Monday, August 27, 2012

Director Profile: Ben Wheatley (KILL LIST)

If you type "Ben Wheatley" into the Google search engine, you might end up thinking he is a pirate. But more importantly than maybe being a pirate, he definitely is a filmmaker. And a good one at that.

Wheatley started off his career by winning at the Internet. Unless you're a cat or coming home from the dentist, winning at the Internet is not easily accomplished, but Wheatley managed to create a name for himself with viral videos (most of which can still be found on his website). After winning at the Internet, Wheatley moved on to winning at TV, working with the likes of the BBC and Modern Toss.

In 2009, Wheatley directed his first feature film, Down Terrace. Co-written with and starring Robin Hill, the dry and hilarious crime film went on to win the Raindance Award at the 2009 British Independent Film Awards and the Next Waves Awards for Best Feature. Did we mention it was also shot in just eight days? Yeah: wow.

If you're part of the Festival's Midnight Madness club (note: must provide own beach ball), you're no stranger to Wheatley's second feature film, Kill List. Dark and unforgivingly terrifying, Kill List was a hit at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. And everywhere else it screened, for that matter. Co-written with his wife and collaborator, Amy Jump, the film has been lauded as "the best British genre film in years". Also, it will totally give you nightmares.

This year, the Toronto International Film Festival is welcoming Wheatley back with his third feature film, Sightseers. Another black comedy, Sightseers follows a drab couple, Chris and Tina, on a lovely caravanning holiday. How sweet, right? Wrong. The holiday takes a turn for the worse. And while "turn for the worst" on a holiday usually just means shouting about whether or not you should have taken that left back there, this is the sort of "turn for the worst" that involves a lot of bloodshed. And given the unpredictable twists of Kill List, we can't wait to see what happens on a holiday when Ben Wheatley is directing it.

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

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