3 min

TIFF tickles

Just to get you going

Credit: Xtra files

Tix are already on sale for the Toronto International Film Festival, which hits the big screens on Thu, Sep 5. Daunted by the scores of choices? Here’s a preliminary list of queer and otherwise bent delights.

The Perspective Canada opening night gala is the world premiere of Bollywood/Hollywood by Deepa Mehta. Bollywood songs and morality, Hollywood plot and choreography, from the local director of 1996’s Fire, whose lesbian story caused outrage and praise across India when it screened there.

Award-winning Toronto playwright Daniel MacIvor, who has dabbled in film and video with such shorts as the charming Permission and the wittily idiosyncratic Until I Hear From You, makes a full-fledged assault on the film world with his first-ever feature, Past Perfect. Two days; two years apart. On day one, two people (played by MacIvor and Rebecca Jenkins) meet and fall in love on a plane from Halifax and Vancouver. Two years later they are living in Halifax and in trouble.

MacIvor has also written the script for Marion Bridge by director Wiebke von Carolsfeld (who’s edited Atom Egoyan and David Cronenberg’s films in the past). Starring Molly Parker, Rebecca Jenkins and Stacy Smith, it’s the story of three sisters in Sydney, Nova Scotia, with a family secret attending to the death of their mother.

Thom Fitzgerald is back at TIFF with The Wild Dogs. After the misstep of Beefcake, the director of the amazing homecoming drama The Hanging Garden heads to Romania for a hard-hitting story about a Canadian pornographer (played by Fitzgerald) who meets up with a dog catcher and a diplomat’s lonely wife in Bucharest. The trio are confronted by the misery of abandoned children, gypsies, beggars and stray dogs who all roam the streets.

In Tom, local polymorph Mike Hoolboom (Frank’s Cock) offers a feature-length documentary on his friend Tom Chamont, an HIV-positive photographer and filmmaker in New York City. Recollections of infanticide, a mobster’s love, sex with his brother, fetishes and excerpts from his films join a stream of consciousness tumult of found footage, archival films and home movies. Chamont’s films include Phases Of The Moon and Sadistic Self Portrait.

Among the shorts, two comedies sound intriguing: Peter Demas’ Straight In The Face, the story of a gay couple who have difficulty believing their daughter’s boyfriend is straight; and Little Dickie by Anita McGee, a musical comedy about a cowboy and his little “thang.” Then there’s the off-kilter Die Mutter by Toronto’s Cliff Caines, where Xtra contributor Shaun Proulx plays an opium-addicted conjoined twin who has sex with his twin.

Short docs include another reminder of the impact of a teenager’s refusal to allow discrimination to ruin his prom. Prom Fight is Larry Peloso’s doc on Marc Hall and his fight with his Catholic high school. Richard Fung offers up Islands, a look at his uncle, a background performer in Hollywood films shot in Trinidad and Tobago.

Newsworthy repeats: The films of Patricia Rozema (along with those of Don McKellar), will be given special screenings to mark Rozema’s and McKellar’s donation of collections to The Film Reference Library. The fest will screen a remastered print of the 1987 hit, I’ve Heard The Mermaids Singing.

And in the tribute to filmmaker Ramiro Puerta, a former programmer at the festival who died this spring, the festival is showing Puerta’s films and films he championed, including Tomas Gutiérrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabio’s Strawberry And Chocolate, the popular Cuban comedy drama from 1993 about a gay man’s infatuation with a straight uptight student.

And last, but certainly not least, is one of the few new international features at press time by a gay filmmaker: Exxxorcismos by critically acclaimed Mexican director Jaime Humberto. His latest film explores sexuality and repression in the tradition-bound, maximum-security society of contemporary Mexico. The film is dedicated to the memory of his friend, Puerta.

The festival schedule and program book ($29.95) are due out Tue, Aug 27. Passes and coupons are now available on-line and by phone. Single tickets are available in person only at the box office, located in the Eaton Centre, level one, at Dundas St. Advance ticket request drop-off is at 10am on Thu, Aug 29. Gala tix have their own schedule.

For info call (416) 968-FILM or go to