Tag Archives: Connor Gaston

The 2016 Victoria Film Festival Closing Weekend Thoughts & Award Announcements

15 Feb

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

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The 2016 Victoria Film Festival Valentine’s Day Closing Festivities was bittersweet. I enjoyed the treats offered on the last three days of this show and will have to wait for next year to taste what will be new in the world of independent cinema. From getting early previews of The Smalls: Forever is a Long Time, The Girl in the Photographs, Sergio Herman and Foodies, so I wouldn’t be faced with running around to see other films in conflicting times or in alternating theaters, I managed to add two more movies Project Itoh’s The Empire of Corpses (屍者の帝国, Shisha no Teikoku) and Our Last Tango (Un Tango Más) on top. I could have seen a film on Friday, but a certain mainstream movie was heavy on my list of must see during opening weekend.

The End of Festival Bash wrap up party at Lucky Bar was well attended. Although the space was tight and it was meant as a thank you event to all the volunteers, staff and guests who were in attendance, I did have to find out which films won audience favourites and the like. The big question everyone asks is what were your favourites from this year?

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2016 Victoria Film Festival Day One Gala Summary & My Internship in Canada Review

6 Feb

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The 2016 Victoria Film Festival (VFF) started off with a great bang with the screening of My Internship in Canada, a very funny political satire by Phillippe Falardeau (Congorama). This movie explores how democracy should really work instead of who can sway prevailing opinion.

In one microcosm of rural Quebec about MP Steve Guibord (Patrick Huard) trying to solve a local problem between miners and an Algonquin tribe over land use (it could have easily escalated to a fight) to the macrocosm of Canadian politics he is involved with — he holds the swinging vote to whether Canada (led by a Stephan Harper type of character) goes to war — just where he stands is beautifully examined by an idealistic Haitian, Souverain (Irdens Exantus). This young man arrives at Guibord’s office seeking work in the political arena. Souverain needs to earn his chops, and his observations to his family back home certainly tickles the funny bone. The chemistry these two leads share makes for great contrasts. And just how this movie handles the Cornelian dilemma in this film’s plot is cute. Exantus is a talent to keep track of and I think he carries the same kind of charm Eddie Murphy channeled in the 80’s. There’s a genius lurking in this talent just waiting to bust out.

CTV Arts Reporter Adam Sawatsky introduced this film and Exantus, who was present for this screening. Kathy Kay, festival chief, welcomed film enthusiasts who came down for this movie and party. In a blustery evening packed with many events around town (including a broader movie festival at Cineplex theatres and a Jim Brynes concert up in Sidney), competition is getting tough. The VFF is a fixture for cinema buffs to enjoy and I was here instead of anywhere else!

The night continued strong with a Gala party at a rented space off Government street. Filmmakers, performers and attendees of the festival mingled. Present at this event is Canada AM / CTV film critic Richard Crouse. He will be hosting VFF’s In Conversation series this weekend starting at 11am for early risers. This year, he’ll be interviewing Semi Chellas (Mad Men) and Larry Weinstein (Mozartballs, Beethoven’s Hair). Both will be talking about their careers and their present work. Weinstein will be introducing a work in progress, The Devil’s Horn, this year!  For a preview, I recommend checking out the interview I conducted for Vivascene here.

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