Selected by members of WIFT-T (Women in Film and Television Toronto) from nominated films that best represent the filmmaking community, WIFT-T’s Spring showcase is known for its diverse work. That same consistency is maintained this year.
Martin’s Hagge, a dark comedy that had its Toronto premiere at last month’s Canadian Film Fest, is the strongest flick of the bunch. The film is equal parts twisted and quirky, which is a bit of a shock considering the screenplay was written by mild-mannered actor Gordon Pinsent. Working with Pinsent’s creative ideas, director Penny Eizenga cleverly envisions “burden” in a physical form (Sheila McCarthy), clinging on to any sad sack who has a shred of self-doubt. Paul Braunstein plays the latest depressed victim, until inspiration stumbles into his life. Despite occasionally being too “on the nose”, Eizenga finds subtle ways (such as colour degrading) to control the emotions in her film.
Lisa Rideout’s Take a Walk on the Wild Side is more accessible, even though it holds back from being anything other than a lightweight delight. Rideout’s doc stations itself in a popular shop that’s known for appealing to hidden femininity. Men approach owner Patricia Aldridge for the chance to dress up – head to toe – and see themselves as a woman. During these transformations, Aldridge chats with her customers to add personal touches to the experience. It’s a pleasant albeit stagey piece that’s been made by a sensitive filmmaker.
A stronger example of documentary filmmaking is seen in Handmade Film. It’s a brief and basic observation on how experimental filmmaker Lindsay McIntyre makes something new out of an old medium, but director/producer Christina Ienna’s simplified approach allows the audience to be absorbed in McIntyre’s creative and meticulous process.
These films along with Jasper Savage’s anti-rom-com Jessica Jessica, Riel Stone’s Margaret Atwood adaptation ROPEd, Reem Morsi’s drama The Door, and a Seinfeld knock-off from CBC Comedy’s online series Note to Self are part of WIFT-T’s sold-out screening that will surely satisfy movie goers.