Issue: February 2014 - Science Fiction

TFS Explains: science fiction and the Canadian Landscape

The Canadian landscape is one of the most diverse and beautiful in the world. Different cities and provinces offer up different settings altogether. Toronto and other parts of Ontario provide a metropolitan backdrop; the Prairies provide a flatter, calmer scene; British Columbia provides a vast and mountainous natural landscape; and so on. Because of the varied nature of these regions, it makes sense that Canada is a popular choice for filming. Here we look at how science fiction and the Canadian landscape go hand in hand. Toronto Not only does Toronto provide a metropolitan backdrop that has repeatedly been...

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Essential Canadian Cinema: Screamers

For our science fiction issue, it seemed obvious to address and Cronenberg or Vincenzo Natali film, so we decided to go a little off the beaten path and choose Screamers, a 1995 Canadian co-production (with the US and Japan) starring Peter Weller, Roy Dupuis and directed by Christian Duguay. The film takes place in the the year 2078 on a planet called Sirius 6B, on which miners are at war with the corporation who employs them to mine a very potent energy source. Unfortunately, the side effect of the mining is severe radiation, creating horribly unsafe working conditions. To...

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Cinema Revisited: sci-fi film classics that got the future right

The new film Her takes place in a not-so-distant future. It follows a man who falls in love with a device made from artificial intelligence. The future director Spike Jonze presents, filled with virtual gaming devices and wireless technology that answers to our every need, would have been bewildering 15 years ago. Now, it seems plausible since it is only a small extension of what exists currently. Futurists and scientists have praised Her as a film that could be a frighteningly accurate glimpse of the world in a decade or two. If operating systems with the capacity to love...

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The films that made us love science fiction

Science fiction is a genre that translates well to the screen, and when done well, inspires the kind of love and dedication that only film can. A good science fiction film walks the line between fantasy and science, and tells a story so compelling that it can transport us to another time, sparking the imagination. From the terrifying to the cerebral to the whimsy of childhood, Toronto Film Scene’s writers share the films that made us fall in love with this genre of film. Ada Wong: E.T. The Extra Terrestrial In 1985, I was living 12,000 kilometres away from...

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TFS Essentials: Cypher

You probably know Vincenzo Natali because of Cube. The 1997 cult film about seven strangers trapped in a giant futuristic metal cube made up of several identical cube-like chambers, some of which have horrifying cube booby traps, was an economical indie revelation; a textbook example of how to make a really good movie on the cheap. Or maybe you know him because of Splice, his 2010 flick involving Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley as scientists trying to become parents to an animal-human hybrid that they’ve created. Nevertheless, he has arguably become the most intriguing cinematic voice in Canadian sci-fi...

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An interview with Avi Federgreen, creator of the INDIECAN 10K Challenge

Avi Federgreen knows more than a thing or two about the process of movie making. Federgreen has been producing movies in Canada for around 20 years. It’s only fitting that he has launched a Canada-wide filmmaking challenge where he will personally mentor aspiring filmmakers. INDIECAN 10K is set to support eight individuals or teams of filmmakers with the creation of their first feature film. The participants are challenged to make a movie with a budget of $10,000 maximum. Federgreen says that the project was inspired by Ingrid Veninger’s 1K WAVE Challenge, in which the do-it-yourself Canadian film queen mentored...

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The cult of science fiction films

Before one can explore the wide range of science fiction films labelled as cult classics, it is useful to consider what makes a film “cult” in the first place. The term has evolved over the years and now has a broad and inclusive definition. Originally, cult films were those which were controversial during their time, but retained popularity due to mass fan followings. An initial box office bomb which gains popularity years after its release also qualifies as cult. And finally, a cult film may also be one which is not recognized or generally accepted by mainstream consumers, but...

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