Ottawa International Film Festival

Ottawa International Film Festival

0 notes

2014 Canadian Screen Awards are bigger and better

image

 

By Vera Grbic

March 12, 2014 

The US has the Emmy Awards for television and the Academy Awards (Oscars) for film. In Canada, we have the Canadian Screen Awards, an amalgam of what used to be a separate television award ceremony (Gemini Awards) and a film award ceremony (Genie Awards). 

The first incarnation of the amalgam took place in 2013. The 2014 awards were screened on March 9th, covering Canada’s creative media arenas of film, television, and digital media production.

Film at the Screen Awards

Much like the Sochi Olympics, the Screen Awards had a strong Quebec showing this year. Montreal-filmed Gabrielle, a powerful and human film about a musically-inclined woman with Williams syndrome striving to live an independent life, came away with the biggest award of the night — best motion picture. Gabrielle Marion-Rivard also earned best actress for her portrayal of the heroine, exclaiming “I love you Canada” in her enthusiastic acceptance speech. The film took inspiration from real life: Gabrielle’s choir is part of Les Muses: centre des arts de la scène, a real Montreal performing arts school for people with disabilities.

Meanwhile, Enemy, a surreal psychological thriller by Quebec director Denis Villeneuve, swept the awards with five wins, and led the nominations with 10 nods. The wins include best supporting actress, and best direction for Villeneuve. The film stars Hollywood powerhouse and previous Villeneuve collaborator Jake Gyllenhaal. The nominations are a huge scoop for the film as it is yet to be released (it’s set to come out this week).

A major highlight of the show was lauded director David Cronenberg being honoured with a lifetime achievement award. Jay Baruchel and Viggo Mortensen sang his praises in a tribute speech, where Mortensen called him “the finest director and the sanest man I know.”

Breakout star Tatiana Maslany was nominated in both film and TV categories — the film is road movie Cas & Dylan directed by Jason Priestley — ultimately winning TV best actress for “Orphan Black.” Maslany is making waves beyond a big win here, having also garnered a Golden Globe nod this year.

Then we have the Don McKellar-directed, multiple-nominee film that some might confuse with the original beloved French-language film. The Grand Seduction (giving legend Gordon Pinsent a supporting actor win in this year’s awards) is an English version based on the hit 2003 Quebecois comedy La grande séduction. Séduction also won a Genie in its day.

Making a splash at the awards was the best documentary winner, Watermark. A very timely film about water and the way it shapes humanity, it brings back together Manufactured Landscapes collaborators Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky.

Other big film winners of the night include Le Démantèlement, Empire of Dirt, The F-Word, Louis Cyr, l’homme le plus fort du monde, The Right Kind of Wrong, and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.

Bigger and better

For the second time in a row, the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television made the inspired decision of getting Canadian-American comedy superstar Martin Short to host. In 2013, late night guru Conan O’Brien proposed that Short would be the perfect Oscars host. Not only do his hosting duties for the 2013 and 2014 Screen Awards prove his abilities, but the Academy needs to stay on this trend and cement Short as the Billy Crystal of the Canadian film and TV award show.

Gerry Dee, nominated for his role in the CBC series Mr. D, described to CBC that since the 2013 awards, “they [the Academy] are giving it that Oscar feel for us.” This is all the more notable as 2014 marks the 65th year that the Academy has held a ceremony.

The awards have “evolved, changed names, added television and digital productions to the competition and inspired the official founding of the Academy in 1979,” says Academy CEO Helga Stephenson.

Nominated films like Enemy have the advantage of attracting significant media attention due to the huge Hollywood names. The fact that worldwide stars appeared at the awards is also of mention, including Canadian actors who are just as well known in the States (Baruchel and Priestley) and acting heavyweight Mortensen.

Finally, it’s significant that this new award forum allows for both small and big screen stars to converge on the red carpet, promoting the broad entertainment system in Canada.

To see a full list of winners and nominees, including film best shorts, go to: http://www.academy.ca/Canadian-Screen-Awards/2014-Nominees-Winners.

 

0 notes

2014 Oscars: Did you know?

image

By Vera Grbic

March 2, 2014

On the eve of the 86th Academy Awards, we wanted to provide you with some interesting tidbits on this year’s event.

2014 Oscars: Did you know?

The first Oscars were in 1929, which means they are 86 years old this year. Meanwhile, 2013 was a year of numbers aligning: the 85th Academy Awards had the oldest-ever Oscar nominee of the same age: 85-year-old Emmanuelle Riva was nominated for her role in Amour (she turned 86 the day the Oscars were presented).

According to one of this year’s Academy members, the judges are not allowed any perks that might sway their vote (no lavish dinner, gifts, etc.), except for proper screening of all the nominees on the big screen.

Even though the list of Academy members is still laden with secrecy, it is surprising that a woman of the cloth just might be voting on 2014’s nominees based on her early film work.

There are more than 6,000 Academy members across the world who can choose to vote for nominees in the 2014 Oscars. If 6,000 members voted in all 24 ballot questions, that creates 144,000 answers that need to be sorted.

John Mac McMurphy (a.k.a. Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallée) and Montreal’s Martin Pensa were nominated in Best Film Editing. Vallée could have been nominated under his real name for directing Dallas Buyers Club, but at least he got a nod under his pseudonym for editing.

It so rarely happens overnight, but we love how it happened in this instance. Barkhad Abdi’s first acting role ever is in the film for which he is nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Captain Phillips. Before his breakout role, Abdi worked as a limo driver. 

This year, Before Midnight (part of a trilogy: Before Sunrise and Before Sunset are the first two films, respectively), is nominated in the venerated Adapted Screenplay category. Some critics believe it is the best of the 20-year-long film series. The trilogy evolved from little known cult hit (Before Sunrise has three award nominations) to iconic award-guzzler (Before Midnight has 28 award nominations), but an Oscar win would cement the trilogy’s status in Hollywood.

Meryl Streep, with her nomination for August: Osage County, becomes an acting nominee for the record 18th time (the previous record was also hers).

Her, a film where a writer falls for a piece of technology in the form of his new OS1 operating system, was actually inspired by Bernardo Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris, in an attempt to make the film “feel as natural as possible.”

The Grammy Awards are taking over the 2014 Oscars: Pharrell Williams (Despicable Me 2) and Karen O (Her), previously nominated for Grammys, have now been nominated for Oscars. Vampire Weekend (another Grammy darling) is set to perform with Karen O at the March 2 Oscar ceremony.

This year, the Academy presented the first-ever “Oscar Concert” with an orchestra performing pieces from each of the nominated original scores, including William Butler and Owen Pallett for Her, Alexandre Desplat for Philomena, Thomas Newman for Saving Mr. Banks, Steven Price for Gravity and John Williams for The Book Thief.

Unlike the IOC adding 12 new sports to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the Oscars rarely update their voting categories. The last time a category was added was in 2001 with the addition of the Animated Feature Film Award. The award went to Shrek

0 notes

#OIFF72 Q&A with Filmmakers – Part 2

By Vera Grbic
February 25, 2014

What does it take to come up with a script and shoot a film in three days? We got some answers from this year’s hearty souls of the OIFF 72 Hour Film Challenge.

In Part 2, we hear from Curtis Dickie of “The Proposal,” Andrei Zubok of “Mikhail” and Ray Besharah of “Domino.” Check out Part 1 for more #OIFF72 interviews.

What were some of the unforeseen quirks or funny occurrences that happened in the process of filming?

CD: When shooting, Astrid (super cat) kept attacking Nate’s (stunt dog extraordinaire) tail. The rock paper scissors sequence was impromptu on the day. We thought it was a funny tribute to our entry in last year’s challenge (The Players). Cory’s [Thibert] line, “I gotta call my mom,” had everyone on set in stitches.

AZ: When it turned [out] that the cafe where we planned to write the script closed at 10 [p.m.], we went looking for a 24-hour McDonald’s, which ended up closing at 10 [p.m.], since two of their people didn’t show up for work. Then it was across town to find another 24-hour McDonald’s.

RB: In the film, I get dragged across a dirt road on my stomach and my shirt kept riding up. It was tremendously hard to allow the gravel to shred my skin while pretending I wasn’t affected. In fact, in the short, when I’m dragged off camera, you can hear the faintest moan just at the end of the dragging. That’s me, unable to contain the pain any longer, though the concept of the film makes us think it’s the other actor who is grunting as he’s pulling me. With a little more time, I would have planned that whole thing much better.

Music is one of the wildcards and so much to choose from too (10 songs this year). How does music figure into your film?

CD: Music and sound is a huge part of film (not just ours). The right music at the right time can be the difference between a hardy chuckle or a mournful tear. We (Team Awesomesauce) were blessed with not only 10 great songs to choose from but with a rocking Post Audio guy, Andrew Huggett, who not only took care of our audio woes, he brought in a whole new dimension of sounds that I couldn’t have dreamed of on my own.

AZ: We were fortunate in having someone to work on a score – we had a couple of original compositions as well as three of the songs from the list. Ten isn’t all that much to choose from when you’re trying to match it to the mood of the scene.

RB: Music was the sole inspiration for Domino. Music is such a powerful tool in film, so knowing we had to incorporate three songs made them the natural starting point. The first few hours of concept development time was just me sitting and listening to the music again and again until I pictured what I wanted to do. I don’t do it all the time, but I love working that way.

It’s a three-day whirlwind. Tell the truth, how much sleep did you get?

CD: Sleep is for the weak. We finished tweaking the script Saturday morning at 2 a.m. and we started rolling at 8:45 a.m. [the same day].  

AZ: In total, probably about nine hours over the three days – mostly on Saturday night when we had a break in filming from 11 p.m. until 9 a.m. After that it was round the clock until the film was submitted (although I managed to get a couple of short naps in). My editor worked non-stop for over 24 hours.

RB: There were some late nights and early mornings, but it was totally worth it (as usual)!

#OIFF72 Q&A with Filmmakers – Part 2

By Vera Grbic

February 25, 2014

What does it take to come up with a script and shoot a film in three days? We got some answers from this year’s hearty souls of the OIFF 72 Hour Film Challenge.

In Part 2, we hear from Curtis Dickie of “The Proposal,” Andrei Zubok of “Mikhail” and Ray Besharah of “Domino.” Check out Part 1 for more #OIFF72 interviews.

What were some of the unforeseen quirks or funny occurrences that happened in the process of filming?

CD: When shooting, Astrid (super cat) kept attacking Nate’s (stunt dog extraordinaire) tail. The rock paper scissors sequence was impromptu on the day. We thought it was a funny tribute to our entry in last year’s challenge (The Players). Cory’s [Thibert] line, “I gotta call my mom,” had everyone on set in stitches.

AZ: When it turned [out] that the cafe where we planned to write the script closed at 10 [p.m.], we went looking for a 24-hour McDonald’s, which ended up closing at 10 [p.m.], since two of their people didn’t show up for work. Then it was across town to find another 24-hour McDonald’s.

RB: In the film, I get dragged across a dirt road on my stomach and my shirt kept riding up. It was tremendously hard to allow the gravel to shred my skin while pretending I wasn’t affected. In fact, in the short, when I’m dragged off camera, you can hear the faintest moan just at the end of the dragging. That’s me, unable to contain the pain any longer, though the concept of the film makes us think it’s the other actor who is grunting as he’s pulling me. With a little more time, I would have planned that whole thing much better.

Music is one of the wildcards and so much to choose from too (10 songs this year). How does music figure into your film?

CD: Music and sound is a huge part of film (not just ours). The right music at the right time can be the difference between a hardy chuckle or a mournful tear. We (Team Awesomesauce) were blessed with not only 10 great songs to choose from but with a rocking Post Audio guy, Andrew Huggett, who not only took care of our audio woes, he brought in a whole new dimension of sounds that I couldn’t have dreamed of on my own.

AZ: We were fortunate in having someone to work on a score – we had a couple of original compositions as well as three of the songs from the list. Ten isn’t all that much to choose from when you’re trying to match it to the mood of the scene.

RB: Music was the sole inspiration for Domino. Music is such a powerful tool in film, so knowing we had to incorporate three songs made them the natural starting point. The first few hours of concept development time was just me sitting and listening to the music again and again until I pictured what I wanted to do. I don’t do it all the time, but I love working that way.

It’s a three-day whirlwind. Tell the truth, how much sleep did you get?

CD: Sleep is for the weak. We finished tweaking the script Saturday morning at 2 a.m. and we started rolling at 8:45 a.m. [the same day].  

AZ: In total, probably about nine hours over the three days – mostly on Saturday night when we had a break in filming from 11 p.m. until 9 a.m. After that it was round the clock until the film was submitted (although I managed to get a couple of short naps in). My editor worked non-stop for over 24 hours.

RB: There were some late nights and early mornings, but it was totally worth it (as usual)!

Filed under Ottawa International Film Festival OIFF OIFF72 film ottawa interview film makers challenge OIFF72 Awards

0 notes

#OIFF72 Q&A with Filmmakers – Part 1

By Vera Grbic
February 24, 2014

What does it take to come up with a script and shoot a film in three days? We got some answers from this year’s hearty souls of the OIFF 72 Hour Film Challenge.

In Part 1, we treat you to answers by Eric Escaravage of “Sister” and Gavin Simone of “Winter Yard Sale.”

What was the most fun and most challenging part of doing #OIFF72?

EE: The most fun part of #OIFF72 was definitely getting together as a team and brainstorming ideas while writing the script. It was really interesting to see and hear everyone’s opinion on where the concept should go. Filming the stunts was also a personal favourite of mine. This cannot be understated, the most challenging part was most definitely the time limit and coordinating everybody’s schedule to fit filming times. It was difficult but we certainly pulled it off with some late night shoots.

GS: One of our main actors had to leave for hockey halfway through filming. We brainstormed a way to transform him into someone else by using the soap that was one of the props provided.  The new actor was much shorter so all the clothes were baggy on him.

What was the decision process on how to use the wildcard criteria? Did you build a story around them, or already have a story and just sort of plug them in?

EE: We were very fortunate that a few of the wildcard elements fit in perfectly with regards to our general idea we had planned before the competition. On the other hand, implementing the objects in a manner that was both subtle and natural was one [of] our big discussion points.

GS: We already had a story that included a garage sale scene, so as a last resort we could put all the props on display there. It was a stroke of luck that [we] already had a mailman scene so integrating that line was a cinch. 

How does the fact that it’s the middle of winter factor into this three-day project?

EE: Minus a few car shots, “Sister” was shot entirely outside. Many of our shots required us to be out late into the night or to be outside for extended periods of time. Needless to say, I don’t think that any one of us expected to go from freezing our faces off at night (Timmies [Tim Hortons] runs notwithstanding) to getting a
sunburn the day after. Winter definitely influenced, helped and hampered the film all at once.

GS: We were worried about gear damage from cold weather and the possibility of snow or rain. Luckily, it was a sunny cold day that was manageable by our cast and crew. Also, I find it is easier to call up people last minute in the winter as fewer people have weekend plans.  

#OIFF72 Q&A with Filmmakers – Part 1

By Vera Grbic

February 24, 2014

What does it take to come up with a script and shoot a film in three days? We got some answers from this year’s hearty souls of the OIFF 72 Hour Film Challenge.

In Part 1, we treat you to answers by Eric Escaravage of “Sister” and Gavin Simone of “Winter Yard Sale.”

What was the most fun and most challenging part of doing #OIFF72?

EE: The most fun part of #OIFF72 was definitely getting together as a team and brainstorming ideas while writing the script. It was really interesting to see and hear everyone’s opinion on where the concept should go. Filming the stunts was also a personal favourite of mine. This cannot be understated, the most challenging part was most definitely the time limit and coordinating everybody’s schedule to fit filming times. It was difficult but we certainly pulled it off with some late night shoots.

GS: One of our main actors had to leave for hockey halfway through filming. We brainstormed a way to transform him into someone else by using the soap that was one of the props provided.  The new actor was much shorter so all the clothes were baggy on him.

What was the decision process on how to use the wildcard criteria? Did you build a story around them, or already have a story and just sort of plug them in?

EE: We were very fortunate that a few of the wildcard elements fit in perfectly with regards to our general idea we had planned before the competition. On the other hand, implementing the objects in a manner that was both subtle and natural was one [of] our big discussion points.

GS: We already had a story that included a garage sale scene, so as a last resort we could put all the props on display there. It was a stroke of luck that [we] already had a mailman scene so integrating that line was a cinch.

How does the fact that it’s the middle of winter factor into this three-day project?

EE: Minus a few car shots, “Sister” was shot entirely outside. Many of our shots required us to be out late into the night or to be outside for extended periods of time. Needless to say, I don’t think that any one of us expected to go from freezing our faces off at night (Timmies [Tim Hortons] runs notwithstanding) to getting a

sunburn the day after. Winter definitely influenced, helped and hampered the film all at once.

GS: We were worried about gear damage from cold weather and the possibility of snow or rain. Luckily, it was a sunny cold day that was manageable by our cast and crew. Also, I find it is easier to call up people last minute in the winter as fewer people have weekend plans.  

Filed under Ottawa International Film Festival OIFF OIFF72 Q&A Ottawa film festival

0 notes

http://www.oiff.ca/#c-oiff72-entries

The #OIFF72 films are up NOW!

Here is your chance to view the films of your peers and vote for your favourite!

To vote for your favourite video, people simply have to press the “Like” button on the Youtube and Vimeo links, and the video with the most likes will win the Audience Favourite Award

Filed under ottawa international film festival oiff oiff72 challenge vote voting favourite audience favourite people's choice ottawa film movies videos

1 note

Philip Seymour Hoffman – A Tribute

At OIFF, we were incredibly saddened to hear of the untimely death of the enigmatic Philip Seymour Hoffman. We want to pay tribute to the actor who contributed to the world in such a meaningful way, and had so much more to give.  

Much has been surmised about the possible cause of his death. Whether drugs were related or not, one of the themes that has emerged out of this sad occurrence is the stress that actors go through in the midst of their craft and the coping mechanisms they might use. Hoffman played roles as diverse as a gay member of a pornography company’s film crew to a violin player in a struggling quartet. He has discussed staying in character for his roles, which can affect everything from family life, to one’s level of awareness of the everyday world. In 2008, Hoffman told NPR’s Fresh Air that work can be exhausting, as actors have to be introspective on a daily basis: “We really explore ourselves and other people.” This speaks to both the wonder and the anxiety that comes from some acting experiences. But for all this, Hoffman was an incredibly passionate actor, one who loved his craft.

The brilliant stage and screen actor and burgeoning filmmakers was at the height of his career when he died. Hoffman knew he wanted to be an actor from an early age, and did everything in his power to better himself for life on stage and in film. The hard work more than paid off: he is widely considered to be one of the best actors of our generation. We saw him in unusual, thought provoking and challenging film roles. He perfectly embodied the writer Truman Capote in the 2005 biopic (he won an Oscar for his portrayal). He was known for big Hollywood productions, but he also thrived in offbeat roles. In another turn, we saw him taking on the excruciating role of a priest in the middle of a child-molestation scandal. One of his most heart-wrenching roles was in the form of the cartoon Mary and Max, largely because of Hoffman’s sympathetic and rich evoking of Max. We wonder what else he may have come up with, and will forever wonder.

We’ve compiled a list of our favourites from the legendary actor:

-          Boogie Nights (1997)

-          The Big Lebowski (1998)

-          Magnolia (1999)

-          The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

-          Capote (2005)

-          The Savages (2007)

-          Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007)

-          Doubt (2008)

-          Mary and Max (2009)

-          Jack Goes Boating (2010)

-          A Late Quartet (2012)

-          The Master (2012)

By: Vera Grbic - Ottawa International Film Festival

Filed under philip seymour hoffman OIFF Ottawa Ottawa International Film Festival Tribute blog film legend boogie nights the big lebowski the talented mr. ripley capote the savages before the devil knows you're dead Doubt Mary and Max Jack Goes Boating A Late Quartet The Master

0 notes

#OIFF72 AWARDS SHOW | Facebook

Want to see which films made the #OIFF72 Hour Film Challenge cut?

Join us at Mercury Lounge on February 26th at 6PM for the official #OIFF72 Awards Ceremony opened by our very own Mayor Jim Watson, a special performance by Ottawa’s favourite indie-folk darling, HER HARBOUR and a welcome cocktail courtesy of Beam Global Spirits & Wine

Admission is $5 or 3 cans of food for THE OTTAWA FOOD BANK, collected at the door and be sure to stick around for the infamous Mercury Lounge Hump Night after our show! 

Filed under oiff2014 oiff72 film contest awards challenge Mercury Lounge Mayor Jim Watson Ottawa

0 notes

Big Thank You to #OIFF72 2014 Sponsors!

Big Thank You to #OIFF72 2014 Sponsors!

By Vera Grbic

February 5, 2014

The OIFF 72 Hour Film Challenge gives filmmakers a chance to shine among their peers. But this Ottawa film initiative would be a mere idea without our amazing sponsors.

This year, we are proud to be supported by incredibly diverse local businesses and organizations. Our partners range from a revered Ottawa pub to a community music festival.

Several of our most valued supporters have partnered with us for many years – some since the very beginning! We want to thank Ottawa’s own British pub, The Lieutenant’s Pump, for their ongoing partnership and the use of their space for the February 6th launch party. Oh-so-rad Mercury Lounge is hosting our February 26th screening of the top 10 films.

We are very proud to call Smyth Casting, the national capital’s premier casting company, and Hi Impact Media, Ottawa’s brilliant branding house, among OIFF 72’s longest supporters. Precision Transfer, a leading media services company in Ottawa and Toronto, is returning for its 5th year to support OIFF. Meanwhile, Ottawa Rock Lottery continues to blow us away by providing scores from brilliant local musicians, and renowned music recording business, The Gallery Recording Studio, has offered their generous support. Bridgehead, revolutionizing the local coffee brewing industry, is also helping the film community with their sponsorship. And we are stoked to have the support of Jim Beam, one of the best bourbon makers out there. 

We are also pleased to announce our first-time partnerships with Ottawa powerhouses Purple Urchin, Kichesippi Beer, Ottawa Fringe Festival Sublime Hair Studio, and Great Canadian Theatre Company (GCTC). Purple Urchin has established a name for itself in craft body care products, while Kichesippi Beer is a craft beer success story (not to mention their notable involvement with other Ottawa film initiatives). Ottawa Fringe has a track record of empowering local talent, making our work with them ever so serendipitous. And we are so happy to be supported by Sublime Hair, our amazing hair partners. Finally, GCTC has been so great to offer up theatre tickets to our filmmakers. 

The Ottawa Food Bank is OIFF’s official charity for the year. At every public event, we will have donation boxes set up for food.

OIFF 72’s generous 2014 sponsors are true believers in this project, and for that we want to sincerely thank them.

Let the festivities begin!