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2007 04 05
Images of Toronto: Images Film Festival and Hot Docs
This time of year is difficult for us cinephiles; with so many excellent film festivals about to grace this city, we suddenly find ourselves poring over various film festival schedules in a desperate attempt to cram as many films as possible into our busy schedules. Although the majority of the films festival which will be cropping up over the next few months have an international focus, a careful look will reveal several films and events which deal, in some way, with Toronto.

The Images Festival(running from today to April 14), is no exception. For the past twenty years, this festival has consistently featured the most thought provoking, disturbing and uplifting films shown in this city. Go in with an open mind, and be ready to have your ideas of the nature of film torn to shreds. For example, this year’s ‘Images Off Screen’ programme transplants moving images from the cinema to a series of galleries and artist-run centres, thus enabling us to further engage with the city. The festival also features various installations, lectures and music events.

That being said, here are three Images events which are Toronto focused or feature prominent Torontonians:

John Porter's Photo Archive: 30 Years of Alternative Film Activity

John Porter has been a filmmaker, performer, photographer and writer in Toronto since 1968. Often called "the king of super 8" (among other names), he has made 300 films, mostly super 8, and has performed 70 solo shows internationally. John studied photography and 16mm film production at Ryerson University and has taught many super 8 workshops and spoken in many university film classes. He taught his first super 8 and 16mm Film Workshop credit course in Summer 2005, at Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario.

His on-going community activism includes photographing and writing about local underground film activity, advocating super 8 film and $50 film budgets, and resisting the dominance of the film industry, the Ontario Film Review Board, and video. He resisted email and the internet until 2005, when he miraculously won an iPod in the member's draw at Images 2005.
SUN 8 APR 2007 10:00PM - 12:00AM @ SNEAKY DEE'S
Live Images 3: Wavelength:Music: A Visual Medium

From lo-fi video collages to slick and glossy film shoots, music videos
for Toronto bands are a rarely talked about and even more rarely seen part
of the city's independent music community. Join Wavelength for a special
screening of local music videos, created by fans, friends and

10 PM: Toronto indie music video screening (curated by Kevin Parnell)
+ DJ Destro

11 PM: A brand new project from members of Republic of Safety and Soft Copy, Scarborough A/V is exactly what the name suggests: an audio-visual tribute to Scarborough, Ontario. Bleak and beautiful images of the Scarberian landscape of apartment blocks, strip malls, green space, subdivisions, ravines, malls and transit lines are accompanied by original, instrumental guitar rock. Tough-yet-pretty riffage recalls a Chevy Cavalier mixtape full of Television, Sonic Youth and Yo La Tengo, with occasional tune-ins to Psychedelic Sunday on Q107. With a membership that's three-quarters native Scarberian, guitarist/videographer Andrew McAllister, guitarist Jonny Dovercourt and drummer Paul Boddum (along with bassist and transplanted Newfoundlander Wes Hodgson) explore the conflict in revisiting their hometown: both the classic angst of growing up in dullsville suburbia, and the unique present-day potential of Scaborough to develop into a vital community.

12 AM: Tinkertoy is a Kootenay, BC and Toronto based duo comprised of Andrew Wedman and Paul Shrimpton. Andrew and Paul have classical music backgrounds and formed Tinkertoy in 2000—a project that has since evolved into a unique style of washy, sometimes melodic techno. Tinkertoy's music is about the discovery of beauty in sundry noise. Their sound palette is developed through an extensive process of sampling outdoor environments and natural instruments and remodeling those samples using their own programmed software. Tinkertoy's sound is always based on experimentation, and they bring this approach to their live performances. They have released two CDs on Toronto's Noise Factory Records, Electric Wilderness and Transatlantic Love Machine.

Tinkertoy's performance will be accompanied by the talents of local projector artists from Toronto's burgeoning Projectjam scene. The featured artists will create original live hand-made analog projections that exist for the duration of the performance only, with each projection being a unique and original work.

MOMENTUM 5:Anayansi Diaz-Cortes + Sook-Yin Lee

Both actively engaged in the world of radio, Anayansi Diaz-Cortes and Sook-Yin Lee will meet to talk about their varied storytelling practices and the ways in which this pioneering media format is still relevant today.

Anayansi Diaz-Cortes came to Radio Diaries as an Outreach Coordinator for Thembi's AIDS Diary. Before joining she had never considered radio a career possibility. Yet, somewhere in between coordinating a US tour and bringing Thembi's story to new audiences, she unexpectedly fell in love with the story-telling power of audio. At the same time, she is working as Programs and Content Associate at Arts Engine. There she curates and produces content for MediaRights.org, does outreach for the Media That Matters Film Festival, and organizes workshops, panels and conferences around social issue media, independent film, impact and distribution. While she wants to fully transition to radio production some day, Anayansi feels that learning how to get good stories to key spaces is just as important as knowing how to tell them.

Sook-Yin Lee is a Toronto-based musician, actor, filmmaker and TV and radio broadcaster. She fronted the art-rock band, Bob's Your Uncle, was a VJ at MuchMusic and currently hosts and produces the irreverent pop-culture radio show Definitely Not The Opera on CBC Radio 1. She also writes and directs movies. Her film, Unlocked premiered at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival, and the short Girl Cleans Sink has screened internationally and she's developing her feature movie, Year Of The Carnivore with Screen Siren Pictures. Sook-Yin is working on her new album Lovebolt, and she stars in the John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) adventurous comedy, Shortbus. Sook-Yin is in the midst of two more movie projects, writing the psyche-thriller Smudged, and contributing a chapter, "The Brazilian," to the feature length movie, Toronto Stories. She wrote "The Brazilian", will act in the movie and co-direct with filmmaker Andrea Dorfman (Love That Boy, Parsley Days). She joins rising Canuck auteurs in the project, David Weaver (Century Hotel), Aaron Woodley (Rhinoceros Eyes) and Sudz Sutherland (Love, Sex and Eating the Bone.)

The always excellent Hot Docs Documentary Festival runs from April 19 – April 29, and is not to be missed. And remember you students and seniors, any screening that starts before 6 pm is free, once you go to the venue on the same day to get your ticket; a small price to pay! Here are the docs which are Toronto focused in some way:

Bloor Friday April 20 9 pm
Bloor Saturday April 28 6:30 pm

Let’s All Hate Toronto

If there's one thing that truly unites Canadians it's our national pastime of bashing Toronto. This tongue-in-cheek road doc follows "Mister Toronto" as he embarks on a coast-to-coast Toronto Appreciation tour, encountering "recovering Torontonians" and those who would be quite happy never to step foot in our fair city. Are we really Torauma, Onterrible? Yes, according to a "professional Toronto hater." And in Newfoundland they finally discover the answer to a question that has boggled them for ages: Why do all the trees point west? ("Because Toronto sucks that much.") Can the city that the United Nations cited as the world's most culturally diverse really be that bad? Or is the rest of Canada just a little envious of our obvious superiority among Canada's metropolitan centres? Let's All Hate Toronto gets to the bottom of Toronto resentment and envy.
Bloor Sunday April 22 6:30 pm
Bloor Saturday April 28 4:15 pm

Last Call at the Gladstone Hotel

In 2000, developers purchased the crumbling, century-old Gladstone hotel to turn it from a skid row flophouse to an arts hotspot. They think it's empty... until they meet Marilyn, the chambermaid with a heart of gold; Shirley Ann, the cynical front desk clerk; and a motley crew of residents, including Marianne, an ex-bag lady with a sweet personality who has turned her room into a toxic zone. The developers come up with a plan: gradual restoration that would see staff and residents remain upstairs while the bar downstairs stocks designer drinks. It doesn't work. When Christina Zeidler inherits the mess but is committed to a "business model that includes social change," the hotel has the last word. City inspectors demand complete rewiring, the boiler blows up leaving the hotel without heat, ceilings leak, walls are crumbling and everybody's gotta go. Shot over five years with a cinema direct style, the directors have crafted a riveting and extraordinary human portrait of the effects of urban renewal upon the poor and the unintentional roles artists play in the process of gentrification. Presented with TO COSTCO AND IKEA WITHOUT A CAR

Royal Thursday April 26 9:30 pm
Royal Sunday April 29 9:30 pm

City Idol

Canadian Idol is for people who look at rock stars and say, "I wanna do that!" City Idol is the opposite. It's for people who look at politicians and say, "What the hell are they doing?" With the goal of adding some energy and excitement to last November's municipal elections in Toronto, the City Idol project was created by a group of feisty activists. City Idol was structured just like the well-known Idol contests, except that instead of singing pop songs, candidates were asked "to make short speeches, participate in debates, improvise press conferences, answer audience questions and react to emergency situations." The result: a truly diverse group of participants presented passionate, smart, funny and engaged opinions about what works, and what doesn't work, in this city. In other words, it sort of felt like democracy. Arturo Pérez Torres (also at Hot Docs 2007 with another activist doc, Super Amigos) captures the lively spirit of the City Idol events and the subsequent bitter-sweet campaign run by the candidates. An inspiring look at a grassroots civic movement.

Throughout Toronto’s busy film festival season I will be posting festival announcements, as well as noting films which engage with Toronto.

Liza Badaloo has an ongoing love affair with Toronto. When not keeping track of local transportation and governance issues, she enjoys strolling through Dufferin Grove or Trinity Bellwoods Park, seeing films at Cinematheque or the Bloor Cinema, catching indie bands across the city, reading Toronto literature and attempting to capture Toronto’s dynamism on film.
[email this story] Posted by Liza Badaloo on 04/05 at 07:29 PM

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