THE MARIJUANA CONSPIRACY – Review by Leslie Combemale

Writer/director Craig Pryce’s film The Marijuana Conspiracy proves that a fascinating, little-known, and rather dark chapter in Canadian history does not necessarily make for a fascinating movie. The fact-based story basis for the film is one that has been largely buried in time.

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SUBJECTS OF DESIRE (SXSW 21) – Review by Leslie Combemale

A feature documentary debut from Canadian writer/director Jennifer Holness, Subjects of Desire examines the history of beauty for women in the Black community both culturally and aesthetically, and what kinds of impacts that perception of beauty has had on the Black women of today’s America. Fascinating, educational, and insightful, Subjects of Desire should be seen widely and considered thoughtfully by people of all colors, not least to make small inroads in reframing the weight placed on Black women to contort themselves into what is expected of them. They deserve to celebrate themselves completely free of a societal judgment which is seated in hundreds of years of racism.

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HOPELESS ROMANTICS – Review by Carol Cling

The triumph of hope over experience. That’s how 18th-century English writer Samuel Johnson characterized a second marriage. It’s also a good description of the comedy-drama Hopeless Romantic. Judging by the title, you know what to expect. But you keep hoping for the best anyway.

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Lindsey Morgan on SKYLINES, Sci-fi and Soaps – Marina Antunes interviews

Actress Lindsey Morgan is best known for her turn on TV’s long-running The 100 but the fan favourite is not only concentrating on TV. Skylines, the third instalment in writer/director Liam O’Donnell’s ongoing sci-fi saga, stars Morgan as Rose, an ass-kicking badass who is charged with taking the fight to the alien planet in hopes of saving what’s left of humanity. While quite different from Morgan’s previous roles, Skylines gave the actress the opportunity to mix her passion for kickboxing, something she had been pursuing on her own, with acting; not to mention the opportunity to lead a cast of international stars.

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THE GRIZZLIES – Review by Diane Carson

The Grizzlies travels to the Inuit Kugluktuk for an inspirational story. Director Miranda de Pencier establishes historical context through 1920s and 30s sixteen millimeter footage shot by her grandfather in the Canadian Arctic. Now, in the twenty-first century, this area has the highest suicide rate in North America. And flying into remote Kugluktuk to complete community service requirements is recent university graduate Russ Sheppard.

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MOST WANTED – Review by Liz Braun

A sordid chapter in Canadian law enforcement history provides the material for Most Wanted, a new crime thriller from Quebec director Daniel Robby. Bad cops, petty criminals and drug smuggling are the landscape here, with a junkie named Daniel Leger at the centre of the story. It happened 30 years ago, when investigative journalism still existed and the internet did not. The story would never have been told but for the work of award-winning reporter Victor Malarek, the key character in the film.

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BEANS (TIFF 2020) – Review by Leslie Combemale

Framed by a challenging era in Canadian history, Beans is a good film for mothers and daughters to watch and discuss. Friendship, family, and standing your ground, as complicated as that can, are amplified from a female lens, and from the voice of a woman director who knows the story from personal experience. We could use more of these films to help guide girls through their self discovery, and help families support them on their journey.

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Tracey Deer on BEANS, a Personal Story – Pam Grady interviews

Tracey Deer draws from her own life in Beans. Rocks pelting a car she was riding in created a defining moment in Mohawk filmmaker Tracey Deer’s life. It was 1990 and Deer was just 12, a youngster growing up in the Kahnawake First Nations Reserve riding in a caravan of women, elders, and children when stones and racist invective rained down on the group as they crossed the Mercier Bridge.

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Sean Garrity on I PROPOSE WE NEVER SEE EACH OTHER AFTER TONIGHT – Marina Antunes interviews

For his latest film, writer/director Sean Garrity returns to the romantic comedy. Starring newcomer Hera Nalam and Kristian Jordan, I Propose We Never See Each Other Again After Tonight is a winner. A sweet and charming romance that feels authentic. Garrity discusses shooting a romance in the most unromantic of seasons (a Winnipeg winter), chemistry and his discover of Hera Nalam.

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Miranda de Pencier on THE GRIZZLIES, Authenticity and Women in Film – Jennifer Merin interviews

The Grizzlies is based on the inspiring true story of a group of students in a small, struggling Arctic town and centers around the experiences of a recently graduated White teacher, Russ, working his first job as a high school history teacher in the isolated Inuit town of Kuluktuk, where the hardships of life far exceed its joys. In this inspiring tale, Russ and the students are transformed by the power of sport and hope. Canadian filmmaker Miranda de Pencier is an award-winning actress, producer and director. The Grizzlies, which premiered at TIFF and won the DGC Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement, is her feature film directorial debut.

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