Canadian Film Talent Shines at SXSW 2016!
Every March, lovers of film, music and digital innovation converge in the heart of Texas to celebrate the latest and the greatest in arts and culture, at the SXSW festival and conference. Honoring creative talent as royalty in the capitol-cool city of Austin, film industry and fans alike lined up in the sunshine for this year's freshest lime-squeeze of storytelling. First Weekend Club's Alexandra Staseson was on the front lines (and a few times at the front of the line ;) to support the Canadian film-making talent that shone under the spotlight at the festival in over 6 different film programs! FWC congratulates the Canadian talent paving the way in the Wild West at SXSW 2016! Get to know the films that played, and their talented filmmakers below. Keep an eye out for these films coming to multiple-screens and platforms in the future! NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION
In this competition were ten world premieres with ten unique ways to celebrate the art of storytelling. Selected from 1,442 narrative feature submissions in 2016.Canadian Film World Premiere
THE OTHER HALF
Written and directed by Joey Klein
Starring: Tatiana Maslany, Tom Cullen, Suzanne Clement, Henry Czerny, Mark Rendall, Deragh Campbell, Nancy Palk
About the Film
A grief-stricken man and a bipolar woman fall in love and try to forge a simple life together.
Nickie is a self-destructive loner ever mourning the disappearance of his younger brother. Having abandoned a life of promise in his native UK, he has subsisted by drowning grief in alcohol and violence. On the fifth anniversary of his brother's disappearance - and on the verge of reaching his nadir - he meets Emily. The two form an immediate, inseparable bond: it is a love at first sight deepened by a shared sense of sorrow.About Filmmaker Joey Klein
Joey Kein is a native of Montreal and a graduate of Circle in the Square Theatre School.'
His experience as an actor greatly informs his process as a filmmaker. He has written and directed two shorts: WAITING FOR YOU starring Tatiana Maslany and WATERLOO starring Joshua Close and Jodi Balfour. Favourite films: HUNGER, UNDER THE SKIN, and FAT CITY.Onlinehttp://www.theotherhalfmovie.comNARRATIVE SPOTLIGHT FILMS
This program featured high profile narrative features receiving their World, North American, or U.S. premieres at SXSW! Canadian Film World Premiere JEAN OF THE JONESES
Written and Directed by Stella Meghie
Starring: Taylour Paige, Sherri Shepherd, Gloria Reuben, Michelle Hurst, Erica Ash, Mamoudou Athie, Francois Arnaud, Demore Barnes, Anna Hopkins (World Premiere)About the Film
Chaos ensues after the estranged patriarch of the Jones family dies on their doorstep. When the paramedic who answers their 911 call tries to win over acerbic Jean Jones, his attempts are disrupted by old conflicts that come to a boil at the funeral.
Writer-director Stella Meghie's first feature revolves around the troubled Jones family, one of whom dies at the start of the movie, leading the paramedic who answers the 911 call to develop an attraction to the rambunctious Jones family member Jean. Apparently, the courtship goes south during the funeral. With "Hit the Floor" star Taylour Paige making her big move into a leading role, "Jean of the Joneses" is poised to offer more than one breakthrough in a dark comedy that seems like just the right fit for the SXSW crowd. - Eric Kohn, IndiewireAbout Filmmaker Stella Meghie
With a blind script deal at Warner Bros., a pilot in development with John Wells Productions, a comedy optioned by BET and a deal to pen a feature script for VH1, Stella Meghie is not short on momentum. She's a Tribeca Film Institute fellow and Showtime's Tony Cox Award recipient for her feature debut Jean of the Joneses.DOCUMENTARY SPOTLIGHT FILMS
This program shone a light on new documentary features receiving their World, North American, or U.S. premieres at SXSW!Canadian Film World Premiere
Directed by Morgan White. Written by Derek Lageunesse and Morgan White.About the Film
THE SLIPPERS pulls back the Wizard’s curtain on the unbelievable story and cultural impact of Dorothy's Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz.
Through first-hand accounts and archival interviews, THE SLIPPERS will detail the life of the Ruby Slippers after their sale at the famed 1970 MGM auction. Discovered by costumer Kent Warner, it is unclear how many pairs were found and how many pairs exist. That mystery has only helped to propel the shoes to the forefront of the Hollywood memorabilia market.
They have been bought, stolen, and coveted by many. They are considered the most important piece of Hollywood memorabilia and the catalyst for the creation of Hollywood memorabilia collecting.About filmmaker Morgan White
A cinephile practically since birth, Morgan White grew up on a steady dose of all things Hollywood. THE SLIPPERS marks his second foray in to documentary film making, his first being THE REP, a film about a group of three film fans opening a repertory cinema in today's dying landscape of independent movie theatres.EPISODIC FILMS
This unique program featured the innovative new work aimed squarely at the small screen. Episodic tunes in to the explosion of exciting material on non-theatrical platforms, including serialized TV, webisodes, and beyond.Canadian Episodic Film ScreeningYOU ME HER
Directed by Nisha Ganatra. Written by John Scott Shepherd (EP / Showrunner)
Starring, Greg Poehler, Rachel Blanchard, Priscilla Faia, Jarod Joseph, Melanie Papalia.About the Show
YOU ME HER is television's first "polyromantic comedy," infuses the grounded and relatable sensibilities of an indie rom-com with a distinctive twist. What begins as an impulsive “date” between suburban husband Jack and neophyte escort Izzy spins into a whirlwind three-way affair including Jack’s wife Emma, who’s been keeping secrets of her own. Their “arrangement” soon breaks free of its financial bonds to become something else entirely – a real romance with real stakes involving three real people – confronting viewers with a compelling question: What if your best, truest, happiest life looked nothing like you thought it would? Would you be brave enough to live it?Onlinehttp://www.directv.com/youmeher24 BEATS PER SECOND FILMS
This program showcased the sounds, culture, and influence of music and musicians, with an emphasis on documentary!Canadian Film ScreeningsBORN TO BE BLUE
Written and directed by Robert Budreau.
Starring Ethan Hawke, Carmen Ejogo, Callum Keith Rennie, Tony Nappo, Stephen McHattie, Janet-Laine Green, Dan Lett, Kedar Brown, Kevin Hanchard, Tony Nardi and Katie Boland.About the Film
Ethan Hawke lights up the screen as jazz legend Chet Baker, whose tumultuous life is thrillingly re-imagined with wit, verve, and style to burn. In the 1950s, Baker was one of the most famous trumpeters in the world. By the 1960s, he was all but washed up, his career and personal life in shambles due to years of heroin addiction. In his innovative anti-biopic, director Robert Budreau zeroes in on Baker’s life at a key moment in the 1960s, just as the musician stages a hard-fought comeback. Driven by Hawke’s virtuoso performance, BORN TO BE BLUE unfolds with all the stylistic brio and improvisatory genius of great jazz. About filmmaker Robert Budreau
Born in London, Ontario, Robert Budreau studied at the Vancouver Film School and worked as a lawyer before directing his first feature, THAT BEAUTIFUL SOMEWHERE (2006). His shorts include DRY WHISKEY (2005) and THE DEATHS OF CHET BAKER (2009). BORN TO BE BLUE (2015) is his latest feature.Onlinehttp://www.ifcfilms.com/films/born-to-be-blueI AM THE BLUES
Written and Directed by Daniel CrossAbout the Film
I AM THE BLUES takes the audience on a musical journey through the swamps of the Louisiana Bayou, the juke joints of the Mississippi Delta and Moonshine soaked BBQs in the North Mississippi Hill Country. Visiting the last original blues devils, many in their 80’s, still living in the deep south, working without management and touring the Chitlin’ Circuit. Let Bobby Rush, Barbara Lynn, Henry Gray, Carol Fran, Lazy Lester, Bilbo Walker, RL Boyce, Jimmy ’Duck’ Holmes, Lil Buck Sinegal, LC Ulmer and their friends awaken the blues in all of us.About Filmmaker Daniel Cross
Co-founder and president of EYESTEELFILM in Montreal, Daniel Cross was named by Real Screen Magazine as a top 100 non-fiction production company in the world. He is Professor and past-chair of the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, Concordia University, an inductee in the Provost’s Circle of Distinction and serves on the University’s Board of Governors.Onlinehttp://www.iamthebluesmovie.comSXSW SHORT FILMS PROGRAMHER FRIEND ADAM
by Ben PetrieAbout the Film
A boyfriend's jealous impulse spirals out of control in 16 minutes of romantic doom. About Filmmaker Ben Petrie
A Toronto-based writer and director, Ben Petrie's work uses laughter as a Trojan Horse, inside of which he smuggles his ideas. He recently wrote and directed HER FRIEND ADAM, which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER
by Zack RussellAbout the Film
An aspiring performer struggles to breathe life into a new character she's created. Suddenly, she sees him: the real-life doppelgänger of her masked character. Where's the line between inspiration and theft? A gender-bending romantic comedy that celebrates those who defy the status quo in their search for self-expression.About Filmmaker Zack Russel
A Canadian writer/director from Toronto, Zach Russell wrote and directed the plays FIXED AT VIDEOFAG and JUST CAUSE at the Flea Theater in New York, as well as the live-stream digital play RIHANNABOI95 in 2013. SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER (2015) is his first film. Onlinehttp://www.shestoops.comBACON AND GOD'S WRATH
by Sol FriedmanAbout the Film
A 90-year-old Jewish woman reflects on her life’s experiences as she prepares to try bacon for the first time.About Filmmaker Sol Friedman
Award-winning, animator and filmmaker Sol Friedman is based in Toronto, Canada. His short films blend a variety of live-action and animation techniques, and have played at the Toronto International Film Festival, Sundance, SXSW, Annecy and over sixty other international film festivals worldwide.Online http://www.artbeast.caDiscover Great Canadian Films at FirstWeekendClub.ca, Rent them online at CanadaScreens.caFollow us: @1stWeekendClub @CanadaScreens Alexandra Staseson
is First Weekend Club // Canada Screens Social Media Manager, Contributing Writer and FWC live event and interview host. You can follow her @MoveThrough