Great Canadian Film Clips

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Friday, October 15, 2010

From LINC to the Hockey Rink

Hello again from your friends at REEL CANADA. I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving weekend. Mine was certainly uneventful, but whatever. It's been a busy week in the REEL offices. Our LINC event at the TIFF Bell Lightbox theatre is so close we can almost touch it.

In other Canadian film news, Michael McGowan's new film Score: A Hockey Musical opens next Friday. Score was the opening night selection at TIFF this past September and has been gaining buzz in both film and sports circles. Let's all hope the film does better than the Leafs have in recent seasons. Am I right people?! Kidding, I don't know much about hockey. I assume Messier and Gretzky are still playing out in Edmonton.

Make sure you check out the trailer for Score and take a look at what the National Post had to say about this musical adventure on ice.

Michael McGowan is also the director of popular REEL CANADA film selection One Week. If you haven't already, make sure to check out this touching road movie starring Joashua Jackson (Fringe) and featuring a great homegrown sountrack.

Until next week young cinephiles. That's right, we're doing this every week now.



- Andrew

Saturday, October 09, 2010

New films for 2010-2011

As promised, here's a list of the new films we added to the REEL CANADA catalogue this year. They're also up on our website, so check there for clips and trailers. Soon, we'll be announcing the first of the film selections for our fall events. Stay tuned!

DEFENDOR
Directed by Peter Stebbings

By day, Arthur Poppington (Woody Harrelson) is a regular guy who works at a construction site, but by night he is Defendor, a costumed crime fighter who keeps Hamilton safe from his arch nemesis, Captain Industry, with inventive weapons like jars of angry hornets, marbles, and a club from World War One.

With a homemade costume and a crude “D” duct-taped to his chest, Defendor has no special powers but he’s dedicated to protecting the streets nonetheless. He battles a corrupt cop (Elias Koteas), befriends the tough and streetwise Kat (Kat Dennings) and schemes to bring down a local mob boss, all while a court-appointed psychiatrist (Sandra Oh) tries to get to the bottom of his conviction that he is a superhero.

Defendor turns the superhero genre on its head, and the result is a bittersweet and emotionally affecting take on our comic book-obsessed culture.


INSIDE HANA'S SUITCASE
Directed by Larry Weinstein

Based on the internationally acclaimed book Hana’s Suitcase, this poignant documentary tells the tale of George and Hana Brady, two young children who grew up in pre-WWII Czechoslovakia, and the terrible hardships they had to endure because they were Jewish.

When Fumiko Ishioka, a teacher in Japan, requests some artifacts from a Holocaust museum to help illustrate the history of WWII to her students, one of the items she receives is a suitcase with Hana Brady’s name on it. As she and her students unravel Hana’s story, the film seamlessly transports us through 70 years of history, back and forth across three continents.


INVISIBLE CITY
Directed by Hubert Davis

A powerful, intimate documentary set in the housing project of Toronto’s Regent Park, Invisible City follows two childhood friends, Kendell and Mikey, who face many challenges while growing up in single-parent homes in the inner city.

Academy Award nominated director Hubert Davis follows the two young men over three years, setting this intimate portrait against the backdrop of a community in transition; the Regent Park housing projects are about to be torn down, and it is unclear whether the redevelopment will result in a brighter future for the residents.

Social pressures tempt the young men to make poor choices, while their mothers and families root for them to succeed. Davis doesn’t provide easy answers to the problems at hand. Instead, he shows the real uncertainty and unpredictability in the young men’s lives.


REEL INJUN
Directed by Neil Diamond

An enlightening documentary about the way First Nations people have been depicted in film from the silent era to the present day. Hollywood has made over 4000 films about Native people, defining the way they are seen by the world. Chock full of clips from hundreds of films, and packed with interviews with famous Native and non-Native actors, directors and writers, Reel Injun is an entertaining and insightful look at how the powerful medium of film both reflects and influences culture.

Director Neil Diamond goes on the road in what he affectionately refers to as his ‘Rez car’ and brings the audience on a trip through time to explore the history of the “Hollywood Indian”. Never losing his sense of humour, Diamond offers a refreshing, candid and personal analysis, tracing how these cinematic images have shaped and influenced the understanding of their culture and history.


TAQWACORE: THE BIRTH OF PUNK IN ISLAM
Directed by Omar Majeed

The word Taqwacore is taken from a novel by Michael Muhammad Knight, The Taqwacores, his book (combining “taqwa”, an Arabic word for God-consciousness, with “hardcore”), about a group of young Islamic punk rockers, received a lot of attention among young North American Muslims and inspired the creation of an actual Muslim punk scene.

The first half of Majeed’s documentary deals with this burgeoning scene as a group of bands travel together touring the American countryside. Young, disaffected and secular, these musicians are caught between two worlds – the Islamic culture they come from, and the western culture in which they are coming of age.


THE TROTSKY
Directed by Jacob Tierney

Leon Bronstein (Jay Baruchel) isn’t an average Montreal high school student. For one thing, he’s convinced that he is the reincarnation of early 20th century Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky. When his father (Saul Rubinek) sends Leon to public school as punishment for starting a hunger strike at his clothing factory, Leon becomes determined to live out his destiny as the new Trotsky.

Leon sets out to change the world, immediately butting heads with his new principal (Colm Feore). Getting his apathetic peers to stand up to the school’s repressive administration proves more difficult than Leon first imagines, leading him to resort to some extreme and often hilarious tactics.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

REEL CANADA THINKS INSIDE THE BOX

Lightbox that is...


A new season of REEL CANADA is upon us. This Fall we kick things off with a special event at the brand new TIFF Bell Lightbox. On Monday Octyober 25th, as part of ESL Week, REEL CANADA will welcome LINC students from across the city to a program of Canadian features and shorts at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.


Located at the corner of King and John, boasting five floors of screens, the TIFF Bell Lightbox is unlike anything else as a dedicated space for cinema. I had the opportunity to check out the building first hand during a TIFF press screening of A Beginner's Guide to Endings. The film stars Harvey Keitel, Scott Caan and J.K. Simmons, and marks the directorial debut of Citizen Duane screenwriter Jonathan Sobol.


Beyond LINC, we have a number of events planned with high schools across Ontario and British Columbia this fall, so check back often to see if your school is participating. We hope to see a lot of enthusiastic, young cinephiles over the next few months.


Further reading: Check out this Toronto Star article by Kate Taylor on the state of Canadian film and culture titled Is a national Canadian culture important? If so, what would it be?