Fave Five: Young Local Artists

Here on the fourth floor, we appreciate
the finer things in life and as such, are taking a moment to honour our Fave
Five young Torontonians who contribute to the arts and entertainment scene
in Toronto.

Born and raised in Toronto and a
graduate of OCAD’s fine art program, Aaron Li-Hill is one of our favourite visual
artists. His dreamy, industrial inspired
pieces employ a variety of mediums; from traditional paints and sketches to a
contemporary use of graphic design and graffiti. His art has been shown in galleries
throughout Canada and was recently included in SPiN Toronto’s first Plywood graffiti
art exhibit. http://li-hill.carbonmade.com/

Not only do we love fashion, we also
love Mother Earth! This is why Little.White.Dress is a local
designer that we’re keeping our eye on. Made up of Ryerson grads
Jessica van Enckevort and Alexandra Wilson, Little.White.Dress focuses on
making unique, eco-friendly bridal wear, cocktail dresses and accessories. We
love their use of vintage and repurposed fabrics, and that each of their
dresses is one of a kind. @LWDressToronto

No stranger to the Canadian music
scene, Devin was literally born into it. Son of Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy, Devin inherited more than just the famous
Can-Rock name and has been carving out a place for himself with the Devin Cuddy Band. Their country and New Orleans
blues inspired debut album Volume One was released on the Cameron House’s label, where Devin and his band can be
spotted playing every Wednesday. @DevinCuddy

Photog phenom Petra Collins  has made
her indelible mark on the art world with her nostalgic, sometimes
controversial, but always honest portrayal of young women. At just 19 years old,
Petra’s commercial clients include Urban
Outfitters, Vogue Italia, Chloe Comme Parris and Refinery 29.  In addition to that, she curates the female
art collective The Ardorous We love her unapologetic embrace of all
things feminine. @petracollins

Since she moved to Toronto from Nigeria
as an international student in Ryerson’s Broadcast Journalism program,
Shasha has been an up-and-comer in the documentary film world.  She works full-time at award-winning
documentary production company Storyline Entertainment, and as a
producer/director for Squire Entertainment with Rich Williamson. Her very first documentary Baby
Not Mine
went on to win awards at the Human Rights Docfest and the Montreal
World Film Festival in 2009. Recently,
her documentary about the sugarcane industry in the Philippines, The Sugar Bowl  took Best Documentary and
Best Film at the 2012 Aesthetica Short Film Festival in York, UK. @ShashaNakhai


Rave: enRoute Film Festival

TIFF may be over (for now), but that doesn’t mean that the film
festivals have stopped. 

Tonight, FREE public screenings of the top six Air Canada enRoute FilmFestival films will be happening across Canada. You can catch them tonight at 7 p.m. (EST and PST) in Toronto at the Varsity Theatre (55 Bloor St.
W.), in Vancouver at the Scotiabank Theatre (900 Burrard St.) and in Montreal
at the Quartier Latin (350 rue Emery).

For the past six years, Air Canada has been taking emerging Canadian filmmakers to new heights, literally, by showing their
short films on both domestic and international flights. 

The winner will be chosen by a jury of industry
experts, including Jay Baruchel,
actor (How to Train Your Dragon), Niv Fichman, producer (Passchendaele), Mary Harron, director (American
), Alison Pill, actor (The Newsroom), Gordon Pinsent, actor (Away
From Her
), Callum Keith Rennie,
actor (The Killing), Saul Rubinek, actor (Barney’s Version), Jacob Tierney, director (The
), and Karine Vanasse, actor (Polytechnique).

After hundreds of entries, they’re down to the final four competing for the top prize. The 2012 Air Canada enRoute Film Festival finalists are:

Alexander Carson for We
Refuse to Be Cold
Fernand-Philippe Morin-Vargas for Noeud
Danielle Sahota and Davina Rimmer for We
Blinded the Sun
Justin Friesen for Let’s
Make Lemonade
The winner of the Best Short Film Award will receive a cash
prize of $5,000, courtesy of Cineplex Entertainment. Other awards include Achievement
in Documentary, Achievement in Direction and Achievement in 
Cinematography. All award winners will also receive an all-inclusive Air
Canada trip for two to the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France. 

This year, viewers will vote for their favourite film to
determine the winner of the inaugural People’s Choice Award. Voting ends Wednesday, November 7 at enRoutefilm.com. The winner will be
announced live at the awards celebration in Toronto on November 7 and will receive an Air Canada flight for two to a North American destination of
their choice.

Rave: enRoute Film Festival

Join us tomorrow night for the 5th anniversary of Air Canada’s enRoute Film Festival FREE screening at the Scotiabank Theatre (259 Richmond St. W.). 7 to 8 p.m.

Hundreds of Canadian filmmakers entered the enRoute Film Festival and now we’re down to  three finalists, who will compete against each other for the grand prize. The big winner will be chosen by an A-list jury panel, including Emmanuelle Chriqui,  Molly Parker, Atom Egoyan, Jean-Marc Vallée, and producer Don Carmody

The 2011 Air Canada enRoute Film Festival finalists are:

  • Miles Jay and Orlee-Rose Strauss for Blink
  • Timothy Chan for A Starry Night
  • Ashley McKenzie and Nelson MacDonald for Rhonda’s Party
The competing films have been playing on your Air Canada touch screen entertainment system this past summer, but if you haven’t seen them yet, grab some popcorn and enjoy a bunch of the short films alongside the filmmakers themselves. 

The winner of Best Short Film will receive a $5,000 cash prize. Other awards include Achievement in Direction, Achievement in Cinematography, and Achievement in Animation. All award winners will receive a trip to Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France. 

Last year’s screening was ‘sold out’ (it’s free, in case you didn’t catch that), so come early and enjoy a fun night of film. #awesome

Rave: Crazy, Stupid, Love

Paul Aguirre-Livingston checked out the latest Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Steve Carell and Julianne Moore flick, Crazy, Stupid, Love, courtesy of Warner Bros. 

Crazy, Stupid, Love is crazy, stupid, good
Movies have become obsessed with documenting the complex realities of human existence, specifically interactions of a highly personal – and once highly private – nature, like love, sex, family, divorce, death, coming out, finding peace, etc. Crazy, Stupid, Love is just one of many voices in the chorus of our current cinematic opuses that attempts to examine and dissect that very thing at the centre of it all. 
The film begins where most love stories end and journeys of renewal begin: in divorce. Steve Carell and Julianne Moore are a couple with three kids and a 25-year marriage in shambles. Carell plays Carl, a New Balance sneaker-wearing dad who drinks vodka-cranberries like a freshman, and who is left devastated by the news that his wife Emily (Moore) wants a divorce. He moves out almost immediately when Emily turns the knife by revealing she slept with the office douchebag David Lindhagen (played, appropriately enough, by Kevin Bacon).
After a few weeks on the bench at the local too-cool-for-dads watering hole, resident ladies’ man Jacob (Ryan Gosling) grows tired of Carl’s incessant bitching and moping. Jacob, a self-described “tomcat in the sack” who looks like GQ exploded all over him in every single scene, sets on a mission to transform Carl into the man he lost somewhere along the way. And he succeeds. But once the ladies come and go, all that remains is Carl’s desire to be with Emily, and he tries to parlay his newfound confidence into winning his soulmate back. 

The film’s merits lie in its hilariously well-planned plot and the strength of the performances by its supporting cast. Storylines and sub-plots are weaved together to mimic the silent attachments we form with people – people who may not know we exist or people who only exist because of us.

Newcomer Jonah Bobo plays 13-year-old son Robbie, a kid wise beyond his years. He is hopelessly in love with his 17-year-old babysitter Jessica, played perfectly by former Top Model finalist Analeigh Tipton (named “one to watch” by The New York Times because of this role). Thing is, Jessica is secretly in love with Carl. But Carl still loves Emily. And Emily loves Carl, but Lindhagen wants her. See what I mean now? The whole film is clusterfuck of love triangles fit for Shakespeare. And I won’t give away the juicy bits.

Emma Stone rounds out the impressive cast with barely enough screen time, but all her moments are gold, tracing a smart, young, professional woman’s willingness to take a chance on a one night stand she barely knows (Jacob), complete with cheesy pick-up lines and a seduction routine that includes re-enacting Dirty Dancing’s iconic final dance (“the lift!”).  
Despite its Haggis-like plot interactions (see: Crash) that threaten to undermine the film’s strong sincerity and makes you question its real-world probability, Crazy, Stupid, Love succeeds in attempting to explain the intricacies of why we come together. More importantly, it asks why we should make it last. Like many of its cinematic contemporaries and the great tales of love before it, Crazy, Stupid, Love ends up at the same conclusion: none of it will ever make any sense.
And although it can all seem a little crazy, and be a lot stupid, it’s always about love. See what I did there? Yup, the film will ask you that same silly question too. And you won’t mind at all.  

City Living: Open Roof Festival

Last week we had the pleasure of checking out Bruce MacDonald’s Trigger, at the Open Roof Festival, Toronto’s best outdoor film and music series. Kicking off its sophomore season, the festival runs every Thursday until September 1 and treats Torontonians to a performance by a local indie band, followed by a cool film, all outside at the Amsterdam Brewery
 Image source.
We really loved being able to bike to the venue, where the Toronto Cyclist Union provided complimentary valet bike parking. Festival goers can also enjoy various pints of Amsterdam beer (including the new 416 Urban Wheat beer), freshly popped popcorn or can bring their own snacks while watching the film.
Image source.
Many of the films have previously shown at some of the world’s most prestigious festivals including Sundance, Hot Docs and TIFF, and have not yet been commercially released in Canada. Next movie we’re uber stoked for? On August 11, ORF will play Conan O’Brien’s Can’t Stop, a documentary chronicling O’Brien’s life after losing his gig as the host of The Tonight Show. 
Image source.
Make sure to bring a sweater in case it cools down at night, grab a beer, and hang out at the Amsterdam Brewery while enjoying some good music and great films.
Tickets are available for $15 and can be purchased at www.openrooffestival.com 
Follow Open Roof Festival on Twitter at: @OpenRoofFest

PS: This week’s screening of Kick Ass is gonna be a good one too – and our own Matt Austin will be hosting the evening. In his wordsThe main actor, Aaron Johnston, will be a huge star by 2012. See him now.” See you there!
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Rave: enRoute Film Festival

If you’ve got your eye on an Oscar, then we’ve got the competition for you.

Calling all Canadian emerging filmmakers, the fifth annual Air Canada’s enRoute Film Festival is here.

Chosen by a juried panel, the best short films will be broadcast to a large international audience on Air Canada’s inflight personal seatback entertainment system. The winner of Best Short Film will receive a $5,000-cash prize courtesy of presenting sponsor Cineplex Entertainment. Other awards include Achievement in Direction, Achievement in Cinematography, and Achievement in Animation. All award winners will receive an exciting (new this year!) destination prize to Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France.

Jury members for 2011 will be announced later this summer. Past members have included Jason Priestly, Denis Villeneuve, Donald Sutherland, Alan Cumming, Dan Aykroyd and Rémy Girard. Once winners have been selected, a free public screening and awards celebration will be held in Toronto in October.

So get your cameras ready and start filming because the submission deadline is Tuesday, May, 31.   

To learn more, visit Facebook or follow on Twitter. And spread the word!

For complete contest details, check out the Enroute website: www.enroutefilm.com.

Rave: Textuality: 10 Minutes with Carly Pope

Our intern, Amalia, tagged along on our recent press day with for the film Textuality. She sat down with one of the stars, Carly Pope. They chatted texting (of course), shooting in Toronto and juggling university with acting. Textuality opens in select theatres today. 

Today I found myself in the most amazing position in my professional career: I got to attend the press day for the Canadian film, Textuality.

Click for more info.
The film is a lighthearted look at two people trying to get into a relationship, who must first get OUT of the multiple relationships they were managing through their BlackBerrys before they met. At it’s heart, Textuality is a story about living, loving, and most importantly, laughing at ourselves in this intensely digital age. The movie stars none other than the Absolut Hunk himself, Jason Lewis, with the gorgeous Carly Pope playing the leading lady.

Carly Pope at the premiere of Textuality.

I sat down with Carly to chat about her character, Simone.

We understand you first started acting on the stage back in high school. Is theatre something that you’d consider going back to at all?
I would 100 per cent go back to theatre. In the past, I’ve produced and starred in several plays, including a recent play in L.A. It’s something that I really enjoy, and it brings back great memories.
Keeping with the theme of school, did you continue your education while you worked?
At first, yes. I went to the University of British Columbia out of high school for six months. Then, I had to leave because I landed a role in a TV show called Popular.

For the last 10 years, I’ve tried to complete courses through distance education, but I’ve understood what I love about school is being IN the classroom environment. To me, what’s important is the experience. My mom has often told me, “you don’t need a B.A., you have life experiences!”.

In the movie, you play the female lead – Simone. Without giving too much away, can you tell us if the texting theme of the film resonated with your personal life?
I actually set my phone to silent a year ago. I didn’t want the noise and buzz around all the time. I find that dealing with responding to people [via text], you lose connections with [them]; you miss out on intricacies of speech.

My cellphone in Vancouver doesn’t even have caller ID. I honestly want to be pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised when I pick up the phone! Keeps things interesting.
Back to Simone… can we talk about her amazing loft?
Well, the loft and I kinda go back. You see, the producer for a previous film I was in (Young People F*cking) tried to get this loft for my character in that film, but things didn’t work out. So when I heard that we would be shooting at that same loft (and, most importantly, that my character would be living there), I was so excited.

It was a great experience shooting in the apartment. Everything from the walls to the artwork was so inspiring. The combination of the vintage décor and modern art displayed throughout the space gave it such a great vibe.

If you’re wondering: Carly told us the loft is in Cabbagetown. Exactly where? We aren’t sure. 😉
What was your favourite part about shooting in Toronto?
For me, it’s a special treat to come to Toronto. I have family and dear friends that live here, so any excuse to come back is happily welcomed. I also really enjoy the vast differences within Toronto. There’s the financial district, which is the corporate side of the city, and then you have this other rich, lush and diverse cultural scene. It’s amazing, I like the high energy that I feel, and I also don’t mind hitting the pavement every now and then. 😉
Thank you – it was a pleasure chatting with you. 
You too!

Tweet about the film @textualitymovie or join the Facebook group here. Watch the trailer here!