City Living: Our top TIFF movie picks

It’s finally here. 

With all the parties, gifting lounges and celebrity sightings that take place during TIFF, it’s sometimes hard to remember the real reason for the fest – the movies. From indie films to documentaries to A-list directors, this year’s programming offers something for every movie-goers’ taste. We understand that with over 300 films to see, it can be hard to choose what to watch. Thankfully, we’re here to help. Below, in no particular order, are the films we’re most excited about.


Other than the obvious reason we want to see this flick – helloooooo, Ryan Gosling – we’ve always had a soft spot for a good car chase. Drive directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, features Gosling as a Hollywood stunt car driver who moonlights as a wheelman. After a heist goes wrong, he finds out there’s a contract put out on his head. Gosling’s Steve McQueen-esque perfomance coupled with the lovely Carey Mulligan makes this flick a must-see. And if you need one more reason to check it out, the sexual tension between Gosling & Mulligan in the film’s trailer should do it (specifically, the elevator scene). 

Martha Marcy May Marlene

Martha Marcy May Marlene stars Elizabeth Olsen (yes, as in Mary Kate and Ashley’s little sis) as a young woman who flees an abusive cult in the Catskills Mountains. As she tries to assimilate into her sister’s family, her increasing paranoia leads her to believe that the cult and it’s enigmatic leader (John Hawkes) may still be watching her. The trailer scared the bejesus out of us and director Sean Durkin took home the Best Director’s award when it premiered at Sundance, two compelling reasons to check it out.

We Need To Talk About Kevin

When we read Lionel Shriver’s book a few years back, we had a hard time believing it could translate into a feature film. Then we heard Tilda Swinton was cast in the lead role and all faith was restored! This movie tells the story of a school massacre, told from the perspective of the killer’s mother, Eva (Swinton). The narrative travels back and forth in time, in an attempt to grasp the nature of evil and lightly touching on the nature vs. nurture argument. Directed by Lynn Ramsay, this film premiered at Cannes where Swinton earned rave reviews for her compelling performance. 

Take This Waltz
Canadian film darling Sarah Polley returns to TIFF to premiere her newest film. Take This Waltz stars Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Luke Kirby and the hilarious Sarah Silverman in a bittersweet story about a married woman struggling to choose between her husband and a man she’s just met. This film is Polley’s first directorial effort since the much-lauded Away From Her, so expectations are high. 

Machine Gun Preacher
Directed by Marc Forster this film is based on the true story of Sam Childers, an American drug dealing biker who became a crusader for Sudanese child soldiers. Starring Gerard Butler as Sam Childers, Machine Gun Preacher also features Michelle Monaghan, Michael Shannon and Kathy Baker in this heart-wrenching depiction of children at war. Buzz is already building about Butler’s performance, but if you can’t catch it at TIFF, it will be in Toronto and Vancouver theatres on September 30.

See you at the movies! But not until October, when we actually have time to get into a theatre to see something.


Meet Our Client: Jennifer Podemski

Born and raised in Toronto, Jennifer Podemski began her career at age 10, and has since dedicated her life to the performing arts, film and television. Her big break came when she landed a supporting role in the screen adaptation of Margaret Laurence’s acclaimed novel The Diviners. Since then, she has appeared in numerous television series and stage productions, including a starring role in Bruce MacDonald’s Dance Me Outside and the TV series spin off The Rez (nominated for a Best Actress Gemini Award).

Podemski also owns and operates an independent production company, Redcloud Studios, where she writes, directs and produces. She is currently executive-producing the award-winning National Aboriginal Achievement Awards for the fifth consecutive year, just signed a book deal with Fitzhenry & Whiteside, and has a feature film in the works with The Canadian Film Centre (CFC).

She can currently be seen in her seventh season of Degrassi: The Next Generation and has a supporting role in Sarah Polley’s highly anticipated second feature film, Take This Waltz, co-starring Michelle Williams and Sarah Silverman.

What do you do?

I am an actor, producer and director.

How long have you worked with rock-it promotions?
I was one of their first clients (10 years)!

What do you love most about your job?
I love working with so many different kinds of talented people. I feel so blessed that I am surrounded by creativity and imagination.

What do you like the least about your profession/industry?
Having to watch my weight!

What’s your next big goal?
To spin my ass off, literally. I am counting down to a nude scene.

Why is PR important to you (and what you do professionally)?
It’s like a reference letter. If you’re in the paper, or if someone is interested in writing about you, it puts you in the public consciousness and could bring in new work.

Any other thoughts you want to share about your public relations experience?
I’m good at talking about other people who I believe in, rather than myself. That is why PR is so important. I am grateful for rock-it promotions and all they have done for me.

A little more from the fourth floor:
Designer? Angela DeMontigny.
Store? Breds Custom.
Book? My Life So Far, Jane Fonda’s biography, had a profound impact on me.
Snack? Rice chips and hummus.
Season? Fall.
Sexy? Yes I am, thanks!
Inspiration? My baby girl Willow.
Drink? Water.
Motto in two words? PAY IT FORWARD.
Idea of perfect happiness? FEELING LOVED and GIVING LOVE every moment of every day.
Indulgence? Coffee.
Greatest achievement? My daughter.

*Full disclosure – our boss lady Debra and Jennifer have been best friends since childhood; however, their relationship as client/proprietor is strictly professional. Well, most of the time.

Photo credits: Nadya Kwandibens, Bengamin Stevens