Waiting for the stars to arrive by Sam Javanrough

TIFF Today: September 12, 2007

A look at the news and events surrounding the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival, and a very quick look at one Canadian short film every day.

Day Seven

The Toronto International Film Festival is not only a place for big films to get bought and big filmmakers to gain prestige. It is, as evidenced by the films in the Canada First! programme, also a place for new and upcoming filmmakers to showcase their talents to a worldwide audience. One of those films, Richie Mehta's Amal, was also a previous winner of the Telefilm Canada Pitch This! competition in 2005, a competition where young aspiring filmmakers work with industry veterans to pitch their projects and vie to win $10,000 for the development of their new film.

This year's Pitch This! competition took place yesterday at the Sutton Hotel, and assembled six finalists who each pitched their projects to a panel of judges with the help of their veteran pitch coaches. The finalists included Geoff Redknap and Katie Weekley for The Auburn Hills Breakdown, Daniel Shehori and Steven Shehori for The Engagement Pact, Jim Goodall and Paul Lenart for Giantland, Adnan Ahmed for Invisible City, Mona Waserman and Peter Reynolds for Senior Year, and Shelly Hong and Soo-won Lee for Swallow.

In the end, it was Goodall and Lenart's pitch for Giantland, a CGI- and puppetry-based animated film about two children that enter a land of giants, that won the competition. I'm already looking forward to seeing their film at the festival in a few years.

If you're set on skipping school or work in order to do some celeb stalking, here are some of the big names that will be arriving in town today:

  • Francois Ozon
  • Sidney Lumet
  • Guy Pierce
  • Max Van Sydow
  • Michel Brault
  • Donnie Yen
  • Chris Klein
  • Mark Ruffalo
  • Lauren Bacall

If you've got some time 1pm today, be sure to stop by the ROM Theatre for a special discussion discussing how musicians, directors and music supervisors work together in order to create excellent films. Entitled In the Mix: Discussing Music and Film, the special panel is hosted by Eye Weekly's Jason Anderson.

For the Scorsese fans out there—and lets face it, who doesn't love Martin Scorsese?— Ellen Burstyn is in town in order to introduce a screening of Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore as part of the Dialogues programme. One of Scorsese's first major films of his career, this screening and Burstyn's talk will surely give us an insight into the experience that shaped the director's filmmaking for the past thirty years.

And now, a short (100-word) look at a short:

Farmer's Requiem
As urban dwellers, it's often easy to forget that there's a whole world just beyond our cities: people who grow the food we eat every day. Using black and white shots of sweeping vistas of abandoned farmland, Ramses Madina's Farmer's Requiem retells the story of a man who became a farmer upon his father's death, and the laments of the loss of agricultural space in our country. At moments, the film is poignant, at others, it seems to drag, but in all, it definitely does make you think about how our rapidly urbanizing lifestyles may be encroaching on the spaces we need most in our lives.

Ramses Madina's Farmer's Requiem screens with Blood Will Tell today at 9:45pm and tomorrow at noon at the Cumberland.

(Image: Waiting for the stars to arrive, by Sam Javanrough.)

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