Film Trailers

Trailer: ‘How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town’

Poster courtesy of Jeremy LaLonde

Watch the trailer for writer-director Jeremy LaLonde’s (“Sex After Kids,” “The Untitled Work of Paul Shepard”) new comedy “How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town.”

The film is screening at festivals across Canada from September through December!

It stars Jewel Staite, Ennis Esmer, Lauren Lee Smith, Katharine Isabelle, Mark O’Brien, Jonas Chernick, Tommie-Amber Pirie, Kristian Bruun, Gugun Deep Singh, Natalie Brown, Lauren Holly and James McGowan.

The world premiere of “How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town” takes place on September 19 at 4 p.m. at the Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax.

 

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Missed the world premiere? You can catch the film at upcoming festivals:

September 25, 2:30 p.m. at the Cinefest Sudbury International Film Festival,

September 30, 7 p.m. and October 2, 4:45 p.m. at the Calgary International Film Festival and

October 3, 7 p.m. at the Edmonton International Film Festival.

The movie will also screen at the Whistler Film Festival (December 2 – 6); watch for the dates and times on the festival site.

 

TIFF: Review: Mina Shum’s ‘Ninth Floor’

“Ninth Floor”Vero Boncompagni/Courtesy of NFB

With “Ninth Floor,” filmmaker Mina Shum (“Double Happiness”) jumps into feature documentary filmmaking with heavy subject matter and a new take on talking-head formats.

Shum’s film booms deeply; its focus is the controversies over the 1969 protests and riots at Montreal’s Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University). The events were sparked when a group of Caribbean students voiced concerns that a professor had directed racist comments and actions toward them. The university’s handling of the complaints caused students from across the city to band together and the situation evolved into a war with the administration.

The heated events took place over 40 years ago, but the outspoken individuals who are interviewed in “Ninth Floor” vividly recount every harrowing instant of the sit-ins, protests and occupation of the university, honouring the significance of this tumultuous and tainted moment in Canadian history. The audience can feel the film reverberate with passion throughout, and the feeling is astonishing.

That overpowering sensation that Shum builds so well with archival footage and courageous interviews plays more quietly in the latter half of the film, but the use of cinematographic styles and crisp editing keep “Ninth Floor’s” heart continuously beating like a steady drum.

“Ninth Floor” has its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on Saturday, September 12 at 7:15 p.m. at the Scotiabank Theatre.

The second screening will be on Monday, September 14 at 2 p.m. at the TIFF Lightbox.

Missed the TIFF screenings? Keep an eye on the “Ninth Floor” web page on the National Film Board of Canada’s site.

Review: ‘The Amina Profile’

A still from Sophie Deraspe’s “The Amina Profile”Courtesy of GAT PR

“The Amina Profile” fittingly makes its way into the spotlight at a time when many Internet users indulge in “catfishing,” a term referring to the act of using a fictitious online persona to lure an individual into a relationship.

Just as MTV’s Catfish” tracks its participants from initial skepticism all the way to a big reveal, Sophie Deraspe’s compelling documentary follows the same movements. However, “The Amina Profile” brings more depth, including touching upon the rushed truth behind online journalism and the power that the right words can have to manipulate.

It all starts with a friendship between a Montrealer, Sandra Bagaria, and a spirited Syrian-American, Amina Arraf. The women’s relationship gradually grows into a passionate online romance, leading Amina to propose a plan to publicly out herself as a lesbian and to lay out her anti-regime opinions during the Arab Spring in on-the-ground dispatches in her blog “A Gay Girl in Damascus.”

Arraf’s popular blog made national headlines. It was her writing that sparked conversation and controversy until she suddenly went missing. Then the discussions turned to her whereabouts, her safety and to locating her contacts. As more people came forward to confess they could not pinpoint specific information about Arraf, suspicions arose over the credibility of her writing and whether Amina Arraf was – in fact – a real person.

A still from Sophie Deraspe's "The Amina Profile" Courtesy of GAT PR

A still from “The Amina Profile”   Courtesy of GAT PR

Deraspe relays much of the story by displaying text messages and e-mail on the screen and the writing becomes increasingly unclear following Arraf’s purported arrest. Textual conversations are superimposed on blurred footage of an alluring woman, often walking down narrow streets or reclining in the nude and frequently filmed from the back. Deraspe is also very careful to maintain the sense of unknown identity, often filming the figure from the back. These ingenious decisions not only drive home the points about the indeterminacy of the blogger in question, but also paint a sensual picture of how Bagaria might have envisioned Arraf.

As the viewer travels down the rabbit hole and tries to solve the mystery behind Arraf’s identity, Deraspe never loses her grip on the politics that provide a substantial part of the groundwork for the film. The footage can be graphic, but the filmmaker uses her tricks wisely; she obscures the visual to maintain the seriousness of the film, while skipping over unnecessary gore.

Deraspe worked closely with Bagaria to make “The Amina Profile.” Their collaboration, and Bagaria’s willingness to relive her grief through her participation in the film – a process that has earned her closure on this phase of her life – has paid off in an outstanding piece of work.

“The Amina Profile” opens in Toronto today, August 21, at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (506 Bloor Street West).

Director Sophie Deraspe will participate in a Q&A at the August 22 screening.

 

 

 

 

Trailer: ‘Backcountry’

Jeff Roop in Adam MacDonald’s “Backcountry” Courtesy of backcountryfilm.com

Based on a true story, Adam MacDonald’s “Backcountry” is a survival thriller about a couple lost in the Canadian wilderness – and in the territory of a predatory black bear. The film stars Missy Peregrym (“Rookie Blue”), Jeff Roop (“Heartland”) and Eric Balfour (“Haven”), with Nicholas Campbell (“Republic of Doyle,” “Da Vinci’s Inquest”).

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The Toronto premiere of “Backcountry” takes place on August 12 at 7 PM at the Scotiabank Theatre (259 Richmond Street West).

Didn’t score tickets to the premiere? See it in Canadian theatres from August 28!

Special thanks to Touchwood PR.

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