York filmmakers headed for TIFF 2012

York filmmakers are once again making an impressive showing at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival. Running September 6-16, TIFF 2012 will showcase more than 350 films from 60+ countries. With three features and a number of shorts on the playbill, York film alumni stand out among the homegrown talent screening at the fest.

Film still from "My Awkward Sexual Advventure" directed by Sean Garrity

Scene from Sean Garrity’s film “My Awkward Sexual Advventure”

Sean Garrity (BFA ‘93), who is currently pursuing an MFA in film at York, returns to TIFF with the uproarious — and “surprisingly educational”— sex comedy, My Awkward Sexual Adventure. The film,  set to a score by music alumnus Ari Posner (BFA ’92), is featured in the Contemporary World Cinema program. It tells the story of a hyper-repressed, clumsy accountant who strikes a deal with a worldly but disorganized stripper: he’ll help her with her crushing debt if she helps him become a better lover.

Garrity’s debut feature, Inertia, won Best Canadian First Feature Film at TIFF in 2001. His other films include Zooey & Adam (2009) and Lucid (2005).

Scene from Sudz Sutherland's film "Home Again"

Scene from Sudz Sutherland’s film “Home Again”

Also premiering in the Contemporary World Cinema program is Home Again, by former York film student Sudz Sutherland. It’s a gutsy drama about three people deported from their adopted countries – the UK, USA and Canada – for minor criminal offenses. Forced to return “home” to Jamaica, a place that they hardly know, they attempt to carve out new lives for themselves in what is essentially a foreign land.

Like Garrity, Sutherland is a recipient of TIFF’s Best Canadian First Feature award. He won the prize in 2003 for his inaugural feature film, Love, Sex & Eating the Bones.

Scene from "Krivina" directed by Igor Drljaca

Scene from “Krivina” directed by Igor Drljaca

The third feature at TIFF by a York alumnus, screening in the Discovery program, is Krivina, directed by Igor Drljaca (BFA ‘07, MFA ‘11). Drljaca explores his Bosnian roots with this drama about an immigrant who fled to Toronto after the Bosnian civil war but returns to his homeland in search of a missing friend who has been implicated in war crimes. Like his own fractured nation, haunted by its wartime past, the protagonist must bear the burden of remembering as he struggles to move forward with his life.

Following on a number of critically-acclaimed short films including On a Lonely Drive (2009) and The Fuse: Or How I Burned Simon Bolivar (2011), which were both shown at TIFF, Krivina marks Drljaca’s feature debut.

York filmmakers are also well represented in the Short Cuts Canada lineup.

Scene from “A Pretty Funny Story” directed by Evan Morgan

A Pretty Funny Story, an absurdly entertaining spin on the domestic drama, is directed by Evan Morgan (BFA ‘08) and produced by Jared Raab (BFA ‘07). Bored family man Rick witnesses a neighbour’s embarrassing antics and  is eager to report the story back to his office chums — but the paranoid neighbour hatches a drastic and bizarre plan to silence Rick and his family.

Morgan’s previous short, Pedestrian Jar, premiered at TIFF last year.

Scene from "Broken Heart Syndrome" directed by Dusty Mancinelli

Scene from “Broken Heart Syndrome” directed by Dusty Mancinelli

Dusty Mancinelli (BFA ‘07), who has two previous TIFF premieres under his belt (Pathways in 2011 and Soap in 2009), scores a hat trick with Broken Heart Syndrome.

Billed as “a short film of epic proportions”, this is a tale of love gone wrong. After being unceremoniously dumped by his girlfriend during sex, Russ is diagnosed with a rare and fatal disease known as BHS (Broken Heart Syndrome). The film tells the story of his desperate search for a cure.

York film grads Adam Clark (BFA ’11) and Justin Long-Him Shum (BFA ’11) provided location sound recording and mixing for Broken Heart Syndrome.

Scene from “Old Growth” directed by Tess Girard

Old Growth by Tess Girard(BFA ‘05) is a lyrical documentary about an elderly man who braves the elements to hew his cord of wood with nothing but an axe and a wheelbarrow. What first appears as a landscape study soon becomes an elegy for nature’s sacrifice to fuel man’s existence.

Girard’s other short films include her York graduation project, Benediction, which screened at TIFF in 2005, and A Simple Rhythm (2010).

Scene from Dylan Reibling’s film “Model”

Dylan Reibling (BFA ‘02) returns to TIFF with Model, a playful look at the ongoing battle for supremacy between man and machine. Part two of his Dead Mediatrilogy, the film explores the threat of human obsolescence in an increasingly digitized workplace — in this case, the disappearing craft of architectural model building with the advent of electronic 3-D printing.

Reibling’s previous shorts include Partisan (2002), Personal Space (2006), and Record (2009), which was also featured at TIFF.

Scene from Elizabeth Lazebnik’s film “Safe Room”

Elizabeth Lazebnik (BFA ’02) makes her TIFF debut with a semi-autobiographical short titled Safe Room. It offers a child’s eye view of war from the perspective of a young Russian girl in Israel during the Gulf War.

Other York film alumni associated with TIFF 2012 titles include Los Angeles-based Howard Barish (BFA ’83), whose production company, Kandoo Films, is behind the feature film Middle of Nowhere, which won Best Director at this year’s Sundance Festival and screens in TIFF’s Contemporary World Cinema series.

Screening schedules and ticket info are available on each film’s page on the TIFF website.

With files from tiff.net