Tag Archives: film festival
Anita is a look back at what the exact moment where sexual harassment became a valid work problem that is taken seriously. Prior to Anita Hill infamously speaking out against the sexual harassment she endured working for Clarence Thomas, this kind of treatment was tolerated by women (and men) because they didn’t know they had any other option. She gave us all a voice and right to speak up without the risk of losing our jobs.
I was so young when she did this for feminism that I didn’t even realize I have her to thank for the times where I’ve felt uncomfortable at work and been able to do something about it. The beauty of this film is that it is educating my generation and those women younger than me on what she did for us, and how different the world was just 20 years ago. How acceptable that kind of workplace abuse was. I feel so incredibly lucky to have been born in the time of history that I was.
It was startling to watch her give her testimony facing a large panel of old white men, as they interrogated her and accused her of man hating, revenge, bitterness and lying. They tried to tear her apart because she was honest, and yet she remained calm and poised throughout the entire process. I have no idea how she did it. She deserves a medal from every woman. As if it wasn’t bad enough that she suffered through his harassment the first time, they put her up there and did everything they could to humiliate her in front of the entire world, making her relive every minute detail.
And of course, in the end, they didn’t even care about her testimony. Thomas made it into a racial issue (which is such crap considering she shares his race) and nothing ever happened to him. He took his seat on the Supreme Court and she had to move to another state to avoid all the death threats and harassment she endured after it was over. That in itself is depressing, but the film makes it very clear that what she did is an act of heroism that will be remembered for generations to come.
Thank you Anita.
Kathleen Hanna is another fascinating, inspiring woman to my generation. As much as I could never really get into the whole riot grrrl scene because of my aversion to vocals that involve screaming, I have incredible respect for its place in the third wave of feminism that sparked because of the injustices faced by women like Anita Hill at the time.
While I never really enjoyed Bikini Kill’s sound, I did like Le Tigre to some degree, but I was never quite interested enough to dig into their story. This film definitely made me realize what I was missing out on, and how incredible Kathleen was (and still is).
She is exactly the kind of person I aspire to be – and I have been living by her manifesto, despite not being particularly aware, of it all along. Her “ALL GIRLS TO THE FRONT” mentality at shows is literally the best concept in music history, ever. EVERY BAND SHOULD DO THIS. The way they explained it in the film made me so happy, because men don’t seem to realize that they make such a hostile environment for women at shows – or they do realize and they just don’t care. The last thing I want to deal with is getting head butted by moshers (this has happened to me) because I’m at the front trying to actually see the band. If the male population were kind enough to do that shit in the back, and stand back so that women who are generally at least 5 inches shorter, could actually see the stage – the concert going experience would be oh so wonderful for everyone.
I wish I could have went to a Bikini Kill show just to be a part of a concert where there was a priority put on women actually being comfortable/having a stage sight-line.
The look into her health issues and the decision to end Le Tigre was also insightful. Lyme disease is something most people (myself included) certainly don’t understand, and it went a long way to explaining how dreadful the disease can be – especially when it makes a singer lose control of her most precious asset – her voice. I also loved when she talked about meeting Adam Horovitz and feeling conflicted about dating someone who sang such sexist songs in those early Beastie Boys days, and how you don’t choose who you fall in love with.
If you are at all interested in 90s music culture, feminism, riot grrrls or just want to see a doc about a groundbreaking artist, make it a point to see The Punk Singer.
I’ll admit I was fairly uninterested in the whole Pussy Riot thing. I heard about it non stop to the point where I just decided to tune it out. Again, not being all that into the riot grrrl scene, I just didn’t pay much attention. When I hear Peaches is involved in something I kind of lose interest, as it always tends to feel like a spectacle.
Of course, seeing Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer made me feel foolish for not paying attention. It is scary to me that this kind of church meets state environment still exists in what looks like a modern part of the world. They were doing nothing more than what Kathleen Hanna and the riot bands did 20 years ago, but they are in jail for it!
The best part of Hot Docs is that it shocks me into remembering just how lucky I am to be living where I do, in the age that I do. After watching the injustice these girls are going through, I am thanking my lucky stars that I do not live in Russia. It literally boggles my mind that things could still be so backwards in a developed country – but religion makes people act in very strange (ungodly) ways.
Can you imagine being sent to jail for 2 YEARS for just barely starting to sing a ‘punk rock’ song in a church? It’s absurd. I agree that it was crossing a line since so many people were offended by it, and they could have maybe banned them from the church for life or something – but putting them in jail away from their babies for years because they created art in public? Insane.
The film gives these women faces, families, and history – which is something you don’t get through our exploitative news. Watching their parents talk about how they were as kids, and how they grew into feminist artists trying to move their part of the world forward in the same way that Kathleen Hanna did, makes it a must see. It’s also inspiring to hear them talk during sentencing – the fearlessness these women have for the message they are trying to spread of equality for all women is so powerful. I know that when they get out they will continue to create positive change and hopefully help move Russia into the current decade.
Come Thursday, another Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival is upon us for 11 days, and I couldn’t be more excited to be covering it. Documentary film is the most reliable format for great filmmaking, in my opinion, because real stories always resonate – even if the camera work and production value are poor – the aspect of humanity being portrayed is almost always palpable.
With that said, Hot Docs has asked me to give you guys tickets to some of the films I am most excited to see. I have a pair of tickets to giveaway to the first screenings of both The Exhibition and When I Walk.
It is no secret that I have a very strong interest in crime stories. I’m obsessive about shows like Dateline, 48 Hours, Dexter, Breaking Bad and Criminal Minds. The Exhibition blends that interest with my true passion for arts, creativity and artists who aren’t afraid to break the rules – making this one of my top picks for this years festival.
It looks at the largest serial murder case in Canadian history – that of Robert Pickton and his pig farm back in 2007 – and an artist, Pamela Masik, who created paintings based around the faces of the 69 missing women police revealed at the time. Masik created gruesome portraits of the women – meant to highlight a racist and sexist society that let such violence against women take place for so long. But of course, using real victims for your art is going to piss a lot of people off, and for it, she faced a shitstorm of criticism that forced her to cancel the exhibition of this massive collection of work.
Win tickets to see it on Saturday April 27th at 9:30pm at TIFF Bell Lightbox.
When I Walk is the personal story of director Jason DeSilva and his diagnosis and subsequent battle with a severe form of multiple sclerosis at just 25 years old. As a filmmaker he was used to a life of travelling the world and creating. The disease, as it quickly stole his ability to walk, took this from him.
I watched my aunt live with multiple sclerosis for the first 10 years of my life – visiting her at the hospital every weekend with my dad – watching her turn into a skeleton until she finally passed away. It created within me a fear of hospitals that remains to this day. Not because of her – she was incredible despite all the pain, lighting up with joy anytime we were in the room – but because she was stuck there in this bland place surrounded by a rotating sea of geriatrics on their death bed – young and alive but unable to live – a true nightmare for someone as fun as she was (a rebellious Beatles fanatic and a mod, I wish I could have known her once I was older as I obviously got a lot of my personality from her).
MS is a terrible, incurable disease that strikes a very large portion of Canadians because of our cold climate – and while things are a lot more hopeful now than they were back when my aunt was diagnosed – there is still a lot more that can be done. Films like this have the potential to educate and humanize something that is very hard to understand unless you have experienced it. A cure is within reach.
Win tickets to the Friday April 26th screening at 9:30pm at TIFF Bell Lightbox.
To win, leave a comment with the name of the film you are interested in seeing (or both, if you’re interested in both), using an email address I can contact you at where it asks for your email address (do not put your email in the body of the comment).
You can also enter by becoming a Facebook fan and commenting on my status about this giveaway with the film you would like to see.
Both winners will be chosen and notified on Wednesday morning either via their email address or on Facebook, depending on method of entry.
Hey peeps! Welcome to another TGIF. This has been the best week ever for me as I finally met the woman who had the biggest impact on the choices I’ve made in my life. And it’s International Women’s Day today, so perfect timing!
I got to see both her performances at AGO’s 1st Thursday last night, and I’m seeing her again tomorrow night at Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Only took a decade but I finally crossed her off my bucketlist, but it was beyond worth the wait. Review to come.
But for now, peruse all of this:
- SXSW: Waste of money, or indie band ‘rite of passage’?
- Why I’m not going to SXSW this year. Seems there’s a lot of anti SXSW posts this year. I stupidly applied at the last minute meaning there were no hotels left, or I would be there with bells on. Next year for sure.
- Google Chrome browser improving music listening on the web.
- Stompin’ Tom Connors Dead at the age of 77. He was the Hank Williams of Canada. I may find the hockey song a bit hokey but he was a true talent.
- Canadian indie music scene hits the right economic note.
- Add a song, make a movie. Music supervisors in film seek more recognition. I seriously considered being a Music Supervisor fulltime when I first graduated, as it combined my two biggest passions in a perfect way, and while it seems I might be getting back into it as my sister pursues her dream of making films, I still enter with hesitation because of the things this article points out. It’s really not taken seriously or respected in the film world the way that it should be.
- Music Sampling: A War Rages within the Music and Art community on a Legal Battleground.
- The Postal Service auditons: Funny or Die edition. This is so hilarious – and the PERFECT way to promote the rerelease of an album. Moby’s part is the best.
- MaKey MaKey is so awesome. I want to make random things into musical instruments!
- If people talked about Seinfeld like they talk about Girls. SOOO TRUE! The Girls criticisms are ridiculous just as the criticisms laid on Seinfeld were. Some people seem to have missed the joke in both shows.
- This Ignite Talk is a must watch. Words matter. Be mindful about what you say and how you say it.
- Finally, my beloved Teenage Kicks have a new video, and it’s only slightly NSFW:
Hot Docs starts today! I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, this is my favorite film festival in the city. Stories about real people living real lives are always more fascinating than ones made up to sell tickets. That said, here are a few docs I think you guys might like to check out over the next ten days (click the title to be taken to the Hot Docs page with a film summary and screening schedule):
This has a good chance at being my favorite film of the festival, if only because it’s obviously well shot, and going on tour with a band is at the top of my bucket list, so films like this (it’s obviously referencing one of my favorite docs ever – Festival Express) help me live vicariously through the camera. Mumford and Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show tour America, before Mumford got super crazy huge. Director Emmett Malloy is becoming the go to music doc guy, and he does good work.
As if the story isn’t great enough (62 year old who worked as a James Brown impersonator his whole life releases his debut album), listen to that voice. I teared up from the trailer, not gonna lie. I love this stuff.
If this doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what will.
“When you start a band, do you imagine how it will end?” This is the LCD Soundsystem doc.
World’s greatest drummer. World’s biggest douchebag. The Ginger Baker doc.
Oscar winning director Kevin MacDonald made this long awaited authorized documentary on Bob Marley.
There are no words for how much I love this. A doc that shows exactly why I love music – it’s for everyone.
Can’t say I ever cared much for the kind of bands that Warped Tour books, but it’s always interesting to get an inside look into a touring festival.
I never thought I’d see the day that Rick Springfield would make it onto the blog, but this just might be worth checking out, maybe. Oh and if you’re like those scary women in the film, just an FYI that the Jessie’s Girl singer will be attending the opening screening.
What are you planning on seeing? I’m open to suggestions.
I love free movies. I love musicals. And I love any opportunity to be outdoors in the city and do something fun. So obviously, I’m excited for TIFF in the Park. It all starts tomorrow night outside Roy Thompson Hall at 9pm with The Wizard of Oz, so fill your flask with your favorite beverage, pop some popcorn and head downtown for a rare free night out.
The Wizard of Oz
Running Time: 101 min
July 6 at 9:02pm
David Pecaut Square (formerly Metro Square, next to Roy Thomson Hall)
The beloved fantasy about a young girl’s journey through a strange world, accompanied by some very special friends.
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Running Time: 91 min
July 13 at 8:58pm
Catherine Deneuve stars in Jacques Demy’s delightful musical romance.
Running Time: 151 min
July 20 at 8:53pm
Barbra Streisand won the Best Actress Academy Award for her screen debut in the film version of her stage hit.
The Sound of Music
Running Time: 174 min
July 27 at 8:46pm
Julie Andrews’ irrepressible singing nun brings love and laughter to the home of a stern widower and his seven children.
Running Time: 115 min
August 3 at 8:38pm
A Chaplinesque tramp gets more than he bargained for when he wanders into a luxury apartment building in search of a glass of water.
Fiddler on the Roof
Running Time: 181 min
August 10 at 8:29pm
As part of the summer tribute to Norman Jewison at TIFF Bell Lightbox, enjoy his classic adaptation of the hit stage show.
Singin’ in the Rain
Running Time: 103 min
August 17 at 8:18pm
Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds star in this classic musical set at the end of Hollywood’s silent era.
The Muppet Movie
Running Time: 95 min
August 24 at 8:07pm
Kermit, Gonzo, Fozzie, Miss Piggy and the rest are joined by celebrity guests Steve Martin, Bob Hope, Richard Pryor, Orson Welles and numerous others in their first big-screen adventure.
Running Time: 139 min
August 31 at 7:55pm
A magical nanny descends from the sky to take two unruly children in hand in this perennial favourite from Disney.