Issue: March 2015 - Cinematic Television

Organic adaptation: interview with Christian Sparkes, director of Cast No Shadow

Adaptation from the page to the screen is always a tricky task. What works on the page doesn’t always translate to the screen. There is a fine balance that must be struck between remaining faithful to the original intent and accommodating the requirements of the moving image. Does the original lend itself to adaption? Then there is the intent behind the adaptation, does the filmmaker have something to add to the original work? All of these things are factors in Christian Sparkes’s debut feature Cast No Shadow, an adaptation of Joel Thomas Hynes’s “Say Nothing Saw Wood”. Sparkes was...

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Playing the long game: Lee Daniels’ Empire and synonyms for American culture

“So you can witness as Empire becomes synonymous with American culture and Lucius Lyon becomes a god.” These words, spoken by Lucius Lyon (Terrance Howard) to a group of reporters part way through Empire‘s first season finale, can be read as a manifesto from creator Lee Daniels. While Daniels isn’t trying to bestow godhood on anyone in particular, he is out to change perceptions of race and sexuality in American culture, to challenge the the straight-white male default, to create a world where it is possible for a black owned and run hip hop empire to be considered the...

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A lesson in self-indulgence: Joel Ashton McCarthy on Shooting the Musical

Shooting the Musical is part mockumentary, part homage to west coast indie movie making; but ultimately it’s a musical about a high school shooting. (Yes, you read that right.) It all began as a passion project for writer/director Joel Ashton McCarthy. The Capilano University alumnus’ first feature was the irreverent documentary Taking My Parents to Burning Man, McCarthy confessed that “as soon as I finished up that film I was terrified I would be pegged a documentary filmmaker and not a narrative filmmaker so I decided to jump right into production of my first narrative feature.” The film was...

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Around the track: an interview with Tony Girardin, director of Marinoni

Director Tony Girardin could have made a very simple documentary with Marinoni. The film follows Giuseppe Marinoni, a 75 year old bike craftsmen who is attempting to break the hour record for cycling in his age group. The record is simply a person on their bike, racing around a track in an attempt to travel the greatest distance within sixty minutes. It’s punishing for an athlete, no matter their age, so one can only imagine what it would be like to attempt it at 75-years-old. The inspirational story could have just been built around Marinoni trying to break the...

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A night in with Mars Horodyski, director of Ben’s at Home

It is becoming easier and easier to cut yourself off from the world outside. With the technology out there and the amount of businesses that offer almost everything delivered to your door, we don’t need to be out and about anymore, we can get all we need from the keys and screen on our computers and devices. But what is this doing to our society? And how is this affecting those who work, shop and socialize online? Toronto Film Scene managed to talk to Mars Horodyski, the director of Ben’s at Home, about this issue. The film centres around...

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A hat tip to David Lynch, the grandfather of the cinematic television drama

The once large gap between film and television had long been a source of frustration and confusion for film and TV lovers alike. The strata between actors and directors who worked in television and those who worked in film was wide. There was little, if any, crossover and if a television actor made their way onto the big screen, it was considered a boon for their career. There have been a few directors who have managed to bridge the gap and make a defining influence on both mediums, but when the pilot for Twin Peaks aired on April 8,...

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Not everybody pays: interview with Harold Crooks, director of The Price We Pay

The latest documentary from director Harold Crooks, The Price We Pay, falls into a theme that many of his films cover which he refers to as “social justice”. The film looks at the history and present-day practices of big business tax avoidance. By using offshore tax havens, companies are able to keep trillions of dollars in tax revenue away from the countries they operate in. It’s a shocking revelation, and one that is sure to raise the anger of the middle and lower classes who struggle to get by. Not every moviegoer is going to be familiar with finance,...

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