The Festival that wasn’t – Making up for #2020

#2020 did us wrong

It broke our heart to cancel our 2020 festival, not the least of which because we had been literal days away from announcing an amazing line-up of films we were bringing to Waterloo Region. As we leave 2020 behind, we are excited to share with you some of the films that we had intended to show you last spring, now freely available from a variety of sources.

Consider this a GRFF@Home make up session, in anticipation of our upcoming virtual festival. Look out for our line-up of 2021 film selections in April!

Kuessipan

  • Director: Myriam Verreault. With Sharon Fontaine-Ishpatao and Yamie Grégoire. (Drama; 2019), 1hr 57m
  • Summary: In a Quebec Innu community, Mikuan and Shaniss struggle to maintain their close friendship when they clash over their diverging ambitions.
  • Programming Notes: This beautiful Indigenous coming-of-age film was an award winning festival favourite last year. Verreault’s empathy as a filmmaker is infectious. The performances are riveting, the choices, lessons, and outcomes all hard earned. Bound to be a classic of modern Canadian cinema.
  • Available: Streaming – CBC Gem https://gem.cbc.ca/media/films/kuessipan/38e815a-012d4ac58be

Mickey and the Bear

  • Director: Annabelle Attanasio. With Camila Morrone, James Badge Dale. (Drama; 2019), 1hr 26m
  • Summary: A Montana teenager navigates a loving but volatile relationship with her single, veteran father. In a desperate search for independence and her own identity, she risks family and heartbreak.
  • Programming Notes: Camila Morrone’s performance in Mickey and the Bear is revelatory. Her performance drives this moving story about a girl trying to balance youthful vulnerability with gritty determination. She sees a hopeful future kept at a distance by devastating setbacks. At turns brutal and breathtaking, Mickey and the Bear stays with you long after viewing
  • Available: DVD – Kitchener Public Library, Waterloo Public Library; Streaming – Kanopy

Little Joe

  • Director: Jessica Hausner. With Emily Beecham, Ben Whishaw. (Suspense; 2019), 1hr 45m
  • Summary: Alice, a single mother, is a dedicated senior plant breeder at a corporation engaged in developing new species. Against company policy, she takes one home as a gift for her teenage son, Joe. But as Alice notices changes in Joe, is it because he is growing up, or for other reasons?
  • Programming Notes: This psychological thriller is a throwback to the 70’s, in both its style and tension, hitting just the right middle ground between creepy and whimsy. Alien camera angles and slow, purposeful movement make a feast of every inch of the large, open sets. Fans of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Stepford Wives will find comfortable discomfort here.
  • Available: DVD – Kitchener Public Library, Waterloo Public Library,Idea Exchange; Streaming – hoopla

Assholes: A Theory

  • Director: John Walker (Doc; 2019), 1hr 21m
  • Summary: Built around a lively conversation with philosopher Aaron James, author of the New York Times bestseller of the same name, Assholes: A Theory investigates the breeding grounds of contemporary “asshole culture”—and locates a few hopeful signs of civility in an otherwise rude-’n-nasty universe.
  • Programming Notes: We all encounter assholes and assholery each and every day and it’s time we talked about it. Assholes: A Theory is a brutally honest and hilarious dissection of personalities we all know too well. You can’t help but nod in recognition. A fun romp of a documentary that manages to be both entertaining and political. As a bonus: John Cleese!
  • Available: Streaming – CBC Gem https://gem.cbc.ca/media/documentary-specials/episode-98/38e815a-01292c4ead3

Stuffed

  • Director: Erin Derham (Doc; 2019), 1hr 24m
  • Summary: Stuffed is a documentary feature film about the surprising and unique world of taxidermy. Through the eyes and hands of passionate renowned artists across the world, the film allows the audience to dip into & explore this diverse subculture, where sculptors must also be scientists.
  • Programming Notes:: Whether you are interested in taxidermy or not, Stuffed wonderfully empathizes with its passionate and talented artists. It shows the value in being passionate about one’s life choices. This film about taxidermists of all different styles, types, and skill levels completely captivated and fascinated us. An absolute gem of a doc.
  • Available: Streaming – Amazon Prime, Kanopy