‘Less pretense’ in Western Canadian films, says grad

There’s a critical difference between the established filmmaking community in Central Canada and the strains of new cinematic tradition emerging from other regions, particularly the West, says York film grad Sean Garrity, reported The Vancouver Sun Oct. 6. “In Toronto, there’s a sense of the art film tradition that young filmmakers are trying to conform to, but I feel that in the West, there’s a sense of stronger character-driven movies – and less pretense.” Garrity hails from Winnipeg, which has its own art house wunderkind in Guy Maddin, but is no longer exclusively associated with black and white reels steeped in Leni Riefenstahl-inspired alpine environments and Nordic folklore about the birth of Gimli. Garrity doesn’t shy away from all things Gimli. In fact, his new movie Lucid includes a tip of the hat to Maddin’s Tales From Gimli Hospital when the lead character, a psychiatrist named Joel (Jonas Chernick), is threatened with a transfer to Gimli hospital once he releases his latest group of outpatients.

Garrity graduated with a BFA from York in 1993. After touring the festival circuit with his short films – including Middle and How Much for a Half Kilo? – he made his first feature, INerTia, a four-pronged romantic thriller about a mysterious water contagion making the residents of Winnipeg sick, which picked up the City-TV award for best first feature film at the Toronto festival in 2001.

Renting better than buying for young people

With interest rates at record lows and options to put as little as nothing down, some argue there’s never been a better time for 20 and 30-somethings to buy their first home, reported CanWest News Service in a national story most recently published by The Guardian in Charlottetown Oct. 6. But Moshe Milevsky, professor of finance at York’s Schulich School of Business, says renting is still the better way to go. He likes to compare buying a house to investing in stocks and says a home is a poorly diversified investment because it locks an enormous amount of wealth into one asset. “(If you) look at someone who buys a house with zero per cent down and pays off the mortgage after 20 years, they’ve paid for three times the value of the house.”

Prof will poll students about religious days off

A York University professor says he will cancel classes on the major holidays of any religion observed by his students – including Islam, Baha’i, Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, Judaism and Wicca – to be fair to all faiths, reported the Toronto Star in its online edition Oct. 6. History Professor David Noble said he will poll students in his courses to see if they want him to cancel future classes out of respect for any religious holiday they may observe. York did not hold classes on Tuesday and Wednesday due to the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah and will suspend classes next Thursday for Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement. While Noble earlier had said he would hold classes in defiance of York’s practice, he said this week he changed his mind after a student filed a complaint with the University and he received threatening phone messages. York officials said if professors choose to cancel a class, they are expected to make it up at another time to ensure a full allotment of classes is held to cover the course material.

On air

  • Midday shows on CTV and affiliate CJOH in Ottawa aired an interview Oct. 5 with Ronald Burke, professor of administrative studies in York’s Atkinson Faculty of LIberal & Professional Studies, about office romances following the suspension of Toronto senior bureaucrat Pam Coburn and her lover, Joseph Carnevale.