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Shaw Festival Film Series to screen acclaimed films and documentaries

Media Bulletin #8  

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, November 25, 2010…In its continued commitment to bring acclaimed contemporary films and documentaries to the Festival Theatre through its partnership with The Film Circuit, a branch of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), The Shaw is pleased to announce its sixth annual Festival Film Series line-up. 

This year’s Festival Film Series will launch with the screening of Mao’s Last Dancer on December 4 at 3 p.m. Eleven films have been confirmed to date, with one additional title pending. The Festival Film Series will also be accompanied by a six film documentary series beginning January 14 with Joan Rivers –A Piece of Work. Feature films will be screened on Saturdays at 3 p.m. and documentaries are scheduled for Fridays at 5:30 p.m. All films will be screened at the Festival Theatre; seating is general admission.

Tickets are $11 per film. A twelve-film Festival Film Pass is available for $115 per person, or a nine-film “Stocking Stuffer” is available for $90. A Festival Documentary Pass for six films is $60. All prices include HST. Advance tickets are available now and can be purchased at the Shaw Festival Box Office or by calling 1-800-511-SHAW (7429) or locally at 905-468-2172.

TIFF’s very successful Film Circuit programme assists groups in smaller centres gain access to Canadian and international films. The Film Circuit has assisted over 170 local groups across Canada providing service and support to volunteers in communities who wish to build a film series and showcase films not locally available otherwise. All profits from the Festival Film Series benefit the Shaw Festival.

The Shaw gratefully acknowledges the many residents of Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Friends of the Festival Film Series who have made this initiative possible, particularly major sponsors John and Carol Walker.

The Festival Film Series is generously supported by advertising sponsor, The Standard, St. Catharines’ daily newspaper.
 

Festival Film Series Schedule:

Feature Film Series

December 4

Mao’s Last Dancer                                                               
Australia, 2009
Rating: PG   
Runtime: 117 minutes
Languages: English, Mandarin
Subtitled

A drama based on the autobiography by Li Cunxin. At the age of 11, Li was plucked from a poor Chinese village by Madame Mao’s cultural delegates and taken to Beijing to study ballet. In 1979, during a cultural exchange to Texas, he fell in love with an American woman. Two years later, he managed to defect and went on to perform as a principal dancer for the Houston Ballet and as a principal artist with the Australian Ballet. Starring Chi Cao, Bruce Greenwood, Kyle MacLachlan and Joan Chen. Directed by Bruce Beresford (Evelyn, Driving Miss Daisy, Black Robe).

December 11

Please Give                                                                               
USA, 2010
Rating: 14A
Runtime: 90 minutes

Kate has a lot on her mind: how to live well and be a good person, wife and mother when poverty, homelessness and sadness are always right outside the door. Plus, there are the neighbours: cranky, elderly Andra and the two granddaughters who look after her. A devastatingly funny take on modern life’s contradictions, good intentions and shaky moral bearings. Starring Amanda Peet, Catherine Keener, Rebecca Hall and Oliver Platt. Directed by Nicole Holofcener (Friends With Money, Lovely & Amazing, Walking and Talking).

December 18

El Secreto de Sus Ojos (The Secret In Their Eyes)                          
Argentina, Spain, 2009
Rating: NR
Runtime: 127 minutes
Language: Spanish
Subtitled
Winner of the 2010 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film

Newly retired from his career in Argentina’s criminal court, Benjamín Espósito begins writing a novel about an unsettled case from his past that continues to haunt him. In 1974, a beautiful young newlywed was raped and murdered and Espósito was sent to investigate the horrifying crime. A suspenseful crime drama with a love story at its core. Starring Ricardo Darin, Soledad Villamil, Pablo Rago and Javier Godino. Directed by Juan José Campanella (Luna de Avellaneda, El hijo de la novia).

 January 1

City Island
USA, 2009
Rating: PG
Runtime: 104 minutes
Winner of the Audience Award at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival

When prison guard and aspiring actor, Vince Rizzo reveals his biggest secret during his drama class, he inadvertently sets off a chain of events that turns his mundane suburban life into total chaos. A funny and touching family tale about the secrets of the past catching up with the lies of the present, and accepting that nobody’s perfect – least of all your loved ones. Starring Andy Garcia, Alan Arkin, Julianna Margulies and Emily Mortimer. Directed by Raymond De Felitta (Two Family House).

January 8

The Ghost Writer
France, Germany, UK, 2010
Rating: PG
Runtime: 128 minutes
Winner of the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival

A gifted author hired to ghostwrite the memoirs of a controversial former British Prime Minister becomes a hunted man when he uncovers explosive secrets about the past. A taut, suspenseful thriller from the Academy Award-winning and Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or-winning director of The Pianist. Starring Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Kim Cattrall and Olivia Williams. Directed by Roman Polanski (Oliver Twist, The Pianist).

January 15

Nowhere Boy                                                                                                                    
UK, Canada, 2009 
Rating: 14A
Runtime: 98 minutes
Nominated for four British Academy Film Awards

Liverpool 1955: a smart and troubled fifteen year-old named John Lennon is hungry for experience. In a family full of secrets, two incredible women clash over him — Mimi, the buttoned-up Aunt who raised him, and Julia, the prodigal mother. Yearning for a normal family, John escapes into the new and exciting world of rock n’ roll where his fledgling genius finds a kindred spirit in the teenage Paul McCartney. Just as John begins his new life, tragedy strikes. But a resilient young man finds his voice – and an icon explodes into the world. Starring Aaron Johnson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Thomas Sangster and Anne-Marie Duff. Directed by Sam Taylor-Wood. Nowhere Boy is Taylor-Wood’s directorial feature film debut. 

January 22

Made in Dagenham 
UK, 2010
Rating: R
Runtime: 113 minutes
World Premiere: 2010 Toronto International Film Festival

Working in extremely impoverished conditions for long arduous hours and balancing their domestic lives, the women at the Ford Dagenham plant finally lose their patience when they are reclassified as “unskilled”. With humour, common sense and courage they take on their corporate paymasters, an increasingly belligerent local community, and finally the government itself.  The 1968 Ford Dagenham strike by 187 sewing machinists led to the advent of the UK’s Equal Pay Act in 1970. Starring Sally Hawkins, Jaime Winstone and Andrea Riseborough. Directed by Nigel Cole (Calendar Girls and Saving Grace).

January 29

Le Concert (The Concert)                                                                                               
France, Italy, Romania, Belgium, Russia, 2009
Rating: NR
Runtime: 119 minutes
Language: French, Russian
Subtitled
Winner of 2010 César Awards for Best Music Written for a Film and Best Sound.  

In the days of Brezhnev, Andrei Simoniovich Filipov was the greatest conductor of the Soviet Union and led the famous orchestra of the Bolshoi. Fired thirty years ago for refusing to discharge his Jewish musicians, Andrei is now a mere cleaning man at the Bolshoi. When he intercepts a fax inviting the Bolshoi to perform at the renowned Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, Andrei has a crazy idea: why not bring together his old musician friends, go to Paris and perform as the Bolshoi? They’ll defy destiny and take their revenge! But will they make it? Along the way, Andrei reunites with a beautiful violin virtuoso who holds the key to his past and to his future. Starring Mélanie Laurent, Dmitri Nazarov and Aleksey Guskov. Directed by Radu Mihaileanu (Live and Become, Train of Life).

February 5

Barney’s Version
Canada, Italy, 2010
Rating: NR
Runtime: 132 minutes

Take a ride through the life and memories of Barney Panofsky, a hard-drinking, cigar-smoking, foulmouthed 65-year old hockey fanatic and television producer, as he reflects on his life’s successes and (numerous) gaffes and failures as the final chapters of his own existence come sharply into focus. Starring Dustin Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Rosamund Pike, Minnie Driver, Rachelle Lefevre and Scott Speedman. Directed by Richard J. Lewis (Whale Music, various TV directorial credits). Based on the prize-winning comic novel by Mordecai Richler.

February 12
(To be confirmed)

The King’s Speech
UK, Australia, 2010
Rating: R
Runtime: 118 minutes
Winner of the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival People’s Choice Award

The true story of the man who became King George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth II. After his brother abdicates, George (“Bertie”) reluctantly assumes the throne. Plagued by a dreaded stutter and considered unfit to be king, Bertie engages the help of an unorthodox speech therapist named Lionel Logue. Through a set of unexpected techniques, and as a result of an unlikely friendship, Bertie is able to find his voice and boldly lead the country through WWII. Starring Helena Bonham Carter, Colin Firth and Michael Gambon. Directed by Tom Hooper (The Damned United, HBO’s Emmy-winning John Adams).  

February 19

Incendies
Canada, 2010
Rating: NR
Runtime: 130 minutes
Language: French, Arabic
Subtitled

A mother’s last wishes send twins Jeanne and Simon on a journey to Middle East in search of their tangled roots. A powerful and moving tale of two young adults’ voyage to the core of deep-rooted hatred, never-ending wars and enduring love. Starring Lubna Azabal, Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin, Maxim Gaudette and Rémy Girard. Directed by Genie and Jutra award-winner Denis Villeneuve (Polytechnique). Adapted from the acclaimed play by Wajdi Mouawad.

February 26

Another Year 
UK, 2009
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 129 minutes
Nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival

A married couple, who have managed to remain blissfully happy into their autumn years, are surrounded over the course of the four seasons of one average year by friends, colleagues, and family who all seem to suffer some degree of unhappiness. Starring Jim Broadbent, Leslie Manville and David Bradley. Directed by BAFTA-winning (and Oscar-nominated) Mike Leigh (Happy-Go-Lucky, Vera Drake, Secrets & Lies).


Documentary Film Series

January 14

Joan Rivers –A Piece of Work
USA, 2010
Rating: 14A
Runtime: 84 minutes

Take a year long ride with Joan Rivers in her 76th year of life and peel away the mask of an iconic comedian, laying bare both the struggle and thrill of living life as a groundbreaking female performer. The film exposes the private dramas of this irreverent, legendary comedian as she fights to keep her career thriving in a business driven by youth and beauty. With Joan Rivers, Jocelyn Pickett, Billy Sammeth and Kathy Griffin. Directed by Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg (The Devil Came on Horseback, The Trials of Darryl Hunt).

January 21

Exit Through The Gift Shop
USA, UK, 2010
Rating: 14A
Runtime: 87 minutes

The incredible true story of how an eccentric French shop keeper turned documentary maker attempted to locate and befriend the renowned graffiti artist Banksy, only to have the artist turn the camera back on its owner – with spectacular results. According to Banksy : “It’s basically the story of how one man set out to film the un-filmable. And failed.” Containing exclusive footage of Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Invader and many of the world’s most infamous graffiti artists at work, on walls and in interviews, the film debuted at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and quickly became the hottest ticket at the festival. This is the first film directed by Banksy.

January 28

Inside Job 
USA, 2010
Rating: PG-13 (course language)
Runtime: 120 minutes

The first film to provide a comprehensive analysis of the global financial crisis of 2008, which at a cost over $20 trillion, caused millions of people to lose their jobs and homes in the worst recession since the Great Depression, and nearly resulted in a global financial collapse. Made on location in the United States, Iceland, England, France, Singapore and China. Narrated by Academy Award® winner Matt Damon. Directed by Academy Award® nominated filmmaker Charles Ferguson (No End In Sight).

February 4

Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel 
Canada, 2009
Rating: 14A
Runtime: 135 minutes

An intimate look at the outspoken, flamboyant founder of the Playboy empire. With humour and insight, the film captures Hefner’s fierce battles with the government, the religious right and militant feminists. Rare footage and compelling interviews with a remarkable who’s who of 20th century American pop culture, present a brilliant and entertaining snapshot of the life of an extraordinary man and the controversies that surrounded him. Featuring Hugh Hefner, Joan Baez, Tony Bennett and Pat Boone. Directed by Academy Award® winner Brigitte Berman (Artie Shaw: Time is All You’ve Got).

February 11

Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie                                                                    
Canada, 2010
Rating: PG
Runtime: 120 minutes 

Canadian icon David Suzuki has narrated countless documentaries but has never been the subject of one, until now. The film begins at a sold-out speaking engagement addressing climate change in Vancouver, and proceeds to retrace Suzuki’s life up to the point that brought him to this speaking engagement. An emotional and enlightening journey highlighting the influences of his childhood, his family and everything that brought him to where he is today. Directed by Academy Award® nominated filmmaker Sturla Gunnarsson (Air India 182, Such a Long Journey, After the Axe).

February 18

Catfish
USA, 2010
Rating: 14A
Runtime: 94 minutes

In late 2007, filmmakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost sensed a story unfolding as they began to film the life of Ariel’s brother, Nev. They had no idea that their project would lead to the most exhilarating and unsettling months of their lives. A reality thriller that is a shocking product of our times, Catfish is a riveting story of love, deception and grace within a labyrinth of online intrigue. Featuring Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman and Megan Faccio. Directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman.

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In the spirit of Bernard Shaw, the Shaw Festival provokes the mind and stirs the soul through a theatre experience so compelling that, year after year, ever-broadening groups of artists, audiences and supporters are drawn to our work in Niagara-on-the-Lake and beyond.

Please visit www.shawfest.com/news for other Shaw Festival media releases. For more information, members of the media may contact:

Odette Yazbeck
Public Relations Director 
905-468-2153 or 1-800-657-1106 ext. 2222
odette@shawfest.com 

Jenniffer Anand
Public Relations Coordinator
905-468-2153 or 1-800-657-1106 ext. 2224
janand@shawfest.com

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