Archive for Toronto International Film Festival

Toronto International Film Festival, Blackout Film Fest +

Posted in art, film, queer, reading with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2009 by thebrooklynsocialite

Thom and Raphaela of Stranger than Fiction wonderfulness were kind enough to welcome me to their fair city last weekend with a curated selection of documentary films. They put me on a roster of purely political, thought-provoking, grade-A cinema. This was the line up: How To Fold An American Flag, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and The Pentagon Papers, (which was really a great film), Collapse (For all you Peak Oil Cassandras and simple living adherents),  Soderberg’s latest starring Matt Damon, The Informant, Colony (about the beekeeping industry), Cleanfix (about Mormons who edit the “obscenities” out of already released Hollywood Films and The Topp Twins (some soulful dyke yodellers out of New Zealand that have been creating AbFab rivaling entertainment, activism and song for over 20 years.

As you can see that is a lot of film to talk about, and by the time I had greyhounded it back to Brooklyn on Monday morning I was pretty much talked out. But not, I admit socialited out. I spent a few days hanging out with a good mate who was in town form Oz and somewhere along the line I managed to check out Fashion Week. The Isaac Mizrahi show was amazing. I know, loving high fashion may seem dorky to some, but the truth is that I do. The looks were pretty page boy meets Victorian lace meets hot. We’re talking rain, steps, quite the affair. Don’t ask me how I got in, apparently the phrase “Brooklyn Socialite” gets you through the door.

I also got to check out the Kandinsky exhibition at the Guggenheim. Ahh, brilliant, colorful Kandinsky, no one can do it better. I have a soft spot for that old Russian, one of his prints used to hang on my simple blue childhood wall. That was the day after an Australian imported exhibition by Papunya Tula artists that I had the chance to see at NYU’s gallery on Washington Sq East.

This artful week was topped off with another reading by Eileen Myles, this time at my friend Ari’s reading series and with Joan Larkin. It was quite the perfect late summer night, under fairy lights. Surrounded by silence and an audience filled with poets, these authors shared their inspiring craft yet again.

Finally on Saturday, I hit the Blackout Film Festival, this event inspired festival centered around the theme, The Great Depression 2009. It was a collection of short film about job loss, wall street pillow fights, love affairs with piggie banks and an interesting new website called ODD JOB Nation. Check it out for fun webisodes and an actual job board, maybe you can join me in the pursuit of Odd Jobs, at last!

And here is the Topp Twins trailer:

George Stoney Q & A

Posted in film, Guide to What's Good with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

Last night documentary filmmaker George Stoney made a special appearance at Thom Powers'( programmer for the Toronto Film Festival) film series, Stranger Than Fiction. Stoney is 92 years old and has been making films for two thirds of his lifetime. It was a great pleasure to watch him, climb up and down off the stage( poor thing) and discuss his cinematic legacy with total clarity and insight. He informed us that his early films were made almost exclusively for a commissioned purpose. The first video that screened last night, “All my Babies,” was made for the Georgia Health Department as an instructional video. It depicts a real African American “granny midwife,” as they were called, delivering a baby for a woman in her home. Many black women in the early 50’s, when this film was made, did not have their children in hospitals. Stoney explained that this film helped to educate white doctors about the respectable practices of the midwives, and the somewhat desperate position of the mothers. This knowledge encouraged many of those doctors to make visits to pregnant black women before and during births, in order to ensure safety and bring women, who were likely to have complicated births, to the hospital.

This film like all of the others screened was thoughtful and admirable. Throughout his career Stoney tackled issues such as workers rights, prison drama societies, Native American rights, and rural to urban immigration. Do Netflix him or audit one of his classes at NYU (that’s what I’m thinking of doing!) Yes, you heard me right, at 92 he is still teaching and still making films. He should def hang with my 98 year old Bubby. They would have good chats.

Here is a revisiting of the original film with commentary. Loads slow but is pretty interesting!