PATRICIA ROZEMA on Celebrating her Career – Liz Braun interviews

Patricia Rozema, part of the Toronto New Wave of the 1980s and early 1990s, has been a force in filmmaking since her debut feature, I’ve Heard The Mermaids Singing, earned her immediate recognition. It was the first English-language Canadian film to win a prize at the Cannes Film Festival ― the Prix de la jeunesse in 1987 — and more than 35 years later, it is still regarded as one of the best Canadian movies extant. During the month of March the Toronto International Film Festival is honoring Rozema with a special film series. The trailblazing filmmaker — currently inspiring the next generation of filmmakers at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film & Television — is also being honored in L.A. and New York. We caught up with Rozema recently to talk about the TIFF series.

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TIFF CELEBRATES INTERNAT’L WOMEN’S DAY THROUGHOUT MARCH – Liz Braun reports

International Women’s Day is March 8th, and the Toronto International Film Festival will devote the entire month to celebrating women in cinema. As part of TIFF’s ongoing Share Her Journey initiative, which champions women storytellers, March events will include special screenings, guests and events, with a spotlight on the films of beloved Canadian filmmaker Patricia Rozema and a series devoted to 1980s punk girl features. Guests at TIFF Lightbox include filmmakers Rozema, Liv McNeil and Meredith Hama-Brown.

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SPOTLIGHT October 2023: Sandra Huller, Actress of the Year

In a bit of casting kismet, two of the biggest films this year star the same actor: Sandra Huller. Huller was dubbed the “Queen of Cannes” last May after director Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall won the Palme d’Or and Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest took both the runner-up Grand Prize of the Festival and the FIPRESCI honors. Huller, 45, stars in the courtroom thriller Anatomy of a Fall as a woman on trial for her husband’s murder. The film is a carefully structured moral conundrum about truth and perception, and all of it hinges on Huller’s performance . In The Zone of Interest, a Holocaust film unlike any other, she plays Hedwig Hoss, a homemaker enjoying the upward mobility that comes with being the wife of the Commandant of Auschwitz. What Huller does here is understated and difficult to describe, but the specificity in her work is such that you will swear you know what the character smells like.

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TIFF 2023 Preview: Films Directed By Women

The 48th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival is once again ready to kick off in Toronto. While this year may not have the star power of previous years due to the ongoing SAG and WGA strikes, there are still plenty of films to see – especially ones with women filmmakers at the helm. While not reaching gender parity in their programming this year, TIFF is still showcasing films by women from around the world. Both well-established directors and first-time directors helm everything from star-studded ensembles, documentaries, indie dramas, comedies, and more. With more than 70 films, series, and shorts directed by women, there are many opportunities to take in female-helmed films this festival, which runs September 7 through 17th. See the full list of feature-length films and series directed or co-directed by women.

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TIFF honors Agnes Varda – Liz Braun reports

The Toronto International Film Festival has unveiled a beautiful new space that honors filmmaker Agnes Varda who was a TIFF regular, bringing new films to the festival some years, while having her best-known movies feted and re-examined in others. Her last movie, Varda By Agnes, was at TIFF 2019, six months after her death. Named Varda, the new space is a sleek cafe-bar on the third floor of the Bell Lightbox building — TIFF headquarters —and it will open officially in the fall. During TIFF, which runs September 7 – 17 this year, it will be open exclusively to filmmakers and top-tier patrons of the festival, but after the annual celebration of cinema wraps up, all TIFF members will be invited to a special preview of Varda before the cafe-bar opens to the public.

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SPOTLIGHT August 2023: Judy Lung, Cinema PR Ace, TIFF Communications Chief

Judy Lung is a mensch and a mentor, always an oasis of calm and meticulous organization in what can be a frenetic industry. She is highly respected by the media and well-known as an ally to the press in Toronto and across Canada, and her recent appointment at TIFF was cause for celebration among reporters. As she takes her place in the important cultural institution that is the Toronto International Film Festival, it’s time to spread the word outside Canada and introduce Lung to an international audience.

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GOOD MADAM – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

A horror film about the way the legacy of apartheid continues to be internalized on a personal and professional level in contemporary South Africa, Good Madamfollows single mother Tsidi who, after the death of her beloved grandmother, is forced to move with her daughter Winnie into the house of a rich white woman Diane where Tsidi grew up, and where her mother Mavis still works as a housekeeper. Good Madam is a masterclass in how horror can speak to race and inequality, set in a world of servitude presented as a terrifying, powerful and unrelentingly enduring mode of postcolonial possession – both literally and metaphorically – whose presence can be felt long after the official era of apartheid has supposedly ended.

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THE GUILTY (TIFF 2021) – Review by Pam Grady

Twenty years after his breakthrough film, Training Day, Antoine Fuqua returns to the environs of the Los Angeles Police Department to deliver a very different, more subdued drama. A remake of a 2018 Danish thriller of the same name and shot under COVID protocols, it is a film where interest never flags but one that is hampered by its shaky night-in-the-life-of scenario, delivering a too shallow portrayal of the life of a troubled man.

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WHERE IS ANNE FRANK (TIFF2021) – Review by Ulkar Alakbarova

Anne Frank’s diary has been told, filmed, and has many documentaries about it. It seems there is nothing more left to be said until you watch Ari Folman’s Where is Anne Frank. This time, it takes a novel approach and revolves around Anne’s imaginary friend, Kitty, who finds herself in Frank’s house in Amsterdam. Getting a physical form, she steals Anne’s diary and begins the journey of her dearest friend, as she, with deep sadness, learns about Anne’s tragic fate.

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SALOUM (TIFF 21) – Review by Maitland McDonagh

The genre-warping Saloum starts out as an action-heavy thriller and glides seamlessly into a supernatural horror tale with intense psychological underpinnings. Congolese filmmakers Jean Luc Herbulot Herbulot and Pamela Diop draw on both real-life horrors and fairytale darkness, and combined with intense performances across the board the result is genuinely disturbing. Suffice it to say that the film’s most disturbing images have nothing to do with bogeymen.

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