By John H. Foote
In the beginning one of the central mandates of the Toronto Film Festival, when it was still known as the Festival of Festivals was to showcase the work of homegrown filmmakers. The creators, Bill Marshall in particular understood the bevy of talent in this country and watnted to celebrate and showcase that talent within the festival. For years it was known as Canadian Perspectives, and many great Canadian films emerged from this programme.
Now the Canadian films are presented along the best from around the globe in the various programmes.
Today, some of the major Canadian titles were announced, once again making clear the degree of talent we have in this country.
Festival favourite Denys Arcand makes a return with The Fall of the American Empire, which will no doubt shine as his works The Decline of the American Empire (1987), Jesus of Montreal (1990) and the OScar winning The Barbarian Invasions (2003) did. A beloved Canadian filmmaker, Arcandès films are greeted with excitement each time out.
Patricia Rozema is back with Mouthpiece, while Ron Mann returns with Carmine Street Guitars.
The always interesting Bruce Sweeney will be here with KIngsway, Akash Sherman is here with the science fiction epic Clara, Gwaii Edenshaw and Helen Haig Brown combine talents for the Haida epic Edge of the Knife, and the much awaited documentary Anthropocene.
Rob Stewarts Sharkwater Extinction will bow here, along with Thom Fitzgeralds film SPlinters, while Barry Avrich will unveil his much awaited documentary Prosecuting Evil: The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz.
Falls Around Her, will screen, directed by Darlene Naponse, along with The Great Darkened Days, directed by Maxime Giroux.
Once again it looks like a very exciting year for Canadians at and in the movies.
John H. Foote is a well-recognized Canadian film critic/historian who has been an active critic for 30 years. His deep love for the movies began at a very young age. He began his career as co-host of the popular TV show Reel to Real where he remained for nine years. While on TV he began dabbling in education, eventually ascending to Director of the Toronto Film School, where he also taught film history. After leaving the college to care for his wife, he returned to teaching at Humber College where he taught both Film History and Method Acting Theory. John has written two books: “Clint Eastwood – Evolution of a Filmmaker” and the upcoming “Spielberg – American Film Visionary”. He is currently working on two books, one about the films of the seventies and another on the films of Martin Scorsese. Through his career he has worked in TV, radio, print and the web. John has interviewed everyone in the industry (more than 300 interviews) except Jack Nicholson, he says sadly. Highlights include Martin Scorsese, Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep Robert Duvall, Jane Fonda, Francis Ford Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow.