Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Farewell for Now, Sweet Vanguarders!

Here, Joe Swanberg represents the Muse Calliope.


On the occasion of closing of the Vanguard Programme Blog for the time being, we commissioned our own Sian Melton to write a series of interlinked haiku. ~The Editor

We had a great time
This TIFF was one of the best
Countless memories

We made friends in line
 We all said "arrrr" like pirates
And we skipped on sleep

So many good films
Especially from Vanguard
 Duh, obviously

This year, Joe Swanberg
our unofficial mascot
Yeah, he's really cool

 So until next year
These bloggers say "bye!"
 Broccoli hammer.

"Broccoli hammer," indeed. Thank you all and see you soon!

Vanguard, Sketched!

Jodorowsky's Dune

At his Tumblr page, Sketchy Musings, Francis Foster sketched images from films he saw at TIFF this year, including these four from the Vanguard Programme. Click through images from (and reviews of) all the films he saw at TIFF, as well as daily sketches.


Soul

The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears

The Fake

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Acquired Vanguard Films, High Five!

So TIFF is officially over. Womp, womp, womp. Yesterday was spent in denial--either sleeping or cleaning apartments or tying up any festival loose ends. But today, Tuesday, we all have to face the harsh reality that it's really over. Colin even cleaned his fridge; what is the world coming too?!

It's always bitter sweet when the Festival comes to an end, but we're quick to get excited again at the prospect of seeing some of our favourite Festival films out there in the world. So far, four of our Vanguard films were acquired either before or during the festival. Fingers crossed we won't have to wait too long before these ones hit the big (or small, depending on their distribution deal) screen.




Jeremy Saulnier's Blue Ruin was acquired by Radius - TWC for North American distribution after its premiere at Cannes and we couldn't be more excited for the rest of everyone see this deft, tense revenge story.



Alex van Warmerdam's Borgman was also picked up after Cannes by the always awesome Drafthouse Films for U.S. distribution--a perfect fit for the disturbingly dark and hilarious film, if we do say so ourselves.



Magnolia Pictures was wise to snatch up U.S. rights to Ti West's The Sacrament--news that we're sure had Ti West fans around the world rejoicing.



And if a terrifying docu-style movie about a cult isn't enough for you, IFC Midnight acquired the North American rights to Zack Parker's Proxy--a chilling, powerful thriller centred on a pregnant woman. (Best idea ever, but maybe also the scariest: screening a double feature of The Sacrament and Proxy.)



Lastly, even though it was technically in the Wavelengths Programme, we'll always love Ben Wheatley and we were pleased as punch to hear the psychedelic mind-trip A Field In England was also picked up for US distribution by Drafthouse Films last spring.

Congratulations to all of these Vanguard films and the rest of the films that were purchased during the Festival. There are still many films we're hoping gain distribution and we're sure you feel the same. We'll keep our fingers crossed if you do too.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

SAPI: Filipino Supernatural Threats!



With the last screening of Sapi today, you might want to brush up on your supernatural threats of the Philippines. Sure it might be all a media hoax, but still, who wants to be licked to death?

First up, spirit possession and soul loss. If you are placed in a frightening or startling situation, your soul could be knocked right out of you. Even more, if you have been rude or thoughtless or malicious or have just run across the wrong mangkukulam or bruha, (practitioner of black magic), you can get the whammy put on you and end up possessed. Spirit possession is a big problem.

In 2011, 56 students were possessed at Compostela National High School in the Philippines. (And this CNN article reporting on it is really asking for some whammy). In June, 2013, 22 elementary school students exhibited signs of spirit possession.

School administrators have suspended  classes in an elementary school in Mandaluyong City on Thursday after "evil spirits" possessed 20 students.
Report said some of the female students of Isaac Lopez Elementary  School on Barangay Vergara began yelling while others fainted inside the classroom.
Teachers rushed to the scene and tried to restrain the "possessed" students from hurting themselves, the report added.
After calming down, four of the students told the teachers that they saw images of a mother and a child. They also saw an image of a man in black clothes.
Due to the commotion, school officials decided to suspend classes for the whole day.
They had apparently been playing a divination game beforehand, but school principal Loida Matic reports that they were faking possession. Still, even if you feel you have a good hold on your soul,  be careful out there. The spirits of the jealous dead and malicious spirits (Hantu Demon) might just be thinking of moving in. Of course, there are several other supernatural threats to be aware of.

Manananggal in flight via here.

Dila:  A dila won't possess you, but it will lick you to death. Yes, to death. It is a tongue spirit and you know where it comes from? Through the floor. Possession isn't looking so bad, now, is it?

Membabarang: Female black magic practitioner who will make insects come out of you. (Note: Do not annoy a membabarang).

Manananggal: Sometimes also called or considered an aswang, a manananggal is a spirit, usually of a woman who died in childbirth, whose upper body flies around on wings, with viscera dangling, while her lower body remains in place as a roost. Manananggal hide out on the roofs of women in childbirth or pregnant women and try to eat the babies/fetuses by sticking their very long tongues through chinks in the roof and into the woman. Then they suck out the baby/fetus. So, ladies, keep your roofs patched!

Tiyanak: And also, you should probably not investigate any baby's crying you might here. Tiayanak are ghosts of dead babies who pretend to be cute, helpless babies left behind in the forest. Then they eat you. Of course, if you can't resist the pitiful cries of a baby, always keep a silver spike on hand for dealing with any tiyanak you encounter.

So, yeah. Be careful out there!
 
SAPI Final Screening:
Sunday, Sept 15th, 3:00 PM SCOTIABANK 14


The 2013 Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film goes to: ASPHALT WATCHES



Asphalt Watches wins the 2013 Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film and we at Vanguard couldn't be happier. Congratulations to Seth Scriver and Shayne Ehman!


FINAL SCREENING: We Gotta Get Out Of This Place



Today is the last screening of Simon and Zeke Hawkins, We Gotta Get Out Of This Place. 



My goodness, that was intense.
 
Sunday, Sept 15th, 9:00 PM SCOTIABANK 10

FINAL SCREENING: Sapi


Missed the premiere of Brillante Ma Mendoza's Sapi? You still have a chance to catch this deft mix of satire and horror today!

From Steve Gravestock's notes:
One of the masters of contemporary Philippine cinema, Brillante Ma Mendoza embarks on a very different course with his most recent film, the alternately hilarious and terrifying Sapi, a caustic media satire and horror film about the lengths news services will go to capture and capitalize on a story.
The film follows two competing television news teams as they chase a variety of leads, gradually zeroing in on an impending and possibly apocalyptic storm, and a middle-aged teacher who may or may not be possessed by a demon. Writer and actress Raquel Villavicencio plays the ruthless head of the top-rated network, coming off as a Tagalog variation on Faye Dunaway's fabled character in Network. Her team has eschewed covering politics in favour of triedand- true tabloid fodder: demonic possession.




SAPI Final Screening:
Sunday, Sept 15th, 3:00 PM SCOTIABANK 14

Saturday, September 14, 2013

WE GOTTA GET OUT OF THIS PLACE: Review Round Up!



Did you check out We Gotta Get Out Of This Place? Okay, did you check out what the Twitterverse said about it? Here are three wonderful reviews of the movie for your reading pleasure.

Deepayan Sengupta at Sound on Sight calls the dialogue in the film "deceptively smart" and the cinematography "particularly effective," adding that We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, "deftly veers between comedic moments and dramatic ones." He also has a lot of compliments for the cast, so be sure to read the whole thing for his insights.

Meanwhile, at Ain't It Cool, Copernicus (a.k.a. Andy Howell) says We Gotta Get Out Of This Place is "one of my favorite movies of 2013" and explains why: "This is exactly the kind of film that I was starting to think doesn’t get made anymore. A smart drama driven by a great script and strong characters without major stars to sell it." He goes on to praise everyone involved with the film, which you can read about in his full review.

"Zeke and Simon Hawkins display incredible talent here," raves Brian Marsh at Twitch film, "handling their actors with confidence, creating atmosphere you can taste and building incredible tension throughout." He calls the film "a crackling small town thriller that deserves to be sought out."

Those of you who saw and enjoyed the movie will no doubt be nodding your heads in agreement. For those who didn't (shame on you), we have good news, it's playing one more time.

WE GOTTA GET OUT OF THIS PLACE Final Screening:
Sunday, Sept 15th, 9:00 PM SCOTIABANK 10

PROXY: Distribution News, Interview, Review


Kristina Klebe REALLY wants you to see Proxy.
Have you heard? (No, not about Hugo and Kim. That's another movie.) Proxy was picked up for distribution by IFC! Even if you already heard the news, we're just so excited we had to share it again. Yep, IFC Midnight is planning a theatrical and VOD day-and-date release for Zack Parker's disturbing and memorable movie. I can vouch for that because I saw it a few days ago and I'm still thinking about it.

Dread Central has an interview with actress Kristina Klebe, who plays Annika in the film. Says Klebe, "I owe so much to Zack Parker for hand-picking me to play this part and believing I could pull it off."

She also adds "As a filmmaker and director, I am inspired by his methodology and hope to learn much more from him. As an actor, I simply want to be in every single one of his films."

Fangoria posted a thoughtful review of the film, saying, "The film keeps the audience guessing, and even though each revelation is deftly supported by calculated clues, the suspense remains terrifically palpable throughout, with any kind of pat psychological précis avoided in favour of a deliberately sustained ambiguity."


PROXY Final Screening:
Saturday, Sept 14th, 8:00 PM SCOTIABANK 9

THE CELESTIAL WIVES OF MEADOW MARI: Twitter Round Up!



Seems like people have enjoyed Alexei Fedorchenko's Celestial Wives of Meadow Mari. Don't believe us? Check out Twitter.

If that whole "Russian folklore" thing makes you question the appeal of this movie, you should check out this review from Trista Devries at Toronto Film Scene:

Whether this is subject matter you would normally find interesting or not, this is a stunningly beautiful film designed to help audiences participate in a gorgeous, dying culture.

See? Everyone wins.(And go read Siân's article on Russian folklore!)

THE STRANGE COLOUR OF YOUR BODY'S TEARS: Twitter and Review Round Up!



The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears is not a movie that can be easily explained. There have been both awestruck and overwhelmed reactions to the film--not surprising considering its over-the-top visuals and Last Year At Marienbad-style "narrative."

Here's a sampling of what folks have been saying on Twitter as well as choice quotes from some of our favorite reviews of the film.


"You have absolutely never seen anything like The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears."
--Anton Sirius, Ain't It Cool

"It's tempting to reference Strange Colour as a sort of neo-giallo, a term applied frequently to its predecessor. But it's not, really. It's something else, a strange new language that uses those familiar elements as their base while going off in some other direction."
--Todd Brown, Twitchfilm

"Lengthy passages are unrelated to any discernible narrative, and seem to exist in that interzone your mind travels through just before it goes to sleep. You may be familiar – it’s often the time when your leg twitches, heart skips a beat and you slam open your eyes again."
--Jordan Hoffman, Film.com

"The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears, a visual masterpiece that will confuse, confound, and hypnotize you as it’s one of the most visually extravagant explorations of the gaudy and grotesque ever committed to film . . . if you give into its lusty charms, you won’t be disappointed in its endless delights, surpassing the intensity of many titles it owes its existence to."
Nicholas Bell, Ion Cinema
 
"Cattet and Forzani treat the camera like a murder weapon, slashing it across rooms, penetrating characters' eyeballs in extreme close-ups, emphasizing the garish color schemes, and obscuring conversations with multiple split screens. They're not telling a story so much as transmitting hallucinations."
--Matt Barone, Complex Mag

"I don't think I can win here. I looooooooove The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears. Love. I'm in love, you guys. I'm not fucking around. I think it's one of the best horror movies I've ever seen."
--Travis Lee Bean, Film Colossus

For those of you planning to attend Austin's Fantastic Fest, there is great news! The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears will be screening there this year.



PROXY Twitter Round-Up!




Are you sitting at home right now wonder what you should do with yourself tonight? Laundry? Dude, that's lame--even for us. A restaurant? Ehhhhh. Food is alright. Know what's better than food, though?

THE FINAL SCREENING OF ZACK PARKER'S PROXY! Yes, that did need to be written all in caps. Deal with it.

Anywho, tonight is your last chance at the Festival to see the absolutely disturbing Proxy. Bring your mum! Bring your grandma! The whole family! And if--heaven forbid--you miss your chance tonight, the film was picked up for distribution from IFC Midnight. Super big congrats to Zack Parker and the entire Proxy crew; we here at the Vanguard blog couldn't be happier! Especially now because the rest of the world can soon experience the shocking, twisty tale for themselves.

Check out some of the Twittery thoughts and start planning your evening appropriately.

PROXY Final Screening time:
  • Saturday (TODAY, AUGH!), Sept 14, 8:00 PM SCOTIABANK 9



PROXY Final Screening:
Saturday, Sept 14th, 8:00 PM SCOTIABANK 9

Colin's Candid Pictures: A FIELD IN ENGLAND Director Ben Wheatley


Director Ben Wheatley at the premiere of A Field In England at the Ryerson last night.  Photograph courtesy of Vanguard progammer, Colin Geddes.

There is one more screening of A Field In England:

Saturday, Sept 14th, 9:00 PM TIFF Bell Lightbox 3

FINAL SCREENING: Proxy


Zack Parker's harrowing thriller Proxy has its last festival screening tonight.


See the poster and a behind the scenes video, here. And Parker talks with the Vanguard Blog's Sasha James:

SJ: Your 2011 film, SCALENE, and PROXY both deal with women recovering from grief after a vicious attack. Do you feel like female grief and retribution are underplayed in film? 

ZP: I think I just feel that women are more fascinating to watch. They seem to be able to portray a complexity and depth of emotion that you just don't typically see in men. 
I actually have three children and have been a stay-at-home dad for over eight years, so, I've been around a lot of young mothers at playgroups, birthday parties, etc. I should also mention that my writing partner Kevin Donner has been a stay-at-home dad for six years. So, we are both kind of immersed in this world of women, observing how they talk about their children, their lives, their husbands, each other. Proxy is basically a warped perspective of that world, greatly magnified and filtered through two damaged minds.  
More from that interview here.


PROXY Final Screening:
Saturday, Sept 14th, 8:00 PM SCOTIABANK 9

FINAL SCREENING: The Strange Colour Of Your Body's Tears!


Wake up, sleepy head!

Pull on your black leather driving gloves, get your eye make-up just right and hurry over to the Scotiabank because today is the final screening of The Strange Colour Of Your Body's Tears!




Saturday, Sept 14th, 12:30 PM SCOTIABANK 8

Friday, September 13, 2013

SOUL: Profile of Actor Jimmy Wang Yu


Jimmy Wang Yu (aka, Jimmy Wong in TIFF's programme notes) won a Best Actor award at the 2013  Taipei Film Awards for his role in Chung Mong-Hong's Soul, a film about a young man who might be possessed, might have lost his soul or might be mentally ill and what his father, played by Wang, will do to protect him. In a way, the highly aestheticized violence hearkens back to Wang's early career.


Wang got his start in the stylized swordsman cinema (wuxia pien) of The Shaw Bros. Studio.  He became a superstar in Chang Cheh's The One-Armed Swordsman (1967). And followed it up with other Shaw Bros. films such as Chang Cheh's The Golden Swallow (1968) with Cheng Pei-Pei, the Queen of Wuxia Pien.


Wang also helped bring kung fu, aka, "open fist," cinema to the world with The Chinese Boxer (1969), ushering in the films of Bruce Lee, David Chiang and Ti Lung while revealing which martial art is the supreme. (It's kung fu. It's always kung fu).


The popularity of The One-Armed Swordsman led to innumerable One-Armed Wang Yu movies, but I have a particular fondness for his show-down with Shintaro Katsu in, Zatoichi Meets The One Armed Swordsman (1971), co-produced by Taiwan's Golden Harvest and Katsu.


He also co-starred with George Lazenby in the Australian/Hong Kong co-production, The Man From Hong Kong (1975) directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith, director and Trailers From Hell commentator. This co-production didn't go so smoothly, and various members of the production reminisce not so fondly about Wang in the documentary about Australian genre film, Not Quite Hollywood (2008).



While he's made, directed, produced and/or written over eighty films, most of them were in the years between1960 and 1980. But he played the folk hero Wong Fei-Hung in Sammo Hung's Lunar New Year extravaganza, Millionaire's Express (1986) and had a role with Jackie Chan in the "ghost action nonsense comedy," aka, batshit amazing, Fantasy Mission Force (1983).  Most recently, Wang appeared in Wuxia/Dragon (2011) with Donnie Yen, Takeshi Kaneshiro and Kara Hui (Rigor Mortis) and Let's Go! (2011) with Juno Mak (Rigor Mortis).



SOUL Screening Times:
Monday, Sept 9th, 6:15 PM SCOTIABANK 11
Tuesday, Sept 10th, 6:15 PM SCOTIABANK 3
Saturday, Sept 14th, 12:00 PM SCOTIABANK 10

Friday's Last Screenings!



Thou Gild'st The Even, The Sacrament and People In Places all have their final Festival screenings tonight.

If you had the powers of the people in Thou Gild'st The Even, you could probably make all three!


THOU GILD’ST THE EVEN Screening Times:
Friday, Sept 13th, 7:00 PM SCOTIABANK 11


THE SACRAMENT Screening Times:
Friday, Sept 13th, 8:45 PM SCOTIABANK 3

PEOPLE IN PLACES Screening Times:
Friday, Sept 13th, 9:00 PM SCOTIABANK 4

A FIELD IN ENGLAND: 5 Questions with Director Ben Wheatley




Well, kids, it's that time of year again. Time for our annual 5 Questions with Director Ben Wheatley, that is! Siân had a lot of fun asking Mr. Ben Wheatley questions last year about his Vangurd film Sightseers and now she's back with round two for Wheatley's Wavelengths film, A Field in England.

//

SM: Watching A Field in England, I couldn't help but draw comparisons to Barry Lyndon and Witchfinder General. Did either of those films inspire yours? What drew you to doing a period piece in the first place? 

 BW: All Kubrick is an inspiration. Witchfinder is a similar period but not really an inspiration. History drew me to the period. It's a fascinating time.

SM: Just being on set--stuck in that field--must have been a surreal experience. Were there ever times when you started to doubt you'd bring it all together?

BW: No. Not really. It was a pretty good experience. I tend to be pretty happy when I'm shooting.

SM: In the last few years black and white films have experience quite a renaissance; films like The White Ribbon, Nebraska, Frances Ha, Blancanieves, and Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing, have embraced this aesthetic. Could you share some insight on why you think filmmakers are being drawn to this?

BW: For me Black and White makes you look at faces and texture. It funnels the amount of information the viewer receives. I can't speak for other film makers.

SM: The soundscape and music in the film are stunning and pretty much a character in their own right. Although this is a period film, the music is decidedly anachronistic, but it really enhances the films' otherworldliness. Did you play a large part in this process or was it all the invention of the composer?

BW: I play a large part in the music. I worked closely with Jim Williams on this score. I'm not a musician though. We talk about the score a lot then he demos it. I get the demos as stems then I make a rough mix of what I like from the stems. The score is then created from that.

SM: So far, each of your films has been wildly different than the last and often gives the audience an unexpected experience (for example, Sightseers starts off as a quirky British road comedy and evolves in to Natural Born Killers with sweaters). Has this been a conscious decision?

BW: Making an experience is a conscious decision. Every frame of a film is deliberated on. You see the films as different from each other. I see them as too similar to each other. I'm trying not to make the same film again and again. But it's hard.

//

We here at the Vanguard Blog are some of Wheatley's biggest fans and we're confident that whatever he does next will be mind-alteringly awesome. We just hope it's out in time for the Festival next year so we can have our third annual 5 Quesetions with Ben Wheatley. In the meantime, don't forget to check out A Field in England.

A FIELD IN ENGLAND Screening Times:
  • Friday, Sept 13, 9:00 PM RYERSON THEATRE
  • Saturday, Sept 14, 9:00PM TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 3



Thursday, September 12, 2013

SOUL: Press Round-Up!


The Wall Street Journal's "China Real Time Report" blog profiles director Chung Mong-Hong.


Taiwanese director Chung Mong-hong sees himself as a non-conformist.
In an era of Chinese-language romantic comedies, tear-jerkers, police dramas and lavish historical dramas, Mr. Chung says he doesn’t want to follow the crowd by making films with themes that are seen everywhere. 
The director, sitting in his studio in Taipei with a cigarette in one hand, says he draws inspiration from the works of American filmmaker David Lynch, director of Blue Velvet (1986) and Mulholland Drive (2001), and the late Japanese director Masaki Kobayashi, who thrived on dissecting sensitive and controversial subjects. 
“If you liken the movie to a house when you watch a Kobayashi movie,” Mr. Chung says, “you feel like you are inside a very serious and solemn home, and you automatically want to sit up straight at the edge of your chair.”


Exclaim.ca's Scott A. Gray reviews his film, Soul.

A uniquely moving and disturbing picture, Soul uses surreal cinematic poetry to postulate schizophrenia as a disassociation of the spirit. Taiwan's Chung Mong-Hong (The Fourth Portrait) is an accomplished visionary capable of balancing a calculated use of technical ability with instinctual artistry, as demonstrated throughout this emotionally gripping and consistently stimulating film.

SOUL Final Screening:
Saturday, Sept 14th, 12:00 PM SCOTIABANK 10


Composer Profile: Jonathan Keevil of WE GOTTA GET OUT OF THIS PLACE



If you were at this past weekend's Festival screenings of We Gotta Get Out of This Place, you probably noticed the striking score. Even if you weren't there, you probably noticed--because it's just that good. Jonathan Keevil, composer extraordinaire of Bellflower fame also worked on this spectacular film.

Name doesn't ring a bell? (Aha, pun TOTALLY intended.) Well, before we continue, we insist that you watch Bellflower. Immediately. Go on; we'll wait. Here's the trailer if you need any more convincing:



We're going to assume that it's a few hours later and your mind is expectedly blown wide open from the amazingness that is Bellflower. And how about that score, eh?



Jonathan Keevil (who we hear rumour is Canadian--only a "rumour" because sometimes the Internet can't be trusted but in this case we hope it's true) found his way to California after film school and joined up with the Coatwolf team just as they were getting ready to go in to production for Bellflower. He worked as a camera operator and editor; it was only by accident that director Evan Glodell discovered some samples of his music and deciding they were a perfect fit for the film, a composer was born.

And the townspeople rejoiced! Huzzah!



Keevil's score for We Gotta Get Out of This Place is just as fantastically eerie and is the perfect companion for the pulp fiction inspired story. And what else has Keevil been up to lately? Oh, just successfully crowd-funding the next Coatwolf production. It's a totally low-key, simple, no bells and whistles kind of story.


HA. AS F**KING IF. Chuck Hank and the San Diego Twins is a full-frontal, balls to the wall, assault on the senses.There will be car chases! Explosions! Jumping off of things! Epic fight scenes! More explosions! DID WE MENTION EXPLOSIONS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?! All of the important players are back: Jonathan Keevil (awesome director, writer, composer), Evan Glodell (fantabulastic producer, actor), Tyler Dawson (fantasmic actor), Joel Hodge (should-have-won-that-Spirit-Award cinematographer), and the Medusa (the most bar-ass car around). The story revolves around a turf-war and is a throwback to eighties action movies and fighting games.

The team only just went in to production this week, but we're hoping time goes by incredibly fast so we can see the finished result soon. Until then, enjoy Keevil's score in the gripping We Gotta Get Out of This Place.


WE GOTTA GET OUT OF THIS PLACE Final Screening Time:
  • Sunday, Sept 15th, 9:00 PM SCOTIABANK 10

This Ain't Your Grandma's Animation, Kids!

This is a pretty rad year for the Vanguard Programme on account of the fact that two animated films are being featured: Asphalt Watches and The Fake. That's one more than one! Amazing! Some people might think that animated films are just for children but, hey, adults love animated films too. And there are animated films that are geared toward children and ones that are most definitely--definitely!--not. To celebrate our love of animation, we've put together a little list of some of our favourite "off-beat" animators and animations. This ain't your grandma's animation, kids! Whatever that means.



Don Hertzfeldt

If nobody has shouted, "My spoon is too big!" at you yet, then you clearly aren't hanging out with the right people. Hertzfeldt's animation is most often hand-drawn stick figures and features very dark humour. He is most known Rejected, an animated short that Hertzfeldt presented as a reel of rejected commercial work from the fictional Family Learning Channel. The short went on to win a million-bajillion (really) awards and was even nominated for an Academy Award. Most importantly, it's given us all a reason to shout, "I AM A BANANA!" More recently, Hertzfeldt released It's Such A Beautiful Day, a feature length animated film comprised of the three chapters of his trilogy that had been released in year's prior to great reviews and even more millions of billions of awards. If you haven't seen it yet, we insist you purchase yourself a copy to watch immediately. The film follows a delightful little stick figure named Bill. Bill is not doing alright though; he's losing his mind. We promise you'll never look at supermarket produce the same way ever again.

The makers of these are the right people ~The Editor.




A Town Called Panic (Panique au Village)

If bananas and spoons aren't weird enough for you, how about a stop-motion animated series about Cowboy, Horse, and Indian as they're going about their daily lives in a small rural town. As you probably guessed Cowboy is a cowboy and Horse is a horse and, yeah, you get the idea. The series, out of Belgium, is a sort of stop-motion animation called puppetoon. The difference between classic stop-motion and puppetoon is that in the latter, the puppets don't have moving parts and therefore many are needed to create the animation. In 2009, a spinoff feature-length film premiered at Cannes Film Festival, later at the Toronto International Film Festival's Midnight Madness Programme, and won the Audience Award at Fantastic Fest. Obviously Cannes knew what was what as there is nothing more adorable than a horse taking a shower.

Fun facts: it took almost 260 days and 1500 plastic toys to create the 75 minute film.




Jiří Barta

Since we're on a roll with stop-motion animation, we bring you now to Jiří Barta, a Czech stop-motion animator. He is known for his distinctive art design. In 1983 his short film The Vanished World of Gloves (Zaniklý svet rukavic) gained attention for its multiple styles of animation and use of gloves to tell the actual history of film. The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1986) was an adaption on the classic tale. Shot using wooden puppets, the feature length film is a darker, almost grotesque, telling of the classic and was artistically inspired by German Expressionism. It screened in the Un Certain Regard category at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival. After attempting to fund a feature length film in the 1990s, Barta released a stop-motion family-friendly film called Toys in the Attic (Na půdě aneb Kdo má dneska narozeniny?). It was very well-received and won awards at many of the festivals where it screened.


Brothers Quay

What's better than one animator? Twin brother animators! Yeah! Stephen and Timothy Quay, who go by Brothers Quay, are stop-motion animators. Their films are known for being dark and moody and often feature puppets made from assorted doll parts. CREEPY. Their best known work might be their 1986 short film Street of Crocodiles, which was nominated for the Palme D'Or for Animated Short Film at the Cannes Film Festival. More notably, director Terry Gilliam named it one of the top ten best animated films of all time. The brothers' keen artistic eye has lead them to production design for stage and opera productions and even got them a Tony nomination and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Set Design for the 1998 revival of The Chairs.



Hayao Miyazaki

We can't talk about animation without mentioning Hayao Miyazaki. Especially given that The Fake director Yeon Sang-ho lists him as an inspiration. If you don't recognize Miyazaki's name right away, perhaps you'll recognize the name of the animation studio he cofounded: Studio Ghibli. Miyazaki was considered a master animator and storyteller for years in Japan, winning awards for films like My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service, but it wasn't until the release of 1997's Princess Mononoke in the United States by Mirimax that he started to gain attention state-side. Princess Mononoke was the first animated film to win Best Film from the Awards of the Japanese Academy. After Princess Mononoke, everybody and their grandmother was all over Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli--with good reason. Miyazaki went on to create 2001's acclaimed hit Spirited Away, 2004's Howl's Moving Castle, and 2008's Ponyo. If you haven't seen at least one of these, just stop right now and fix that. Miyazaki, much to the disappointment of the entire world (seriously) recently announced his retirement and that his last film will be The Wind Rises.



Satoshi Kon

Yeun Sangho (director of The Fake) cited Hayao Miyazaki as an influence, but he also is influenced by the work of Satoshi Kon. Kon died in 2010 at the very young age of 46, but he left an amazing body of work behind, including: Perfect Blue (1998), Millennium Actress (2001), Tokyo Godfathers (2003) (an adaptation of the Western, Three Godfathers), and Paprika (2006) and the anime tv series, Paranoia Agent (2004). Impressive, given his age, and also tragic, given his age. Kon got his start working in manga, moved into scriptwriting for animators like Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira) before directing his own stories. Kon's films capture the often indistinguishable line between the internal and external worlds of his characters.

Now, some of these might not be "off-beat" enough for everyone (although we find the Quay Brothers' dolls just down-right terrifying), but we're hoping this little taste of off-beat/interesting/different/whatever animation has gotten you interested in exploring the wide, wonderful world of animation. And you know what a good place to start is? With the Festival's Asphalt Watches and The Fake. (YES! Five points to Vanguard for the best segue ever!)

ASPHALT WATCHES Screening Times:
Thursday, Sept 12th, 8:45 PM SCOTIABANK 13

Friday, Sept 13th, 2:15 PM SCOTIABANK 4

THE FAKE Screening Times:

Friday, Sept 13th, 3:00 PM SCOTIABANK 3

Vanguard and Midnight Madness Directors at the CN Tower!


Directors Joe Begos (Almost Human) and Juno Mak (Rigor Mortis
go through security at the CN Tower.


Where they have a lunch in the sky with many other directors: 
Joseph Begos, Zack Parker (Proxy), Simon Hawkins (We Gotta Get Out Of This Place), Juno Mak, Zeke Hawkins (also, We Gotta Get Out Of This Place), Vanguard and MM Programmer Colin Geddes,
Eli Roth (The Green Inferno), and Marvin Kren (The Station)


Mike Flanagan (Oculus), Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin) and Colin's assistant Peter Kuplowsky 
are sad because they were late for lunch in the sky.



PROXY Screening Times:
Thursday, Sept 12th, 5:00 PM SCOTIABANK 1
Saturday, Sept 14th, 8:00 PM SCOTIABANK 9

RIGOR MORTIS Screening Times:
Friday, Sept 13th, 6:00 PM SCOTIABANK 9


THE STATION Final Screening:
Friday, Sept 13th, 9:15 PM SCOTIABANK 9

ALMOST HUMAN Final Screening:
Friday, Sept 13th, 2:30 PM SCOTIABANK 9


OCULUS Final Screening:
Sunday, Sept 15th, 6:00 PM SCOTIABANK 11

WE GOTTA GET OUT OF THIS PLACE Final Screening:
Sunday, Sept 15th, 9:00 PM SCOTIABANK 10

WE GOTTA GET OUT OF THIS PLACE Street Art


Keep an eye out for this We Gotta Get Out Of This Place street art. Photograph by Vanguard programmer, Colin Geddes.


Sunday, Sept 15th, 9:00 PM SCOTIABANK 10

Indiewire Interviews Bruce LaBruce: GERONTOPHILIA



 One of my favorite movie websites, Indiewire, has just posted a great interview with Bruce LaBruce on his new film Gerontophilia. If our Twitter round up and LaBruce profile didn't make you want to see the movie, you must read this interview.

Here's an excerpt from the interview:

As it starts screening, what’s your dream reaction? What do you want people to take from this that would make you the happiest?
Part of the point of making it for me was to work in a more mainstream form and still try to be a little subversive, for lack of a better word. Because the film is so gentle and kind of straightforward the message is less obvious than my other films. So I hope that it works out both ways. That it works as more mainstream entertainment but also has a slightly radical message.

Read the rest of the interview on Indiewire. Gerontophilia has one more showing at the Festival.

GERONTOPHILIA Final Screening!

Friday, Sept 13th, 12:15 PM SCOTIABANK 3

Last Call: BORGMAN!


After you finish your lovely lunch in the bathtub, head on out to the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema for the last screening of Borgman at 3pm!

Reminder, it's Borgman, not Manborg.

This is Manborg.

Manborg does not look bathtub safe.

Okay? Okay.


BORGMAN Final Screening:
Thursday, Sept 12th, 3:00 PM THE BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Russian Folklore, Inspired by CELESTIAL WIVES OF THE MEADOW MARI



We're beyond excited for tonight's premiere screening of The Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari. Inspired by the Mari people, the film explores pagan folklore and culture. We got inspired ourselves to learn a little more about some of the most prominent characters in Russian folklore and have compiled them together in a handy-dandy list.



Probably just best to stay out of the woods, guys.
Baba-Yaga

Baba-Yaga might be one of the most famous of Russian folklore characters. Sometimes she is portrayed as being so old and bent over, her nose nearly touches the floor. She is said to have iron teeth (you know, for eating people) and a long, long nose (uh, for smelling?). She's too cool for a broomstick and instead choses to travel on a mortar and pestle. (A broom is probably easier, but to each their own.) She has a hut in the middle of the woods surrounded by a fence of bones--part fantastic decorating (bone goes with everything) and part to scare away intruders. But don't worry--she isn't all bad. Sometimes she's actually helpful. Sometimes.


Hide your sisters, hide your wives, hide your daughters. 
Koschei the Deathless

You may be thinking to yourself, what's so bad about being deathless? Sure, Koschei can't be killed by normal means. That's awesome! Right? Well, Koeschei also has a habit of kidnapping heroes' wives and otherwise being a nuisance to women. Not cool! Except, in order to kill him, you have to find his soul, which he keeps separate from his body for safe keeping. Where is it? Oh, it's just inside a needle, which is in an egg. And that egg is inside a duck and the duck is inside a hare. And the hare is inside an iron chest. But just to make it even harder, that chest is buried under a tree. A tree on an island in the middle of the ocean, that is!


Seriously. We want our own Humpbacked Pony, please and thank you.

Konyok Gorbunok

Konyok Gorbunok or the Humpbacked Pony comes from a famous Russian poem of the same name, written in the early 1800s. Okay, it may not be as old as some other Russian folklore, but it's just as awesome. And plus, there's a pony. The story goes, Ivan the Fool is gifted a pony with two humps on his back and told that this pony will be a loyal and lifelong companion. Ivan is pretty stoked because he's always wanted a friend. He and the Humpback Pony end up going on a magical adventure together. Now we want our own Humpback Pony friend.


So effin' cute! Uh, we didn't mean to swear. HONEST.

Domovoi

A domovoi is a little house spirit. How cute, right? (We want one!) They're sometimes portrayed as being small and covered in hair all over and other sometimes have little horns. A domovoi is considered the guardian of the house and will often help out with tasks like laundry and cleaning. (We really want one!) He will do no evil unless provoked by an ill-kept house,profane language, or neglect. (Uh, that's okay. We don't need one after all.)

Totally just like The Little Mermaid for guys.
Vodyanoy 

Because we know the dudes out there all dream about being a mermaid ("Mer-man! Mer-MAN!") as much as the ladies do, we'll end with the Vodyanoy, a male water spirit. Tales tell of him appearing as an old man with a greenish beard, long hair, and a body covered in fish scales, algae, and muck. That might not sound that scary, but he's been known to cause quite a bit of trouble when angered: breaking dams, washing out bridges, oh and drowning people. And if he isn't drowning people, he's dragging them down to his underwater dwelling to be his slaves.

We're hoping that you've been inspired by this little--so little!--taste of Russian folklore to get out there and do some reading on your own. Oh, and definitely check out Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari.

CELESTIAL WIVES OF MEADOW MARI Screening Times:
  • Wednesday, Sept 11th, 7:00 PM TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 4
  • Thursday, Sept 12th, 9:15 PM TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 2
  • Saturday, Sept 14th, 9:30 AM SCOTIABANK 8