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TIFF 2011 - Page 2 Empty Re: TIFF 2011

Post by Admin on Sun Sep 18, 2011 1:14 am

‘A Dangerous Method’ Premieres at TIFF
Cronenberg explores the roots of psychoanalysis
By Ryan Moffatt
Epoch Times Staff Created: Sep 12, 2011 Last Updated: Sep 12, 2011

Actors Keira Knightley and Viggo Mortensen, who both star in "A Dangerous Method," attend a cocktail party during the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 10 in Toronto. (Toby Canham/Getty Images)

In Canada you are taking your chances if you show up at an event wearing the team jersey of the host cities’ arch rivals.

Toronto-born David Cronenberg looked none too pleased at the nerve of Keira Knightly and Viggo Mortensen who chose to bug the director by attending the press conference for A Dangerous Method wearing Montreal Canadiens jerseys.

“I actually have to admit that I have no idea what the jersey is I was wearing,” Knightley said. “I'm going to be huge in Montreal.”

Both actors star in Cronengberg’s latest film, a period piece that explores the complex and volatile relationship between the fathers of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.

A Dangerous Method is based on a play by Christopher Hampton who also attended the press conference.

The stars and director spoke about the complicated and challenging film.

Knightley plays Sabrina Spielrein, a mental patient who forms a complicated triangle between Carl Jung, played by Michael Fassbender, and his mentor Sigmund Feud, played by Viggo Mortensen.

“It was a very challenging role and I think that was one of the reasons why I really wanted to play her (Spielrein) because I really didn’t know who she was,” Knightley told reporters.

Spielrein went from being a patient and Jung’s mistress to becoming one of the first female psychoanalysts.

“One of the things I really wanted to do was to bring her back into prominence,” said Knightley. “She was a remarkable woman who had an exemplary career and actually had a lot of input into the ideas of both the men.”

Known for directing horror and psychological thrillers, Cronenberg was the perfect fit to plunge the depths of the minds of these two titans of the psychoanalytical world.

“In the hands of another director who was less assured, less knowledgeable, less well read, it would have been a very dull movie I think,” said Mortensen.

“The movie works because it doesn’t get bogged down in being academic. The academic values are there but the purpose is to tell an entertaining story.”

Mortensen, who has starred in two other Cronenberg films: A History of Violence and Eastern Promises, had nothing but praise for the director’s ability to bring out the best in his actors.

“I think the best thing that David did, which is always my experience with him, is that he instils confidence by creating a calm, professional, and fun atmosphere on the set.

“He can get you under his spell and create the illusion that there is plenty of time, no pressure, and that it’s all going to work out.”

A long time in the making, the movie almost never was. The two lead roles of Jung and Freud originally went to Christoph Waltz and Christian Bale respectively but both pulled out of filming, leaving the director with two major roles to fill.

Additional reporting by Kristina Skorbach

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Post by Admin on Sun Sep 18, 2011 11:25 pm

Showing It All in Toronto
Liam Daniel/Sony Pictures Classics

Michael Fassbender, left, and Viggo Mortensen in “A Dangerous Method,” which was shown at the Toronto film festival.
Published: September 15, 2011

TORONTO — Having muscled its way forward with ambition and mountains of money, the Toronto International Film Festival stands supreme as the leading cinema event after Cannes. This year’s event was the first time that the Bell Lightbox, the festival’s permanent home here, was fully operational. For much of the festival’s 11 days (it ends on Sunday), the five public theaters of the Lightbox are a home away from home for locals and globe-trotting professionals who also make camp in adjacent theaters, including a 14-screen multiplex with its own Burger King. They do things big here: more than 300 movies on 33 screens for admissions that, last year, topped a quarter-million.

A luminous white cube with soundproofed walls, excellent balcony sightlines and a humming late-night bar, the Lightbox finally provides the festival with a social hub and a year-round showcase. It’s a striking platform for an event that seems intent on festival domination and pitches to every market and taste, with selections from 65 countries. Among this year’s offerings were the British movie “Shame,” Steve McQueen’s meticulous slice of miserabilism about a sex addict played by the frequently naked, justifiably self-assured Michael Fassbender, and the English-language French gorefest “The Incident,” about workers locked in an asylum for the criminally insane, many with impressive knife skills.

Unlike the auteur-driven Cannes, which tends to segregate its less high-tone genre selections in the industry market, Toronto makes room for harder-edged horror flicks alongside the usual midlevel art-house selections and nominally more demanding (and certainly less popular) experimental work.

And because the festival takes place in September (Cannes takes place in May) and is a painless plane ride from Los Angeles and a short hop from New York, Hollywood and the entertainment press like it too, using it as a junket and a launching pad for the new movie season. For a studio that wants to open a movie in the fall and therefore closer to the so-called awards season, Toronto is just the first or second (after the recently ended Venice or Telluride) step in the long slog toward the Academy Awards.

This is where you can have a blast one afternoon watching a commercial Hollywood movie like “Moneyball” (opening next Friday) and bliss out the next on the delirium that is “Faust,” the latest from Alexander Sokurov (“Russian Ark”). An eccentric interpretation of the Goethe play, “Faust” is mesmerizing, at times predictably if divertingly bewildering and beautiful, with images that burn into your memory, like that of an embracing couple falling into a lake in a vision of desire and the abyss that invokes “L’Atalante” but is definitely Sokurovian. Last week “Faust” snared the Golden Lion, the top prize, at the Venice Film Festival.

Given all the ways you can watch movies now, it’s almost certain that “Faust” and other specialty market films will make it to America in one form or another, including perhaps a brief theatrical run in New York and a few other major markets, followed by an on-demand afterlife. Another movie that hit Toronto without an American deal but that richly deserves one is “The Deep Blue Sea,” from the British director Terence Davies (“The House of Mirth”). Adapted by Mr. Davies from the 1952 play by Terence Rattigan, it involves a married woman, Hester Collyer (Rachel Weisz), who leaves the husband who adores her, a rich judge (Simon Russell Beale), for a slacking World War II veteran (Tom Hiddleston), who gives her sexual pleasure if not the love she wants.

An expressionistic look at thwarted desire and memory, the film centers on Hester as she moves among different time frames and moods that reach from ecstasy to almost unbearable agony. As is his custom, Mr. Davies makes particularly brilliant use of music to express the turbulent, even turgid emotions that his characters cannot, using period standards like Jo Stafford’s version of “You Belong to Me” and especially Samuel Barber’s soaring Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (Op. 14). In one indelible sequence, a despairing Hester hovers at the edge of an empty Tube platform and is suddenly returned to a moment during the war when — surrounded by other Londoners hiding from German bombardiers — she found shelter in her husband’s arms as everyone joined in singing “Molly Malone.”

Finding a unifying theme in a festival this large is a pointless pastime, though you could cobble together double-bill overkill from “Sarah Palin —You Betcha!,” the British filmmaker Nick Broomfield’s comic and hapless attempt (with his moviemaking partner, Joan Churchill) to make a documentary about Sarah Palin, and “Butter,” Jim Field Smith’s fictionalized look at contemporary American politics. A broad, sometimes shrill mash-up of Alexander Payne’s “Election” and Alan Ball’s “American Beauty,” this satire centers on a vicious butter-carving contest (like ice carving but with, you know, butter) in Iowa between a ruthless Christian conservative with a Palin-esque twang, Laura Pickler (a hardworking Jennifer Garner), and an African-American foster child, Destiny (Yara Shahidi), who’s a stand-in for you know who. (Harvey Weinstein, who’s distributing “Butter,” offered to show it to Michele Bachmann.)

Far more pleasing was Mr. Payne’s contribution to this year’s festival, “The Descendants,” a wistfully, at times melancholically funny drama about a lawyer, a Hawaiian royal named Matt King (George Clooney), facing twinned life milestones in the catastrophic accident that has left his wife in a coma and the decision he must make about the fate of his family’s land. Smartly cast — the standout supporting actors include Judy Greer and a terrific Robert Forster — the film opens later this year and will, partly because of Mr. Clooney’s anchoring performance, be the subject of a lot of awards chatter. The Oscar race, having already started in the blogosphere and the dreams of innumerable publicists only to heat up in Toronto, may come down to Mr. Clooney and his sometime co-star Brad Pitt, the headliner of “Moneyball.”

Mr. Fassbender has received a great lot of attention for, among other obvious attributes, his performance in “Shame,” but it’s his considerably more contained turn in David Cronenberg’s “Dangerous Method” that shows him at his best. Playing Carl Jung to Viggo Mortensen’s Sigmund Freud — it sounds like ridiculous casting, but really, it’s perfect — Mr. Fassbender brings subtle life to a man struggling with desire, both professional and personal. The story takes off with a literal howl, courtesy of a ferocious Keira Knightley as Sabina Spielrein, who becomes Jung’s patient and then lover. With her chin jutting into the frame with trembling violence, Ms. Knightley, in an underappreciated performance, embodies the dark (continent) forces that Jung and Freud reveal to the world. In the cinematic war of the sexes, Mr. Fassbender’s penis and howls in “Shame” are no match for Ms. Knightley’s tumescent rage.

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Post by Admin on Sun Sep 18, 2011 11:27 pm

Best of the fest: Wrapping up TIFF 2011
CBC News
Posted: Sep 18, 2011 8:49 AM ET
Last Updated: Sep 18, 2011 8:46 AM ET
Accessibility Links
Sometimes rock stars make the best movie stars too, as musicians Neil Young, left, and Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam proved at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. Sometimes rock stars make the best movie stars too, as musicians Neil Young, left, and Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam proved at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. (Peter Bregg/Getty Images)

The CBC Arts team shares favourite films, interviews, gossip and impressions about the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.

Most controversial

It seems the Material Girl just can’t catch a break. In Venice ahead of TIFF, W.E. director Madonna was skewered for spurning a fan’s bouquet of hydrangeas (she loathes them, doncha know?) and poked fun at the incident in an online video.
TIFF 2011 Click here for CBC's full coverage

Perhaps in an attempt to shake off her rep for imperious behaviour, she publicly thanked the Toronto festival’s army of volunteers at her film’s premiere in Toronto. That didn’t stop one of TIFF’s orange-shirted army from alleging (to the Globe and Mail) that that pop diva had requested the backstage helpers at her press conference turn and look away during her arrival – a report that Madge’s longtime publicist Liz Rosenberg refuted.

And then there was the incident of the sneaky Madonna fan who went undercover (as a TIFF volunteer, apparently) at the media conference and successfully scored an autograph, causing a subsequent mini tempest about security at the fest.

Sexiest Canadian film

With I’m Yours, director Leonard Falinger and his stars Rossif Sutherland and Karine Vanasse prove that Canucks can indeed make movies that are romantic and sexy. While there’s often sex in Canadian films, somehow it’s mostly used in dark and nihilistic or comedic contexts. This film has an actual sexy love scene, says reporter Deana Sumanac. And Sutherland and Vanasse have great chemistry.

Films we loved

Headhunters: The violent, but fun — and slightly preposterous —Norwegian film featuring Game of Thrones actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau had me riveted from start to finish. (Ilana Banks)
Union Square: Went in with no expectations and came out speechless. What a beautiful, textured, emotional portrayal of sisters forced to confront life head-on to uncover their authentic selves. (Laura Thompson)
Café de Flore: With my soft spot for visuals and music used in full effect, Jean-Marc Vallée was playing my song from the get-go with his opus to eternal love. Still, many of my French colleagues weren’t as taken and it’s certainly a film that will split a crowd. (Eli Glasner)
360: Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles's globe-trotting omnibus ties characters from Slovakia, the UK, France and Brazil together in a tale about the perils as well as the incredible renewing powers of love and desire. Stars like Rachel Weisz and Anthony Hopkins mix seamlessly with lesser-known foreign actors and the tale conveys a message about love in a global society that feels both truthful and romantic. (Deana Sumanac)
Undefeated: Not one to be gaga for inspirational sports movies, I was surprised to be so moved by the doc. About a crappy high school football team in a poor area of Memphis, it has all kinds of heart. I sobbed. I wasn't the only one. (Arisa Cox)

Rock stars as movie stars

TIFF was jam-packed with musical heavyweights this year, thanks to the handful of high-profile music docs and Madonna’s newest film (W.E.) featured in its lineup. The red carpets saw everyone from U2’s Bono and The Edge (From the Sky Down) to Neil Young (Neil Young Journeys) and Daniel Lanois, the grunge icons of Pearl Jam (Pearl Jam Twenty) to Chris Cornell (who contributed to the soundtrack of Machine Gun Preacher).

Still, perhaps the coolest musical moment came when, at one of Pearl Jam’s two Toronto concerts during TIFF’s first weekend, the band paid tribute to Young by covering his Rockin’ in the Free World and the legendary musician — who was in the audience — returned the compliment by strolling up the aisle and joining in.

Most dramatic TIFF follow-up

Show business impresario Garth Drabinsky made the rounds at a few splashy events around town on the festival’s blockbuster first weekend, including Hollywood columnist George Christy’s invite-only, star-studded annual Four Seasons luncheon as well as the premiere of the Christopher Plummer-showcase Barrymore, which he produced. By Tuesday, Drabinsky and long-time business partner Myron Gottlieb traded in their formal wear for prison jumpsuits, when they surrendered themselves at Toronto’s Don Jail after the Appeal Court of Ontario rejected their appeal of the 2009 Livent fraud conviction.

Hottest celebrity hangout

One of TIFF’s most enviable elements is its exclusive nightlife. This year’s venue of choice for the stars was Soho House @ TIFF, a pop-up version of the private social club found in the U.K., Europe and the U.S.

“George Clooney shut the place down on the first weekend of TIFF. Ryan Gosling partied at the Soho for both The Ides of March and Drive. Madonna had her private dinner at the club. The list goes on. "Twitter was filled with Soho House stories,” said producer Ilana Banks, who managed to get past the velvet ropes and rub shoulders with the likes of Harvey Weinstein, Gerard Butler and Scott Speedman in the laid-back space, decorated with casually mismatched furniture and boasting a great DJ. “Really, no other party venue could touch it.”

Ubiquitous party presence

Geoffrey Rush was literally at every party reporter Deana Sumanac managed to get into and likely a whole lot more that she didn't. Though most often surrounded by company, if you managed to catch him walking himself, he'd smile, say hi and looked friendly, she said. Rush proves that TIFF partying is not just for the actors in their 20s. He works hard and deserves to play hard.

Most surprising confession

Without the blink of an eye, actress Abbie Cornish shared that she’s been rapping for 10 years. With a completely straight face, she admitted she loved "making beats.” (Like, whaa?) It came up in her interview with reporter Arisa Cox and producer Laura Thompson. She told other outlets as well, because it made the papers the next day. When CBC interviewed her a couple years ago for Bright Star, this hip-hop hobby most certainly did not come up.

Most awkward moment

Canadian actor and TIFF 2011 golden boy Ryan Gosling was walking toward a hotel lobby one day (with reporter Jelena Adzic close by), when suddenly a young girl shrieked his name. She was immediately clobbered by a giant, overly intense security guard and Gosling winced at the sight.

Most inspiring

Filmmaking legend Francis Ford Coppola enchanted the audience at a Mavericks Q&A session by recounting how he navigated Marlon Brandon's shoddy memory for dialogue (gave him props to toy with), his secret to true film independence (start a winery) and his feelings about the current state of Hollywood (too many film industry wannabes, not enough cinema-lovers).

Most disappointing

As inspiring as he was, Coppola's new movie Twixt is a mess, according to reporter Eli Glasner. An over-boiled Southern Gothic with pointless 3D and scary dead girls, Twixt would make Ed Wood proud.

Standout interview

In the sea of A-list stars at TIFF, Erin Brockovich stood out for producer Laura Thompson as she helped promote the water crisis documentary Last Call at the Oasis. She was a powerful enough character to inspire a movie about her life more than a decade ago and she's no less motivated now. Asked why everyday people respond to her, she said matter-of-factly: “Because I give a damn.”

Most emotional moment

A tie between Machine Gun Preacher director Marc Forster’s tale of a Sudanese child soldier, who requested doctors leave some of the scars on his mutilated face during reconstructive surgery as a visual reminder of his experiences (says reporter Jelena Adzic), and Francis Ford Coppola’s brave admission to press that new film Twixt includes a cinematic exploration of his personal guilt over his son’s horrific and accidental death in the 1980s (says reporter Jessica Wong).

Clooney in control

Watching the quick-thinking George Clooney handle a question about his dating life from a reporter was evidence the actor-filmmaker is a cool customer who likes to be in control. He turned the guns immediately on the fellow and didn't let up, no doubt embarrassing him. He threw down the gauntlet with style and showed he’s not a man to be messed with, said reporter Margo Kelly.

Celebrity we want to be friends with

Though reporter Deana Sumanac never knew what to make of British actress Keira Knightley (“I’m as guilty as anyone for wondering if she's too skinny or looks like that girl who always wears black and reads Foucault for fun”), the actress proved friendly, chatty and intelligent.

“It was one of those interviews where 15 minutes seems like a very short time. We chatted about the research she did into the character of Sabina Spielrein (for David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method) and how she chose to portray the masochist mistress of Carl Jung in a non-victim way. And she wore a floral dress,” Sumanac said. “Keira, anytime you're in town, we can go shopping together. Or read Foucault. Whatever.”

Softest talker

Though a master of fury onscreen, Ralph Fiennes is surprisingly quiet in person, according to reporter Eli Glasner. However, if you ask him a few questions about the Bard, he truly opens up.

Biggest misconception

After roles in Band of Brothers, 300, Inglourious Basterds, Jane Eyre, Hunger and now Shame, Michael Fassbender says the biggest misconception about him is that he’s intense and intellectual, the actor told reporter Arisa Cox. Actually, he's a bit of a goof and really (really!) isn't afraid of Shame’s nudity and sex scenes.

He was so easy-going that Cox found the nerve to admit that, because of TIFF craziness, she only saw the last half-hour of the film and missed his already infamous full-frontal scene. "So I only saw the tip!" she called out over her shoulder as she left the interview room, sparking howls from the camera crew. "Did she just say ‘tip’?" Fassbender asked, laughing along in disbelief.

Best cross-cultural hobnobbing

Away from the Hollywood buzz and in a sea of Argentines, reporter Jessica Wong found it illuminating to chat with hyper-stylish, Tarantinoesque female director Tamae Garateguy and a Buenos Aires-based journalist about the struggles facing Argentina’s indie filmmakers — including the difficulty persuading theatre owners to put homegrown productions onto the country's movie screens, which are dominated by Hollywood flicks. Hmm, sounds familiar.

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Post by Admin on Sun Sep 18, 2011 11:28 pm

Mortensen-Crononeberg, Fassbender-McQueen were among duos at TIFF

By: Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press

Posted: 09/18/2011 3:02 AM | Comments: 0 (including replies)

TORONTO - For rising star Michael Fassbender and his "Shame" director Steve McQueen, communicating on the set of their sophomore feature was as simple as a nod or a wink.

It was much the same for Viggo Mortensen and director David Cronenberg, who eased into their third film together, "A Dangerous Method," with a relaxed chemistry that allowed for surprisingly short filming days.

And though Jeff Nichols drew what many are calling an Oscar-worthy performance from his "Take Shelter" star Michael Shannon, the filmmaker says they barely discussed the delicate nuance needed before turning on the cameras.

These are the perks of forging a fertile bond that keep certain actors and directors returning to each other again and again, say creative duos who brought their latest collaborations to the Toronto International Film Festival.

"We love working with each other ... we know each other and trust each other," Cronenberg says of his male muse Mortensen, who previously starred in his gangster thrillers "Eastern Promises" and "A History of Violence."

"It really gives me as a director and also him as an actor a certain security — you don't have to worry about how you're going to work together or (wonder) 'Will you gel? ... Will you have the chemistry as a director and actor?' You know that you have that. And that gives you a great platform to leap off into greater heights from."

McQueen, who first worked with Fassbender in an acclaimed account of Bobby Sands' 1981 starvation protest "Hunger," says the two men have developed a unique bond.

"It's sounds corny but... I think we love each other in a real way," says McQueen.

"It's really odd somehow how we communicate but he knows, he knows. Sometimes I don't even finish my sentence — he finishes it for me or just a nod, just a wink, that's it."

It's no wonder then that the movie industry is rife with tried-and-true partnerships: Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney, Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio, David Fincher and Brad Pitt, Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson just to name a few.

Repeat collaborators at the Toronto festival included actors Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster who reteamed with director Oren Moverman for the dirty cop film "Rampart." Harrelson and Moverman earned Oscar attention for 2010's "The Messenger."

Winnipeg auteur Guy Maddin reunited with his cinematic siren Isabella Rossellini — who appeared in "The Saddest Music in the World," "My Dad Is 100 Years Old" and narrated "Brand Upon the Brain!" — as well as his go-to actor Louis Negin for "Keyhole."

Maddin jokes that his loyalty is largely due to the fact that he doesn't know enough actors.

"In Winnipeg when I first started out I was just using mostly Winnipeggers and so you just kept faithful to the people who didn't let you down," says Maddin, turning serious.

"I've just ended up being very grateful to people because no one's ever done my movies for the money, that's for sure. Or for the career boost it gives them. So, I'm usually incredibly grateful after."

For an actor, finding that dream director can be life-changing, says Negin, who has worked with Maddin in "My Winnipeg," "Brand Upon the Brain!," "Sissy Boy Slap Party" and "The Saddest Music in the World."

"I read a long time ago that actors had terrible lives — you have work and you have no work and (think) 'Should I give it up and become a barber?' ... But suddenly there will be a director at some point that you get along with and you both have a meeting somehow. And then you keep working with them," says Negin.

"For most actors that happens eventually — you find a director and you have a rapport with them — and it's what happens with Guy."

Nichols' admiration for Shannon began when the gentle giant starred in his first film, "Shotgun Stories."

Nichols praises his friend for possessing an uncanny ability to understand his characters innately, as well as instantly tap into a range of emotions for the camera.

"Mike's an extremely intelligent guy and he'll get the script and he says he likes it and he gets it and we go and start to execute it," says Nichols.

"There are little things here and there that we tweak and work out but we never really sit down, you just never really have to discuss it. He just comes there with the character built. And luckily, I think part of that is he really responds to the stuff I write. We just kind of make a good fit."

Mortensen notes that having that kind of rapport can make for an efficient production schedule, too. He says Cronenberg's easy confidence and laid-back approach to making "A Dangerous Method" resulted in a breezy shoot, despite the heavy subject matter.

"David just had a lightness, you know, an easy, graceful way of shooting this movie that was remarkable," says Mortensen, who plays Sigmund Freud in the psycho-sexual period piece.

"He would get to 4 o'clock, 5 o'clock in the afternoon and go, 'Nah, I'd say we got it. It's good.' And the German producer would be like, 'Really?'"

Friendship goes a long way on a movie set, where long hours, extreme personalities and intense financial pressures have been known to rattle many a production.

"Parks and Recreation" star Adam Scott says he's always looking for a movie project to do with Canadian director and pal Matt Bissonnette, who cast him in the low-budget indies "Who Loves the Sun" and "Passenger Side."

"We just have similar taste and we have a rapport and he runs a really mellow set and (it's) really low-stress, which I appreciate as an actor," says Scott, at the festival with the indie ensemble "Friends With Kids," co-starring long-time pals Jennifer Westfeldt and Jon Hamm.

"But he's also really collaborative, we have a good time together. I really like working with my friends. I've found over the past few years it's kind of my favourite way to do things, it just makes everything easier.... I think if you find someone that you enjoy working with, director-wise, it's wise to kind of keep going back to that well."

— With files from Andrea Baillie and Michael Oliveira

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Post by Admin on Sun Sep 18, 2011 11:47 pm

Toronto Roundup: Big, Bold and Inconclusive

content by The Wrap

By Steve Pond at TheWrap

Sun Sep 18, 2011 8:43am EDT

It's too big.

It didn't provide any answers about the Oscar race.

It was a pretty good year for deals, even though some major players stayed out of it. (Where were Weinstein and Sony Classics, anyway?)

And it was a festival for body parts: Michael Fassbender's penis (on ample display in "Shame") , Keira Knightley's jaw (perpetually jutting out in "A Dangerous Method"), Jonah Hill's brain (the source of Brad Pitt's success in "Moneyball"), George Clooney's grin (everywhere you looked the first weekend of the festival).

The 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, which began on September 8 and essentially ended on Sunday with the announcement that "Where Do We Go Now?" had won the People's Choice Award as the festival's best movie, was big and bold and inconclusive.

A rundown:


The festival didn't screen substantially more movies than usual, with about 260 films spread out across the 11 days. But particularly in the first several days of the front-loaded event, the sheer number of galas, red-carpet screenings, press conferences, dinners and receptions seemed so overwhelming that it became a running topic of conversation among festivalgoers.

"How can you have five red-carpet premieres on one night?" asked one exasperated publicist.

Even opening night, which usually features a relatively low-key Canadian film and not much else, saw an embarrassment of riches: the U2 documentary "From the Sky Down" having its gala premiere with Bono and the Edge in attendance, opposite marquee screenings of Werner Herzog's "Into the Abyss," Wim Wenders' "Pina," Gus Van Sant's "Restless," Aki Kaurismaki's "Le Havre" and several others.

The next night, Sony's big guns, "Moneyball" and "The Ides of March," premiered opposite the Weinstein Company's Best-Picture hopeful "The Artist," Fernando Meirelles' "360," Michael Winterbottom's "Trisha" and Lynne Ramsay's "We Need to Talk About Kevin."

The day after that, "The Descendants" (right) debuted opposite "A Dangerous Method" and "Melancholia." All weekend long, extending into the following week, companies wishing to fete their filmmakers – which is to say, just about every company at the fest – hosted so many soirees as to make for an insane amount of party-hopping

In six days I saw 18 movies, did six interviews, moderated two panels, went to eight parties and found that I had to cross at least two dozen other films, receptions and dinners off my wishlist because there simply wasn't enough time.

And everybody I know was in the same boat – which is to say, overwhelmed by the size of the event, and frustrated by the inability to see and do everything we wanted.

This isn't a problem with a real solution: it'd go against the nature of TIFF to make it smaller, and frontloading is inevitable. But this year, the sheer size became a steady topic of conversation, and a constant annoyance.


This was a year, and a festival, in which filmmakers and studios did not shy away from the tough, the dark and the explicit.

A key moment came right at the beginning of the fest, when Fox Searchlight acquired the rights to Steve McQueen's "Shame," a dark drama about a Manhattan man (Michael Fassbender, below) in the throes of sex addiction.

With such extensive, graphic exposure and sexuality that the film is all-but-guaranteed an NC-17 rating, "Shame" was bound to be acquired, said the conventional wisdom, by an indie who would release it unrated, rather than an MPAA-affiliated studio that would have no choice but to go through the ratings process. But Searchlight immediately stepped up and acquired the film, which means that the company will accept (and perhaps try to capitalize on) the NC-17, usually a commercial kiss of death.

The film was clearly one of the festival's must-see entries, and certainly its most talked-about title – partly for McQueen's unflinching, austere storytelling, but also for the full-frontal exposure provided by Fassbender on several occasions.

Columnist Anne Thompson found her words spread all across Twitter when she was quoted as saying that the actor had the most beautiful penis she'd ever seen. (I think she was misquoted; in my conversation with her, she only said that his had replaced Ewan McGregor's as the most impressive movie-star penis.)

But abundant (and often full-frontal) nudity was on display not only in "Shame," but in "Killer Joe" and "ALPS" and "Melancholia" and "Take This Waltz" and "Martha Marcy May Marlene" and "House of Tolerance" and "Sleeping Beauty" and many others.

Then there was the drama about the relationship between Carl Jung (Fassbender again) and a patient (Keira Knightley) with a penchant for S&M, and the comedy about the invention of the vibrator ("Hysteria").

Even Glenn Close nodded to a prevailing theme in Toronto when I sat down for an interview with her and her "Albert Nobbs" co-star Janet McTeer. "It's going to be really interesting," said Close of that evening's premiere of their film, in which McTeer has a brief but pivotal moment of exposure. "I can't imagine walking in to 2,000 people [who are] waiting to see your breasts."

In other words, the festival's buzz title may have been called "Shame," but this was the shameless TIFF.


Because two of the last three Best Picture winners came out of Toronto with momentum that they would never relinquish, Oscar-watchers turn to TIFF to show them who's on top. But if one thing was clear at this year's festival, it's that 2011 is not a year for another "Slumdog Millionaire" or "The King's Speech."

Certainly, "The Descendants" was well-received. So was "The Artist" (right). So was "Moneyball," which seems to have gone from "it's not really an Oscar kind of movie" to "it's a real contender" in short order.

But while those films – and others, including "The Ides of March" and "Martha Marcy May Marlene" – strengthened their hand in Toronto, at this point nothing has the feel of an obvious winner.

The announcement of "Where Did We Go Now?" as the People's Choice Award winner was instructive: although the film is Lebanon's entry into the Oscar Foreign-Language sweepstakes, it is not on anybody's Best-Picture radar. Its selection – and the fact that the Canadian film "Starbuck" and the Iranian Oscar entry "A Separation" were the runners-up – means that "The Artist," "The Descendants" and other presumed and more high-profile crowd-pleasers didn't wow TIFF audiences in the way that "Slumdog" or "King's Speech" had done.

Maybe the eventual Best-Picture winner did screen in Toronto – but it's a long season, with little clarity at the moment. For now, TIFF did little more than give that frustrating Magic 8 Ball response to the Oscar question:


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Post by Admin on Sun Sep 18, 2011 11:56 pm

Lebanese war film wins top prize at Toronto fest
A movie concerning the struggles of the village in war-torn Lebanon required the Individuals Choice award in the Toronto Worldwide Film Festival on Sunday, a crowd trophy which has frequently been a harbinger of Oscar glory.

“Where Will We Go Ahead Now,Inch by Lebanon-born Nadine Labaki, informs the storyline of village lived on by both Muslims and Christian believers. Whenever a wider inter-religious conflict intends to seep in to the village, its women visit inventive and often extreme finishes to avoid violence.

The film, which first showed at Cannes captured, has already been Lebanon’s official entry in to the Language Film category at for next year’s Oscars.

A festival official stated Labaki authored the film in Beirut in 2007 when armed clashes had damaged out. Pregnant at that time, she started considering what she could caused by alter the world like a filmmaker.

“I am playing around jumping up and lower in the Frankfurt airport terminal,” Labaki stated of her win at Toronto inside a message read towards the honours ceremony’s audience.

Last year’s champion from the Individuals Choice award was “The King’s Speech,” which continued to win the Oscar for the best picture. “American Beauty,” “Crash,” and “Slumdog Uniform” also won the award at Toronto prior to going onto Oscar glory.
The runner-up for that audience prize was “A Separation,” a portrayal of the marriage in crisis by Iranian director Asghar Farhadi. The film had already won the Golden Bear for the best picture in the Berlin film festival in Feb.

The Toronto audience award to find the best documentary went “The Area Leader” about Mohamed Nasheed, leader from the Maldives. The result is the politician, whose island nation could disappear if ocean levels rise, because he travels the planet combating global warming.

“I really hope it inspires individuals to reduce carbon pollution and assist saving the Maldives,” Nasheed stated inside a statement read by coordinators.

The 36th edition from the festival had an abnormally strong selection of documentaries, including opening evening film “In the Sky Lower” — the U2 documentary by Davis Guggenheim and new films from Werner Herzog, Morgan Spurlock, Wim Wenders and Alex Gibney.


Released in 1976, the Toronto festival now ranks with festivals for example Cannes and Sundance as one of the world’s top movie events. It frequently works as a starting point for films and performances which go onto win Oscars, in addition to worldwide films seeking distribution deals.

Movies exiting the 2010 festival honours buzz incorporated “The Descendants” from “Sideways” director Alexander Payne, which stars George Clooney like a soul-searching father.

“The Artist,” a French film occur Hollywood’s quiet era that’s shot in black-and-whitened without dialogue, has additionally won critical acclaim.

Highly recognized performances include Michael Fassbender like a sex addict in “Shame,” which already acquired an acting prize in the Venice film festival, Woodsy Harrelson like a corrupt cop in “Rampart” and Glenn Close as lady in 19th-century Dublin who passes herself off like a male butler.

Although films won praise, distribution deals got on a sluggish begin in Toronto, but acquired some steam toward the finish from the event. Coordinators stated that through the weekend a lot more than 30 films have been offered.

“Your debt crisis of history couple of several weeks makes people exercise a bit more caution, so possibly the sales figures, the particular dollar figures they cost, might not be as high as with past year. But marketers need movies,” stated festival co-director Cameron Bailey.

Films acquired in Toronto including “Fish Fishing within the Yemen,” “Americano,” “Elena,” “During My Mother’s Arms,” “Always Brando,” “The Oranges,” “Michael” and “Your Day.Inch

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Post by Admin on Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:26 pm

Toronto Recap: No Drunken Spending A Good Sign For Indie Film Resurgence
By MIKE FLEMING | Monday September 19, 2011 @ 2:28pm EDTTags: 2011 Toronto Film Festival, Adam Scott, Anthony Hopkins, Bradley Cooper, David Thewlis, Derek Cianfrance, Eamonn Bowles, Eduardo Sanchez, Fernando Meirelles, Geoffrey Fletcher, George Clooney, Jason Janego, Jennifer Westfeldt, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Lasse Hallström, Luc Besson, Michael Fassbender, Michelle Williams, Michelle Yeoh, Mickey Liddell, Oren Moverman, Ryan Gosling, Sarah Polley, Todd Wagner, Tom Quinn, William Friedkin, Woody Harrelson
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Mike Fleming

Was the 2011 Toronto Film Festival a good one for dealmaking? Even after organizers announced a 20% uptick in film deals last Friday (the festival includes foreign territories in its count), the sales kept coming. A long-expected deal with Lionsgate on the Jennifer Westfeldt-directed comedy Friends With Kids finally got done (in partnership with Roadside Attractions, which will actually release the film), and Music Box announced overnight it had acquired the Rachel Weisz-starrer The Deep Blue Sea. Lionsgate was hotly pursuing another film, the Midnight Madness sensation You’re Next, which of all the festival films seems to have the best chance of approaching the box office turned in by Toronto 2010’s breakout Insidious. There have been about 20 acquisitions so far and that many more could come in the next few weeks.

Still, can you call the Toronto acquisitions marketplace “solid” when no films have been bought so far by The Weinstein Company, Sony Pictures Classics, Focus Features, or Fox Searchlight (yeah, I revealed that they bought Shame during Toronto, but it was a deal all but sealed in Venice), or for that matter FilmDistrict, Open Road or Relativity Media, each of which jumped into the distribution business to release films that can play on upwards of 2000 screens? Buyers and sellers said it was a pretty good festival at least. One filled with mostly small deals and a show of distributor discipline that is a positive sign for an indie film sector that just started pulling out of a nosedive this time last year.

I’m not sure what Friends With Kids cost (I’d heard low seven-figures when I first wrote Lionsgate was chasing it) or what You’re Next will bring, but at the festival close yesterday, the only certified multimillion-dollar deal by a distributor was CBS Films’ rumored $5 million-plus deal for the Lasse Hallstrom-directed Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Some felt CBS Flms spent high, but new divisions often pay a premium when bidding against more established distribution rivals, and CBS Films needed a strong title with which to prove its mettle — and now it has a good one. Mickey Liddell (who last year acquired Biutiful) notched the other major multimillion-dollar deal with the William Friedkin-directed Killer Joe and will rent a distributor to put it out. And Luc Besson got his wish to have the performances of Michelle Yeoh and David Thewlis showcased this Oscar season in a deal with upstart Cohen Media Group to distribute The Lady. It was clear money wasn’t a priority for Besson; he wanted an Oscar-qualifying berth and stateside release to go with the international release plans that his EuropaCorp have in place, and got it shortly after his film premiered.

Of the other films atop buyers’ lists, some were disappointing, buyers said; others played well, but had factors that left distributors questioning whether they warranted big P&A spends. That is always the trouble with acquiring finished films and underscored for buyers the importance of pre-buying rights before movies start shooting, where you can have some influence in what goes on the screen. Only a few pre-sale titles screened footage at Toronto, including the Derek Cianfrance-directed The Place Beyond The Pines with Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper. So far, no one has met the $4 million asking price for U.S. rights, but I bet they come close by AFM. Had the $15 million George Clooney-directed Gosling-starrer The Ides of March come to the festival without a distributor, several buyers told me an eight-figure bidding war for domestic rights could have resulted.

Distributors are used to evaluating the challenges of finished films playing for the first time at festivals. In the case of Shame, some balked at the demand they couldn’t change a frame and had to come out this year, but not Fox Searchlight, which will chase an Oscar for Michael Fassbender. In the case of Friends With Kids, some potential buyers told me they questioned the decision by Westfeldt to cast herself in the pivotal role alongside Jon Hamm, Adam Scott and Kristen Wiig. A few buyers told me they liked the premise and said it had crowd-pleasing laughs, but because Westfeldt isn’t an established star, it made the film more of a commercial risk. Lionsgate was in the mix early (Hamm is the cornerstone star of Lionsgate’s Mad Men), but it never turned into a real bidding war. Same with 360, which buyers found a challenge to market.

Festival organizers certainly didn’t make it easy on buyers or sellers by scheduling a nonstop barrage of the top acquisition titles that first Saturday. “I think the festival did this deliberately to create a frenzy atmosphere, but it only made all of our lives difficult,” said one vet. “You saw buyers coming and going in the middle of screenings of good movies, and a lot of movies had to be screened a second time. It didn’t help anybody.” I’ve heard the logjam occurred because sellers push festival organizers so hard to get prime Saturday berths, and festival organizers won’t tell them what they’re playing up against. Some said they will consider making better use of Friday or even that first Thursday, even though many acquisition execs are just arriving. Nobody thinks the top distribution execs will stay beyond Monday; they traditionally leave junior executives to watch end-of-fest premiere titles.

The lack of major distributors left the field to the boutiques, which pay smaller minimum guarantees and launch films in less sexy platform theatrical and premium VOD strategies. In an article on Magnolia’s 10th anniversary, co-owner Todd Wagner and co-founder Eamonn Bowles described how films from All Good Things to Two Lovers to obscure titles like The Oxford Murders and 13 Assassins routinely gross millions on “Utra VOD” outings, often dwarfing theatrical returns and requiring less P&A.

The festival was a good one for VOD buyers, and though the new division that former Magnolia execs Tom Quinn and Jason Janego are starting for The Weinstein Company hasn’t notched a sale yet, those executives were chasing films and could make some deals in the coming weeks. The VOD downside for filmmakers and actors is mainly ego: they miss the sizzle of theatrical P&A campaigns and TV and newspaper ads, even if that money spent isn’t cost-effective. Boutique distributors have been gobbling up Toronto titles as distributors like Magnolia and IFC have bought multiple festival films.

Because the casts are strong, there will be inevitable deals for films like the Oren Moverman-directed Rampart with Woody Harrelson, the Fernando Meirelles-directed 360 with Anthony Hopkins, the Sarah Polley-directed Take This Waltz with Michelle Williams, Violet & Daisy by Precious scribe Geoffrey Fletcher and genre titles like Lovely Molly by Blair Witch co-director Eduardo Sanchez. But you can bet none of those deals will break the bank, and the longer they take, the more leverage swings toward buyers.

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Post by Admin on Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:17 pm

TIFF: Our 10 most memorable interviews, with Garrel, Fassbender, Olsen and Falardeau
2011-09-23 09:34

Michael-Oliver Harding
TIFF: Our 10 most memorable interviews, with Garrel, Fassbender, Olsen and Falardeau
Emile Hirsch, Marjane Satrapi, Louis Garrel, Elizabeth Olsen et Philippe Falardeau
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The 2011 Toronto International Film Festival is already long gone, but we'll be talking about the films that premiered there for a long time to come. For one, a TIFF prize for Best Canadian Feature has already given Philippe Falardeau and his fantastic Monsieur Lazhar the momentum it needed to be named Canada's official entry to the Best Foreign Film category at the 2012 Oscars. There's lots to draw from this year's festival: not to toot our own horn, but Quebec films really do rock (for proof, see: Roméo Onze, Marécages, Café de Flore, Nuit #1 and Goon); Werner Herzog continues to haunt us with his cinematic soul searching, this time, exploring U.S. death row inmates in Into the Abyss; Madonna remains the undisputed Queen B, and her directorial skills are still to prove; there's still no other Canadian film festival that comes close to matching TIFF in scope, size, and sheer star power.

We spent some quality time interviewing actors and directors for NIGHTLIFE.CA in Toronto, and we're giving you a first look at some of the interviews you'll read over the next year. From Emile Hirsch to Louis Garrel, from a sex addict to President Obama's sister, from a troubled cult survivor to a girl who fancies hockey goons, we've got you covered. Enjoy!

1. Michael Fassbender

You remember him from: Hunger, X-Men: First Class, Fish Tank, Inglourious Basterds
Films at TIFF 2011: Shame, A Dangerous Method
Asked about: the silly NC-17 film rating in the U.S., and the speculations that Shame might get it

"I don’t know how people choose to make these ratings, all I know is that everywhere I look, in the street, buying breakfast cereal, soda drinks, sex is being sold to me in every single way. I’m at the airport and I’ll see these big billboards of this girl in lingerie, so it’s everywhere and people aren’t dealing with it. We’re [Shame] trying to deal with it in a real, honest, intelligent way, Steve [McQueen, director] has really made us question where our moral compass is, how we’re actually relating to each other in physical forms and how we’re losing that intimacy. So whatever rating people want to slap on it is kind of irrelevant. The fact of the matter is, I felt comfortable doing those scenes with Steve, because I knew it wouldn’t be exploitative, titillating or all the usual s$#! we see when sex scenes are in films."

2. Philippe Falardeau

You remember his movies: La Moitié gauche du frigo, Congorama, C'est pas moi, je le jure!
Film at TIFF 2011: Monsieur Lazhar
Asked about: whether he'd address the theme of xenophobia in adapting Evelyne de la Chenelière's play into Monsieur Lazhar

"I didn't want to go there. In any case, there's already more than enough fear of the other, intolerance, reasonable accomodations and all... We understand that Bachir represents the 'Other', and that, for Bachir, we are the 'Other'. Those things work both ways. But instead of focusing on cultural clashes, I meant for this film to be an ode to teachers. A critique of the school system, sure, but not of teachers."

3. Gus Van Sant

You remember his movies: Elephant, My Own Private Idaho, Good Will Hunting, To Die For
Film at TIFF 2011: Restless
Asked about: what kind of male protagonists appeal to him

"A lot of the time, in mainstream films, you’re setting up your lead character to be some kind of hero, so you’re showing them saving a cat from drowning, or stopping a bully from teasing somebody else. They’re doing something heroic, which I think is a request from the audience, but also the filmmaker or the executives. Why do we like this guy? Oh yeah, because he stands up to bullies, and he likes pretty girls. They’re trying to bond the audience to the character. I’m usually not trying to do that. You’ll like my character because he’s being himself, not because he has these traits.”

4. Elizabeth Olsen

You remember her as: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's younger sister
Films at TIFF 2011: Martha Marcy May Marlene; Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding
Asked about: what kept her away from films for a long time; why she chose to focus on theatre

"People were really rude to my sisters when I was younger. (...) I think that the main thing that I’m frightened of is that movies lead to tabloid attention, and they create their own stories about people’s lives, which don’t exist, and then they become part of this fictitious storyboard of characters that we follow. Then people start to think that their lives are for the public. I haven’t really experienced any of that; I hope it doesn’t, but if it does, I guess you have to figure out how to navigate it."

5. Adam Brody

You remember him from: The O.C., Thank You For Smoking
Films at TIFF 2011: Damsels in Distress, The Oranges
Asked about: whether Seth, his nerdy and self-deprecating character on The O.C., helped pave the way for the proliferation of geek culture

"I mean, to be fair, Woody Allen did it first. He was womanizing for many years as the ultimate geek – and his early ‘70s movies were really pervy! – but it’s interesting. I think it was a case of right time, right place. I don’t think I was the originator of anything. I got in on the ground floor, certainly, it was a happy coincidence. And in the same way indie music has become “mainstream”, The O.C. was one of the first shows to use lesser-known bands on a network program. Then, all of a sudden, every show was a soundtrack show. So it was the first in a lot of ways. I also think it was one the first soap operas to have humour. 90210 was kind of funny, but you had much more comic actors and jokes on The O.C."

6. Guy Édoin

You remember him for: his award-winning short film trilogy: Le Pont, Les Eaux mortes, La Battue
Film at TIFF 2011: Marécages
Asked about: casting Pascale Bussières

"As soon as I met Pascale, I fell in love. I work on instinct a lot, and I knew right away that she was Marie. Even though she loved the script, she declined twice. The character of Marie is quite complex and explores some difficult areas, and I didn't know if Pascale, herself a mother, would want to go that far. But because I knew she was my Marie, I kept insisting until she said yes! Her contribution to the film is immense. From the very first day of shooting, Pascale embraced Marie and gave her this incredible humanity. Her generosity is incredible and her presence on screen is luminous. I was profoundly moved by her confidence in me; that kind of commitment is rare."

7. Louis Garrel

You remember him for: Les Chansons d'amour, The Dreamers, Dans Paris
Film at TIFF 2011: Les Bien-Aimés
Asked about: living up to his on-screen image as an iconoclastic, chain-smoking, sexually adventurous young Parisian

"From my very first roles on, every part that I was being offered had me getting totally naked, masturbating, all kinds of sex scenes, incestuous relationships, and I think that bothered a lot of people. For me, it was quite the opposite: I found it to be mostly amusing. Getting naked on camera, as far back as I can remember...I've never considered that to be difficult or anxiety-inducing. I found it funny. For my American castmate in The Dreamers [Michael Pitt], though, I don't think it was the same. So I think a lot of people still perceive me that way, because of those first film roles I was offered."

8. Alison Pill

You remember her for: Milk, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Films at TIFF 2011: Goon
Asked about: how she reacted to news of the Vancouver riots, having just finished shooting Goon

"It’s part of this culture where everybody thinks that Canadians are so nice, and there’s a certain repression involved, and I think, given the chance, we’re as violent and angry as everyone. A friend of ours got beaten really badly, so I don’t know what to make of it. Hooliganism is in soccer, and I wouldn't recommend going to baseball stadiums if you’re in Boston or New York... It’s all over the map, I think it’s most shocking that it’s Canadian, but it happens everywhere."

9. Emile Hirsch

You remember him for: Into the Wild, Milk, Lords of Dogtown
Film at TIFF 2011: Killer Joe
Asked about: constantly being challenged by different directors

"The speed at which [Killer Joe director Willam] Friedkin works, I’ve never worked at that speed. Other directors have different styles – Oliver [Stone, who’s directing Hirsch in the upcoming Savages] is a bit more meticulous; he’s looking for very specific things, specific moments. But that’s a lot of the fun of working with different directors: it’s like watching different painters paint. Some people spend forever on one little eyelash, you’ve got your Caravaggio who’s making it look like a photo, then you have some guy who’s busting out some crazy, abstract, Julian Schnabel stuff."

10. Marjane Satrapi

You remember her film: Persepolis
Film at TIFF 2011: Poulet aux prunes
Asked about: the romantic notion of having a character derive his entire happiness from a single object, the violin

"I think it's fantastic that in 2011, while we're making romantic comedies where they got married, had 2 dogs, 2 kids, the suburban house and the 4X4s, or the war movies where the American president saves the world, we can dare to make a film where a man dies from the love of a woman, to have that symbolized by a violin, and that the inspiration of music, of art, and of a woman's love be stronger than anything. And, I assure you, I don't see the world through rose-coloured glasses!"

11. Branwen Okpako

You're discovering her because: she made a documentary portrait of President Obama's Kenyan sister, The Education of Auma Obama, as the 2008 presidential campaign was heating up in the U.S.
Asked about: what she observed while filming Auma Obama, in the months leading up to her brother's presidential win

"At one point, Auma said: 'How can I be a role model to young girls from nearby villages and communities that I work in, if I’m the sister to a president? I can’t be resting on other people’s laurels, I have my own identity.' The irony of the whole thing is that, from a very young age on, Auma made sure she would earn and attain her own identity. She’s not just the daughter of the father, or the granddaughter of the grandfather, she’s not just an African woman, or Western educated. So she’s been doing that her whole life, she comes to Germany, finds her space, makes a name for herself, and then… she becomes the sister of someone.”

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