Weekly Toronto Flick Picks: TIFF comes to an end, so start the hype for next year


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TIFF comes to an end, start the hype for next year

Sunday was that time when the movie stars roll  on out of town, the prizes are given out, and the deluge of weekly televised award shows and a myriad of festivals hype the long, long trek to the Academy Awards next year. My anecdotal sense of the tone coming out of the festival is that film people and downtowners aren’t that high on how things went down. It may be because of the the street closure between University and John along King the first week of the fest that drew ire; it could be how difficult it was to score tickets; or it could be that the fest just nakedly seemed part of the Hollywood award hype-machine, subject to constant industry press coverage while the love of film got lost in the shuffle. It didn’t feel like our festival at all.

There were many, many intriguing films that most of us cinephiles will spend the next couple months catching up on, but the one that won the hearts and minds of the festival attendees in the form of the festival’s—and Grolsch beer’s—People's Choice Award was The Imitation Game. It’s not uncommon for a winner of that same prize to go on to win the big prize at the Oscars, and you would be remiss not to get a King's Speech-esque vibe off this picture. Especially because the hype around Benedict Cumberbatch working his way into Best Actor contention also seems to be mounting. He had a huge year last year in the press, even if most of his outings such as The Fifth Estate and August Osage County were pretty flat (and really, even the third season of Sherlock was a bit of a let down) but this time the reviews match up to the attention this guy is getting. You certainly can’t ask for a more fascinating subject than Alan Turing cracking German codes during World War II before being convicted of indecency at home in Britain years later.

Other big movie stars that made appearances in the final days of the festival were John Travolta, who spent quite some time on the red carpet milling with fans for his new flick The Forger, and, of course, Kate Winslet was on hand for the closing night gala screening of Alan Rickman’s film A Little Chaos. Unfortunately, neither film generated much more than middling buzz.

TUFF Prizes

Also wrapping up on the weekend was the Toronto Urban Film Festival. The top prize was awarded to Minispectacles Trio:

Minispectacles Trio - TUFF 2014 from Sharon Switzer on Vimeo.

One of Canada’s leading film voices, Guy Maddin, was a guest judge for the festival and had the following to say (via a press release) at the event’s Sunday night award ceremony at The Drake Hotel:

“What an extreme pleasure it was for me to watch all the films in this wonderful festival. Short films, oddly, can often feel long, but  all of TUFF entrants simply raced past my eyes, always leaving me ready to watch more. The variety was incredible—who knew there were so many ways to cram so much into one silent minute! With so many smart, gorgeous films in the running, I had a tough decision to make, but I’m happy to have chosen for first place Maarit Suomi-Väänänen’s Minispectacles Trio. What a great year! Congratulations to everyone."

The top films from the fest were shown on the Pattison OneStop screens this past Monday. The winner received $3,000 while the second and third place finalists won $2,000 and $1,000, respectively.

Liase with the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto

Just a note for those interested in joining the ranks or who are already working on indie film projects in the city. LIFT is having its quarterly open house this Thursday, September 18. It starts at 6:30 p.m. at 1137 Dupont St and will offer a guided tour of the facility as well as a great chance to meet likeminded people interested in filmmaking.

Toronto Screengrab of the Week

Last’s week pick was from Prom Night. In addition to Leslie Nielson, the ‘80s slasher flick featured then-scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis, and portions of it were shot at Don Mills Collegiate. This week, with the whole back to school thing over and the house party season ramping up, we return to the ‘80s for one of the many instances of Toronto serving as a location for a film set in Chicago.

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