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Tag Archives: film festival

Absolutely Free – Synchromy

song of the week!

How gorgeous is this live soundtrack to Canadian filmmaker Norman McLaren’s 1971 classic, Synchromy ? Absolutely Free was asked to create a new soundtrack this year at TIFF for a special multimedia event, Re-sounding The Films of Norman McLaren.

McLaren’s work and Absolutely Free’s music go incredibly well together.

Also, loving this reminder of TIFF’s Festival Square, and how much fun it was to have King Street closed down that first weekend – not to mention the live music stage.

Remember when we could still be outside and listen to music? Damn you, winter.


Giveaway – Tickets to Six Hot Docs Films

hot_docs_2014 ticket giveaway

Hot Docs is here!!! This means I am going to be incredibly happy for the next 10 days – well, 8 days as I will have to go home next weekend for a family thing – but still.

As I have said many times before, this is my favourite film festival of them all, for one simple reason – I love real stories. There is no bullshit or fantasy, just the truth. Documentaries are raw and real and funny and interesting. They cover every facet of life from crime to love to art to music to comedy to justice to our most basic human struggles.

With that in mind – Hot Docs has given me 6 pairs of tickets to 6 extraordinary films playing at this year’s festival. All you have to do to win is send me an email ( lisa @ ) with the title of the film(s) you want to be entered into in the subject line of the email. I will respond to the winner 12 – 24 hours before the screening to let you know where to pick up your tickets. Please make sure you will definitely be able to attend the screening time listed before entering!

Here are the 6 films I wanted you all to have the chance to see:


Gruff Rhys of the Super Furry Animals will be attending the screening for a Q&A. 
Scotiabank Theatre 3
Fri, Apr 25 4:00 PM


The doc about Dan Harmon’s tour of his live podcast after being fired from his cult hit show, Community
Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
Fri, Apr 25 11:59 PM


A love letter to zombies and the cultural phenomenon of the genre. 
Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
Sat, Apr 26 11:59 PM


Because we all want to see a doc about the band who wrote “Common People,” the ultimate ‘rich people are idiots’ anthem. 
Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
Sun, Apr 27 11:59 PM


Exploring the modern teen movie genre from The Craft to Mean Girls and beyond. Those three classic movie mentions are more than enough reason to see this doc. 
TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
Tue, Apr 29 10:00 PM


A lovely if depressing doc dealing with the brutal truth of the pain behind a breakup, and the way our brains are wired to addict us to someone so that breakups are as physically and emotionally painful as getting sober. 
TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
Wed, Apr 30 9:30 PM


TGIF – Harvey, Movie Music Moments and the Mercury Prize

TIFF2013 toronto international film festival 121212 premiere harvey weinstien george strombolopolous interview q and a music documentary hurricane sandy

Hello again, Friday. That week just went super fast – but of course it did. It’s TIFF. Which means I haven’t been home much, except to sleep (and write this).

Have you seen any great films this festival? So far my favourite probably remains the behind the scenes 12.12.12 doc,  which my photo above shows the Q & A with Strombo interviewing Harvey Weinstein and his team after the film.

The 12.12.12 fundraiser was such an incredible lineup of artists, and getting a behind the scenes look into how they pulled all those huge acts together so fast was incredible. Harvey also told us how he tried SO hard to complete the 60’s/70’s English legend bands with Led Zeppelin but Jimmy Page’s dirtbag manager Peter Mensch convinced him NOT TO DO IT! They even got President Obama AND President Clinton to personally ask Page to do it. WTF. Makes me think much less of Jimmy Page now. Who refuses to do a charity benefit concert because they want to be paid outrageous sums of money when they’ve already got more money they they’ll ever use in this life? Sad.

I usually forgo TIFF parties in favour of actually seeing films, but Tuesday I went to the SXSW TIFF party, and quickly realized just how male dominated the film world truly is. I was so shocked that the party was 90% male. I always feel the music industry is so male dominated, but at least at our parties, it usually feels 60/40 split. But I was also told that’s because men in music are cool and usually have women around them – men in film, not so much.

I also took a TIFF break to check out the unbelievable Christian Louboutin shoe exhibit at the Design Exchange. I’ve never wished I had unlimited disposable income more in my life. So many incredible,  incredibly expensive, beautiful shoes. One day.

Anyhow, now for the links!


TGIF – New Fees for Bands, TIFF, and Breaking Bad Sexism


Hey guys! Happy September! It’s crazy how fast the city changes from calm and warm to crazy and cold as soon as September hits. It’s overwhelming. The past couple weeks have been busy.

Super cool thing – I did my first ever guest lecture, on social media/blogging, for the music/film/management students at Trebas. That was awesome. I’ll post more about that in the coming week.

I also got a new job I am SUPER excited to tell you guys about. Let’s just say I’m gonna be working for the people I’ve wanted to work for since graduating college. It’s one of those “if you believe you can have it, one day, you will” moments.

Did you guys have an amazing long weekend? This week actually marks my 10th anniversary of living in Toronto. 10 years ago I was just like all those other Frosh kids wandering the streets this week. Time flies.

Are you checking out any TIFF films? There are tons of great music ones to check out (I may post a list if I get the chance). I’m also pumped for Spike Jonze’s Masters chat. You can buy tickets directly through that image in my sidebar! And if you want to do a fun TIFF related party tonight, you should head to Adelaide Music Hall for YLMC’s Clockwork Orange theme party. Great bands playing, and they always throw a good show. This was Kubrick’s best film, after all. I dressed as Alex for Halloween regularly as a young teen – my neighbors thought it was inappropriate.

With all that said, here are the links:


Hot Docs Reviews – Anita, The Punk Singer, Pussy Riot

anita hill documentary clarence thomas feminism sexual harrassment movie review

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 she is the one 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 crap considering she shares his race), the politicians got scared, and nothing ever happened to him. He took his seat on the Supreme Court, while 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.


The Punk Singer kathleen hanna documentary review hot docs toronto le tigre feminism riot grrl manifesto

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.


pussy riot a punk prayer documentary hot docs review riot grrls jail russia art performance artsts public art church and state

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.