Tag Archives: Independent Cinema

[Fantasia 2019] When There’s More than One Island of Cats, A Movie Review

29 Jul

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Available on
Region 2 DVD/Blu-ray
Sept 4

Played at Fantasia 2019
July 28, 2019

Whether the reverence of cats is explored in manga—like What’s Michael—is played at within a cat cafe or is studied through folklore, there’s no denying these felines have a power over us which we love seeing. In the Japan, Tama is a station master at Kishi Station who greets nearly every traveller. Even the building itself was redesigned in her honour.

The star of Island of Cats even takes on this name, but here, this felis catus is a he and his master is Daikichi (Shinosuke Tatekawa), a retiree/widower. His son lives on the mainland and his wife died two years ago. This old man has no desire to move off his idyllic paradise.

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On Shelagh McLeod, Filming, Writing the Future with Astronaut, An Interview

25 Jul

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

In theatres July 26th
Please check local listings

Not everyone would have been able to attend the North American premiere of Astronaut last week at the 2019 Fantasia Film Festival. Fortunately, hot off the heels of this event are theatrical showings starting tomorrow in major cities of this very fine film. The themes writer/director Shelagh McLeod explores are many, and to balance between the concept of sending an elder into outer space to the challenges he faced meant figuring out what the film must focus on. 

For readers not aware of your work, could you please introduce yourself and the work you feel you are best known for.

My name is Shelagh McLeod, I was born in Vancouver. My family left Canada when I was six years old and we moved to the UK. I have been an actor for nearly forty years and have worked all over the world. I guess my career really started with a TV Film called ‘Cream in my Coffee’ written by the great, late, legendary writer–Dennis Potter. I played the younger version of Dame Peggy Ashcroft’s character–Jean. I did theatre, film and many TV series. One of which was Peak Practice—a lovely heartwarming series that went on for many seasons.

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The Victoria Film Festival Celebrates 25 Years! Picks of the 2019 Season

16 Jan

The Victoria Film Festival is celebrating 25 years! While I could swear this local event has gone on longer, but oh how time flies. I covered this event in some form (limited or otherwise) ever since I saw Edison and Leo back in 2008 (for a college paper) and Chef of the South Polar tickled my taste buds in 2011. This movie taught me a thing or two about how to make do with limited supplies for good food and in what defines the taste in ramen. I was a starving student back then and now I’m a starving artist. This year offers a film about the said noodle dish as my number one must see. As my eclectic tastes are as diverse as the selection, Mirai of the Future (未来のミライ) flies high. This anime is getting screenings! Curiously, no hardcore sci-fi, horror or fantasy is listed this year. The diversity is more on creative and inspirational films than always be genre-specific.

This year sees the Victoria Conference Center offer a larger space for their Opening Gala film, Sink or Swim (Le Grain Bain) on Feb 1st at 6:30pm. This French comedy technically debuted last year at Cannes and is making waves cross borders. It’s about how a group of men well past their prime in the quest to achieve self-esteem. They become a synchronized swimming team, and the teamwork involved to beat to the drum is tough, but are we here to laugh at them and perhaps reflect upon our own lives. We have all been there at some point–stuck in some quagmire until that one moment helps us realize we’re alright. This film encourages the latter and that’s entertaining enough!

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