Taking My Parents to Burning Man

Spotlight on Canadian Films - OCanFilmFest

Vancouver filmmaker Bryant “Spry Bry” Boesen decided “rip his nearly retired parents from their routine and throw them into an adventure of a lifetime.” Collaborating with filmmaker Joel Ashton McCarthy, they launched a crowd funding campaign to create a documentary following their trip to Burning Man.  Described as a debaucherous arts festival, Burning Man isn’t your average family vacation.  According to the festival’s official website: “Once a year, tens of thousands of people gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to create Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. In this crucible of creativity, all are welcome.”

The resulting documentary Taking My Parents to Burning Man is described as a parental coming-of-age story has had a successful festival run and a theatrical run at the Rio Theatre in Vancouver.   The film is now available on a variety of streaming and VOD platforms.  Here’s the trailer.

Mountain Men

Spotlight on Canadian Films - OCanFilmFest

Mountain Men is a Canadian comedy/drama that follows two estranged brothers, Toph and Cooper (played by Tyler Labine and Chance Crawford), as they journey to a remote family cabin in the mountains to evict a squatter.  When old resentments and bruised egos derail their plans they end up with a burned truck, a destroyed cabin and injuries which force them to reconcile and work together if they want a chance at making it back to civilization.

Writer/Director Cameron Labine (lead actor Tyler Labine’s real-life brother) studied film at the University of British Columbia.  Labine’s first feature film, Control Alt Delete premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2008.

Mountain Men is currently available on iTunes and streaming on Netflix Canada.  Here’s the trailer.

 

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”

My Internship in Canada

Spotlight on Canadian Films - OCanFilmFest

“Guibord is an independent Member of Parliament who represents Prescott-Makadewà-Rapides-aux Outardes, a vast county in Northern Quebec. As the entire country watches, Guibord unwillingly finds himself in the awkward position of holding the decisive vote to determine whether Canada will go to war. Accompanied by his wife, his daughter and an idealistic intern from Haiti named Souverain (Sovereign) Pascal, Guibord travels across his district in order to consult his constituents. While groups of lobbyists get involved in a debate that spins out of control, the MP will have to face his own conscience.

My Internship in Canada (Guibord s’en va-t-en guerre) is a biting political satire in which politicians, citizens and lobbyists go head-to-head tearing democracy to shreds.” – First Weekend Club

Director Philippe Falardeau hails from Hull, Quebec and is best known for his 2011 film Monsieur Lazhar which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards.  My Internship in Canada stars Patrick Huard, Suzanne Clément, Irdens Exantus, Clémence Dufresne-Deslières, Sonia Cordeau, Paul Doucet, Jules Philip, Robin Aubert and Micheline Lanctôt.

The film is available to rent via NFB / CanadaScreens.ca.

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?”