Growing up, National Film Board Animated Shorts like The Cat Came Back and Log Driver’s Waltz helped define what it meant to be Canadian. They represented a support of the arts and a style of animation that were unique and unlike anything produced elsewhere at the time. Ann Marie Fleming’s Movie Window Horses (The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming) is a nostalgic return to those halcyon days at the NFB.
Rosie (Sandra Oh) was raised by her grandparents after her mother died and her father disappeared. Her self-published book of poetry My eye Full, has brought her to the attention of a poetry festival in Shiraz, Iran where she has been invited to share her work. Despite fearing rejection by her peers, Rosie flies to the home of her absentee father and immerses herself in Persian culture. At the festival she meets Dietmar (Don McKellar) a German hipster, Mehrnaz (the sublime Shohreh Aghdashloo) an Iranian professor, and DiDi (Jun Zhu) an exiled Chinese poet. Through them Rosie finds her voice and learns what it means to be a Poet.
The Movie works best when the animation is punctuating the poetry rather than chasing stories about Rosie’s father. In one particular scene early in the Movie, Rosie listens to the muezzins call out the morning prayer and sees rainbows stream from the top of the minarets around her. As someone who lived briefly in the Middle East, the images struck me as particularly beautiful expressing perfectly my own feelings about those first moments at dawn.
In a year punctuated by excellent Animated Movies, Window Horses stands apart thanks to its unique cross-cultural story. The poetry of animation and words will stay with audiences long after the Festival.
Window Horses screens:
Sunday, September 11, 2016 at 2:00 PMIsabel Bader Theatre Tuesday, September 13, 2016 at 4:45 PMScotiabank Theatre
Now in its third thriving year, AN EVENING WITH CANADA’S STARS was held last night at the prestigious Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. Leading into the Academy Awards and Canadian Screen Week, the Gala honours Canadian accomplishments in Cinema during Awards Season and if any year, this was the year to celebrate. The Gala is brought to us by Telefilm Canada, the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television and the Consulate General of Canada in Los Angeles.
Canada notched over 20 nominations at the Academy Awards this year and one Technical Achievement Award! This also marks the first time ever Canada has had two Films in the running for Best Picture, with Canadian Co-Productions ROOM and BROOKLYN both being nominated.
It was an at-capacity crowd as Canadian talent and notables filled the venue. Being honoured with the Academy‘s Legacy Award are two iconic Canadian screen veterans, Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy, whom after making us laugh many years on SCTV, still continue to do so on CBC Series, Schitt’s Creek. Both walked the Carpet tonight with their loved ones before taking the stage to accept their honours.
The fashion was bold and elegant on the Red Carpet with presenter Emmanuelle Chriqui in a gorgeous red and white floral print dress making a subtle Canadian statement. Amanda Brugel was a vision in wavy white, reminding us again what a triumph she was in ROOM as a quick thinking police officer who helps save the day. Laura Vandervoort simply never disappoints and chose a fashion-forward pink lace number. Katie Boland was a stunner in a magenta dress, looking classic and chic. Missy Peregrym continues to rock our world with her amazing choices including a dyed pixie cut and short black dress shirt-like number. Academy Award-nominated Shoreh Aghdashloo was effortlessly chic in simple, flattering red. Stealing the entire show though was dapper Jacob Tremblay, star of ROOM in a perfectly-tailored and patriotic red suit which had us both jealous and in “awww”. Did we mention his swoon-worthy police detective dad Jason was there too? Effortlessly cool in a non-stagedad way.
Why don’t you be the judge of that? Let’s gawk at some of that Canadian beauty which the World can’t seem to get enough of:
Presenters Lyriq Bent + Emmanuelle Chriqui
Legacy Award honourees Catherine O’Hara + Eugene Levy
Catherine O’Hara + Guest
Jacob Tremblay + Amanda Brugel
Toronto Mayor John Tory + Guests
Sarah Blackwood of Walk Off the Earth
George Stroumboulopoulous with Air Canada‘s Bambina Marcello + Robert Trudeau
Martin Katz, Academy Chair
Stephan Moccio (co-wrote “Earned It” by The Weeknd for Fifty Shades of Grey)
Co-Presenter (and Canadian Screen Award Nominee) Lyriq Bent sums-up the spirit of An Evening with Canada’s Stars best by telling the room “We’ve got to show the world what we’re all about because that’s what it takes to be great. We need to understand ourselves before we need others to understand us.”. After he and Chriqui called to stage all Canadian Academy Award Nominees this year, last but not least was the brilliant young star of ROOM himself, Tremblay. “I need you all to understand – this is the future generation. This is why when we see talent, we need to embrace talent, not just tell him how great he is, but to show this young man what it is to be a good man. That’s our responsibility in this industry.”.
Suicide Squad star Adam Beach, who also presented, had a two or thing to say about Tremblay too!
See the Video:
So everybody was trying to crash this Party!
Canadian Screen Week runs Monday, March 7 through Sunday, March 13, 2016, the night of the Canadian Screen Awards.