ANNE AT 13,000 FT – Review by Kristen Page-Kirby

Anne is a character we don’t see often in film, and director Kazik Radwanski gives us the space to react to her as we do. Most importantly, we’re given permission to not like Anne. “Likeability” is so often the death knell for female characters; it’s the cinematic equivalent of “you’d be so much prettier if you smiled.” To have a female character who simply is and doesn’t seek, require, or offer redemption to herself or others is rare and refreshing.

Read more

QUEEN OF THE BEACH – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

Shooting a video in India for a church mission, Canadian filmmaker Christopher McDonell stopped by the beach in Goa to clear his head like so many other tourists drawn to the lush shores. He wound up making a friend who would captivate him for roughly a decade. Shilpa Poojar is just nine years old and selling clothing at a small booth to support her family when McDonell meets her in 2008 in his documentary, Queen of the Beach. She has responsibilities beyond her years, but Poojar also is precocious with charisma to spare.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more