Tag Archives: TIFF

On Now: Africa at TIFF 2012.

Oh how time flies! It feels like it was just yesterday that we were compiling a similar list for the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. The criteria is simple. We comb through the hundred of movies showing at the festival and shortlist movies that are set in Africa (and the diaspora) or prominently feature people of African origin in the cast or crew. Narrowing it down this way still leaves us with more films than we could possibly see so we filter it further by eliminating films that are likely to get a wide theatrical release, films that sound like many films we’ve already seen e.g the foreign “saviour” stories and films with yawn-inducing blurbs (though we sadly recall a yawn-inducing film from last festival that had a fantastically intriguing blurb). This patented editing process leaves us with an attainable wish-list of films to see. This time around we’ve decided to include trailers of the films where possible so that you can quickly preview them. The SUPAFRIK selection of films to see at TIFF 2012 are (drumrolls please!):

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Tonight (Thursday). AFTER HOURS | Party and Buy Sh*t!

If you happen to be in downtown Toronto tonight(Thursday) for the launch of the film festival or for the city’s first Fashion’s Night Out, come check us out at the “After Hours” party (and buy sh*t) we’ll be throwing with Sauvage (inside their shoe boutique at 639 Queen St W), photographer Raissa Biscotti and DJ Dirty Dale. 6PM – 11PM. Great shopping and complementary wine and beer while quantities last. Who could resist? p.s. TIFF is in town so you never know who you might see coming out of the changing room. See ya!

On Now: Africa at Hot Docs

Hot Docs

Yesterday marked the kick-off of Hot Docs in Toronto, a film festival entirely dedicated to documentaries. Growing in popularity since it started in 1993, Hot Docs has become the most anticipated film festival in Toronto second only to TIFF. Werner Herzog once described a documentary as “feature film in disguise” and this description holds more true than ever as documentaries have begun to start shift from a niche periphery and more and more into the mainstream.  There have been a few attempts to explain the exponential increase of our interest in documentaries. Some wager that reality TV has softened us up to the “look and feel” and pace of documentaries while others think it has something to do with Hollywood’s plot-rehashing tendencies starting to wear thin. Whatever the case is, we are glad that festivals like Hot Docs exist to give us unfettered access to alternative narratives. Looking at the schedule, there’s almost 200 films (some great ones about fashion and music too) to choose from but we’ve chosen to highlight documentaries that are set in Africa or centered around the diaspora.

Here are some films that we hope to catch before the HotDocs festival concludes on May 6th:

1. Meanwhile in Memelodi – Set against the jubilant backdrop of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa which cost their government $3.5 billion, this film zooms in on the life of a shopkeeper and his family struggling to make ends meet in a poor neighbourhood. It is a portrait of hope and perseverance in the face of austerity. Showing: 9:30pm Friday April 27 at Tiff Lightbox, 4pm Saturday April 28 at Cumberland 2

2. Marley – We have seen at least three documentaries on Jamaican reggae legend Bob Marley but this one by Kevin MacDonald (Last King of ScotlandOne Day in September) claims to be the definitive one and it has a long list of familiar names as executive producers to prove it.  Nevertheless, the promise of unreleased concert footage and intimate interviews from those who knew him best make this Canadian premier of the doc too enticing to pass up on Showing: 3:30pm Thursday May 3 at Isabel Bader Theater, 815pm Saturday May 5 at Bloor Hot Doc Cinema

2. The Ambassador – The youtube trailer for this satirical documentary by Danish director/journalist Mads Brugger has a like to dislike ratio of about 1:15 so naturally I am intrigued as to whether he offended the wrong people or (hopefully) the right ones. A documentary about  a European going undercover as a diplomat to unveil the corrupt ways of the power brokers in Africa is sure to be good for a few laughs but we’re curious to see how far it veers out of Borat territory to ask some serious questions Showing: 4:00pm Friday April 27 at Isabel Bader Theater, 4:45pm Friday May 4 at TIFF Lightbox and 9:00pm Saturday May 5 at The Regent

Bonus: The excellent trailer for  Tchoupoutiulas , the adventures of three teenage boys as they explore the french quarter in new orleans, certainly has us intrigued as does Brooklyn Castle, a documentary about the struggles of an inner city school’s chess team in the midst of the financial crisis.

If you have seen or end up seeing any of these movies, feel free to post up a comment and let us know what you thought of our suggestions.

On Now: Africa at TIFF

Around this time every year Toronto is bitten by a film bug named TIFF. Even without all the film festival-related promotions and print media coverage, it is nearly impossible to avoid the second largest international film festival in the world (after Cannes) if you live or work in downtown Toronto. There’s always the block-long ticket line ups at the box office, the paparazzi and stargazers posted outside the Ritz Carlton or Hazleton Lanes in Yorkville waiting for a chance to snipe a celebrity, the official black TIFF Cadillac Escalades zipping the VIPs across the city and the proliferation of muscle bound men in suits with dark shades and ear pieces. The biggest problem we have always had with the Toronto International Film Festival is Continue reading