TIFFS CANADAS TOP TEN LIST SKEWS A LOT YOUNGER THIS YEAR

first_imgArlen Aguayo Stewart rides away with Katherine Jerkovic’s Roads In February. Both of the Canadian features that won prizes at TIFF made the cut – Katherine Jerkovic’s generational drama Roads In February, which won the $15,000 City of Toronto award for best Canadian first feature, and Sébastian Pilote’s restless-teen study The Fireflies Are Gone, which took the $30,000 Canada Goose award for best Canadian feature film. But that’s just the start.Jasmin Mozaffari’s Firecrackers, a drama expanded by the filmmaker from her 2013 short, Philippe Lesage’s ambitious, exploratory Genesis and Keith Behrman’s sexually charged teen study Giant Little Ones are all occupied with themes of young people finding themselves – as is Patricia Rozema’s tricky adaptation of Amy Nostbakken and Norah Sadava’s theatrical drama Mouthpiece, though that film is a very different animal. And Christy Garland’s documentary What Walaa Wants follows a young woman forging her own path as a cadet in the Palestinian Police Academy after her mother’s release from an Israeli jail.A case could even be made to include Freaks in this thematic umbrella, as Vancouver filmmakers Zach Lipovsky and Adam Stein’s first theatrical feature is built around a little girl (Lexy Kolker) with an overprotective father (Emile Hirsch) who won’t let her leave the house. There’s obviously a lot more to it than that – the film starts as a weird cousin to Terry Gilliam’s Tideland and quickly mutates into a riff on Noah Hawley’s FX series Legion. I would never have expected to see this movie make the Top Ten – seriously, the last honouree this weird was Vincenzo Natali’s Splice in 2009 – and its presence is a surprise, to say the least.It might also indicate the influence of external film critics’ associations. TIFF’s internal programming team consulted both the Vancouver Film Critics Circle and Association Québécoise Des Critiques de Cinéma in compiling this year’s list. (The Toronto Film Critics Association – of which I am a member – was also contacted, but declined to participate.)Gwaai Edenshaw and Helen Haig-Brown’s Indigenous thriller Edge Of The Knife, the first feature produced in the endangered Haida language, and Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky’s latest chapter in the decade-long documentary project following Manufactured Landscapes and Watermark, round out the list.And if this was a year for new faces and a youthful focus, that meant Canada’s old guard was mostly on the outside. Other than Rozema and Baichwal, filmmakers who might have once been able to make TIFF’s Top Ten just by showing up were conspicuously absent.It’s perhaps no surprise that Xavier Dolan’s long-awaited English-language drama The Death And Life Of John F. Donovan, didn’t make the list; it cratered spectacularly at TIFF, no matter how fervently Dolan’s boosters insist otherwise. Denys Arcand’s The Fall Of The American Empire, the wheezy final entry in the film cycle Arcand started three decades ago with The Decline Of The American Empire, similarly failed to garner any critical or public support, slipping into the same vaguely recalled limbo that swallowed up Days Of Darkness.Also absent: Maxime Giroux’s ambitious historical allegory The Great Darkened Days, a follow-up to his critically beloved Félix & Meira; Don McKellar’s film based on Joseph Boyden’s controversial novel Through Black Spruce; Thom Fitzgerald’s adaptation of Lee-Anne Poole’s stage play Splinters; and Sharkwater: Extinction, a documentary completed after credited director Rob Stewart died during its production.I was a little more surprised to see Darlene Naponse’s Falls Around Her and Igor Drljaca’s The Stone Speakers fail to make the list; the former showcases Tantoo Cardinal in a knockout performance as an Anishinaabe musician returning home to Northern Ontario, and the latter is an intriguing documentary that finds the filmmaker examining his Bosnian-Canadian heritage through the prism of cultural tourism.Neither film is perfect, but they’re excellent examples of idiosyncratic Canadian cinema from gifted storytellers; I was sure they’d be catnip to TIFF’s selection committee. But I’m pretty happy with the titles they chose – especially Roads In February, which is exactly the sort of tiny, lovely little discovery so often overlooked when this list is compiled.Still no comedies, though. Maybe they’ll get to that next year.BY NORMAN WILNER | NOW TORONTO Facebook Advertisement Whether it’s just coincidence or by design, there’s a definite sense of the guard changing in TIFF’s announcement of this year’s Canada’s Top Ten.In addition to the lack of a January showcase for the honourees – as announced last month, this year’s winning films will be given theatrical runs at the TIFF Bell Lightbox over the course of 2019 instead – the 2018 features list is more eclectic than most, embracing genre and experimental works while leaving off certain favourite sons of Canadian cinema.Seven of this year’s anointed features – six dramas and a documentary – focus on young people figuring themselves out. Login/Register With:last_img read more

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Youth filmmakers talk to survivors in Halifax

first_imgAPTN National NewsYoung filmmakers were at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings in Halifax, to try and understand what happened at residential schools, why their parents and grandparents won’t talk about it, and to document the stories pouring forth.APTN National News reporter Taryn Della spoke with the camera-wielding youth, and has their story.last_img

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Audit firm wants MKO Grand Chief Harper to step aside poses threat

first_img[email protected]@JorgeBarrera By Jorge Barrera APTN National NewsForensic auditors investigating a northern Manitoba First Nation organization want its grand chief to step aside because he could “pose a threat” to  their probe, according to a letter obtained by APTN National News.Chiefs on Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak’s (MKO) executive committee requested Winnipeg firm Lazer Grant conduct a forensic audit of all the organization’s books citing concerns over Grand Chief David Harper’s financial management.MKO is facing a nearly million dollar deficit and Harper has been accused of trying to obstruct the audit. Harper is also accused of spending MKO funds on personal expenses, including for car repairs, three guitars and plane tickets for his girlfriend.The organization represents 30 northern Manitoba communities and many are among the poorest in the country.In a letter to Kelvin Lynxleg, MKO’s interim executive director, Lazer Grant requested Harper turn over his laptop, cell phone and any other MKO-owned electronic devices. The firm said Harper should be put on a “non-functioning paid leave-of absence” until the forensic probe ends. The firm recommended Harper be banned from entering MKO’s premises, accessing the organization’s accounting information and communicating with suppliers and vendors.Lazer Grant recommended Harper take a leave of absence because he posed a threat to the forensic audit, which had been hampered in the past by former staff members who turned over tampered electronic devices like their cell phones and laptops.“We recommend that MKO determine any other individuals that are perceived to pose a threat to the ongoing investigation,” said the letter signed by David Glass, a partner with Lazer Grant, and dated Tuesday.Lazer Grant recommended Harper also cease talking to the media.MKO and Harper could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Based on Harper’s recent statements, it remains unclear whether he would be compliant with any such requests.Harper conducted several media interviews last week to state he would ignore a resolution passed by chiefs at an MKO meeting in Norway House requesting he take a voluntary leave until the audit ended.The resolution, which was passed last Wednesday, demanded Harper take the voluntary leave or face a non-confidence vote at the next MKO meeting in September.In an interview with APTN National News, Harper said he did nothing wrong and expressed confidence he would be cleared.Harper, who has been accused of obstructing the forensic audit in the past, denied he ever tried to interfere with investigators.The forensic audit was originally launched last August to initially probe the contracts of a former director of finance who was paid $1.1 million between 2005 and 2011. Since then, chiefs on MKO’s executive council pushed to expand the forensic audit to include all the organization’s books, including those of its subsidiaries.Documents obtained by APTN National News show MKO was warned by an outside auditor the federal Aboriginal Affairs department could put the organization into co-management or third –party management if it didn’t get its spending under control, especially around travel and consultants.MKO’s accumulated deficit for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2013, hit $976, 025. MKO also accumulated an operating deficit of $609,058 by March 31, 2013, which was a 71 per cent increase over the previous year’s operating deficit of $356,108.MKO, which received a denial of opinion from an auditor because it lacked proper accounting of its spending, was also warned to include a paper trail around its credit card use.Documents show that Harper used the organization’s money to pay for three guitars, car repairs, flights for his girlfriend and for members of a U.S.-based gospel music group to attend a jamboree, according to Visa statements and invoices obtained by APTN National News.Harper said the guitars were a Christmas gift to someone and that the car repairs and flights for his girlfriend came out of his pay.Harper has also faced criticism over his plan to sell clan memberships to sponsors as a way to raise money for the AFN election which MKO is hosting in Winnipeg this December.last_img read more

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