Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Huzzah! Finally we are allowed to announce that we will be screening in Sudbury's Cinefest! We're extremely honored to be included in their exciting line-up of films. The screening will take place on Thurs, Sept 23rd, at 12:30pm, and click here to go to their page on the film.
A reminder to those not so close Northern Ontario will we be screening at Indie-Can in the first weekend of October, and for those residents of Alberta you've got two options at both Edmonton and Calgary's International Film Fests.
Hoping to see you at the festivals! We're still waiting to hear back on a bunch more!
It's hard to believe that this film is almost a decade old now. It makes me feel old. When this film came out I was in film school, and it was kind of in the middle of nowhere, so if we wanted to see films that weren't the usual fare, we'd have to either drive to Toronto, or one of the art house cinemas in Waterloo or Hamilton. Those were great roadtrips, and we'd often do double, sometimes triple bills. At the time, I saw this film nine times. That's how much I loved it. This was just as DVD was starting to explode, and films stayed in the theatres a little longer, and there was more of a lag before they came out for home purchase. I took everyone I could to go see this film. Audrey Tautou is flawless in this film. I love her to pieces, and she breaks my heart with her performance. This film is full of lovely ideas, comic gems, and general genuine heart. This is Jeunet as his absolute finest, and it's the kind of film that inspires you endlessly. If you've never seen this film you absolutely have to. It's must-see-cinema.
Jeunet is a filmmaker that I admire quite a bit. He's the kind of filmmaker who subscribes easily to Hitchcock's belief that you should be able to turn the sound off a film and still understand what's going on. And as a foreign filmmaker seeking an North American audience, this is a smart tactic. Like most people I first came to know Jeunet through Amelie, a film that I saw no less than nine times in the theatres when it first came out. I couldn't get enough of it, and more importantly I kept dragging people to see it, including my father who, I don't think, had ever seen a foreign film at that point. Amelie is one of the most creative and heartfelt films out there, and among my favorites. The problem with Micmacs, is that it doesn't have the heart. The set-up to the film is amazing. It really is. The way that Jeunet introduces us to our hero is strong and amazing filmmaking. Anyone who says that you can't tell a life story in a few moments needs to take a look at this. The problem is that after this sequence, the film just falls flat. It's full of eccentric characters, fun visuals, and some interesting set pieces, but I don't get emotionally involved. In fact, I kinda felt like I could leave the film, that's how indifferent I was. This film is gorgeous to look at, the cinematography and color correction are consistent with Jeunet's other works and worlds, but it's all just window dressing without the emotion that the others have. No one wanted to love this film more than I, sadly it was just 'meh'.
For students of cinema it's worth watching for the opening sequence alone, and maybe just to study for the visuals, but in terms of story telling, it's weaker than Jeunet's previous two films, which I believe are his best.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
We've gotten our official screening date and time for Calgary's International Film Fest!
Wednesday, Sep. 29, 09:30pm at the Globe Theatre
Don't forget that for those who live closer to Edmonton we'll be screening in their festival (I believe on the 25th, time TBA) so if you're in Alberta you've got multiple options!
We've also got another announcement coming (Ontario based), hopefully soon.
Thanks again for helping us to promote this film and if any of you are coming to these festivals please let me know!
Also, on a personal note, it feels pretty awesome to be screening my film in a festival where Woody Allen also has a film screening.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Now don't get too excited! For those of you in the Facebook group for "The Untitled Work of Paul Shepard" you know that we, sadly, did not get invited to the Toronto International Film Festival. We have been accepted to a bunch of amazing festivals so far, some we've announced, others we've been asked to hold off announcing - so stay tuned for that!
The reason I'm posting about TIFF is that I am being recognized in the Irving Avrich Fund for emerging talent in Canadian filmmaking. Which includes, amongst other things, an industry pass to the festival, which gets me into the press and industry screenings of all the films, which is pretty damn awesome. So I want to thank all involved for giving me this opportunity. The schedule for TIFF is up and I'm figuring out how to maximize my schedule. There are so many great films in this year's lineups, and a bunch of them will also be at other festivals I'll be attending in the upcoming weeks, so that might help my decision at what to see at TIFF. I'll keep you all posted.
Keep checking back as I'll be announcing the screening dates as well as additional film festivals in the very near future. And if you haven't joined our Facebook group yet - what are you waiting for?!
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
This is your pretty standard boy-meets-girl rom-com. It plays the beats by the numbers, but for my money, it does it really well. There are no shortage of underdog-love stories out there, but I think this one was fresh enough. Yes, they fill the supporting cast with the quirky out-spoken characters, allowing our leads to be more "normal", but what can I say, it worked for me. I liked that both of these people had issues that they needed to work on, and I bought it. Alice Eve is gorgeous, and not just because she looks like a young Nicole Kidman. She's got a fantastic smile, and she's got a great energy, extremily lovable. She's easy on the eyes, sure, but she creeps into your heart for reasons beyond that. She is the girl of your dreams, but I don't doubt for a second that she's grounded enough to be with a "normal" guy. And then there's Jay Baruchel. If you've read this blog it's no secret that I think Baruchel is fantastic. This guy is incapable of a dishonest moment. I will watch anything that he is in because he transforms any material into top notch stuff. He's that good.
So I don't think this is the kind of film you need to rush out to see, but if you like rom-coms I think it's a really enjoyable one, the leads are enjoyable to spend time with and the writing is quite lovely. Do check it out!
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
So let's get the good over with. This is a story inspired by geek-lore and it's a tribute to it. Wright does wonderfully amazing things with the visuals. I don't even know where I'd start in terms of making a film as visually stunning as this. Hiring a top-of-the-line effects team to start, I suppose. The mash-ups of visual styles and music are really quite something. There are some great sequences where I found myself tapping my foot to the beat, or laughing out loud.
And now the bad. I tried to go into this film with low expectations, given my love for the source material, I knew that there would have to be a great deal of editorial, and there was. I'm fine with that. It's waaaaay too much story to cram into one film, so kudos to the team for even trying. My main beef with this film is that, to me, it didn't hit the emotional tone that the books have in spades. And even worse, I never cared about Scott & Ramona's relationship. It felt superficial, like an after thought, and their chemistry was, to be kind, a tad on the weak side. Which is sad because this whole film is supposed to be about them fighting for the ability to be together, but I feel like we just rush over the whole bit about why we're supposed to care if they are.
It's visually stunning, Wright does some amazing things in regards to that. It's chock full of some really stellar transitions as well. I wish I could erase my knowledge of the books and see the film with fresh eyes, but I can't. I still recommend seeing it, especially if you live in Toronto. I'm not jumping up and down raving about this film like I hoped I'd be, but it's enjoyable nontheless, and visually inspiring. Shame about the heart factor. I'm hoping for a packed DVD release! Looking forward to listening to the Creative Screenwriting podcast!
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Final day! Wasn't much of England in there today. Got up early at the Aurura International in Crawley and took in their amazing breakfast buffet. It's worth staying there for that alone.
Next we got to the airport super early, 'cause we're anal like that, and we looked around to see if there was any worthy last-minute shopping to do. We then had ice cream for 2nd Breakfast. From a vending machine. That's right.
The goal was to keep Ephraim awake and run him out so that we might get him to sleep during the flight. When all else failed he found his favourite place in all of England.
Ephraim slept for the first two hours of the flight and then was amazingly well behaved for the remainder of the flight. Emily and I were prepared for the absolute worst. We're luck to have a kid as well behaved as this one.
We got off the plane, got our luggage and called Park N Fly. They were speedy to get us back to our car, which was beautifull cleaned. Highly recommend the Park N Fly. On the way home it didn't take long for Ephraim to conk out in one of the most uncomfortable positions there is.
Emily's parents, Robert and Dale were waiting for us with supper at our home. They even went out of their way to make sure we had fresh fruit, eggs, milk, etc… for breakfast tomorrow. Full points to them for being so uber thoughtful.
So there's that. It was a really amazing trip, even though we're happy to be home. Thanks to all who followed this and sent along messages. Glad to have kept you entertained!
For the final picture, it's the thing I was teasing about earlier, the wedding favour that I helped out with just a smudge
Monday, August 16, 2010
Today marked our departure from Dorset. We gave ourselves plenty of time to get ready. We had planned to meet Erik & Amy at the train station at 9am so that they could help me return our rental car. As we packed our last minute things I noticed that our camera was nowhere to be found. A quick conversation with Emily revealed that we must have left it in Abbotsbury. We left a message for Erik and Amy to take a quick look for it before leaving to meet up with us.
We got to the train station just on time and Erik and Amy hadn't been able to find the camera. Erik and I returned the car, but not before a giant double decker bus tried to smash me like a bug in the parking lot. Amy and Emily found this very humorous. No hassles from the horrible car company whatsoever. Just as Erik and Amy were saying goodbye her Mum, Chris, called - she found the camera! Huzzah! Luckily we were super early for the train so she had plenty of time to run it in to us, which was extremely kind of her. We said our goodbyes to Erik the Groom, and Amy the Bride.
Back on the train we bought some sandwiches and played games while taking in the English countryside.
Ephraim had an awesome nap and by the time he got up we were off the train and already in the hotel room in Crawley, so we headed to the nearby shopping centre so Ephraim could ride his favourite play vehicle…
This above photo is not a good representation of his level of happiness from playing on the bus.
Emily bought a small mountain of children's books and then we headed off for food. Amy had mentioned that one of her favourite places to go to dinner was Pizza Express, and so we decidedly that it wouldn't be right to leave the UK without trying a recommendation from the Bride.
It was delicious, and pretty fancy for a place with the word 'express' in the title. We were delighted to learn that our server had once lived in Toronto near High Park. Small world.
After, we went on a short walk only to learn that the stores here pretty much close up shop at 6pm. Ephraim got the last of his energy out by rolling around on the (kinda filthy) sidewalks.
Tomorrow we head home. It's a day flight so it should be interesting to see how to keep Ephraim entertained the entire time in a tiny spot. I'll be sure to keep a complete record of our efforts.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
So Emily hadn't read the vacation blogs yet so she decided to tonight and spent the entire time mocking my horrible grammar, with comments like "the education system failed you, but it's not your fault 'cause you went to school in the country". That's the kind of passive-aggresive beauty that I married :)
I apologize to all your fine folks, but in truth I don't really proof read these things for spelling or grammar. I'll try to be more mindful of it in the future though, now that I have a teacher looking over my shoulder.
Now. Onto the main event.
Today, as everyone whose been following this so far knows, was wedding day!
But first, the day started off with really typically horrible English rain. We decided to go out for lunch in the town of Cerne Abbas (which hosts the legendary giant mentioned in a preview post). We hit a pub called The Royal Oak, and not only was it the best food I've had the entire time we've been here (not that we've been seeking gourmet fare), but I finally found my perfect fish and chips!
The weather started to shift and we again climbed the magnificent Chapel Hill, where the wedding was to be held. The walk isn't as bad as it looks, and it would be much easier if I didn't have Ephraim on my shoulders.
The wedding was to take place inside the chapel, but as part of the ceremony we were to wait outside. The Bride & Groom must be the first to enter.
On a side note, Erik and Amy had to have a civil ceremony that morning because in England only certain places are designated as legal marriage locations - this beautiful chapel is not one of them. I thought this was quite interesting coming from a country where you could get married in a dumpster so long as you have the proper paperwork.
While waiting, Ephraim got his first kiss from his Toronto friend Saffron...
So then Amy the Bride was whisked up the hill in a jeep…
And escorted into the Chapel with her father…
Where the beautifully intimate wedding began...
Emily wrote a poem for the occasion and read it to the crowd…
The ceremony was quite lovely. I spent most of the time keeping the little guy happy, but he did quite well for someone his age.
Afterwards everyone exited the Chapel into beautiful sunshine! And Erik the Groom and Amy the Bride graciously posed for many, many pictures.
I didn't take any photos at the reception, but it was really lovely. Erik wrote a beautiful song for Amy, it wasn't a cliche ballad, but a sweet, boppy little number. I missed a great deal of the speeches in an effort to keep Ephraim quiet (we found a nearby apple tree and controlled his oncoming hunger attacks). There was a céilidh dance, and even an ice cream cart outside. All in all, pretty awesome wedding.
The next morning (we spent the night in Abbotsbury) Ephraim was pretty awesome about sleeping in a bit, but then he wanted to head out the door.
Because nothing opens till 10am, we found a local corner store, got some bananas, brie, and crackers and made an impromptu breakfast.
There was a little morning post-wedding get together, but on the way I wanted to stop by another Chapel in town that was owned by a Canadian artist, Marie Laywine (from Hamilton - small world, huh?).
I briefly saw her stuff the day before and was really drawn to it. I WISH we could afford the original paintings themselves, but for the time being I settled for a print of my favourite one. I'd put the picture below, but I'd rather you visit her site (http://www.marielaywine.com/category/large-abstracts/) and look around. We got the print of "Inheritance"
From there we want to the post-wedding celebration and enjoyed a selection of sandwiches and snacks while Ephraim had a nap.
Then we did a last trip to Tesco's and bought some train/airplane snacks. One other thing I keep forgetting to mention is that on the back of a lot of packages is the phrase (when it applies of course) "Suitable for Vegetarians". Which is pretty awesome and progressive. I was told it's because there is a large Indian population in England, which makes complete sense. All right Canada, get with it - give me my "Suitable for Vegetarians"
Got home and started packing. We start our trek back tomorrow, stopping again in Crawley.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Today we decided to go to the port village of Weymouth as the weather promised to be good and it's known as the best beach area in Dorset, and because I still haven't had a decent Fish & Chips since I've been here, that was my mission.
If even you're going to Weymouth, bring lots of change. The parking lots aren't cheap and they only take coins. It's about seven pounds to park for the day, and the nearby shop keepers are kind of bitchy about giving you change (even if you're willing to buy their over-priced water)
The morning was beautiful and so we decided to hit the beach where Ephraim took to burying himself in the sand.
And then we took a walk into the cold-ass-English Channel, Ephraim didn't seem to mind.
EPHRAIM FIRST: Salt Water
After which we checked out the attractions on the beach. Noted that there was a Punch & Judy show at different times of the day, and then made our way over to the Merry-Go-Round, at which point Ephraim fell in love at first site.
EPHRAIM FIRST: Carnival Ride
After that Ephraim took a much needed nap while we explored the town. And then it was off to Abbotsbury for the wedding rehearsal. Erik & Amy are being married on the top of something called Chapel Hill and the only way to get there is to walk. The hill itself is covered with sheep. The entire outskirts of the town are actually covered with sheep, but the hill is a stunning example of it.
So I hoisted Ephraim up onto my shoulders for the windy walk up.
We were just happy that we weren't amongst the people having to carry the flats up.
Once at the top of the hill the wedding rehearsal began.
And Ephraim made a new friend, Claire.
There was a nice little reception afterwards, but we didn't stick around too long as our little guy was fading fast. Tomorrow is the wedding (so don't expect an update until end of day Sunday).
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Ever since I first read about it I wanted to visit the village of Tyneham. You can read more about it online, but the gist is that right before Christmas in 1943, the entire village of Tyneham was evacuated as the village was taken over by the military for the duration of the war. The villagers had a month to get out with a promise that they could return following the end of WWII. It never happened.
Walking around it there was a lot of ruins, the school and the church is still preserved, but all of the other buildings were falling down, if not gone completely. If you ever plan to visit keep in mind that the rest of the surrounding area is owned by the military and so there's lots of target practice going on, etc…
Ephraim's grandfather, Robert, should be particularly proud that we played the pump organ.
The castle dates back to the 11th Century, and at one point was used solely as a royal treasure storehouse, and prison. First off, I mean, who has so much treasure you need an entire prison to store it, and secondly, who the hell stashes their treasure in the same building as their criminals?
The ruins were beautiful and had an amazing view of the surrounding area, including the small village which bears the same name as the castle itself.
For our last and final stop we went to Lulworth Castle.
Built in the 17th Century as a hunting lodge. That's right. Apparently the 3rd Lord of Bindon had some extra money to spare at the time…They had an entertaining jousting competition but by far Ephraim's favourite thing was the tractor that took us to and from the Animal Farm. He cried when it drove away, and squealed with joy when it returned.
Lot of driving. Lots of site seeing. Tomorrow is beach day, here's hoping the weather holds out!