In a small patio nestled in a high-rise apartment building in downtown Toronto, I sit across from Albert Shin. Despite the periodic sounds of honking from below and the roar of planes from above, the spot is peaceful, illuminated by the mid-morning sun. The young Canadian writer-director is friendly and informal, with a boyish face and irrepressible grin.
In all the hubbub of the Toronto International Film Festival, sometimes it's easy to forget where you are. Amidst the wall of people crowding the streets, the buzz of foreign languages, and Hollywood celebrities emerging from black SUV's you might be at any major world film festival.
The problem with "relevant" films is they almost immediately become irrelevant -- "ripped from the headlines" current event movies are the mayflies of the movie biz. Canadian director Kari Skogland's Fifty Dead Men Walking takes place in Belfast circa 1980 -- a time when bloody conflict was a daily reality between British troops and the IRA.
There are few phenomena in this universe as evocative and imbued with as much symbolic power as a lightening bolt. When one gazes at these pillars of light descending from the heavens, charged with devastating potential, one understands why pre-technological societies believed them the instruments of gods.
What happened to independent film? Of late I find myself pining for the woebegone days when guerilla filmmakers produced colorful and rebellious forays into the avant-garde like Harmony Korrine's Gummo or Vincent Gallo's Brown Bunny. Sure, some of them were disasters but they were interesting disasters.
You couldn't meet a more enthusiastic and a more charming person than Fetching Cody director David Ray.
The name Tara Spencer-Nairn may not be familiar to many Canadians, but chances are her face is. Tara has appeared in a number of Canadian feature films as well as in guest-starring roles on TV shows Blue Murder, The Outer Limits, and Cold Squad.
Canadian films often have a hard time finding an audience theatrically. There are many reasons why, none the least of which is the fact that they are often given less-to-no promotion and released in only a handful of theaters for what is usually only one or two weeks before disappearing to the shelves of your local video store.
One of the smartest and strongest Canadian features to come from the 2004 Vancouver International Film Festival was director David Weaver's Siblings, a dark comedy about a group of kids and how they deal with the sudden and tragic death of their parents, which they inadvertently caused.
My opinion on interviews is widely known. I enjoy doing them occasionally, but am not the biggest fan of all the work that goes into preparing for them. Often, you have to talk to a publicist and the back and forth starts, trying to find a time that works for everyone involved.