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The latest in breaking news from The Ex-Press

Swearing in a new BC Premier Brings Back Barrett Memories

Politics: Looking back at the first BC NDP victory in 1972 Rod Mickleburgh remembers the day the "socialist hordes" stormed the gates of Government House and Dave Barrett took the oath of office. There was no ceremony, no dancers, no tweets, but British Columbia would never be the same. By Rod Mickleburgh Watching the joyous, almost giddy swearing-in of the province’s new premier and his gender-balanced cabinet, I couldn’t help thinking of BC’s very first transition of power to the NDP, so long ago the Vancouver Sun had two full-time labour reporters. That historic ground-breaker took place way back in 1972, or five years before David Eby, the province’s new Attorney General, was born. July 18 was only the third such right-to-left tilt in BC history. Of course, that’s three more than the zero Stanley Cups won by the hapless Canucks, and just enough to keep politics interesting and a semblance of two-party democracy alive in BC’s polarized environment. No wonder John ...

Canadian women bound for Palm Springs

Movies: Palm Springs International Film Festival The partnership between Palm Springs and Telefilm continues to push the Canadian film cause in influential U.S. circles, with female directors taking centre stage By The Ex-Press (December 22, 2016) — A delegation of strong Canadian women will be heading to Palm Springs in the new year, showcasing work that touches on everything from Kenyan marathon runners to resource extraction and First Nations issues in the North. Anjali Nayar’s Gun Runners, Nettie Wild’s Koneline, Anne Émond’s Nelly and Chloé Robichaud’s Pays were selected to screen at this year’s Palm Springs International Film Festival, joining Zacharias Kunuk’s Maliglutit, Xavier Dolan’s Juste la fin du monde and Juan Andrés Arango’s X Quinientos as part of this year’s seven-film Canadian delegation, one of the strongest in recent years. “With a diverse mix of Canadian features—including works from emerging talent and an Indigenous pioneer, ...

Konelïne drills deep into the dark heart of colonialism

Movies: Available Light Film Festival Veteran documentary filmmaker Nettie Wild heads North to explore a motherlode of ugly conflict unfolding against a backdrop of pristine beauty in her latest film, Konelïne: Our Land Beautiful By Katherine Monk (Feb. 8, 2016. Updated Oct. 29, 2016) WHITEHORSE, YUKON — “We didn’t want it. We still don’t want it. But it was a done deal when they called us to the table.” Tahltan elder Lillian Moyer was speaking about a transmission line along the once-scenic Highway 37 in Canada’s Yukon, but the comments she uttered at the premiere of Nettie Wild’s latest documentary, Konelïne - Our land Beautiful, seem applicable to just about every situation that pits traditional First Nations’ values against the continuing colonial reality. From resource extraction in pristine wildlife habitats in the North to condos and casinos on traditional lands in the South, Canada’s colonial history clearly didn’t end with when Europeans ...

Bob Dylan don’t need Nobel, or stinking badge

Comment: On Bob Dylan, Nobel laureate Looking back on a close encounter of the Dylan kind reveals a slightly rumpled honouree who has a hard time accepting praise, let alone the Nobel Prize *Caution: This article contains a top-100 list of Bob Dylan songs. By Rod Mickleburgh In the winter of 1990, I waited with a handful of reporters and photographers in a grand salon of the Palais-Royal in Paris for Bob Dylan. More than 25 years ahead of the Nobel Prize people, the French had decided that Dylan’s lyrical prowess was worthy of the country’s highest cultural honour, Commandeur dans l’ Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. T.S. Eliot was one of the first to receive the award in 1960. Borges followed in 1962. And now, following in the footsteps of Sean Connery (1987), it was Bob’s turn. Finally, the gilded, ceiling-high white doors opened, and there he was, ambling into the opulent room, followed by France’s flamboyant minister of culture at the time, Jack Lang. He was ...

Telefilm touts diversity as key to future

News Brief: Canadian Film Industry Telefilm Canada announces a new diversity initiative designed to increase representation within the "Canadian Film Portfolio" by 2020 through new initiatives and industry partnerships By The Ex-Press Right now, it's all just words on a press release, but by 2020 the Canadian film landscape will look a lot different if Telefilm makes good on a promise of "diversity" they made earlier today (Thursday, September 8) in Montreal. Seeking to increase the field of representation to better reflect the population of Canada, Telefilm Executive Director Carolle Brabant declared the following objective:  "By 2020, [to] have a more representative and diversified feature film portfolio that better reflects gender, diversity and Canada’s Indigenous communities." To realize the long-term goal, Telefilm will partner with the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) and the Association québécoise de la production médiatique (AQPM) to create ...

Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, Sarah McLachlan to jury new refugee film prize

News: VIFF, Radcliffe Foundation sponsor new short film competition Former mining entrepreneur Frank Giustra hopes to inspire and engage Canadians about the 'greatest humanitarian catastrophe of our generation' through original, 'call-to-action' short films By The Ex-Press Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, Sarah McLachlan and Atom Egoyan are just a few of the big names putting their clout behind a new film competition conceived as a “call to action” for the global refugee crisis. Sponsored by the Radcliffe Foundation in collaboration with the Vancouver International Film Festival, the Refugee Crisis Film Competition will award a $20,000 prize to the best short film – up to 60 seconds in length – to a film that “inspires, engages and empowers Canadians to take action on the global refugee crisis.” The competition is open to all filmmakers across all genres and will feature a nine-member jury that includes the Prime Minister’s partner, McLachlan and Egoyan, as well as ...

Hot Docs gets million-dollar boost from Rogers

News: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Fund Rogers Foundation partners with Hot Docs, Canada's leading documentary festival, to create new production fund named after late Canadian communications mogul Ted Rogers By The Ex-Press The cash-strapped world of documentary film just got a million dollars richer: Hot Docs and The Rogers Foundation announced the creation of a new fund to help filmmakers realize their non-fiction visions through production grants worth up to $35,000 Thursday. Part of a $5-million dollar endowment from The Rogers Foundation that also includes a $4 million gift to buy the Hot Docs theatre on Toronto’s Bloor Street, the new Hot Docs Ted Rogers Fund will be administered by Hot Docs and support up to three or four projects each year. “Hot Docs has a remarkable history of strengthening the documentary industry and supporting documentary filmmakers,” said Martha Rogers, chair of the Rogers Foundation. “We are proud to join their tradition with the establishm...

TIFF announces STUDIO slate

News: TIFF talent development A lucky dozen writer-directors get their hands metaphorically dirty with development sessions and skills workshops at this year's TIFF STUDIO programme By Katherine Monk “Writer-director” sounds good, but in the world of Canadian Film, it often means a hand-to-mouth existence without external support. The Toronto International Film Festival wants to change that, and this year, it refocused its STUDIO programme to assist writer-directors with a series of professional workshops designed to empower the nation’s storytellers. The monthly modules began Friday with sessions that include peer review, project development, packaging and talent, working with actors and casting agents as well as the requisite art of the pitch pep talk. “Since its launch in 2013, STUDIO has boasted immense success in readying Canadian producers for the global film industry,” said TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey in an announcement released Monday. ...

Xavier the Great crushes Cannes skeptics

News: Xavier Dolan wins Grand Prix, Ecumenical Prize at Cannes 2016 Quebec's golden boy picks up second-highest honour at Cannes, but his quest for the coveted golden palm continues, as does his battle with critics By Katherine Monk He didn’t win the Palme D’Or, but Xavier Dolan’s double win at this year’s Cannes Film Festival marks the best performance by a Canadian on the Croisette since Atom Egoyan scored a triple with The Sweet Hereafter back in 1997. Dolan won the Grand Prix and the Ecumenical Prize for his latest film Juste la fin du mode (It’s Only the End of the World), a drama that follows a writer with a terminal illness on his final journey home. Based on the stage play by the late Jean-Luc Lagarce, It’s Only the End of the World is Dolan’s sixth feature, and fifth title to be invited to France’s red carpet extravaganza. “Dolan’s two latest awards at Cannes are renewed recognition of his immense talent, of course, but also of the determined ...

Is it too late to say sorry for Komagata Maru?

News: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologizes for racism Though many know the outline of an ugly chapter in Canadian history, the truth of the Komagata Maru is both an indictment of institutional prejudice, and a testament to the strength and pride of the passengers aboard the infamous vessel By Rod Mickleburgh At long last, a formal apology is being delivered in the House of Commons for Canada’s racist behaviour in its shameful treatment of Sikh passengers aboard the Komagata Maru who had the effrontery to seek immigration to the West Coast more than a hundred years ago. Not only were they denied entry, they were subjected to two months of exceptionally inhumane treatment by unflinching immigration officers. While many now know the basics of the ill-fated voyage, the story has many elements that are less well known. To fill in the gaps, we can look to Hugh Johnston and his definitive book, The Voyage of the Komagata Maru. Just days before the outbreak of World War ...