Alumni films featured at Toronto International Film Festival

A female convict with 24 hours to make good, a rumour-filled town baking under a hot Mexican sun and a gay porn art film are the three latest flicks by York alumni to be announced as part of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) lineup.

Right: Matilda is out on prison leave for 24 hours in the film Outbound

Tudor Voican, a former graduate student in film at York whose scriptwriting credits include the multiple award-winning features California Dreamin’ and Medal of Honour, co-wrote the screenplay for Outbound, showing in TIFF’s Contemporary World Cinema series. The film explores the life of Matilda, a feisty woman-child with a sordid past who is out on a 24-hour prison leave. After spending two years of a five-year sentence in prison for a crime she didn’t commit, Matilda has no intention of serving any more. Given a day pass for her mother’s funeral, she has a lot to make up for and very little time to do it in. Will 24 hours be enough time for her to make up for her mistakes and skip out of the country?

Left: Rumours swirl in the heat of a rural Mexican village in Nicolás Pereda’s Summer of Goliath

Nicolás Pereda (BFA Spec. Hons. ’05, MFA ’07) explores the boundaries between fiction and documentary in his fourth feature film, Summer of Goliath, which will screen at TIFF in the Visions program. It’s a hot summer in Huilotepec in rural Mexico and there is more going on than appears on the surface. Teresa thinks her husband has found another woman, while her son, Gabino, stationed at a military checkpoint with very little traffic, whiles away the time harassing the locals. It’s said that Oscar, who is known as Goliath, has killed his girlfriend. And that’s just one of the rumours swirling around this small town.

Right: A scene from the film L.A. Zombie, directed by York alumnus Bruce LaBruce

Pereda was born in Mexico City and studied film at York. His short film, Interview with the Earth, screened at TIFF in 2008. He wrote, directed and edited three previous features – Where Are Their Stories? (2007), Juntos (2009) and Perpetuum Mobile (2009).

Also screening at this year’s TIFF is L.A. Zombie. Directed by Bruce LaBruce (BA Spec. Hons. ’83, MA ’88), this provocative porn/art film makes its North American debut as part of the festival’s Vanguard program. Corpse-eating meets poverty politics on the streets of Los Angeles, where an alien zombie brings dead men back to life. TIFF programmer Noah Cowan hails the production as “one of the most poignant films about dashed expectations and the ennui of poverty I can recall by a Canadian filmmaker.”

LaBruce’s other feature films include No Skin Off My Ass (1991), Super 8-1/2 (1994), Hustler White (1996), Skin Flick (1998) and The Raspberry Reich (2004).

These are only three of the many films at this year’s TIFF involving York talent (see YFile, Aug. 18).

TIFF will run from Sept. 9 to 19 at a number of downtown Toronto cinemas. For more information about the festival and the complete screening schedule, visit the Toronto International Film Festival Web site.