Issue: January 2015

Local brilliance: an interview with Mpho Koaho

Toronto continues to be a growing influence on the film landscape, with more stars and productions coming from the city. One Toronto native that everybody should be paying attention to is Gemini award-winning Mpho Koaho, one of the stars of the new film, Black or White. The film stars Academy Award winners Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer as grandparents who battle for custody of their granddaughter which leads to family tensions. Within the heart of the film is Koaho’s character, the brilliant tutor Duvan, who is one of the shining points of the film. Toronto Film Scene was able to speak with Koaho about...

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The Taken franchise is an extended, rotten dream sequence

The Taken franchise, which devotes 294 minutes over the course of its three films to retired CIA operative Bryan Mills’ various missions to save his daughter and ex-wife from impending gang-induced doom, is, quite obviously, not real. The plotting of Taken 1-3 defies credulity. The tenuous connection between bullets fired and human deaths suggests that gun control is frankly unnecessary. If you attempted to explain the Taken films to a complete stranger, they could be forgiven for thinking you were describing a strange parallel universe. And yet – Taken is also supposed to be very real, at least by...

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Media Impact: how programming works

In our efforts to better understand the landscape of film in the city and Canada as a whole, we caught up with Colin Geddes and Katarina Gligorijevic of The Royal cinema to talk about the challenges of film programming for independent theatres. Since joining as Co-Programming Directors, Geddes and Gligorijevic have endeavoured to introduce innovative film programmes to the theatre, including the series Kid Power!, Royal Retro and The Royal Mystery Movie Night. In addition to his Royal duties, Geddes has served as a long-time programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival, and Festival Director of ActionFest, a film...

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Are Canadians really interested in watching Canadian films?

Who goes to see Canadian movies? It is quite sad to think that Canada’s locally produced film industry goes mostly ignored. There can be a million reasons why people won’t give Canadian movies their due. The biggest of these reasons is the fact that, like most countries around the world, the majority of the films released and watched in Canada are produced in the United States. This bombardment of American pop culture is somewhat worse in Canada, since there are so many similarities between the two countries. This can make Canadian films hard to distinguish from the films from the United...

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Obsession and the problematic portrayal of women on screen

After seeing Gone Girl a few months ago, I remember hearing people’s commentary as they left the theatre. One person’s comment, although it was probably a joke, was particularly memorable: something along the lines of “marriage turns women batshit crazy.” It is an unsettling reality that we live in a world rampant with sexism, and this carries through to Hollywood films. Rosamund Pike’s performance in Gone Girl is arguably the most recognizable female performance of 2014 in mainstream cinema – certainly not the only one, but the most widely recognizable to the general, non-movie-aficionado public. This is highly problematic...

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Essential Canadian Cinema: Maps to the Stars

Surprisingly, there has never been a David Cronenberg film featured in the Toronto Film Scene column, Essential Canadian Cinema. This isn’t something that has been overlooked at TFS, it was just always thought that just about any Cronenberg film would have to be Essential Canadian Cinema, as the director is an icon of Canadian film. With his latest film, Maps to the Stars being included in the 14th Annual Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival, it seemed like it was time to look at the director for inclusion on our list. There’s a bit of a secondary reason for this...

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Beating the blockbusters: how smaller studios schedule films

In 2014, if you went to see one new movie each day, you would not have covered the whole spectrum of titles playing in Canada all year. With more and more titles asking for your hard-earned cash and a broader selection of stories available on TV, movie studios have to work even harder to put butts into seats. The odds of an art-house title finding and building an audience in Toronto become lower by the year. With so many fruitful moviegoing options, how can smaller studios make their mark at the box office? A lot of it has to...

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