Scene from Mississippi Grind (Photo: Electric City Entertainment)
The 40th Annual Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) opens this week in Canada. TIFF, one of the world’s most-renowned public film festivals, is considered by many to be a starting line for the race to Oscar®. TIFF moviegoers can choose from nearly 400 films from 70-plus countries. And, being such huge movie fans here at Kodak, we are proud to once again have a strong presence at TIFF.
Here, we shine a spotlight on some the outstanding stories being told at TIFF this year:
(L-R) DP Wyatt Garfield, 1st AC John David Devirgiliis, operator Tim Curtin, director Jonas Carpignano. (Credit: 2nd AC Olivia Kimmel).
When a story calls for a trek over a desert, a precarious boat ride across a sea, and storms both figurative and literal, it’s hard not to focus on the grand scope of it all. Instead, cinematographer Wyatt Garfield and director Jonas Carpignano’s goal with Mediterranea – a film about two Burkinabe men attempting to emigrate to southern Italy for a better life only to find more poverty and discrimination than the home they left – was to stay within the characters’ space and tell their tale from a more intimate place.
“When you’re filming a journey across vast landscapes,” says Garfield, whose next projects include two shorts for Sundance’s Directors Lab, “there’s a temptation to show the scale of the locations and the insignificance of the characters in relationship to them. But when you're climbing over rocks in the desert, it's much more about the physical struggle and what's right in front of you. Throughout the film, we tried to avoid the temptation of classical beauty and focus on the human experience.”
(L-R) Sean Bobbit, BSC and Steve McQueen. (Credit: Jaap Buitendijk)
Though London-born writer-director Steve McQueen has been making movies for more than two decades (even longer if you count the Super 8 films he shot as a kid), his 2014 Best Picture OSCAR® win for 12 Years a Slave has quickly catapulted him to the top of Hollywood’s A-list. Yet McQueen remains steadfastly dedicated to continuing to carve out his very own niche as a filmmaker, with an eclectic resume of video art works, features, and even a new music video for Kanye West.
Here, McQueen talks about what attracts him to a project, how filmmaking is like golf, and why “it’s always film” when it comes to his preferred shooting format.
Emayatzy Corinealdo and Ron Perlman in "Hand of God". (Credit: Adam Rose/Amazon Studios.)
Amazon Studios’ Hand of God, which stars Ron Perlman as a corrupt, born-again judge who becomes a vigilante, is the latest example of original production by an online streaming entity. Making his television directorial debut, the pilot was directed by Marc Forster (World War Z, The Kite Runner, Finding Neverland) and photographed in a film-noir style by Matthias Koenigswieser. Viewers of the premiere episode were asked to give opinions on Hand of God before the decision to proceed with the series was made, and soon season one, consisting of nine episodes, was moving forward.
The story takes place in a small town in California where an economic bust makes the populace desperate. Joining the production team for the episodes was Rasmus Heise, a member of the Danish Society of Cinematographers whose work has garnered an impressive array of accolades. Helium, his live-action short with director Anders Walter, won an OSCAR® in 2014.
Kentucker Audley in "Christmas, Again". (Credit: Sean Price Williams.)
Christmas, Again is the first feature film from writer-director Charles Poekel. It follows a heartbroken man, played by Kentucker Audley, in the month leading up to Christmas as he sells trees on the street in Brooklyn, New York. The intimate story was shot by Sean Price Williams, whose previous credits include the indie gem Listen Up Philip.
Christmas, Again premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival in the low-budget NEXT category.