Thursday, July 2, 2015

Film festival notes

Film festival time - already? Yup, The Traverse City Film Festival, filmmaker Michael Moore’s contribution to culture and tourism in northern Michigan, is set to run July 28th to Aug. 2nd. But if you don’t want to make the more than four hour trek “Up North” (as they say in Michigan) you can stay in town and stop by the Media City Film Festival, the world-renowned Windsor-based experimental film festival, starting on the 28th and wrapping up Aug. 1st. Traverse City has its schedule published at A couple of docs immediately stand out - Asif Kapadia’s 2015 Amy (picture above) about the late great Amy Winehouse, and Robert Cohen’s 2015’s Being Canadian, about well, just what makes Canucks different from Yanks, beside the fact we (well, most of us anyway) say “eh.” Paul Weitz’s 2015 Grandma stars Lily Tomlin being both down and out in LA and having a senior moment in this intergenerational mother-daughter story. Patrick Brice’s 2015 The Overnight features Adam Scott (“Parks and Recreation”) and Taylor Schilling (“Orange is the New Black”) along with Jason Schwartzman in what's been described as a kind of updated Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (Paul Mazursky, 1969). Meanwhile along with the array of films - some released within the last few years and a number of classics - the fest celebrates the 100th anniversary of its glorious main theatre, the State. Acclaimed star Geraldine Chaplin will dedicate the new cornerstone. She’ll talk to the audience and introduce her dad, Charlie’s, The Great Dictator on its 75th anniversary. As well, Roger Corman (didn’t know he was a Detroit native but then just about everybody is, right?) will be on hand, and some of his 400-plus oeuvre screened, which shows just how he became the “King of B Movies”…..Meanwhile back home, Media City still hasn’t released its schedule. But the event always offers a smorgasbord of the esoteric, poetic and eccentric, for films that can last barely minutes to longer pieces, grouped by themes or in separate programs…..And one final note. The Windsor International Film Festival (WIFF), after celebrating a spectacular 10th anniversary last year - is returning to six days for this November’s showcase - Nov. 3 - 8. “Our decision was always to keep with a six-day festival, expanding to nine days only for major anniversaries,” executive director Vincent Georgie said in a release. The festival has grown remarkably since 2005 - from 16 films that year to 111 last with some 15,000 tickets sold.

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