The Year’s Best Movies

    Posted on: Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

We’ve been polling local film folks to see what their top five favourite films of 2011 are, and we’ll be posting their answers over these final few weeks of the year. Whew, that’s a lot of alliteration.

Noreen Golfman, Chair of the Board of Directors of the St. John’s International Film Festival. She’s also the Dean of Graduate Studies at MUN, where she teachers English and Film Studies. Here’s her list, word for word:

Tree of Life
Midnight in Paris
The King’s Speech*
Win Win
Beginners
*I think I’d likely prefer The Artist but haven’t seen it yet.

Jordan Canning, Toronto-based St. John’s-born award-winning writer/filmmaker, whose short Oliver Bump’s Birthday got a nod in Flare magazine’s top picks from this year’s St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival.

In no particular order…
Tree of Life
Cafe de Flore
Bridesmaids
Super 8
Take Shelter

Have a top five that you’d like to share? Fire ‘em off to sarah@womensfilmfestival.com.

Ruth Lawrence on Two Square Feet

    Posted on: Monday, December 19th, 2011

Filmmaker, writer, actor, and producer Ruth Lawrence is set to begin filming her short, Two Square Feet, in January. And she’s bringing in Jeanne Beker – yes, that Jeanne Beker – to play the lead.

Lawrence has been working on Two Square Feet for about three years, and it paid off – literally. The script won her this year’s RBC Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award. The film is about two strangers, Pearl and Lucy, who wind up being roommates after Pearl leaves her drab, unsatisfying life. Beker will play the role of Pearl.

We caught up with Ruth Lawrence to ask her all about it.

Okay, so how did you land Jeanne Beker for this role?
Well, I’ve known her for about four years. We spent a bit of time together this summer in Toronto and she was telling me about these acting workshops she was doing.

So between me being in Toronto and talking to her there and me writing this film and finding out that I got the Michelle Jackson Award, when we both ended up in Woody Point together, I knew that I would really like to work with her. And Because I knew she had been doing some acting on the stage, I thought maybe she was looking to diversify.

So, I asked her! And she said yes right away. I said that I would not take yes for an answer until she read the script because, to me, it’s very important that you have people who love the project, so I sent it to her and I didn’t hear back from her for almost two weeks. So I wrote her back and said, ‘Please don’t be embarrassed to say that you don’t like it, it’s not for everybody,’ and she wrote back two days later and said, ‘Oh, sorry, I’ve been somewhere exotic and I just got it and I love it and yes!’

She used to live here, right?
Yes! She actually started out as a mime in Paris – I think it’s Paris, anyway – and then moved to St John’s with her husband at the time, and she ended up working in radio here!

Why did you want her, specifically, to play this role? What was it about this role?
Jeanne’s going to be playing Pearl, who has just left her husband after raising her family. She’s going out on her own and she has a lot of fear about doing that. But I had recently read Jeanne’s memoir, Finding Myself In Fashion, about being a fashion journalist. At Woody Point this summer, she joked that her mom says she often reveals too much, and her book is a very revealing look at her personal life. She talked about how she developed as a person in the fashion world, and there’s a very touching story about how her second marriage broke up – she didn’t see it coming, that marriage ended very suddenly.

For me, it was interesting to see someone who looks so confident and incredible, and was surviving in that world, and it was powerful to read that part in the book and I thought, ‘Okay, well, she’s been here.’ So, knowing her and reading that part in her book, that was what really tipped the balance for me.

Why did you want to write about this?
The germ of the idea was just a moment that a friend of mine had told me that happned to her. I took that moment and exploded it and sort of made it my own. There’s one scene in the film that actually happened to a friend and this film just grew around it. The best thing would be that she doesn’t even recognize herself in it.

I’ve heard so many women say, ‘Oh, I’m not doing that again,’ and that was what I was looking for – some sort of reflection on some of the choices I made.

[laughs] I guess, in a way, I’m kind of preparing myself for middle age!

On the line

    Posted on: Saturday, November 19th, 2011

It’s not that I don’t admire your tenacity, but…

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Save time and money when renewing your vehicle

    Posted on: Saturday, November 19th, 2011

Photo via ButterflySha's flickr

A show of hands: who here likes going to the DMV?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

As if the long waits during office hours weren’t enough, getting stabbed repeatedly in the wallet once you finally reach the wicket doesn’t exactly make the situation any more endearing.

So hats off to whoever hatched the brilliant idea that if you renew your vehicle online you’ll save 10% off the cost.

Yes, you read that correctly. For the convenience of not leaving your home or place of work and subjecting yourself to the waiting and the hating, you will actually save 10% off your annual vehicle renewal fee, aka the getting your ass back and forth to work tax.

I learned of this when I received my renewal notice in the mail yesterday, but, oddly, there seems to be no mention of this marvellous fact anywhere on the registration renewal website, on their handy Vehicle Registration Renewals on the World Wide Web PDF, or even during the payment process. Sure enough, though, when I paid my renewal fee last night the total showing was 10% less than the fee stated in the letter.

Know someone without the internet at home or work? They can call 1-877-929-1829 to find out where their nearest Community Access Centre is located, or simply head on over to their nearest provincial library, both of which provide free public internet access. Still beats the alternative, and they’ll still save 10%.

Happy driving!

Stephen Dunn. On stilts!

    Posted on: Monday, November 14th, 2011

The final instalment from Mr. Stephen Dunn, filmmaker extraordinaire.