Friday, August 31, 2012

Newbie's Comprehensive Guide to The Festival

There are plenty of festival guides out there. I've done my best to post the tips I've learned over the last eleven years but if you want something more comprehensive check out this multipart guide by Larry Richman. Larry is a 7 year Toronto International Film Festival veteran and has attended dozens of other festivals over the years. Follow him on twitter @Larry411

BLONDIE Director Profile: Jesper Ganslandt

Director Jesper Ganslandt is only on his third feature film and he's already being hailed as one of the "strongest names in the new Swedish wave of young directors." Colour us impressed; we haven't even put on pants or had breakfast yet. Whatever they're putting in the water over there in Sweden: please, keep it up.

Ganslandt grew up in a small town called Falkenberg before moving to Stockholm. There, he started a production company called Fasad, which has been responsible for producing all of his films. In 2006, Ganslandt's first feature film, Falkenberg Farewell, premiered at the Venice Film Festival and then the Toronto International Film Festival. The film was a love song to his hometown--a means to say "goodbye". He wrote and co-starred in the film along with his actual friends. A nostalgic, bittersweet coming of age story, the film was said to be "less a narrative movie than an immersion in somebody else's time and place." The film went on to be nominated for four Guldbagge Awards (including Best Film). We've posted the trailer below, which will be most enjoyed by those of you who can either listen in Swedish or read in French. (Or maybe you're a keener and can do both. But who asked you.)

The Ape is Ganslandt's second feature film, premiering at the 2009 Venice Film Festival and then shown as part of the Vanguard programme (AKA, the best programme, ahem) at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. The film follows a character as he wakes up covered in blood and then goes about his day as usual. Huh, makes sense--wouldn't want to be late for work, right? Part minimalist thriller, part puzzle, the audience follows the man throughout the movie trying to figure out what terrible thing has occurred. Of the film, the Guardian proclaimed, "…in Jesper Ganslandt, Sweden has a new star director."

This year, the Toronto International Film Festival is thrilled to welcome Ganslandt back with the premier of his third feature film, Blondie. The film follows three sisters reunited at their mother's home for her seventieth birthday. But don't expect any happy-fun-time balloons and confetti at this party; Ganslandt weaves together an anxious, melodramatic weekend, with family secrets exposed and old wounds ripped open. The  trailer is below, along with the screening times. 

BLONDIE Screening Times:
Mon., Sept. 10th, 9:45 PM SCOTIABANK 2
Wed., Sept. 12th, 12:00 PM BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Fri., Sept. 14th, 6:15 PM SCOTIABANK 3

Festival Ticket Deals For Anyone Under 25

Did you know that regular tickets for anyone 25 and under are only $15.04 and premium tickets are just $25? Check out this email blast from the festival and start planning your night out now!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Director Profile: Michel Gondry (THE WE AND THE I)

We were puzzling over the very best way to introduce our Director Profile of Michel Gondry (the dude spying on you--yes, you--in the above photography) and we were at a lack for words. This inventive director needed a likewise introduction. Something spectacular. Something punchy. Something that sums up the question, "Who is Michel Gondry? No, really." Ahem:

"Who is Michel Gondry?" Well, for starters, he is a man who can solve a Rubik's cube with his nose. Why solve 3-D mechanical puzzles with your hands when you can use your nasal cavity, is what we always say. When Gondry isn't busy being the obvious hit at parties, he makes fantastical, awesome films. Not with his nasal cavity. (We think?)

Gondry started off his career in the world of music videos. He's frolicked around in the woods with Bjork and a giant stuffed bear, changed things with Sheryl Crow, turned the White Stripes into building blocks, cloned Kylie Minoque, and danced with Flight of the Conchords--just to name a few. Gondry's unique and inventive storytelling style and camera techniques also led to his success in directing commercials. Remember that Gap holiday commercial that you maybe--okay, definitely--hated by the end of the holiday season? Gondry also directed commercials for Smirnoff, Air France, Polaroid, and Levi's.

In 2001, Gondry made his feature film directorial debut with Human Nature, a comedy written by Charlie Kaufman. The film explores topics like sex, human nature, and a very hairy and naked Patricia Arquette. Roger Ebert applauded the film's "screwball charm" and "manic whimsy".

2004's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind ("Hi, Joel. No jokes about my name.") is probably Gondry's most popular film to date. Gondry teamed up again with Kaufman and the film won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. The film presented the fascinating question of: if you could erase someone from your mind, would you? Or, rather: can you? And people have been flocking to Montauk Beach in February ever since.

Artist rendition of Gondry performing his nasal cavity hijinks at a fancy-pants soiree.
Gondry followed up with The Science of Sleep in 2006, which he also wrote. A fantastical seemingly sideways-moving story that the New York Times said, "is so profoundly idiosyncratic, and so confident in its oddity, that any attempt to describe it is bound to be misleading."

Be Kind Rewind (2008), Gondry's fourth feature film is an underrated comedy about your typical magnetized dude who accidentally erases all the tapes in a video store (don't you just hate when that happens?), and hilarity--Gondry style--ensues. (If you're under the age of 12, you might not know what a "video cassette" or "VHS" is and for that we are truly sorry. We also feel old.) Not only is the film hilarious, but it also introduced us all to the concept of "Sweded" films. Huzzah.

Gondry is back at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival with The We and the I. If you've ever wanted to know what a busload of Bronx teenagers would look like through the eyes of Michel Gondry, then this is the film for you. Because that is what it is about. Early reviews from Cannes are positive, with the Hollywood Reporter saying, "…the film has a scrappy charm that springs organically from the characters and their stories." If only Gondry could have directed all of our high school bus rides home, right?

Below is the trailer and screening times for The We and the I.

THE WE AND THE I Screening Times:
Fri., Sept. 7th, 6:45 PM SCOTIABANK 1
Sat., Sept. 8th, 11:45 AM CINEPLEX YONGE & DUNDAS 6
Sat., Sept. 15th, 3:00 PM SCOTIABANK 1

Future Projections: Peaches Does The Drake

In addition to the premiere of her first feature film Peaches Does Herself, Canadian artist Peaches will transform the Drake Hotel in downtown Toronto into a multi-installation building-wide performance piece. The installation will run from September 6th to 16th, but for one night only on Friday September 14th, Peaches will be joined by stripper-comedian Sandy Kane, post-rock duo the Jolly Goods in the Underground, transgender performance artist Dani Daniels and many more in Peaches' first hometown show in years.

Cover is $10, doors at 9:00 PM. Further information about the Future Projections installation can be found on the Festival website and the Drake Hotel's website.

PEACHES DOES HERSELF screening times: 
  • Thurs., Sept. 13, 9:00 PM, THE BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
  • Sat., Sept. 15, 3:15 PM, TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 4
  • Sun., Sept. 16, 4:00 PM, JACKMAN HALL (AGO)

90 MINUTES: Director Profile: Eva Sørhaug

Eva Sørhaug's 2008 feature debut, Cold Lunch, played at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2008. This challenging film was nominated for the Bronze Horse at the Stockholm Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Film at the Rouen Nordic Film Festival.

Clearly Cold Lunch is not a show on the Food Network. So what is it? 

Cineuropa describes Sørhaug's "remarkable feature debut" like this: "With its classic but unpredictable plot, Cold Lunch retraces—in six chapters—the lives of five people in a residential area of Oslo over the course of 48 hours. The five 'cold stories' are all subtly interlinked."

The Eternal Sunshine of the Logical Mind blog has more insights, saying, "while not a happy fun time at the cinema, [Cold Lunch] offered surprises and an austere but strangely lovely look and feel."

Fringe Report raves about the film, explaining that Cold Lunch is a ""powerful, funny and gentle study of extreme human manipulation" that is "made up of the awful games people play repetitively to achieve the upper hand in the sad cruel components of the day." It's a film that "sways between the extremely sinister . . . to the stunningly gentle."

Austere, lovely, sinister, and funny. All adjectives that both complement and comprise the films of the Vanguard programme. But who is Eva Sørhaug?

According to the Norwegian Film Institute, Sørhaug received her Bachelors Degree in social sciences from the University of Oslo and her M.F.A. in film making from the San Francisco Academy of Art University. Plus she attended the Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts for one year.

Perhaps her education in Norway and the United States both contribute to Sørhaug's studied, analytical approach to the characters in her films as well as their Hitchcockian elements. Cold Lunch pays homage to The Birds in visual, narrative, and ultimately shocking ways.

You can see traces of Cold Lunch in the trailer for Sorhaug's 90 Minutes, a film which she wrote, directed, and produced. Soft shades of grey, rose, ice blue, and cream contrast with sharp angles and extreme close-ups. The lyrical pacing of the images in the beginning of the clip gives way to brief glimpses of violence.

This year's Festival is proud to present the World Premiere of Eva Sørhaug's uncompromising sophomore feature film, 90 Minutes.

90 MINUTES Screening Times:
Sat., Sept. 8th 9:00PM CINEPLEX YONGE & DUNDAS 2
Sun., Sept. 9th 9:00AM CINEPLEX YONGE & DUNDAS 10
Sun., Sept. 16th 11:45AM CINEPLEX YONGE & DUNDAS 2

Pearson Airport to Downtown TO for $3!

There are tons of ways to get from Toronto's Pearson Airport to Downtown Toronto, the heart of TIFF, but the cheapest is via the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). It takes about 90 minutes and only costs $3 Canadian . Here's a handy guide that will get you from the airport to within steps of Bell Lightbox.

1) After you leave your gate at Pearson go to terminal 3 and follow these signs:

2) Once you get outside go stand by the TTC pole:

3) Wait for the 192 Airport Rocket (For schedule click here). Before you board make sure you have $3 (Canadian) in exact change. The bus drivers will not make change. If you don't have exact change you can get TTC tokens from some of the shops in Terminal 3.

4) The bus will make 1 stop before it reaches your stop, Kipling station, which is the end of the Southbound line before the bus returns to the airport. Go inside the station and get on the train. This station is at the end of the Bloor-Danforth line so no matter what train you get on you will be heading in the right direction. The Bloor-Danforth line is the green line in the map below.

5) After 14 stops you will arrive at the Spadina station. Don't worry about counting stops, just listen to the conductor as they announce each stop as the train pulls into the station. There are also maps posted in the train so you can figure out your location pretty quicky. At the Spadina station you are going to get off the Bloor-Danforth train and follow the signs at the station to the Yonge-University-Spadina line heading towards Finch. Do not go to the platform that says Yonge-University-Spadina heading towards Downsview as those trains are going in the opposite direction of Lighbox. Yonge-University-Spadina is the yellow line above.

6) If the first stop you come to is St. George you are on the right train. If you arrive at DuPont, you went the wrong way. Don't worry, just get off the train an wait for the next train going in the other direction (trains come every 10-15 minutes). From St. George it is 6 stops before you arrive at your final destination of St. Andrew which is a short walk to the Festival Box Office.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

ROOM 237: Review

I'll start with a confession. I hadn't actually watched Stanley Kubrick's 1980 film The Shining until about two years ago. There were lots of reasons, the main of which was that I was never a real fan of "horror" films. After seeing it, of course, I discovered that The Shining is not the slasher film that I'd anticipated (and feared). Instead, it's a dense and moody psychological thriller, and the type of film that I actually love. That being said, I may have only seen the film twice in my life.

Which makes me completely different from the motley band of nutjobs and conspiracy theorists who populate Rodney Ascher's creepy Room 237, each of whom has probably watched the film on slo-mo dozens of times. From the man with the relatively mild theory that the film is really all about the extermination of America's indigenous population to the guy who's convinced that The Shining is Kubrick's cryptic confession to filming the faked Apollo moon landings in a studio, Ascher's "subjective documentary" turns out be at least as scary as watching Kubrick's film itself.

Ascher wisely chooses to allow his "theorists" to only be heard in voiceover and never seen. Instead, he uses visuals from The Shining and many other films, including almost all of Kubrick's other work. The result is deeply unsettling, especially when combined with a rather sinister score. While the various theories can often provoke guffaws of disbelief, the relentless accounting of the film's eccentricities has an alienating effect that reinforces how weird The Shining really is.

For instance, while not convinced by one of the commentator's convoluted geography of the hotel's floor plan, I did become convinced that Kubrick may have purposely messed with the audience's spatial awareness simply to heighten our sense of unease.

What Ascher's film demonstrates most ably is the limits of auteur theory when taken to its absolute irrational end. Each of these people is convinced that not only was Kubrick aware of every tiny detail they tease out of the film, but that he alone was the visionary behind each choice. I'm aware that Kubrick may have been a bit of a control freak, but I'd be very surprised if every decision of the cinematographer, editor, production designer and even the actors sprung from the mind of the director.

In the end, while we may come out of Room 237 laughing at these "crackpots," I'm convinced that for many of us, our next viewing of The Shining will be a lot more terrifying.

ROOM 237 screening times:
  • Thurs., Sept. 13, The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema 6:00 PM
  • Sat., Sept. 15, Cineplex Yonge & Dundas 2 5:45 PM
  • Sun., Sept. 16, TIFF Bell Lightbox 3 12:00 PM

BLONDIE Trailer and Clips

Sweden's Jesper Ganslandt is no stranger to the Toronto International Film Festival. Two of his features, Falkenberg Farewell (06) and The Ape (09), have screened at the Festival. This year, in his new film Blondie, Ganslandt reunites three estranged sisters for their domineering mother's birthday.

Below are the trailer and clips for Blondie, which plays the Festival within the Vanguard programme.




Further information about Jesper Ganslandt's Blondie can be found on the Festival website, as well as on the Blondie IMDB page.

BLONDIE screening times:
  • Mon., Sept. 10, Scotiabank 2 9:45 PM
  • Wednes., Sept. 12, The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema 12:00 PM
  • Fri., Sept. 14, Scotiabank 3 6:15 PM


A couple is relieved when their children return after disappearing near some mysterious caves while on vacation in Tijuana — but it soon becomes clear that a terrible change has taken place within them.

Below is the poster for Here Comes the Devil, which plays the Toronto International Film Festival within the Vanguard programme.

Further information about Adrían García Bogliano's Here Comes the Devil can be found on the Festival website, as well as on the Here Comes the Devil WebsiteTwitter account, and IMDB page.

HERE COMES THE DEVIL screening times:
  • Tues., Sept. 11, The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema 6:00 PM
  • Wednes., Sept. 12, Scotiabank 3 7:00 PM
  • Sun., Sept. 16, Scotiabank 4 3:30 PM

ILL MANORS Poster and Trailer

British rapper Ben Drew, also known as Plan B, writes and directs Ill Manors, a London crime drama Hollywood Reporter calls a "powerful and timely debut."

Below are the poster and trailer for Ill Manors, which plays the Toronto International Film Festival within the Vanguard programme.

Further information about Ben Drew's Ill Manors can be found on the Festival website, as well as on the Ill Manors WebsiteTwitter accountFacebook page, and IMDB page.

ILL MANORS screening times:
  • Sun., Sept. 9, The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema 9:00 PM
  • Tues., Sept. 11, Scotiabank 4 4:15 PM
  • Sat., Sept. 15, Scotiabank 4 9:30 PM

90 MINUTES Poster and Trailer

Following up her memorable Festival debut, Cold Lunch (08), Eva Sørhaug's second feature reinvents the success of Cold Lunch's triptych structure to focus on the subject of domestic violence. Starring Aksel Hennie, 90 Minutes presents the last hour and a half before three men commit murder.

Below are the poster and trailer for 90 Minutes, which plays the Toronto International Film Festival within the Vanguard programme.

Further information about Eva Sørhaug's 90 Minutes can be found on the Festival website, as well as on the 90 Minutes IMDB page.

90 MINUTES screening times:
  • Sat., Sept. 8, Cineplex Yonge & Dundas 2 9:00 PM
  • Sun., Sept. 9, Cineplex Yonge & Dundas 10 9:00 AM
  • Sun., Sept. 16, Cineplex Yonge & Dundas 2 11:45 AM

PEACHES DOES HERSELF: Director profile: Peaches

Would you believe that Peaches Does Herself is not the first film from the Toronto-born singer/songwriter/musician/performance artist/force of nature known as Peaches?

True to her gender-busting and genre-bending nature, Peaches wrote, directed, and starred in a Super-8 "bike porn" film called Chromosome XXX. Although much of her career has been theatrical, in both the visual and aural sense, it wasn't until 2010 that she took her act from the rock stage to the rock opera stage with a one-woman reimagining of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Jesus Christ Superstar, christened (what else?) Peaches Christ Superstar.

Yes, you read that right. Peaches played all the characters and sang all the songs, accompanied only on piano played by her frequent collaborator, Chilly Gonzales.

If that wasn't enough of a career-defining accomplishment, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of her album The Teaches Of Peaches, she then embarked on a new theatrical production, Peaches Does Herself, transitioning from playing all the roles herself to gathering a full cast and crew for an epic stage presentation spanning her entire career and incorporating twenty of her songs.

"Peaches Does Herself," swooned Expatriarch, "is a balls-out extravagasmic stage production: Half send-up of Mamma Mia!-style pop musicals and half rock concert."

Now this rollicking, raunchy extravaganza has been transformed further into a concert movie of the same name that will be playing at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The title might be a pun on Debbie Does Dallas as well as self-love, but it's also a statement of purpose: No one can do Peaches better than Peaches herself. Peaches Does Herself is a must-see movie!

Thur., Sept. 13th, BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA  9:00PM
Sat., Sept. 15th, TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 4  3:15PM
Sun., Sept. 16th, JACKMAN HALL (AGO)  4:00PM

MOTORWAY Poster and Trailer

Hong Kong action icon Anthony Wong persues an infamous getaway driver in this high-octane thriller from Soi Cheang, director of the 2009 Festival selection Accident, and legendary producer Johnnie To.

Below are the poster and trailer for Motorway, which plays the Toronto International Film Festival within the Vanguard programme.

Further information about Soi Cheang's Motorway can be found on the Festival website, as well as on the Motorway IMDB page.

MOTORWAY screening times:
  • Wednes., Sept. 12, The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema 9:00 PM
  • Fri., Sept. 14, Scotiabank 3 12:30 PM
  • Sun., Sept. 16, Scotiabank 9 6:30 PM

PEACHES DOES HERSELF Behind the Scenes Videos

Toronto-born electronic musician Peaches brings her 'anti-jukebox musical' based around her four albums Teaches of PeachesFatherfuckerImpeach My Bush and I Feel Cream to the big screen in her first feature film Peaches Does Herself. Originally performed at the Hebbel-Theater in Berlin, Germany in October 2010, this short behind the scenes clip highlights the lead-up to the opening night performance of Peaches' transsexual rock opera. According to Peaches herself, the opera "tells the story of a young woman who, inspired by a 65-year-old stripper, begins to make sexually forthright music."

Further information about Peaches' Peaches Does Herself can be found on the Festival website, and Peaches can be found on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and her official website.

PEACHES DOES HERSELF screening times: 

  • Thurs., Sept. 13, 9:00 PM, THE BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
  • Sat., Sept. 15, 3:15 PM, TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 4
  • Sun., Sept. 16, 4:00 PM, JACKMAN HALL (AGO)

I DECLARE WAR Poster and Trailer

Winner of "Best Film" at ActionFest 2012, I Declare War is a darkly funny look at when summer war games turn nasty. Directed by Jason Lapeyre and Robert Wilson, this Canadian film considers the effects of bullying while its young stars throw insults and as well as grenades.

Below are the poster and trailer for I Declare War, which plays the Toronto International Film Festival within the Vanguard programme.

Further information about Jason Lapeyre and Robert Wilson's I Declare War can be found on the Festival website, as well as on the I Declare War WebsiteTwitter accountFacebook page, and IMDB page.

I DECLARE WAR screening times:
  • Sun., Sept. 9, Scotiabank 4 4:15 PM 
  • Tues., Sept. 11, Cineplex Yonge & Dundas 10 2:00 PM 
  • Fri., Sept. 14, Scotiabank 4 9:45 PM

PAINLESS Poster and Trailer

After escaping a devastating car crash unscathed, neurosurgeon David Martel (Àlex Brendemühl)   unearths the secrets behind bizarre experiments conducted on children during the Spanish Civil War. Juan Carlos Medina's horror-thriller Painless -- his debut feature -- is co-written with Luiso Berdejo, writer of the influential horror film [Rec].

Below are the poster and trailer for Painless, which plays the Toronto International Film Festival within the Vanguard programme.

Further information about Juan Carlos Medina's Painless can be found on the Festival website, as well as on the Painless Twitter accountFacebook page, and IMDB page.

PAINLESS screening times:
  • Sat., Sept. 8, The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema 6:00 PM
  • Sun., Sept. 9, Cineplex Yonge & Dundas 6 9:00 PM
  • Sat., Sept. 15, Scotiabank 3 2:45 PM

PUSHER Poster and Trailer

Nicolas Winding Refn, director of the 2011 Festival selection Drive, serves as executive producer on this English-language remake of his 1996 cult classic. Director Luis Prieto's Pusher follows Frank (Richard Coyle), a mid-level London drug dealer who botches a job and scrambles when his life quickly spins out of control.

Below are the poster and trailer for Pusher, which plays the Toronto International Film Festival within the Vanguard programme.

Further information about Luis Prieto's Pusher can be found on the Festival website, as well as on the Pusher Twitter accountFacebook page, and IMDB page.

PUSHER screening times:
  • Fri., Sept. 7, The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema 9:00 PM 
  • Sun., Sept. 9, Cineplex Yonge & Dundas 10 12:00 PM

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

TWITCH Previews Vanguard

TWITCH's Jason Gorber, in a preview of this year's Vanguard program, writes:

TIFF's Vanguard has always kind of been the bastard step-child of the Toronto festival, something previously had never really found a clear and definitive voice for the general festival patron.  With Midnight Madness guru Colin Geddes bringing a stronger sense of unity to the program, we can now, in 2012, better see just what this little group of odd films share with one another.
Essentially, as Colin put it, these are the "cool older sister" films of the fest. What he means, if I may be so bold, is two-fold: first, these are films that may thematically share characteristics with the more bombastic or brutal flicks that play for the mad crowds that gather at the Ryerson after the witching hour. Secondly, his tacit point is that these films would not work as Midnight films, conceding that they're often too mature, too slow (relatively) compared to the younger, rangy, hyperactive younger sibling that lives only after the clock has struck 12am.
Along with putting a single voice in charge of the assemblage of films (several programmers were responsible for locating the films, but Colin's essentially curating the list), TIFF has wisely set a single venue for these films. The Bloor Cinema, recently renovated at part of the Hot Docs group, sees a return of sorts - Midnight Madness started here, after all, by Noah Cowan way back in the early 90s.

He continues, citing ROOM 237 and BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO as his personal picks of the programme, and finishes with:

This, then, is hopefully what Vanguard will moving forward prove to be - an extension of Colin's late night festivities, eating further away at some of the more staid and predictable offerings elsewhere at the festival. These films will work best for those that have braved the late night insanity, but also a gateway for those that, god forbid, have to actually go to work the next morning.
We're now at the vanguard for what the Vanguard programme hopes to be, extending by another dozen or so films the reach of works that challenge, provoke, intrigue and sometimes startle. Freed from the necessities of keeping us awake, but providing a unified environment where thematically related films can be showcased effectively, 2012 sees the real birth of what will hopefully prove to be a vital part of the Toronto International Film Festival, a sister programme just as cool, but in different ways, as its bratty and precocious sibling.

You can read the whole preview at TWITCH on their website, and follow @TWITCHfilm and Jason Gorber, @FilmFest_Ca, on Twitter for their updates during the Toronto International Film Festival.

ROOM 237 screening times:
  • Thurs., Sept. 13, The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema 6:00 PM 
  • Sat., Sept. 15, Cineplex Yonge & Dundas 2 5:45 PM 
  • Sun., Sept. 16, TIFF Bell Lightbox 3 12:00 PM

  • Mon., Sept. 10, The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema 6:00 PM
  • Tues., Sept. 11, Cineplex Yonge & Dundas 3 2:45 PM

Top image courtesy of TWITCH.

Variety: Geddes in Vanguard of Horror

Entertainment industry trade magazine Variety has a glowing article about both the Midnight Madness and Vanguard programs. It also has some kind words for programmer Colin Geddes:

When Geddes was charged with sharpening the parallel Vanguard section, fans became top priority. The program of a dozen-plus pics targets a slightly older demo seeking extreme arthouse storytelling and a decent night's sleep. The renovated Bloor cinema will screen one to two titles per night. "Giving Vanguard audiences a destination, like they have for Midnight, in itself changes the nature of the program," he says.

Click here for the rest of the article.

Win A PAINLESS Prize Pack

The filmmakers behind the Vanguard selection Painless spent part of the weekend at The Festival of Fear and assembled a pretty cool prize pack to give away to one lucky fan. Click here to enter the contest and don't forget to like Painless on Facebook and follow them on twitter @PainlessFilm

PAINLESS Screening Times:
Sat., Sept. 8th, 6:00 PM BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Sun., Sept. 9th, 9:00 PM CINEPLEX YONGE & DUNDAS 6
Sat., Sept. 15th, 2:45 PM SCOTIABANK 3

HERE COMES THE DEVIL: Director Profile: Adrián García Bogliano

Argentinian director Adrián García Bogliano embarked upon his career making short films his in the late '90s, but it was only a decade later that he jumped  into features with 2004's Riddlebox. Since then, he's been a busy man; just check out his IMDB profile

Bogliano's 2006 feature, 36 Steps (also known as Bloody Birthday), was low in budget but high in gore, offering a twist on the sexism inherent in many slasher films. The thrilling Cold Sweat was a hit at SXSW, presenting familiar genre elements through Bogilano's distinctive, groundbreaking style. The Polanski-influenced, slow burning Penumbra screened at Fantastic Fest in 2011. This film, which uses the intriguing setting of a solar eclipse, dares to make the central character as unlikable as possible.

Now that there's some well-deserved buzz around this talented new filmmaker, horror aficionados as well as fans are in luck: Synapse Films recently acquired the rights to three of his older films: Rooms For Tourists (2004), I'll Never Die Alone (2008), and Watch 'Em Die (2009).

Although Bogliano has stated he's dedicated to making horror films, he insists on pushing the boundaries of the genre. In a recent interview with Twitch, he discusses how horror is a good way to comment on political issues, especially for younger generations of the film audience. He describes Cold Sweat as "an exhausting thrill-ride" that still makes a "grand conversation" possible. He's quick to point out, however, that what's important for him is "telling good stories, making your audience glad they came to the theater or rented the movie, continuing to be able to work."

Here Comes The Devil, Bogliano's latest and highly-anticipated film, is also the first of his creations to appear in the Toronto International Film Festival. The plot seems simple enough, but with Bogliano at the helm you know there will be chilling surprises in store. While on a family trip, two young kids disappear briefly. Although their parents are overjoyed when they are reunited, their happiness turns to horror as it becomes quickly apparent that they're not quite the same and worse, that something sinister and supernatural is to blame.

Here Comes The Devil, explained Bogliano to Indiewire, was partly inspired by Nicholas Roeg's 1973 masterpiece Don't Look Now as well as the unique and perhaps unexpected location of Tijuana, a city with an interesting energy and history. Bogliano's fascination with Tijuana is partly due to his recent relocation to Mexico, where he's started a new production company, Salto de Fe Films.

Be sure to check out Here Comes The Devil, especially if you're planning on vacationing in Tijuana anytime in the near future.

HERE COMES THE DEVIL screening times:
Tues., Sept. 11th, 6:00PM, BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Wed., Sept. 13th, 7:00PM, SCOTIABANK THEATRE 3
Sun., Sept. 16th, 3:30PM, SCOTIABANK THEATRE 4

Director Ben Wheatley: Viral, Commercial, TV Works

When we mentioned in a previous post that Mr Ben Wheatley has won at both the Internet and TV, we simply made the statement and moved on. Oh-ho, but wait! What about proof? Proof? Yes, proof. Has that word now lost all meaning to you from saying it too many times as well? Proof. 

Anyway, we here at the Vanguard Blog love our loyal minons--er, readers--and want them to be happy. That is why we scoured the Internet for all of Wheatley's prior works. And it was not an easy task, let us tell you. You know how people say that once something is on the Internet, it is there forever? Well, they're wrong. We were rooster-blocked from viewing a lot of his early viral work. Ugh, right? Never fear: we still managed to curate this super rad playlist of Wheatley's hilarious viral, commercial, TV, and wizard work:

This viral video not only won awards, but teachers children a valuable lesson: if you play video games, you will die. (AMBX viral advert)

The Mechanical Death Spider comes in four colours, so it really is the gift for everyone in the family. (Ratchet and Crank fake advert)

Yeah. Less salt. (Pot Noodles commercial)

The entire Cardboard Robot Foundry of America (CRFA) resents the implication that they don't have friends. (Phones 4 U commercial)

There was a time when yo-yoing (is that right?) was popular. We are glad it is no longer that time. (Phones 4 U commercial)

Ugh, not again Anna Hensen. (Dustin commercial)

Finally a game we can get behind. (Shooting Stars advert)

Quick, pass the carbonated dipping jam. (Shooting Stars advert) 

Nobody liked Sophie anyway. (The Wrong Door - a BBC sketch comedy series written and directed by Ben Wheatley)

We take it back: Ikea isn't that bad after all. (The Wrong Door - a BBC sketch comedy series written and directed by Ben Wheatley)

Mmm, pie. (Modern Toss - a BBC series with live action segments directed by Ben Wheatley)

And, lastly, the jury is still out on whether or not Wheatley is a pirate, but it appears he is definitely a wizard. 

You can find even more hilariousness on Ben Wheatley's website. And if you go back far enough, there are even comics. They can't be posted here because of bad words and such, so you know you totally want to go find them. 

And don't forget you totally want to go see Wheatley's latest feature, Sightseers, screening at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. We'll see you there--don't forget the carbonated dipping jam!

SIGHTSEERS Screening Times:
Tue., Sept. 11th, 9:00 PM RYERSON
Thurs., Sept. 13th, 12:00 PM RYERSON
Sun., Sept. 16th, 7:00 PM BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA

BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO sweeps awards at FrightFest

What a scream! London's FrightFest has just wrapped up and Peter Strickland's Berberian Sound Studio has collected all the top awards: Best Film, Best Actor (Toby Jones) and Best Director! Way to amp up my anticipation for this unique "giallo" homage.

Total Film has the full list of winners along with some photos.

  • Mon., Sept. 10th, 6:00 PM BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
  • Tue., Sept. 11th, 2:45 PM CINEPLEX YONGE & DUNDAS 3

SIGHTSEERS Poster and Trailer

Following up on the 2011 Midnight Madness favourite Kill List, director Ben Wheatley takes the sad-sack lovers of his new film -- Sightseers -- on a homicidal holiday. Yes, Tina and Chris' caravan vacation gets more than a little bloody. The Hollywood Reporter declares Sightseers as "the most consistently hilarious Brit-com for a good half-decade -- probably since Edgar Wright's Hot Fuzz," who also serves as Executive Producer on Wheatley's film.

Below are the poster and trailer for Sightseers, which plays the Toronto International Film Festival within the Vanguard programme.

Further information about Ben Wheatley's Sightseers can be found on the Festival website, as well as on the Sightseers website, Twitter accountFacebook page, and IMDB page.

SIGHTSEERS screening times:
  • Tues., Sept. 11, Ryerson Theatre 9:00 PM 
  • Thurs., Sept. 13, Ryerson Theatre 12:00 PM 
  • Sun., Sept. 16, The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema 7:00 PM