For years independently owned and operated theaters have become a rare thing. Growing up there were plenty of neighborhood-based theaters that ran a variety of Hollywood, independent or really any films that would fill the seats. I have happy memories of Sergio Leone shoot-fests, foreign films etc. at the Capital on Rideau, the original Bytowne, the Mayfair etc. So most of those theaters are still here and doing a great job in delivering films where spandex is not the prevailing fashion sense.
What’s changed is just how important this role has become in our current situation where while. We have plenty ways to deliver content across a variety of platforms and modalities, the actual ‘movie going’ experience has become less available as major chains focus on algorithm-based content that reduce choice and availability. To which I don’t fault them for doing so, its a business after all and the fact that any chains thrive at all in the Netflix universe is magic to me anyways.
Independents give you the choices you wont find in chains but also give you the experience of a theater which, for me, is a big part of the deal. Independents provide the opportunity for a new artist to see their work on the big screen, for festivals to reach out to their audiences as well as specialized programming to meet other needs. By extending choice independently owned theaters extend the experience of movie goers and for that they should be treasured.
Ottawa winters are cold and many people in our city go without adequate accommodation and protection from the elements. In his first feature length documentary Project Cold Days, filmmaker Stephen Coleman helps us meet these often invisible and voiceless people and allows them to tell their stories. He dropped by CKCU for an interview with Monique Fuller (host of A Luta Continua) and I tagged along to take some behind the scenes video. Here are a few excerpts from the interview.
At 17 Jérémie dreams of a life different from the one that awaits him at the family sawmill in the small Canadian town where he lives. Jérémie is more interested in pimping his car, listening to hip hop, and slacking off with his friends. This impressionistic debut, built upon convincing performances, tells of a summer that completely changed a teenager’s life. – KVIFF
Alanis Obomsawin’s Hi-Ho Mistahey! (Cree for “I love you forever”), is a feature length Canadian documentary that profiles Shannen’s Dream, an activist campaign inspired by the work of Shannen Koostachin, a Cree teenager from Attawapiskat, who wanted to lobby for improved educational opportunities for First Nations youth. Read more about Shannen’s Dream on the website for the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2013 and was short-listed for a Canadian Screen Award.
Alanis Obomsawin is a Canadian filmmaker of Abenaki descent. Best known documentary is Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance, about the 1990 siege at Oka, Quebec, she has produced and directed many National Film Board of Canada documentaries on First Nations culture and history. She leaned of Koostachin’s story from children’s rights activist Dr. Cindy Blackstock. Continue reading “Hi-Ho Mistahey!”
Shot on location in Toronto and Chandigarh, Toronto-based writer/director Sanjay Talreja‘s feature film debut Surkhaabis described as “a week in the life of a human being trafficked.”
“Jeet, has spent her formative years training hard to become a state level Judo champion. The discipline required has made Jeet into a straight shooter, who is unafraid to say things as they are. Now, trying to adjust to a life after sports, she finds herself tackling the chauvinistic and corrupt world of a life in a village in Punjab… Although she has no trust in them, Jeet is forced to ask the help of the local hustler Balbir and his nephew Kuldeep. Through them she obtains a counterfeit visa to come to see her brother in Toronto.” – Surkhaab Press Kit
The film recently won Best Foreign Language Film and Best Director awards at the London International Film Festival, the Remi Platinum Award for Best Feature at the Houston World Fest and Best Producers at the Madrid Film Festival. Here’s the trailer.