Arts & Entertainment
3 min

Go fest, young wo/man

Time to saddle up the horses

YEE HAW! Git along little doggies, it's film fest time. The queer highlight of the Toronto International Film Festival has to be the North American premiere of Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain starring He

News flash: culturally inappropriate dance maven and filmmaker Keith Cole has finally made it into the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). The most recent short by Cole and regular collaborator Michael Caines (Sunflower) is called A Little Death: Cut Keith Cole and will be shown as part of the Short Cuts Canada program. Will a kept man flee or be loved? How great that the fest will allow a wider audience to be shocked, appalled and beguiled by Cole’s and Caines’s unique perspective.

Looking to get a head start to TIFFing this year? Here’s some other unique and queer perspectives to watch for at the fest, opening Thu, Sep 8. There’s more to come; the complete lineup will be announced on Tue, Aug 23.

There are a number of strong choices on the Canadian feature front.

Whole New Thing, directed by Amnon Buchbinder (The Fishing Trip), is the story of Emerson Thorsen (Aaron Webber) a precocious 13-year-old homeschooled by his hippy parents in rural Nova Scotia. When forced to go to a real school, the kid becomes obsessed with his English teacher (played by Daniel MacIvor, who’s also co-writer on the film).

The latest feature from Thom Fitzgerald (The Event, Beefcake) gets its world premiere at TIFF. Three Needles is three stories set in China, South Africa and Canada illustrating the global impact of AIDS. The all-star cast includes Lucy Liu, Chlöe Sevingy, Shawn Ashmore and Stockard Channing.

The Quebec box office hit from last year, CRAZY, is a coming-out story set in 1970s Montreal. Marc-André Grondin plays Zachary, a teenager obsessed with David Bowie’s Space Oddity, with four tough brothers (the film’s title is an acronym of their names) and an old-fashioned dad (Michel Côté). The film is written and directed by Jean-Marc Vallée.

The Canadian/UK coproduction Tideland by Terry Gilliam is a surreal journey into the imagination of a troubled young girl (Jodelle Ferland). The film is based on the cult classic novel by gay author Mitch Cullin.

From the US, TIFF has snagged the North American premiere of Brokeback Mountain directed by Academy Award-winner Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and The Ice Storm), based on an E Annie Proulx short story. Starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as cowboys in love in 1960s Wyoming and Texas, you know the boys will have a hankerin’ for this one.

Margaret Cho stars in and writes her first fiction feature Bam Bam And Celeste, costarring her frequent opening act, gay comic Bruce Daniels. In this comedy, the two play friends who race across the midwest chasing beauty-salon dreams.

The Quiet is directed by out lesbian Jamie Babbit (But I’m A Cheerleader). A deaf orphan girl soon realizes that all is not well with her new foster family.

From further afield, Fifty Ways Of Saying Fabulous is another coming-out tale set in the ’70s, this time in rural New Zealand. It’s the story of 13-year-old Billy who dreams of becoming the heroine of his favourite TV show, Lana. Directed by Stewart Main, the film is based on the novel by gay author Graeme Aitken.

Breakfast On Pluto is an Irish/UK coproduction directed by Neil Jordan (The Good Thief, Crying Game). The movie details the story of Patrick Braden(Cillian Murphy), a witty and tough young transvestite who is the illegitimate child of the parish priest and his housekeeper.

Back in the Canadian shorts program, another first timer is Vancouverite Jamie Travis. His nine-minute short Patterns uses unusual stop-motion to tell of a woman’s recurring nightmare. Another short to look out for is Andrea Dorfman’s There’s A Flower In My Pedal.

The TIFF program and schedule will be out by Tue, Aug 30. Advance ticket orders should be dropped off at the processing centre (Cumberland Terrace; 2 Bloor St W) by 1pm on Fri, Sep 2.

New this year is on-line ticket orders beginning at 7am on Wed, Sep 7. Single tix will be available at the box office (Manulife Centre; 55 Bloor St W) at least one day prior to a screening. For rush tix, non-ticket holders can take their chances on space becoming available prior to any screening.