This year’s edition of the Canadian Film Fest moves to the Scotiabank Theatre, and while still programmed by Bern Euler, the move brings with it a slew of more “adult’ feeling films (not that the previous years weren’t quite adult, as a favourite of mine remains the Matt Austin-Sadowski feature Pretend We’re Kissing). Provided that the focus remains on young people and relationships, I’d be interested in watching selections like these about young people if they were Canadian, American, or from anywhere else (though it is always nice to see familiar faces of Canadian talent). Here, in order by date they’re screening, are some films to watch out for at this year’s fest.
While the opening night (Tuesday 7 pm) film is by Ken Finkleman (who isn’t exactly on the side of young), he does include a hashtag in the title (we’re never quite sure how to pronounce these sort of titles, to be honest… Is it “Hashtag An American Dream?), and the film does focus upon a young person. Jake Croker, who plays William Bowman, a high school American football player, embarks upon “An American Dream” after getting knocked out on a play. It’s an actual American dream. Much of what takes place afterwards is perhaps too bizarre to fully describe, though needless to say the scenes at Payne Financial (I’m assuming it’s not “Pain”), are inspired, and while not everything hits the mark, there are some fun scenes, such as one set to The Infernal Galop. It’s also always nice to see John Ralston, here playing a sadistic coach. Produced by Shaftesbury.
No word on why the film needs all caps, or whether it’s about the other kind of edging, (google it), the fact remains that the Natty Zavitz film feels like a longer episode of Joe Swanberg’s Easy, which isn’t bad at all, (I, for one really like that show). It admittedly starts a little slowly, with an extended argument between Jordan (Shomari Downer) and frenemy Nick (Andy McQueen), but once Paula Brancati as Rachael shows up, the film picks up considerably, (not to mention a Cheech & Chong / Seinfeld-esque sequence, which seems like an excuse to say “salad bowls” as many times as possible, by Aidan Shipley and Grey’s Anatomy‘s Giacomo Gianniotti). EDGING then falls into a rhythm of its own and should make for a lively screening on Wednesday at 7 pm.
Great Great Great
Writer and director Adam Garnet Jones (Fire Song) comes up with something very surprising in Great Great Great, which he co-wrote and co-produced with lead actress Sarah Kolasky, and screens Thursday at 7 pm. What appears to be a take on Take This Waltz, instead grows and grows and becomes something quite different. Billed as a dark comedy, but really more of a romantic comedy, (that is neither romantic nor comedic and yet still both) is an intimate look at a relationship between Lauren and Tom, though while Daniel Beirne is strong as Tom, it’s really about Lauren and her unfolding situation. Great performances all around, watch out for Meredith Cheesbrough’s stunning turn, with the standout being Kolasky in a vulnerable, intimate performance (suggesting that a woman has to write and produce her own movie to find a meaty role).
Don’t sleep on the Shorts program, at Saturday at 12 pm (yes, you read that right. It’s a matinee). There are some standouts that include:
Ways to Water
Written and directed by Kit Weyman (and edited by and starring) and co-starring our pal Shailene Garnett (of The Dirties and Shadowhunters fame), the short film shines when it drops its overreaching premise about water and just becomes a story about two people meeting cute in The 6ix. It’s a very charming film!
Sunny Side Up
Another meet-cute movie, starring Peyton Kennedy and David Reale (who can currently be seen on Suits) yet it’s a completely different concept, which, yes, starts with an image of eggs and features a girl named Sunny. It’s a surprising tale.
The Canadian Film Fest runs from March 21st to March 25th. For more information please visit http://www.canfilmfest.ca/