So, Ariel Nasr's Outside Afghanistan aka Good Morning Kandahar is a thoughtful, solemn look into the relationship Afghan Canadians have with their home country. The filmmaker did visit and shoot some interviews there, but the 50 minute doc spends much more time here in Canada. The part I found most interesting was a visit with the Afghan DJs who are broadcasting via the internet to Kandahar... from Kingston, Ontario. The whole operation is run by the Canadian military, and seems to be very pop culture and helpful PSA oriented, and they deny it's a propaganda machine. I'll leave that up your assessment, dear viewer. The doc screens Sunday at 4.
I saw the Industry Screening of Summerhood this morning (which will be the Closing Night Gala next Saturday). I can't remember when I last enjoyed a basically plotless movie as much as I did this. It's a totally kid-centric perspective on summer camp in the 1980s in Nova Scotia, specifically Camp Kadimah, a Jewish summer camp. The director (and supporting player) Jacob Medjuck went to the camp when he was a kid and wound up shooting on the location that inspired the story. When does that ever happen?
They must have blown most of their budget on the music... great retro 80s classics. And they rescue Night Ranger's "Sister Christian" from the nasty, disco-killing fate it was saddled with in Boogie Nights. Good for them. The rest they must have paid John Cusack for his uncredited narration, which is perfect.
My hat is off especially to the kids in the movie. What an awesome cast of talented youngsters, who pretty much carry the whole thing themselves, since, as I mentioned, not much happens plotwise. I wasn't entirely sure what the girls making out fantasy sequence in the camp kitchen was in aid of, but it's otherwise adorable. I hope people get to see it.
I'd go so far as to say it can be counted amongst great summer kids/camp movies The Sandlot, Meatballs and Stand By Me.
If you want to read about my set visit back in 2005 when they shot the interiors in Burnside, check this out:
And as for the party last night... there actually isn't too much more to say. It was great to see the friendly folks I know in the local film biz, including Bug & A BAg of Weed maestros Chris Cuthbertson and Drew Hagen, and Eva Madden, who will be hosting Scripts Out Loud next Friday afternoon, a read through with actors of her movie-to-be Sweet Nothing.
Halifax's Best Filmmaker (The Coast readers said so) Jason Eisener, his horror short Treevenge showing twice during the festival, is in the editing stage of his gang action picture Streets of Domination which he once likened to The Warriors. Awesome.
I also met, Sarah Byrne. Her short, Ugly Girl premieres on Monday night at the Park Lane, shot by Jeff Wheaton, the local camera pro whose name, for another year, is on half the Atlantic films in the festival.
"It's about a little girl who has a really bad school photo, who hopefully everyone can relate to," says Byrne. "She has a really attractive mum who sends her off to school for reshoots. Our lead gets to school and has a bad run-in with the bullies and runs home. For me it's about people connecting, being unconditionally loved... being told by your parents that you don't have to be like them, you can be whoever you want to be."
Sounds good to me.