnighteers and Maniacs over at the Midnight Madness blog. Films included: Spring; The Voices; Luna; The Editor; What We Do In The Shadows; The Duke of Burgundy; Goodnight, Mommy; Cub; They Have Escaped; Tusk; It Follows; and Shrew's Nest. Special thanks to the Tusk fans and Peter Kuplowsky for being good sports).