20 features and 31 shorts skedded
Canadian films for fest
By BRUCE KIRKLAND
"Hustlers, hayseeds, hoodlums, hanging gardens and house pets" are some movie themes the Toronto International Film Festival announced for its Canadian film series yesterday.
The 14th annual Perspective Canada program will kick off with an Atlantic Canada entry, Thom Fitzgerald's The Hanging Gardens.
This year's festival, scheduled for Sept 4-13, will screen 20 Canadian features and 31 shorts in addition to Toronto filmmaker Atom Egoyan's The Sweet Hereafter, which was already named as the official opening night gala.
The Perspective Canada features, culled from 80 submissions, include Spencer Rice and Kenny Hotz's Pitch, a mockudrama about two filmmakers hustling to get their film financed. Parts of it were shot at last year's Toronto filmfest, where Rice and Hotz were chased from festival venues by irate staff.
Pitch is part of a lineup of films that are "lean, edgy, amazing, relevant, bang-on representations of life in the '90s," according to Perspective Canada coordinator David McIntosh.
Other highlights include:
* Drive, She Said, the latest from Double Happiness director Mina Shum, hyped as "an action-comedy-romance" about a bank robbery and a hostage;
* Hayseed, a satire from co-directors Josh Levy and Andrew Hayes, who tell the story of what happens to smalltown Gordie when his beagle Speedo disappears;
* The Planet Of Junior Brown, the second feature from Rude director Clement Virgo, who weaves a surrealistic tale of an overweight teenager obliged to live inside his own imagination;
* Twilight Of The Ice Nymphs, another fantasy from Winnipeg's master of unearthly delights, Guy Maddin;
* Uncut, a strange entry from John Greyson (of Zero Patience fame), who brings together Pierre Trudeau, circumcision and copyright law in the same story.
Also announced? The 31 shorts were selected from 203 entries. And Symposium '97 keynote speaker will be screenwriter Tom Schulman, who won an Oscar for his Dead Poets Society script.