Exploring the world through TIFF

By Alicia Sealey

Let’s go exploring a few places through TIFF 2014, shall we?

First up, I’d like to reintroduce you to the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2014, the NFB is dedicated to innovation and leadership in social documentaries, auteur animation and ground-breaking interactive works. It has contributed to more than 13,000 productions and has won more than 5,000 international awards. Trick or Treaty? is just one of its seven TIFF 2014 official selections.

On Sunday, Sept. 7, the NFB will co-present a very special, free show/review of the works of Norman McLaren (legendary artist, and founder of its animation studio division). This show starts at 7:45p.m. and will be accompanied by the music of Absolute Free – an indie band known for pop, psychedelic and experimental music.

In fact, TIFF 2014 will be blocking off King Street West (from University Avenue to Peter Street) from Sept. 4 – 7. “By providing opportunities for all film lovers to share the fun of the moving image in unique ways,” said Cameron Bailey, TIFF’s artistic director, “cinema enthusiasts from all over the world can come together and take away memorable experiences.” And he is not kidding!

Under the heading – FESTIVAL STREET (at www.tiff.net) – multiple disciplines will be showcased at TIFF’s pedestrian promenade including interactive media, games, art instillations, an overhead light tunnel, food and plenty, plenty music.

Adrian X
Adrian X

FYI: on its opening night (Sept. 4), check out a showcase from beats-music producer Sona “Elaguent” Elango (aka eQ) at 6 p.m. At 10 p.m., Drake’s musical director, guitarist Adrian X does his jam. Possible celebrity sightings might include Drake and/or Saukrates. On Sept. 6 at 6 p.m., DJ Misty (very popular in Toronto, NYC and LA) showcases her talents. Most Festival Street activities and concerts are free! Thank you, TIFF.

The following film topics are all relatable to current news headlines:

MARGARITA, WITH A STRAW (world premiere; dir. Shonali Bose; India; 100 min.). We are introduced to Laila (Kalka Koechlin), a young Indian girl with cerebral palsy who is attending university in New Delhi. She is also a budding writer of words and electronic sounds for her local university band. As her story unfolds, she moves to NYC with her mother, where she eventually finds herself; discovering a freedom that India would never have tolerated (Sept. 8, 10 & 12).

Tour de Force
Tour de Force

TOUR de FORCE (North American premiere; dir. Christian Zübert; Germany; 95 min.). With the current worldwide social media popularity of the “Ice Bucket Challenge” in support of ALS, an intimate perspective of how this degenerative disease affects relationships is offered in this film.

A group of friends embark on their annual cycling road-trip. It is Hannes’ turn to choose their vacation destination. Hannes (Florian David Fitz) chose Belgium. As the trip unfolds, he reveals to his friends he has ALS and he wants to go to Belgium where assisted suicide is legal. Initially shocked, their journey takes on a whole new meaning about relationships, life and the quantity and quality of both (Sept. 8, 10, & 14).

WHO AM I – NO SYSTEM IS SAFE (world premiere; dir. Baran bo Odar; Germany; 105 min.).

Did you hear about the recent hacking of several celebrities’ accounts from where compromising pictures were stolen, then shared publically?

For seasoned computer hackers, this is child’s play. Breaking and entering into bank accounts is also considered fun and doable. This is the playground of the fictional hacking team, C.L.A.Y. (Clowns Laughing @ You). For this band of misguided youth, everything was fine and dandy … until the government got involved (Sept. 6, 8 & 13).

THE PRICE WE PAY (world premiere; dir. Harold Crooks; Canada; 92 min.). Though tax evasion is illegal, tax avoidance is not. Sobering will be this documentary’s subject as it reveals how society’s 1% got to be where they are … and why they will probably remain there. The recent business merger of the U.S. chain Burger King with Canada’s Tim Hortons is just one recent example of this. Their merger could yield a tax inversion benefit to Burger King. If confused, just watch the documentary. It will explain it all. Warning: you will probably get vexed (Sept. 5 & 7).

Many more film descriptions, including trailers where available, can be found at www.tiff.net. So go out and enjoy all that TIFF has to offer, OK? It runs through to Sunday, Sept.14.

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