Issue: April 2013 - Documentary Film

Interview with Shawney Cohen, director of The Manor

I am not a particularly imposing person. I’ve been told I have a warm smile and people just seem to be able to open up and talk to me. So when Shawney Cohen stepped into the Hot Docs industry lounge for our interview it was a surprise to me that he seemed to be a bit unsettled by my presence. It wasn’t actually me, of course, but the idea of talking to a journalist about his film, The Manor, which is an intimate portrait of his family who also happens to own a strip club (the titular “manor”) in...

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TFS Questions: Caroline Habib, Manager of Acquisitions, Mongrel Media

What’s acquisitions you ask? Well, it’s a very important part of what makes it possible for you to sit down in a theatre and watch what may very well be your new favourite movie. In fact, it sort of sounds like a dream job for a film geek since acquisitions involves scouring the globe (from film festivals to book stores to anywhere someone with a great undeveloped screenplay might be hiding) to find projects to distribute to the movie ticket-buying public. Caroline Habib has been with Mongrel Media–one of Canada’s leading film distribution companies specializing in art house, foreign...

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Q & A with Craig Allen Conoley, winner of TVO’s Doc Studio Contest

TVO’s second annual documentary competition, this year with a focus on the subject of poverty, drew submissions from all across Ontario. After a jury of Ontario documentarians led by producer/director Shelley Saywell selected five finalists, TVO invited Ontarians to choose the winner via online vote and Craig Allen Conoley’s 4 Kids , which examines poverty through the prose of Just Jamaal, a spoken-word and hip hop artist from Ottawa, emerged as the favourite. As the winner, 4 Kids   is set to air on TVO this year and Conoley will be joining Saywell for a day-long mentorship at the...

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An interview with Jeff Renfroe, director of The Colony

On Friday, April 26, 2013 something is going to happen that hasn’t happened in recent memory: a Canadian film will open that looks and sounds like a big-budget Hollywood movie. It’s called The Colony and it stars Laurence Fishburne and Bill Paxton, two actors not unfamiliar with the world of the Hollywood blockbuster. So how did this happen, you ask? How did Canada get a movie made that might actually be able to play in the big leagues? Director Jeff Renfroe tells Toronto Film Scene that it was originally slated to be a small movie about a group of...

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Hot Docs 2013: our 15 top recommended films

Every year the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival brings us films that educate us, enrage us, inspire us and move us. There is something about documentary filmmaking that compels us to take time off work, buy tickets packs (of full festival passes) and spend every waking moment digesting these films. Is it because Hot Docs connects us to other places and people in a way that the average fiction film can simply never do? Is it because we come out changed, for better or for worse? This question is simply unanswerable, but it seems that Hot Docs...

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Essential Canadian Cinema: A Married Couple

Since it’s documentary month here at TFS, we thought we’d look at A Married Couple , the classic Canadian doc by Allan King. Is it indeed a “classic” worth putting on our essential viewing list? Liam Volke and Harry Cepka discuss. Liam: A Married Couple is an “actuality drama” directed by Allan King about a young married couple living their day to day lives while raising their 3-year old son and trying to keep their marriage from falling apart, and the simple idea of filming their lives seems strangely familiar in our reality-TV culture. The irony is how this...

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An interview with Sara St. Onge, writer/director of Molly Maxwell

The sad reality about about most coming-of-age films focused on a female protagonist is that they don’t often feature that young woman taking control of her own destiny – especially where her own sexuality is concerned, a fact that Sara St. Onge is all too aware of. “There’s still a lot of stigma that we’re fighting. A woman taking control is still seen as overly aggressive whereas I see it as just, normal. I do think that we’re making progress but we’re up against a lot of stereotypes.” With her debut feature Molly Maxwell , which opens in Toronto...

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