Adapting to a compromised year, the annual Canadian Film Fest has decided to screen select titles from the year’s lineup exclusively on Super Channel. Wylie Writes received a sneak peek of the two documentaries that will close out this year’s run.
Clapboard Jungle (DIR. Justin McConnell)
While Justin McConnell made movies like Broken Mile and Lifechanger, he was also producing a documentary on the side chronicling his experience as an independent filmmaker. The finished product, Clapboard Jungle, is a commendable passion project that covers McConnell’s dream-chasing from 2014 to 2019, as well as some autobiographical content about growing up with aspirations of being full-fledged filmmaker.
There’s a consistent flow of run-on energy in Clapboard Jungle. It takes some adjusting to keep up with McConnell but, once we do, we realize the restlessness perfectly suits this doc. The film’s spirited personality captures the excitement of filmmaking and anticipating upcoming projects, but it also sums up an artist’s anxiety around making sure their ducks are in a row during preparation stages as they also wrestle with their own apprehension after being burned by various factors. Because the documentary has been in the shop for so long, McConnell has also collected mounds of interviews with high-profile filmmakers and other industry professionals (including testimonials from people who are no longer with us). Personal footage of McConnell decompressing about his latest failure is usually mirrored by an encouraging outsider opinion that assures that these hindrances happen to everyone – no matter how established you are.
While it appears, at first, that McConnell has made a movie about himself, Clapboard Jungle is actually a compassionate, industry-savvy, self-reflective resource for would-be filmmakers.
– Addison Wylie
Clapboard Jungle has its world premiere on Friday, June 5 at 9:00 pm EST (with an encore presentation at Midnight) – only on Super Channel FUSE.
Shoot to Marry (DIR. Steve Markle)
Shoot to Marry is a cute, harmless little doc about a filmmaker’s search for a wife. The film explores the world’s current dating climate, the meaning of love, and the nature of what makes a strong relationship. There’s plenty of relatable material for anyone who has ever pursued a significant other, as the audience hangs tight with Shoot to Marry’s very amicable main subject – the filmmaker himself Steve Markle.
Markle does address the ethical grey areas of his approach in the film (using the pretense of a documentary as a way to meet women), thus acknowledging the fact that he’s paddling through some murky waters here. For the most part, his personal pursuit to find love is harmless enough, however his duplicitous intentions do tend to feel sleazy here and there. If not for his wholesome, innocent personality and (mostly) honest intentions, his behavior could have easily come across as wildly inappropriate.
Despite this, Shoot to Marry is a fun film that’s easy to watch, featuring a loveable, goofy main subject who’s searching for the one thing that most of us spend our whole lives looking for. Along the way, we meet a unique and talented series of potential life partners for Markle, and we get to learn their opinions on life and love, and hear how romantic relationships are perceived by a variety of different intelligent and creative people. The film has an excellent sense of pace and rhythm with funny quirks along the way – including a visit to a sex club, and a notable appearance by the ‘Cash Man’ himself, Canadian late-night-tv icon Russell Oliver (who is surprisingly soft-spoken and timid in person).
With a great variety of subjects and insights, Shoot to Marry is a highly entertaining real-life romantic comedy.
– Trevor Chartrand
Shoot to Marry has its Canadian premiere on Saturday, June 6 at 9:00 pm EST (with an encore presentation at Midnight) – only on Super Channel FUSE.
For more information on the festival, visit the official Canadian Film Fest website.
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