Oh Canada. The Opening night for Sydney’s Canadian Film festival, Possible Worlds, made me proud as a peacock to have Canadian blood.
The pre-screenings at the Dendy Opera Quays, saw maple cookies, wine and delicious Quebecois beer from St Ambroise. There were also LOTS of Canadians, which (apart from making me want to call everyone ‘Dad’ and yell about how ‘I was born in Vancouver!’) gave a certain grandeur to the evening as the audience was comprised of various prominent members Canada’s own film industry, including the Canadian Consul General to Australia, recognisable as the only man with a tie. (Quote the Consul himself).
The film chosen to open Possible Worlds was Starbuck (dir. Ken Scott), Canada’s highest grossing film in 2011. So, Starbuck: A guy donates sperm, a lot of sperm. Under some mishap, guy fathers 533 children. What a wonderfully messed up concept for a film. And moreover what a wonderfully messed up discovery that it was based on actual events! In the film, 42 year old man-child David Wozniak who had anonymously donated sperm in his youth to get by, discovers that via artificial insemination he has fathered 533 children. Pfffft who hasn’t. Years later, these children file a lawsuit to reveal his identity. Through curiosity and whilst remaining anonymous, David enters the lives of some of his children and through small acts of kindness and guidance, becomes their guardian angel as such. The premise is truly an incredible vessel to carry prodigious laughter and heart-rending tears. Entertainment value = one billion maple cookies.
Sadly for the independent devotees, Hollywood agrees that ‘Starbuck’ rules, and is now re-making it as a high-def-probably 3D-and-starring-Vince-Vaughn version. Ehhhhh. On the plus side however, Bollywood also agrees and currently has movie rights. (weirdly awesome, cannot wait).
Also screened later on Opening night was Beyond the Walls (Hors Les Murs) directed by David Lambert. This film screened at Critics week in Cannes last year and was highly praised for the complexity of it’s characters through it’s realistic portrayal of a gay love affair. Set in Belgium, the film follows the story of a young pianist, Paulo, who goes home after a night out with Ilir, a bartender. What follows is a melancholic and beautiful story about love, separation and fear. It was a true masterpiece and a technical marvel.
I thought the films selected for Opening Night were both exceptional, and the evening was without a doubt a successful and thrilling launch for the unique and accomplished festival that is Possible Worlds.