The Fruit Machine

Spotlight on Canadian Films - OCanFilmFest

On November 28th, 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a formal apology in the House of Commons on behalf of the Canadian government for its past treatment of LGBTQ2 Canadians.

In her new feature-length documentary The Fruit Machine, Ottawa filmmaker Sarah Fodey speaks with survivors of that four-decade anti-gay witch-hunt.   Here’s the trailer.

Continue reading “The Fruit Machine”

Diving with Selvi

Spotlight on Canadian Films - OCanFilmFest

“Selvi, like so many girls living within India’s patriarchal culture, is forced to marry at a young age, only to find herself in a violent and abusive marriage. One day in deep despair, she chooses to escape, going to a highway with the intention of throwing herself under the wheels of a bus. Instead she gets on the bus, choosing to live.  She goes on to become South India’s first female taxi driver.

Elisa Paloschi is a documentary director, producer, cinematographer and photographer who is drawn to stories with a human voice. She runs Eyesfull, a Toronto- based independent production company dedicated to making non-fiction documentaries with social relevance that reflect the diversity of the human condition.” — Official website for the film

Paloschi grew up in Kingston and encountered 18-year old Selvi while on travel during her volunteer work at an NGO called Odanadi, which runs a shelter for girls and women who have suffered gender based violence in South India. Continue reading “Diving with Selvi”

Fox and the Whale

Spotlight on Canadian Films - OCanFilmFest

Toronto filmmaker Robin Joseph‘s self-financed Fox and the Whale is among 10 short animated films that have advanced in the voting process for the 90th Academy Awards.

Directed and produced by Joseph, the film features character animation by Kim Leow, character rig (fox) by Louis Vottero and music by John Poon.  In addition to producing and directing Joseph was responsible for storyboards, backgrounds, 2D animation, VFX, comps, editing, foley & sound design.

Here’s the film.

The 5 final nominees for the best animated short film Oscar will be revealed on January 23, 2018.  The 90th Oscars will be held on March 4th.  Congratulations and good luck, Robin and team!

A Better Man

Spotlight on Canadian Films - OCanFilmFest

A Better Man is a documentary which follows the story of Canadian filmmaker Attiya Khan, a survivor of domestic abuse, as she invites her abuser to discuss the events in their lives from over 20 years ago.  They confront and contrast their memories as they visit their old apartment, school and other places where key events in their past took place.

Co-directed by Khan and Lawrence Jackman the film was an official selection at Hot Docs 2017 and  was presented with a panel discussion hosted by the One World Film Festival at Ottawa U on December 2nd.  If you missed the screening or would like to see the film again, it is now streaming at tvo.org.

Here’s the trailer.

What is a ‘Canadian’ Film?

Blair's Blog - ocanfilmfest

 

While I  was  growing up it was pretty easy to recognize a ‘Canadian’ Film.  It was on CBC, it had ‘NFB’ on the credits and it was usually a little depressing.  Going Down The Road,  Wedding in White and Mon Oncle Antoine stick in memory along with a lot of others.

Then came the era of insanely generous tax credits and the modern Canadian Film industry was born albeit with (usually cheesy) horror and teen exploitation flicks.  From that base great artist grew  though (David Cronenberg in particular) and Canadian films started to be known for something other that world class animation.   I Heard the Mermaids Singing et al showed the world what we can do without losing that feeling they were part of us.

The next big wave came from the desire of American TV and Film producers to do more with less, namely less cost to feed an increasingly voracious demand for content across a variety of delivery modalities.  So more and more shows and films started to be shot here using Canadian crews being paid in Canadian dollars for much the same rational that the original auto pact (pre NAFTA) worked – same cars, 30% less labor cost.  The net benefits to develop our skills, experience has been enormous and as a result we are  second to none in our abilities in 2017.

So the question remains, are we still producing ‘Canadian’ Films and the answer is simple, yes.  Continue reading “What is a ‘Canadian’ Film?”