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Sarah, dope and short 

I'm in between films after a long day yesterday so here's a quick update in photos.

Sarah Polley chatted to a packed house -- including Ruthe Stein of the San Fransisco Chronicle and Leah McLaren of the Globe and Mail -- about her weep-inducing feature debut, Away From Her. It screens at the Atlantic Film Festival on September 17.

"I never thought this part could be interesting," she said of the promotion process.

Polley's stars Gordon Pinsent and Julie "Her Milkshake Brings All the Men of a Certain Age to the Yard" Christie.

"Why don't you work more often, Ms. Christie?"

"Because there's more to life than making movies."

Not pictured: The biggest JC fan in the world, who told me her entire filmography, the cirumstances of her Oscar nominations and wins ("They weren't going to give Julie Andrews two in a row") and who snapped photos with a disposable camera. Dude, I have been there.

Christopher Guest's riotous new comedy follows the production of Home for Purim, starring washed-up vets Marilyn Hack (Catherine O'Hara) and Victor Allen Miller (Harry Shearer -- Simpsons alert!) as the parents of a long-lost daughter (Parker Posey) who returns home to reunite with her dying mother on the Jewish holdiay of Purim.

The title is subsequently changed to Home for Thanksgiving once a blog blurb positions Hack as an early Oscar nominee and the film starts gaining publicity. (Jane Lynch and Fred Willard play Mary Hart-Billy Bush talk show types who guide us through the buzz process.)

It played well to this crowd, but of course it would.

This press conference, moderated by a visibly nervous Peter Howell of the TO Star ("You were my first celebrity interview in 1978," he told Levy. Levy: "That was you?"), was dominated by the four people on the left.

Posey, Lynch -- yawning often -- and Coolidge each spoke once, and it's entirely possible Balaban said nothing.

Outside I found Walter Forsyth standing with Halifax filmmaker Ann Verrall, whose short The Wait is screening in Canada Shorts 2, the first thing I saw here last week.

She looked kind of shell-shocked.

As you do.


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