Sundance picks Six Canadian titles for 2011 Fest

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Six Canadian films will be among the titles in competition at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival. The Salesman (Le Vendeur), the first feature from writer-director Sebastien Pilote, and Vampire, a Japanese-Canadian co-production written and directed by Iwai Shunji, are among 13 competitors in the World Drama category. Julia Ivanova’s Family Portrait in Black and White, a Canadian–Ukrainian co-production, will screen in the World Documentary category.

Writer-director Denis Villeneuve’s award-winning Incendies, which has taken in more than CA$2.5 million at the Quebec box office since its opening, is also Sundance-bound. It’s set to open across France on 80 screens, and is Canada’s official submission to the Oscars in the Foreign Language Film category. The drama was adapted from a critically acclaimed stage play by Canadian playwright Wajdi Mouawad.

Rounding out the Sundance selections are the Nova Scotia indie thriller Hobo with a Shotgun, produced by Niv Fichman, Paul Gross and Rob Cottrell, and I Melt with You, a thriller directed by Mark Pellington (Arlington Road).

Cineplex Launches Download service
Cineplex Entertainment, the largest exhibition chain in Canada, is branching out once again. Their latest initiative will offer film-loving audiences the opportunity to digitally download movies into their homes—either to own or on video-on-demand—from the Cineplex online store. The new service complements the DVD and Blu-ray products already available for purchase at the Cineplex Store.

"When Canadians think of movies, we want them to think of Cineplex," said Ellis Jacob, Cineplex president and CEO. "The best way to experience a movie is still in-theatre, but when guests want to enjoy the movie again, they can now choose from a variety of formats available from Cineplex.com."

New releases will be available for digital download on the same day that they are released on DVD and on Blu-ray. According to Cineplex, customers will now have the option to easily and seamlessly select whichever option best suits their movie-watching needs. These downloads can be played on a PC or other compatible device.

The launch is the first of a multi-phase rollout which will feature streaming high-definition content bought at the store as well as the ability to store content in a cloud-based UltraViolet™ account which will allow consumers to watch their digital entertainment across multiple platforms such as TVs, PCs, game consoles, smart-phones and tablet PCs.

New Canadian Top Ten Is Coming
A Playback survey done a few years ago listed Canadian moviegoers’ favorite domestic pictures. A fresh survey is about to be conducted, so stay tuned for some new entries. Here’s the current list:
1. The Sweet Hereafter (1997), Atom Egoyan
2. Jesus of Montreal (1989), Denys Arcand
3. The Red Violin (1998), François Girard
4. Hard Core Logo (1996), Bruce McDonald
5. Goin” Down the Road, (1970), Don Shebib
6. Leólo (1992), Jean-Claude Lauzon
7. Exotica (1994), Atom Egoyan
8. Mon Oncle Antoine (1971), Claude Jutra
9. Last Night (1998), Don McKeller
10. The Decline of the American Empire (1986), Denys Arcand

D Films, Cineplex Launch Bolshoi Series
A new four-part series of live performances from the world-renowned Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow is coming to select Cineplex cinemas across Canada. Giselle, Don Quixote, Coppelia and “Classics Concert” will be captured live in high-definition and digital surround sound and broadcast via satellite.

The Bolshoi Ballet Series is another example of the world-class performances that Cineplex Entertainment is making available across the country as part of their Front Row Centre Events program, which also brings the Metropolitan Opera live from New York’s Lincoln Center, the L.A. Philharmonic live from Los Angeles, and the National Theatre direct from London.

The series starts in late January 2011. For more information, visit www.cineplex.com.

Gould on Oscar Short List
White Pines Pictures’ Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould has been shortlisted as one of the 15 documentaries vying for the Best Documentary Feature at the upcoming 83rd Academy Awards.

Directors Peter Raymont and Michèle Hozer debuted their film about the famed Canadian pianist at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival, where it was well-received. The movie subsequently got good reviews from The New York Times and The New Yorker. The filmmakers are now making the rounds of pre-Oscar screenings in cities like Chicago, L.A. and New York to make sure Academy members have a chance to see the doc. Good luck, guys!

E-mail Canadian news items to Adina Lebo at mptac.ca@ca.inter.net.