Submit! Submit! Submit! 18 days left!   Leave a comment

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At Toronto Youth Shorts we care about having a lot of great content to show. We don’t just want the best films the GTA has to offer, we need them. All of them. It’s not a matter of festival greediness, but a matter of recognition and encouragement for local talent. We exist not only to showcase films, but to also provide opportunities to enthusiastic emerging filmmakers and first-time storytellers.

Industry judging and filmmaker prizes – it’s what we provide to make a worthwhile festival experience. Past judges have featured the likes from of Academy Award nominated animator Peter Sander to  Norman Wilner of Now Magazine (see even more here). For prizes, entrants have had the chance to win equipment rentals, studio rentals, festival passes, and filmmaking courses all to put towards their next piece.

With our May 2nd submissions deadline approaching (19 days away), we encourage you to act now! Learn how to submit here. As hard as we work, our festival is only as good as its films. We’ll be scouring local showcases in the coming weeks looking to meet new emerging filmmakers such as yourself, and we’re going to do our best to make sure you’re excited to meet us.

Posted April 14, 2014 by TYSFF in Advice to Filmmakers, Festival

TIFF Kids Brings Cinema to Young Filmgoers   Leave a comment

 

TIFF Kids brings a range of films, exhibits, and workshops to entertain kids and parents.

TIFF continues to engage with children through the various events and programs they hold year-round. As technology evolves, children are becoming active users and TIFF provides an excellent platform for them to utilize their creativity and curiosity in a cinematic atmosphere.

The TIFF Kids International Film Festival takes place April 8-12 and offers a range of Canadian and international films that children can enjoy and relate to. Check out the trailer to view their excellent line up of films

The digiPlaySpace is another example of how TIFF engages and teaches children about emerging media technologies. The fun and interactive environment allows them to learn and share their artistic experience with family and friends.

It is great for kids to learn more about cinema and be interested in actively involving in some way. It contributes to their imagination and provides them with different perceptions. I hope that TIFF continues to extend their kids programming and I look forward to seeing what next year will bring.

- Michelle

The Televised Cinematic   Leave a comment

agent2Some of the most critically-acclaimed scripted television programs have been cable dramas because they don’t adhere to the same network formula of standalones, sweeps, specific hiatuses, etc.  They are more flexible with their episode count, length, and they tell an organic story rather than shoehorning certain elements (the obligatory Thanksgiving episode, the cost-cutting bottle episode, climaxes happening at certain points after sweeps etc).

However, it seems that traditional networks are taking notice and are changing or adapting in order to stay relevant, especially with the vocalized trend of binge-watching thanks to Netflix.  Fox did this with 24 by airing all episodes in a single run.  ABC has done this with Lost.  Even our own national broadcaster, the CBC, is commissioning program that’s “very raw” and “sophisticated” such as Strange Empire to break out of the traditional family programming mold.

Those who saw last night’s episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will notice the ever integration of the show into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Besides numerous references to The Avengers and Iron Man 3, they tied specific episodes and their air dates so it coincides with Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  Warner Brothers and DC Comics are also doing something similar, introducing the Flash in this season of Arrow as a backdoor pilot as some incarnation of the character will undoubtedly be a part of the eventual Justice League that their films seem to be hinting toward.

Television and cinema are becoming more and more blurred.  The advent of Netflix has made it so watching a traditional television show is no longer necessarily a week to week affair.  Even from a production standpoint, the lines between content is becoming increasingly harder to define.  Steven Spielberg has stated that Lincoln almost became a HBO production instead of a theatrical release.

What I’ve noticed is that the students from television/broadcasting schools in the GTA, like Centennial College and Ryerson’s Radio and Television program, are producing more and more “cinematic” work and a lot of traditional film school students, such as those from York or Humber, are using television as inspiration, creating online episodics complete with a pitch pilot.  Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t – thanks to The Office, we’re getting an increasingly higher number of lazy films that likes to present themselves as “funny mockumentaries.”

It will be interesting to see what comes out of these continuously blurred lines between the two screen mediums and this doesn’t even account for more and more of those who are producing online content.

-Henry

Prop Culture: Wes Anderson and the Price of Fancy   1 comment

tumblr_muvmv3nenL1qa7ne1o1_500Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” stars a laundry list of big names: Ralph Fiennes, Willem Dafoe, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, and Bill Murray to name a few. But there are two integral names you may not have heard of.

The film’s lynchpin “Boy With Apple” is not actually a Renaissance masterpiece by artist Johannes Van Hoytl The Younger (gasp!), but a hero prop painted by contemporary English artist Michael Taylor, and achingly endured by a modern day child. We can all thank the tweenaged Ed Munro for swapping his smart phone for produce in the name of art.

Reading an interview with Taylor and Munro on TheWeek.com, I began seriously considering  this notion of “fictional” art. Of course the painting is a part of Wes Anderson’s vast and seemingly never ending internal universe, but it also exists in the real world. “I realized,” said Taylor, “that maybe he wanted something that felt like it might have existed, but in some slightly parallel place.” As it turns out, this type of object, one that straddles fiction and reality, may be as priceless as the painting it was created to represent.

A single Sports Almanac used in Back to the Future sold at auction for $15,000. Marty McFly’s iconic jacket sold for $75,000, and a replica of the Delorean sold for a whopping $95K. An internet wormhole of research led me to a show called Hollywood Treasure, where a man named Joe Maddalena and a team of “investigators” (a well-rounded mix of movie nerds and sexy “communications consultants”) scour the globe for Hollywood’s most lucrative artifacts. Don’t be fooled by the show’s TMZ-like format — a single, broken Mockingjay Pin from the Hunger Games can be sold for $2000 and auctioned for a lot more.

My theory is that the ephemeral nature of Hollywood means that people will pay big bucks to get their hands on a concrete piece of its history. Or maybe we hold on to these pieces as a chance to play in the places we escape to.

Neither Michael Taylor or Ed Munro have seen “Boy With Apple” since it was handed over to Budapest’s production two years ago: “[The original "Boy with Apple"] could be anywhere. One of the charms of making paintings is that you create this thing, and then send it out into the world where it has to make its own way.”

Only time will tell how much “Boy With Apple” will eventually be worth. The most valuable objects tend to be icons of alternate realities (think Harry Potter or Star Wars), things that become meaningful once they have tumbled around in the moss of other worlds. I think the all-encompassing theme park of Wes Anderson’s mind will be worth the price of admission.

-  Maggie Clapperton

 

 

Trying to Find Vivian Maier   Leave a comment

I cannot comment on Finding Vivian Maier, because I have not seen it. But I can say that Finding Vivian Maier is a documentary by directors John Maloof and Charlie Siskel that delves into the life and mystery of the late American street photographer, Vivian Maier.

I first read about Vivian Maier in the newspapers, and her story captivated me. She was a recluse who worked as a nanny, and took photographs as a hobby.

Her photographs remained hidden and unseen, until boxes containing nearly 100,000 negatives—many undeveloped—were discovered by John Maloof. Maloof acquired them from an auction house that received the negatives after the contents of Maier’s unpaid storage locker were sold. Luckily, her images ended up in the right hands. Maloof saw something in her photos. Needles to say, Maier had talent, and her work has caught the eye of many around the world.

Her photos are intimate and perceptive. She uses oblique angles, reflections and shadows to create images that are dynamic and somewhat haunting. I had the pleasure of seeing some of her images at Stephen Bulger Gallery this past summer (2013) in a show entitled Out of the Shadows. They were stunning.

Indeed, Maier has come out of the shadows. But it is her personal life, and her mystique that I find really intriguing. Her devotion to photography, and yet the fact that she kept her photos a secret is something many artists would find unfathomable. And this is why I want to see Finding Vivian Maier; I want to know more about her. Apparently I’m not the only one. I tried to see the film last weekend at TIFF Bell Lightbox. I arrived half an hour early, only to find that it was sold out. So, until I go back and try again (which I will), Vivian Maier will remain a mystery to me. I’m guessing she’d be okay with this.

Finding Vivian Maier is playing at the TIFF Bell Lightbox until April 10th.

- By Sarah Gladki

The Pink Panther – 50th Anniversary   Leave a comment

A celebration of the child inside us all, the original cool cat returns to the big screen for the 50th Anniversary of the Pink Panther cartoons this month as part of the TIFF Kids International Film Festival. Originally screened as an animated title sequence preceding the classic Peter Sellers comedy, The Pink Panther animations have since enchanted and captivated generations as ubiquitously recognized as it’s theme music by Mancini. 

The Pink Phink cartoon creators David H. DePatie and Friz Freleng, with Freleng as director, went on to win an Academy Award for best Animated Short Film in 1964. As an American animator, cartoonist and director Frelang’s early work for the Warner Bros. Studios included Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies. As Warner Brothers animation studio closed, by 1969 Frelang and partner David H. DePatie went on to produce a series of theatrical animated shorts broadcast on Saturday mornings known as The Pink Panther Show.

Sure to bring out your inner kid, you can check out The Pink Panther – 50th Anniversary for yourselves on Saturday April 12th and Sunday April 13th screening at TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St West.

-Sara Alexandra 

 

 

More bad news for Toronto bookstore lovers.   Leave a comment

The iconic Chapters/Cineplex combo at the corner of John and Richmond.

The iconic Chapters/Cineplex combo at the corner of John and Richmond.

As someone who completed a double major in Theatre & Film and English studies, an appreciation for cinema and an appreciation for literature are very much intertwined for me. Thanks to some very convenient locations, I have often been able to satisfy both of these artsy interests at virtually the same time.

Such is the case at the corner of John and Richmond in downtown Toronto. Passersby are sure to notice the enormous cube on top of the building which houses both the 13-screen Scotiabank Theatre and a 3-storey Chapters, side by side. It is a great setup, and many times when I have been waiting for a movie to start, I would head next door and peruse the selections at the bookstore.

But no longer. Chapters Indigo announced this week that their John and Richmond location will close on May 30th. This is the latest blow for Toronto bibliophiles, on the heels of the closures of Book City, World’s Biggest Bookstore, and the Chapters at Bloor and Runnymede, amongst others. While I lament the loss of the John and Richmond Chapters, I also worry about the future of the smaller community bookstores. On numerous occasions, I have found some hidden gems and hard-to-find classics when browsing through a quaint little bookshop.

Are bookstores disappearing? For that matter, are books? Others assure me that the latter isn’t the case, and they’re probably right. I’m sure actual, paper books will be around for many years… they’ll just only be available online. Yes, it is often cheaper and more convenient to do it this way, but I can’t help thinking that some day I will grow wistful for the bookstores of old. Devices like e-readers are quite nifty, but I’ve never felt compelled to invest in one; I guess I’m a bit old-fashioned when it comes to my reading habits. Perhaps this is an approach that I will re-evaluate in the future… only time will tell.

Meanwhile, I’m going to need to find some other way to kill time in the John and Richmond area when I go to the Scotiabank Theatre. Any suggestions?

 

-Dan Bulmer

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