Issue: November 2014

Spotlight On: MSMU

In this day and age, with the availability of hours of streaming film and television content, it can be nostalgic to think back to the old days when people just channel surfed on the TV to get their entertainment fix. In many ways, channel surfing is a lost art, since even those that still subscribe to cable TV services will usually pick something to watch from an onscreen guide, rather than switch from station to station to see what’s on. MSMU is a streaming service that hopes to bring back the art of channel surfing. MSMU is a free...

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Media Impact: understanding Transmedia

As a narrative form, film is supposedly self-contained. Solomon Northup is kidnapped; he endures twelve horrifying years of slavery; he regains his freedom. A shark attacks a New England beach; a policeman, a scientist, and a fisherman join forces to hunt the shark down; they kill the shark. Films and their narrative arcs are one and the same. They end with the closing credits. You, as a filmgoer, just have to sit back and let the filmmaker’s story resolve itself. In the real world, taking in a film is more complex. You think about what you will be seeing...

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Big ambition for a big screen: behind IMAX’s towering success

Graeme Ferguson was a student at the University of Toronto in the late 1940s when the school’s film society assigned him to work as a cameraman on a film. During a summer internship at the National Film Board of Canada, he met another young man with cinematic ambitions, Roman Kroitor. Both men were aspiring film directors. Later in life, they were also brothers-in-law. Both Kroitor and Ferguson had made films for the Expo 67 in Montreal that were shown on multiple screens. To create this large-screen experience, they had to sync footage coming from nine projectors. In the late...

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The Oculus Rift and the future of filmmaking

Virtual Reality (VR) is no longer an arcade gimmick. Like an entertainment platform out of “Infinite Jest,” the Oculus Rift (OR) is bringing an exciting and startling array of possibilities to VR and the idea of fully immersing oneself in a fictional world. When someone talks about the OR and its version of virtual reality, they’re not discussing a cumbersome helmet equipped with math-sheet grid screens, abundant geometric outlines, and no tangible connection to reality. Instead, the device is futuristically sleek, with a 110˚ diagonal view (matching the average human eye-line), low latency, and a high-definition image that brings...

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Essential Canadian Cinema: Johnny Mnemonic

In 2021, the world is connected to the internet almost constantly, and it has created a new disease called Nerve Attenuation Syndrome (NAS) which affects about half of the world’s population. Johnny (Keanu Reeves) is a data courier, tasked with carrying some very important information that could change the world, and lead to a cure for NAS. He’s being hunted by the Yakuza, who are working for Pharmakom Industries and are desperate to keep the cure to themselves. Along the way, Johnny meets up with Jane (Dina Meyer), an augmented wannabe bodyguard, and J-Bone (Ice-T), who leads an underground resistance...

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I was wondering what the devil looked like: interview with Raindance founder Elliot Grove

Elliot Grove was 16 the first time he stepped into a movie theatre. It was a hot summer’s day and the teen, who was raised Amish and was living at his parents’ farm near Stouffville on Highway 48, was in Markham to get a part welded. With a few hours to spare, he walked toward a local movie house. “Perhaps like you at 16, I was wondering what the devil looked like,” Grove tells Toronto Film Scene. “I went in and I had no idea what was going to happen. They turned the lights off and I saw Lassie...

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Canadian Open Vault presents The Wars

On Tuesday, November 18, 2014, TIFF Bell Lightbox continues its Canadian Open Vault programme with a free screening for the 1983 First World War, Canadian-made epic, The Wars. The film recounts the struggles of Robert Ross (Brent Carver) as he bristles against his upper-crust upbringing in the waspy Toronto neighborhood of Rosedale, and eventually escapes to France by enlisting in the Canadian Army as war is declared in Europe. The Wars was produced at the tail end of the Tax-Shelter era of the 1970s and early 80s, when the Canadian film industry had found itself invaded by Bialystock and...

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