Issue: February 2015 - Love

Stealing scenes: interview with Adrian Martinez, star of Focus

If character actor Adrian Martinez was actually a thief in real life and not just playing one in the movie Focus (in theatres everywhere this Friday), he’d definitely find the honour among his fellow grifters. Charming and boasting a boisterous laugh, he’s the exact opposite of the more taciturn and drily witted character he plays in his latest big screen outing. Martinez plays Farhad, one of the chief accomplices of confidants of Nicky (played by Will Smith), a master con artist who starts training a potentially gifted young upstart named Jess (Margot Robbie). With some help from Farhad and...

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Small town, big lies: director Daniel Perlmutter and actor Ennis Esmer on Big News from Grand Rock

Big News from Grand Rock is a film that focuses on an idea that seems on the verge of becoming obsolete. The story follows small-town journalist Leonard Crane (Ennis Esmer) as he tries to keep the local paper running by creating news stories based on old films. The movie uses two objects that many of us live without at this point, the video store and a print newspaper, as the main focus. The obvious first thought is to wonder why anybody would use these things that many people would consider dead or dying. Director Daniel Perlmutter and star Ennis Esmer, both...

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Elephant in the room: an interview with Elephant Song director Charles Binamé

Canadian writer, director and actor Xavier Dolan has seen an ascent to world cinema fame any filmmaker would envy. However, when Dolan said he wanted the role of Michael Aleen, a mischievous mental patient in a film adaptation of Elephant Song, director Charles Binamé had one request. It was for Dolan to remember that Binamé was the only director in the room. “[Dolan] is very pro-active of finding ways to express himself with film and with roles,” Binamé tells Toronto Film Scene. “We were exactly on the same page in approaching that character and how he should come alive.” Elephant Song, opening...

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Contributions of black women in film

With the announcement of the Oscar nominations, many were angry to not see Ava DuVernay’s name among the best director nominations, but most were not that surprised to see the omission. In an industry dominated by middle-aged white men, it can be difficult for anyone who doesn’t fit that designation to receive support and recognition for their work. It is particularly difficult for women of colour to break into the ranks. They often must work twice as hard to receive a fraction of the recognition afforded to men in the industry. This is to the detriment of film as...

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The honeymoon phase: can romance films affect real relationships?

When it comes to the topic of romance films, there are two main camps – those who love them, and those who cannot stand them. Similarly, in regards to the question of whether these films affect real life relationships, there are two main streams of thought, based on actual studies conducted throughout the years. The first stream asserts that romantic comedies set up unrealistic expectations for real couples and cause problems in relationships. The second stream suggests that this might not actually be true, and that in fact, watching romantic comedies can have the inverse effect. Here, we explore both...

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The death of a thousand cuts: director George Mihalka on My Bloody Valentine

Released in 1981, My Bloody Valentine is one of the greats of Canadian horror cinema, something that has been discussed at Toronto Film Scene before with Essential Canadian Cinema: My Bloody Valentine. That’s not exactly something that was apparent in 1981 though. A battle with the MPAA led to the film facing a number of cuts, leaving much of the violence and special effects on the cutting room floor. It wasn’t until years later that the film finally received an unrated cut on DVD, but even that is still missing some of the footage. When Toronto Film Scene had...

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Celebrating Canada: the importance of the Canadian Screen Awards

After Hollywood guilds and academies start giving out golden statues in late 2014, awards season can feel like a never-ending story. Each weekend, it seems like there is another ceremony bestowing praise on a nearly identical list of nominees. (The winners, meanwhile, also do not vary much.) As soon as the Oscar hoopla dies down after Feb. 22, though, Canadian Screen Week begins. It runs until March 1, 2015, when CBC will broadcast the Canadian Screen Awards from Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. There seem to be fewer reasons to turn into these glamourized opportunities for...

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