The Canadian Film Fest is an event set in Toronto celebrating Canadian filmmakers where they can showcase their work and network with others in the industry. A non-profit organization, Canadian Film Fest hopes to inspire these filmmakers to continue making motion pictures and to expose Canadian audiences to independent works.

We have created an annual film festival event that the country can be proud of.

Canadian Film Fest

The festival is open to the public and runs from March 30th to April 2nd. Today is day three, and I thought I’d discuss the feature films showing this year (check out the short film reviews here). I was lucky enough to watch three of the features, all varied in genre and the topics they covered.

The Sabbatical. 2016. Producer: Brian Stockton. Associate Producers: Adrienne Adams, Emily Berntson. Executive Producers: David Hansen, Johnny Mac. Director: Brian Stockton. Story: Ian Schneider, Brian Stockton, Matt Yim. Screenplay: Brian Stockton, James Whittingham. Editor: Jason Hujber. Directors Of Photography: Preston Kanak, Jason Rister. Cast: James Whittingham, Laura Abramsen, Bernadette Mullen, Mike Gill, Trevor Aikman, Ken Wilson, Paul Gui-Crepeau, Candy Fox, Kevin Allardyce.

The Sabbatical directed by Brian Stockton with story by Ian Schneider, Brian Stockton, and Matt Yim. Screenplay by Brian Stockton, and James Whittingham.

The Sabbatical

When a university professor is forced to produce a new photography book on his year off, he finds he’s no longer the hot-shot artist he once was. His workaholic wife is nowhere to be found and his best friend is busy leading a family life. Alone and desperate, he befriends a young artist who turns his world upside down. Mid-life crisis ensues.

This 82 minute film is a self described comedy and although it had some good moments that got a smile out of me, it was a bit of a chore to watch. James, our professor, isn’t exactly a vibrant presence on screen and seems to shine more in scenes with his wife, Jillian. The pair together were the really redeemable elements in a film that was ultimately about a man dealing with a midlife crisis. Even with the help of a young female artist which feels familiar and done. I think it held too much back where the comedy was concerned especially when characters like the dean, doctor, Barry, and Shane could have been really funny. It fell flat for me.

The film will be showing on Friday April 1st, 7pm.

20 Moves. 2016. Producer: Adam Rodness. Executive Producer: Lewin Webb. Director: Harv Glazer. Writer: Harv Glazer. Editor: Mahi Rahgozar. Director Of Photography: Andrew Macdonald. Cast: Tom Kremer, Stewart Sims, George Irwin, Jessica Fridrich.

20 Moves directed/written by Harv Glazer.

20 Moves

20 Moves is the untold story of holocaust survivor Tom Kremer who brought the world’s best selling puzzle toy “The Rubik’s Cube” to market in the early 1980’s. Invented by Erno Rubik in communist Hungary this magical cube would go on to symbolize an entire decade of pop culture, change the face of communism, spawn an art movement and become a teaching tool for high end mathematics. It would also touch the hands of 1/5th of the world’s population who simply wanted to see if they could solve this intriguing puzzle.

20 Moves was an insightful documentary. I never knew the significance and power that the Rubik’s Cube had, especially given that it was created by Erno Rubik, originally as a teaching tool. Created in 1974, it took six years before the cube became commercially available in North America and it experienced sky-high success as well as very low lows. I think the most interesting fact I learned while watching it is that the a lot of the big cubing competitions are in Canada which was neat. If you’re interested in knowing more about the Rubik’s Cube, I recommend this doc.

The film will be showing on Saturday April 2nd, 3:15pm.

Chasing Valentine. 2016. Producer: Bruno Marino. Co-Producer: Navneet Chhajer. Director: Navin Ramaswaran. Writers: Neal Avram Schneider & Navin Ramaswaran. Editor: Navin Ramaswaran. Director Of Photography: Bruce William Harper. Cast: Adam Langton, Gwenlyn Cumyn, Bobbie Phillips, Brad Cowan, Ryan Fisher.

Chasing Valentine directed by Navin Ramaswaran and written by Neal Avram Schneider & Navin Ramaswaran

Chasing Valentine

Unable to get over the tragic loss of the love of his life and stuck with a day job of editing adult videos, Chase meets an unlikely ally, Valentine – a call girl who works under the various personas she has created for herself. Is Chase ready to uncover Valentine’s dark secrets?

Our main character, Chase, loses his fiancée and two years later, meets Valentine. Valentine comes with baggage and Chase is dealing with depression but the two seem to find something in one another. Overall, I liked the film. I enjoyed the performances and the A plot involving Chase and Valentine trying to find happiness with each other’s help. The way the B plot is implemented, however, feels off, especially as we get halfway through the film and it’s what gives the film the “thriller” designation. There were quite a few great looking shots but it could stand to be less heavy-handed in some places (like when it’s emphasizing the ring’s importance). All in all, it was an interesting ride.

The film will be showing on Saturday April 2nd, 5:15pm.

Other feature films at the festival that I didn’t get to watch include How To Plan An Orgy In A Small Town, Borealis, Dead Rush, Jackie Boy, and Across The Line (which I REALLY want to watch).