Tag Archives: Semi Chellas

[VFF ’16] A Film Festival Weekend Recap, Insights and Picks of the Week

8 Feb

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

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After the fun-filled Gala at the 2016 Victoria Film Festival, I was ready to head to the aisles to view this show’s weekend selection in the best of what independent cinema has to offer. But first, one of the staples that is a must-attend for me, especially when I want to learn more about the behind-the-scenes work, is Springboard’s In Conversation series hosted by Richard Crouse. He’s the voice of Canada’s movie and entertainment scene. From the big blockbusters to the indies, he’s covered them all and his knowledge is vast. I was hooked about four years ago and I find it’s best not to miss these talks.

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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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