Sunday, April 10, 2011

Canadian women KICK ASS!

And we do, especially when it comes to making movies!

As a huge fan of independent films, I have a list of three independent Canadian films that I strongly urge you to check out.

Listed in order of release date:

(click on poster to find movie showtimes)

Written and directed by Canadian filmmaker, Tara Johns, starring Julia Stone, an extremely talented local Vancouver up and comer, along with Macha Grenon, Gil Bellows, and... Dolly Parton!

It's 1976 and Elizabeth is just your average suburban 11-year-old praying for adolescence to arrive, when she discovers her whole life has been a lie. With only her imagination to guide her, Elizabeth runs away in search of her true identity. Her adoptive mother, Marion is then forced to break out of the carefully constructed "truth" she's been clinging to, and go after her daughter. This leads to a cathartic cross-country trek by a mother searching for a daughter who's searching for a mother - both of them really searching for themselves.

The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom is a poignant, sometimes funny, very female coming of age story that explores the tension between creating identity and finding it within...

The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom had it's Vancouver premiere on April 8th at Tinseltown to a sold-out crowd. Tickets went like hotcakes and our dear friend, Sue, found herself in a mad scramble to "move" tickets around and accommodate those of us who waited til the last minute to get them. If it wasn't for Sue, me and my team wouldn't have made it to the screening, only the after-party.

Thank you, Sue!! As ever, you are there when needed. And the after-party, held at District 319, was also a smashing success!

(click movie poster to go to movie website)

Co-written and directed by Vancouver filmmaker, Katrin Bowen, starring April Telek, Zak Santiago, and Anna Mae Routledge.

Amazon Falls tells the story of a faded B-movie actress JANA who refuses to let go of her dream of being a star. Famous for her roles in Amazon movies where she portrayed a variety of pre-Xena warrior-princesses, she desperately tries to keep her leg in the B-movie game, and pursues her career with a zealous fervor. She is on the cusp of forty and its now or never. She will not be dispirited by her job at a sleazy nightclub nor the ceaseless grind of waiting for the big break. She creates the illusion that her big break is just around the corner and her friends and co-workers are supporting her in her dreams: ARON, her much younger 25-year old boy toy is in love with her LI-LI, an achingly beautiful 22-year-old actress her best friend and protégé will follow in her glamorous footsteps DEREK, a film producer will be the one to give Jana the big break she yearns for. But the reality is she works in a nightclub run by TOMMY, her sleazy boss who encourages flirtation with an array of oily characters including CALVIN, a particularly shady character from Janas distant past who has resurfaced to tempt her down a dark path. Jana avoids facing the truth at all costs. Despite her best efforts to live clean and expand her skills, Jana is ultimately overcome by the burden of a dream in a business that would seem to punish more for virtue than for vice.

Amazon falls opens in Vancouver on April 15th, 2011 at Denman Cinema. Be sure to get your tickets early for the premiere as I'm sure it will be a sell-out!

(click on movie poster to go to filmmakers website)

Co-written and directed by Vancouver filmmaker, Penelope Buitenhuis, starring Nicholas Campbell, Tara Nicodemo and Krista Sutton.

After the mysterious death of their infamous director, members of a formerly renowned theater company reunite for his wake. The grieving widow welcomes the thespians to her country house, but the drama intensifies when old rivalries and jealousies erupt, exposing a myriad of secrets and lies.

In this intense drama, six former members of a well-known theatre company assemble for their infamous director's wake. Gabor Zazlov (NICHOLAS CAMPBELL) has died suddenly. His grieving French widow, Hanna (TARA NICODEMO), welcomes the thespians to her country house but soon loses control of the proceedings when old rivalries and jealousies erupt. As members of Gabor's last ill-fated production of Hamlet four years ago, the characters they played continue to haunt their lives. Tyler (GRAHAM ABBEY) who played Laertes then Hamlet, is now a minor Hollywood star and secretly in love with Maya (KRISTA SUTTON), the quiet, new-agey Ophelia. Raj (RAOUL BHANEJA), now a successful real-estate agent, is still resentful of losing the part of Hamlet to Tyler. The unexpected arrival of Gabor's loafer son Chad (KRISTOPHER TURNER), ratchets up the tension further. Traveling in Europe, he knew nothing of his father's passing and accuses his stepmother of killing him. Another Hamlet joins the fray. However it is sexy, troubled Danielle (SARAIN BOYLAN), whose presence causes the most controversy. At dinner, the company's patron, Sabina (MARTHA BURNS), demands to know why "this whore was invited" and the party erupts. Not quite forgotten in the chaos is Gabor's deathbed request to mount a final reading of Hamlet. When Hanna can't continue to lead the charge, Chad takes on the role of director, exacting shocking truths from the actors. As secrets are revealed, the players must come clean: To thine own self be true. With morning hangovers, they all leave altered by this tumultuous night. But there remains one last shocking truth that none would suspect.

A Wake opens in Vancouver on April 29th, 2011 at Fifth Ave Cinemas. As with Amazon Falls, be sure to get your premiere tickets early as this film will also be a sell-out.

I attended the premiere of The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom and will definitely be attending the premieres for Amazon Falls and A Wake.

Hope to see you there!