Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2008 Day 2 - Saturday October 18, 2008


Day 2 at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival is marathon day with 4 screenings totalling 8 films (4 features and 4 shorts) and screenings running from 4pm to well after midnight. The good news is we had lots of rocking films be they rock operas or films without any words at all. The crowds were very enthusiastic which kept the energy flowing throughout the day.

To hear and see about Day 2 check out my TADFF'08 Vlog for Day 2.

Peter Kuplowsky Programmer, Short Film and David Birnbaum Director of Found Objects

Found Objects
Dir: David Birnbaum
Canada, 2007
18 min

Films like Found Objects are few and far between with its beautiful yet bizarre storytelling style of no verbal language yet clear story in an unique setting that is familiar enough to understand and wild enough to keep you reeled in hook, line and sinker. The dark, haunting style is enhanced with a score where music tells the story just as much as the visuals. A welcome look at a wild new world.

See the Found Objects trailer here.

The expressive style of Idiots & Angels

Idiots & Angels
Dir: Bill Plympton

It is a breath of fresh air to see hand-drawn and beautiful tactile animation style of Bill Plympton in a world where CGI is seen around every corner. In Idiots & Angels we feel the characters movements viscerally through this animation style which is heightened by the expressive but wordless dialogue. Although the story didn't quite resonate with me, depicting characters that were not very likable the film is without a doubt a stylistic triumph.

Dir: Matthew Rankin
Canada, 2008
16 min

One of the things I love at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival is how Canadian the Canada Shorts program is, and Hydro-Levesque is a perfect example of that. Where else would you see a politically charged Quebec pitted against Winnipeg on the verge of extinction. Whom takes the task of bridging the nation? A Sign Language video-interpreting nun, of course. All of this told through a wild visual style that reminisces of Canada of yesteryear, this film is quite a feat.

Writer/Dir: Ernesto Espinoza
Cast: Marko Zaror, María Elena Swett, Ariel Mateluna, Mauricio Pesutic, Iván Jara

My initial reaction to seeing Mirageman was that it is the most awesome martial arts superhero film ever! Now that I've had a few days to think about it, I still think my initial assessment is spot on. Mirageman takes the premise of what would happen is a regular person set out to be a superhero. Although our protagonist Maco (played by Marko Zaror), is a cut above being just a regular guy as he is also one kick butt martial artist. Even so, he doesn't neecessarily have a leg up on the world. The beautiful thing about Mirageman is it is more than just a genre film. Sure, their are killer kicks, witty humour and a great 70's vibe with the music but it's also has a strong story with fantastic character development and adeptly shows both the tender and terrible side of people. The heart of the film really is the journey of Mirageman, whom you care about. Why? You care about Mirageman - because Mirageman cares about you.

See screening introduction of Mirageman by Todd Brown here.

Festival Director & Founder Adam Lopez with Dale Hayward Director of Flower

The Flower
Dir: Dale Hayward
Canada, 2007
2 min

The Flower is short and not-so-sweet look at one charismatic little flower. Cute as all get out, this flower puppet has a one track mind! It is easily one of the favourites of the festival with the audience erupting into laughter for almost the full 2 minutes. Hilarious!

Festival Director & Founder Adam Lopez with Terrance Zdunich co-writer/composer/actor of Repo! The Genetic Opera

Repo! The Genetic Opera
Dir: Darren Bousman (Saw II, Saw III, Saw IV)
Cast: Anthony Stewart Head, Alexa Vega, Sarah Brightman, Paul Sorvino, Terrance Zdunich, Bill Mosely, Paris Hilton

Where to begin with a film like Repo! The Genetic Opera? The screening was packed to the gills and the audience included fans dressed in costumes of characters in the film. The energy in the room was very high, which is one of the joys about seeing films in a festival setting. It's not hard to see why the film already has a cult following with its unique story of collection agents for delinquent organ replacement recipients, fantastic art direction and costuming. I did enjoy the music and the performances that stood out were Sarah Brightman, Terrance Zdunich and Anthony Stewart Head. The level of violence was understandable high although for the most part campy. I did wish the world that was created was a bit more flushed out, specifically I wondered if there were any normal law abiding citizens that could afford their replacement organs as we in general saw the extremes of the rich folk and black market. Overall, I enjoyed the film and have found myself thinking about it frequently and have had songs like "Legal Assassin", "Zydrate Anatomy" and "At the Opera Tonight" running through my head for days.

See vids of the introduction and Q&A of Repo! The Genetic Opera here.
For more information on Repo! The Genetic Opera check out their website.
It has been confirmed that Repo! The Genetic Opera will open Friday November 21,2008 for one week at the Bloor Cinema. For more info check out the see the Facebook group here

Festival Director & Founder Adam Lopez with Jonathan Balazs director of The Mars Project

The Mars Project
Dir: Jonathan Balazs
Canada, 2008
6 min

In The Mars Project we get a glimpse into the mind of rapper Khari “Conspiracy” Stewart, with firm and adamant beliefs that are have expanded his mind beyond the world we know.

Festival Director & Founder Adam Lopez with Olly Blackburn director of Donkey Punch

Donkey Punch
Dir: Olly Blackburn
Cast: Robert Boulter, Sian Breckin, Tom Burke, Nichola Burley, Julian Morris, Jay Taylor, Jaime Winstone

What a happy surprize Donkey Punch was! I almost didn't go see the film literally based on what a donkey punch is (see definition, which is a mild spoiler) and the idea alone is quite disturbing. But, I decided to soldier though and attend the late night screening which proved to be a good thing because just as a book shouldn't be based on a cover a film shouldn't be based one title alone. A thriller at heart, the film expertly shows human nature when people are pitted to the extremes and also captures the unique sense of uncomfort of when in stressful situations with near strangers. The acting is impecable and the tension rides high on the best thriller at sea film I've ever seen.

Donkey Punch is set to release in the US in February 2009. Canadian release date is to be determined but it has been picked up and the Canadian release will be an uncensored version.

See Selections from the Q&A of Donkey Punch.

The Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2008 runs from October 17-24/08 at the Bloor Cinema, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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