Issue: April 2015 - Immigration & Culture

Life is sweet: director Jacob Tierney discusses Preggoland

When director Jacob Tierney began reading the screenplay for the comedy Preggoland, which opens in theatres May 1, he says he realized the story was one too rarely seen on the screen. It was a story filled with women just being funny, flawed, fascinating people. “You don’t read that a lot,” Tierney told Toronto Film Scene over the phone from Montreal. That wasn’t the only thing that attached him to the film – one that eventually premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2014. “Most importantly, it made me chuckle,” he says. “That’s the great thing about comedy: if you’re...

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A different tune: Brad Dryborough and Arabella Bushnell, stars of Songs She Wrote About People She Knows

In Songs She Wrote About People She Knows, Arabella Bushnell stars as Carol, a shy woman who beings singing songs to people so she can express her true feelings for them. That may initially sound like a good idea, but when her songs are actually revealing the kinds of things that you would normally keep to yourself, trouble is likely to follow. When Carol sings a song called Asshole Dave to her boss, played by Brad Dryborough, the reaction she gets is unexpected. It reignites a passion for music in Dave, who convinces Carol to help him achieve his...

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Refusing to be corrupted by power: Alex Garland on Ex Machina

Ex Machina, the directorial debut of novelist and screenwriter Alex Garland, is a film about interrogations. It follows Caleb, a young programmer who is summoned to his employer’s home and asked to administer the Turing test on an artificially intelligent robot named Ava. Caleb finds her confined to a glass chamber. He sits on his side of the partition and peppers Ava with questions, hoping to determine that she is sentient. These interrogations give Ex Machina its structure as well as its narrative thrust. Title cards bill them as “sessions”: Session one, session two—seven sessions in all. On a...

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Fathers and sons: an interview with The Forger’s Tye Sheridan and Director Philip Martin

Actor Tye Sheridan isn’t even 20 years old yet, but for his first three on screen appearances he was lucky enough to work with some great directors and actors that those just starting out in the industry often have to wait for. He first appeared in Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life as one of Brad Pitt’s sons. From there he would move on to Jeff Nichols’ Mud, opposite Matthew McConaughey. Then he would show up opposite one of Nicolas Cage’s best performances in David Gordon Green’s Joe. He has certainly packed a lot into a short amount of time....

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Documenting the immigrant experience in Canadian film

While Canada is not a prolific film culture, there are more than enough films to look at to do a survey of how the multicultural fabric of the country has changed the stories we tell on screen. It would seem, however, that Canadian fiction films looking at the lives of immigrants who are new to Canada are out there, but not in the numbers that one may expect from a country that is so incredibly multicultural. There are a vast number of foreign born Canadians (as well as first or second generation Canadians) in the film industry, and they...

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Small town secrets: Matt Shakman, director of Cut Bank

Small towns aren’t only incredibly different from the city because of their size, but also because of the ways in which people live. You normally escape from a small town to head to the big city, not the other way around, and if you’ve grown up in a small town, you can understand how it can actually be difficult to break away from them at times. Director Matt Shakman illustrates these facts with deadly consequence in his film Cut Bank. The story follows Dwayne (Liam Hemsworth), who inadvertently films a murder while out with his girlfriend Cassandra (Teresa Palmer) one...

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Interview with Matt Sadowski and Dov Tiefenbach, director and star of Pretend We’re Kissing

Once upon a time, a young man named Matt Sadowski watched a film called Before Sunrise.  It was long before the sequels to that film were made, and audiences were still in the dark about what happened to those two characters who met and spent a night.  Sadowski had a theory though, that there was a fragility just beyond the small window of time they were together, and that marked the conception of his first narrative feature Pretend We’re Kissing. “I wanted the original title for Pretend We’re Kissing to be ‘The Next Morning’, and it was called ‘The...

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