♦ Anticipation for the Toronto International Film Festival is ramping up even more following the announcement of this year’s Canadian film selections, which were made public this week shortly after the unveiling of the Midnight Madness and TIFF Docs lineups. The Discovery portion of the festival, which introduces talented, up-and-coming directors, includes a number of homegrown films like Molly McGlynn’s Mary Goes Round, Cory Bowles’ Black Cop and Sadaf Foroughi’s AVA. Among this year’s Canadian documentary selections are There is a House Here and The Carter Effect — the latter of which is one of many documentaries debuting at the festival that follow the compelling life stories of celebrities and icons like Eric Clapton, Grace Jones and Jane Goodall.
♦ Another international film festival is making its way to Toronto this September, showcasing the best and most breathtaking aerial cinematography from all over the world. Hosted by The Sky Guys, The Toronto Drone Film Festival will make its debut during the second annual Big Drone Show, starting September 27 at the Metro Toronto Convention Center. The first-time event is expected to draw in an increasingly intersectional crowd of tech-savvy early adopters and innovative filmmakers.
♦ Many of Toronto’s northern neighbours have seen their fare share of economic growth in the last decade, thanks to Ontario’s flourishing film industry. In recent years, Sudbury, North Bay and Hamilton (to name just a few) have all stepped up their game to play host to a wide range of productions, offering up an appealing mix of state-of-the-art facilities and unique shoot locations — not to mention the warm, welcoming touch of small-town Canadian hospitality! The latest Ontario community taking centre stage is Parry Sound, which has seen steady growth since Muskoka North Film Studios opened its doors in 2013.
♦ Tell me more, tell me more! The smash-hit musical Grease is making its way to Toronto this fall, opening November 1st at the Elgin Winter Garden Theatre Centre. The latest theatrical iteration will be directed and choreographed by Josh Prince, whose most notable recent work includes choreography of Beautiful – The Carole King Musical (playing now at Ed Mirvish Theatre) and Shrek The Musical on Broadway. Casting is still underway, with Larissa Mair Casting & Associates leading the search to fill the iconic dancing shoes of Sandy, Danny, Rizzo et al.
♦ Wattpad, a Toronto-based digital storytelling platform that has revolutionized the way new writers find and engage with their audiences, is helping launch the careers of promising talent, thanks to partnership deals with major publishers and entertainment networks. Universal Cable Productions, the first to take notice of the site’s popularity and potential, were brought on board last year to start developing original content for television, and now HarperCollins Children’s Books and Hachette Romans have also announced plans to select stories from Wattpad and bring them into mainstream markets in both traditional print and digital formats.
♦ Pop culture trivia nights have seen a surge in popularity in Toronto this summer, with weekly pub quiz events at local hotspots filling up fast. Think you know your stuff? Here’s where to get your weekly fix of movie minutiae:
Another Round Trivia at Wenona Craft Beer Lodge (Mondays)
Headscratchers Pub Trivia at Stout Irish Pub (Mondays & Tuesdays)
Drake Trivia at The Drake Hotel (Wednesdays)
Junction Craft Trivia Night at 3030 Dundas West (Wednesdays)
Another Round Trivia at Sneaky Dee’s (Wednesdays)
Brass Facts Trivia at The Ossington (Sundays)