Up-and-coming local director explores small town homophobia

For Toronto filmmaker Mark Pariselli [BFA ’09], the debut of his sophomore film is personal, wrote 24 Hours Toronto May 25.

Not only does the short film, Frozen Roads, debut at the TIFF Bell Lightbox Wednesday as part of the Hogtown Homos program of the Inside Out LGBT Film and Video Festival in his hometown, but it also draws from personal events.

"I wouldn’t say it is autobiographical, but with all my work, I weave in real life experiences," said Pariselli who won the Best Up-and-Coming Toronto Film or Video Maker Award at the festival last year, for his debut short film After.

"All the characters in my work are somehow reflections of myself."

Frozen Roads focuses on three youths growing up in a small Ontario town dealing with homophobia and coming-of-age in a conservative community. Pariselli explains he wanted to paint a picture of what it’s like to repress your true self and the consequences of what that does to you and the people around you.

The inspiration for the film, which was shot while Pariselli was still studying film at York University [Faculty of Fine Arts], comes from his own experience in small towns.

"We have our family’s cottage two hours outside of the city, I’ve been travelling there all my life… and I always wondered what it would be like to be a queer youth growing up outside the city centre, away from support groups and the understanding you can find in the city," he said. "Having experienced a few instances here and there of homophobia, I just wanted to incorporate them in a film."

Disclosure next week in webcam case

It will be at least another week until the lawyer for a man accused of murdering York University student Qian Liu learns details of the case against his client, wrote the National Post May 25.

Brian Dickson, 29, made a brief court appearance Tuesday and was remanded into custody until next month as lawyers await disclosure. Unshaven and wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, Dickson quietly said his name when asked.

Outside court, Dickson’s new lawyer, Rob Nuttall, said disclosure should be in the Crown’s hands within about a week. Once the Crown vets the material and passes it to the defence, Nuttall said, "I can start making some decisions as to where to go from there.

"The only thing I can say at this time is that Brian will be entering a plea of not guilty," Nuttall said, reiterating comments from Dickson’s original lawyer, Steven Krys.

The accused was charged with first-degree murder after Liu, 23, was found dead inside her basement apartment last month under mysterious circumstances. The Beijing native had been studying English at York; the school has since created a scholarship in Liu’s name.

Dickson is due back in court June 21.

  • The cause of Liu’s death has still not been released and there were no obvious signs of trauma when she was found, wrote CTV News May 24.

The student’s death made headlines around the world. It came to be known as the "webcam murder" after police said Liu’s boyfriend witnessed part of the attack over his computer from China. Dickson’s lawyer called the webcam aspect interesting.

Diversity a factor in raising fitness levels among Toronto’s young

Diversity is Toronto’s strength, but it is also one of the challenges for boosting physical activity rates among the city’s young people, wrote The Globe and Mail May 24 in a story about a report to be released Wednesday by Get Active Toronto.

The report shows activity rates among children and adolescents in the city vary with gender, income levels and proximity to school. It also discovered that the children of foreign-born parents are less likely to take part in fitness programs than those whose parents were born in Canada.

But getting more girls on the field isn’t as simple as creating more female teams: Many girls polled during a focus group run at York University said they preferred co-ed sports to gender-based teams.

A map of fitness activity levels across Toronto shows the lowest are concentrated in the northeast and northwest corners of the city, over several of Toronto’s less affluent neighbourhoods. The study also found that children with at least one working professional parent are more likely to participate in sports.

“You’ll find an almost perfect correspondence between many other issues in addition to physical activity,” said Dennis Raphael, a professor at York University’s School of Health Policy & Management [Faculty of Health]. “The long and short of it is you want people to be physically active, you want them to be engaged in their communities and you want there to be public policy that supports all of this.”

‘Genetic predisposition’ argument in Canadian courts may diminish influence of other factors

Using genetic predisposition as a factor in medical conditions presented in Canadian legal cases may diminish the impact of occupational, environmental and social factors in determining health claims, particularly workplace claims, states an analysis in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) , wrote ScienceDaily.com May 24.

The use of this argument is especially prevalent in workers’ compensation cases.

"Although increased communication of genetic information among scientists, clinicians, patients and family members can increase understanding and possibly mitigate the effects of genetic conditions, this is not the reason for presenting genetic information in courts and tribunals," writes Professor Roxanne Mykitiuk, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University…with coauthors. "Rather, genetic information is usually presented to substantiate the claim that an employee’s health problem is related to a genetic predisposition instead of an occupational injury. These cases are often workers’ compensation appeals tribunals, where the burden of proof of an occupational cause for a condition rests with the employee."

However, the people hearing the information may lack the expertise to adequately interpret the complexity and nuances of the genetic information.

"This is of particular concern given that most of the cases in which genetic predisposition was cited involved conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system and mental health – conditions for which there are nongenetic causes, such as repetitive motion or socioeconomic factors," state the authors.

However, neither employment nor insurance discrimination was raised in any of the Canadian cases available on electronic databases.

"Although it is encouraging that we found no cases of genetic discrimination in Canadian courts and tribunals, future monitoring is required," conclude the authors.

Singing praises to the Maple Leaf

Coquitlam resident Wilson Fowlie can’t imagine a life without music, wrote Coquitlam Now May 25 in a story about the York grad. By day a software developer, by night a music aficionado and talented music director, he is celebrating a double musical anniversary.

Twenty years ago, he added his bass voice to the ranks of the 60-voice show choir the Maple Leaf Singers. And on May 28 and 29, at the Maple Leaf Singers’ 44th annual spring show at Massey Theatre in New Westminster, he’ll celebrate 10 years as the group’s music director.

Ontario-born Fowlie studied music throughout his school years and received a bachelor of fine arts in music from York University [Faculty of Fine Arts] in 1989.

After making BC his home, Fowlie joined the Maple Leaf Singers in 1991. During 10 years as a choir member, he performed bass solos, led an a cappella quartet, arranged music for the quartet and the choir, served on the choir executive and as assistant conductor. Fowlie became music director of the Maple Leaf Singers in 2001.

While it may sound like a list of accomplishments to some, the Coquitlam resident insists singing is more on the level of survival. "Music is like air; I need it in my life, and I think a lot of people do, whether or not they realize it," he said. "Music has an incredibly positive effect on people. Singing physically makes you feel good; singing for others makes you feel great. Our audiences clearly enjoy it. And I get to direct a group of people who revel in it – I’m happy."

Children struggle to keep home

Nelson, Taylore and Dominique Bushfield want to keep their family home after losing both parents to cancer, wrote the London Free Press May 25.

The three young adults want to carry on living in their home. "It’s what we have left of them and we really, really want to stay here," said Dominique, 19.

Money raised at a benefit this Friday night will go toward the substantial mortgage still on the Wellington Street property.

Dominique recently finished the second year of her degree in nursing at Georgian College. She’ll continue her studies for another two years at York University after working at Boston Pizza over the summer.

On air

  • Fred Lazar, economics professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about the impact of a volcano eruption in Iceland on air travel in Europe, on CBC Radio May 24.
  • Matthias Kipping, professor of policy in the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about difficulties at Sony Corp., on Global Television May 24.
  • Craig Scott, professor in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, took part in a panel discussion about the state of Sri Lanka, on TVO’s “The Agenda” May 24.