Dec 14, 2011

The Dog Who Stopped the War, Dec. 28th 1pm

The Dog Who Stopped the War, Dec. 28th 1pm, 35mm, Mayfair Theatre

English-language version of the Quebec film "La Guerre des tuques". From the height of the Cold War comes a tale of a real cold war: kids competing over a giant snow fort. A super-smart dog, toboggans, plenty of snowballs, and a subtle anti-war message make for wintertime fun that the whole family can adore.  

Also from the same producer we have the Peanut Butter Solution in March!

Nov 10, 2011

Janis, Dec 7th 7pm at the Bytowne

Janis, 1975, 35mm, 96mins. A beautiful print provided by Library and Archives Canada.
One night only! December 7th at 7pm, Bytowne Cinema
Ottawa filmmaker Budge Crawley produced Janis through his company, Crawley Films, Canada`s largest independent film studio. This rock`n`roll documentary is one of the many highlights of an astonishing film career that lasted from the late 1930`s until the early 1980`s, with over 5000 films produced during that time.

In 1970, Budge Crawley decided to make the film after seeing Joplin during the Festival Express concert tour, which crossed Canada just months before Joplin died of a heroin overdose.

Crawley spent the next four years, and many thousands of dollars, securing the rights to concert performances, rehearsals and interviews — all of the footage available — including sequences from the Woodstock and Monterey Pop festivals.

Janis is a unique rock documentary that is as compelling for its musical sections as it is for its frank interviews with Joplin. The film was completed and released with the approval of Joplin's parents.

Janis won an Etrog as best nonfiction feature at the Canadian Film Awards in 1975 and was a considerable box office success.”

- Canadian Film Encyclopedia

Nov 4, 2011

Don't Miss Carry On! on Nov 9th 7pm

This is your one chance to see a rare Canadian War film on 35mm with a live band! for only $10.

Carry on, Sergeant (1928), 35mm, Black and White, Nov. 9th, 7pm at the Bytowne Cinema.

Oct 27, 2011

Carry On, Sergeant! Nov. 9th

Carry On, Sergeant, 1928, 35mm, 98mins, 7pm, Bytowne Cinema, Nov 9th

Accompanied by LIVE MUSIC from Mike Dubue and Mike Essoudry!

Carry On, Sergeant! was shot at Trenton Studios in Ontario and in the surrounding countryside by British Director Bruce Bairnsfather, with legendary Canadian filmmaker Gordon Sparling working as his assistant director. With a budget of $500,000,  it was the biggest-budget film produced in Canada up to that time. Much of that budget went to recreating WWI-era France, with sprawling sets and battlefield scenes featuring hundreds of extras.

The story follows a group of workers from Hamilton who join the army to fight in WWI, and the travails and temptations that befall them during the war. The film has excellent production values and presents a drama that may feel surprisingly modern to today’s audiences. Bairnsfather’s insistence on portraying the soldiers as flawed human beings resulted in some criticism from those who expected a straightforward glorification of Canada’s war effort.

Produced as a silent film just as theatres were transitioning to sound, it had only a brief run at the box office before it was removed from circulation in January 1929. It fell into obscurity for many years before Gordon Sparling donated a print to Library and Archives Canada, resulting in a complete restoration of the film. That restored print is the same one we will be showing with a brand-new live soundtrack composed by Ottawa’s own Mike Dubue (Hilotrons). Similar screenings of other silent films that have been held around town in the past couple of years have sold out quickly, so please make sure to show up early to ensure a seat.”

Oct 3, 2011

Rabid, Oct. 26th Bytowne Cinema 6:50pm

Rabid, 35mm, Rated R, 91mins, Bytowne Cinema, 6:50pm

Rabid stands as one of David Cronenberg’s most political, and most explicitly Canadian, horror films. It’s a tale of medical experimentation gone wrong, resulting in a parasite-borne plague rapidly spreading from an isolated rural medical clinic to the big city of Montreal, along with concomitant anarchy. The film initially gained its notoriety for featuring Ivory Snow soap box model/porn star Marilyn Chambers in one of her short-lived attempts to ‘go legit’.  She is actually one of the film’s strongest features, putting in an unsettling performance as the plague’s ‘Typhoid Mary’ who infects the male populace of the city with the insanity-inducing parasites.
Astute viewers will note that Rabid offers a jaundiced view of Canada’s society as one in which powerful institutions, both public, and private, cannot be trusted to fulfill their duties without some measure of negligence and/or incompetence. With the Quebec setting of the late 70s there are naturally echoes of the earlier October Crisis, an event that will always have some place in the psyche of Canadians when considering issues of social order and governmental authority.
Rabid is the only Cronenberg film that wears its Canuck identity proudly on its sleeve. French accents, wintry locales, and rural farmlands reaffirm the sheer Canadian-ness of it all. The Canadian location is paramount, since the threat posed in Rabid is most effective in a society with a concentrated governmental control of services. Rabid proposes a broad examination of the cautions of state control…It is an effective film, biting, clever, dark, timely and ultimately Canadian.

Sep 21, 2011

Ivory Tower September 28th 7pm Bytowne Cinema

Wednesday September 28th 7pm, Ottawa Premiere, Director in Attendance, 2k Digital Cinema Presentation. 5.1 sound

Ivory Tower is Canadian director/musician/puppeteer Adam Traynor’s feature film debut. The Ottawa-born Traynor treats this ‘existential sports comedy’ as an exercise in high silliness, with just enough family drama to give the action some emotional heft.

Set in the world of international chess competition, it features the sibling rivalry between two chess prodigies fighting over the game and the same woman. The film is infused with the rhythms of both chess and music, and stars a roster of talented Canadian musicians, including multi-instrumentalist and Grammy-nominated producer Chilly Gonzales, Juno-Award winning DJ/producer Tiga, and internationally-renowned raunch rocker Peaches. Music fans should also watch for appearances by indie-pop superstar Feist and underground pop sensation The World Provider.
Gonzales, best known for producing Feist’s albums and having his music appear in the Apple iPad commercial that launched the product last year, stretches himself here not only as a musician (by providing the film’s soundtrack) but also as an actor and writer. Traynor and French filmmaker Céline Sciamma – writer and director of the provocative 2007 film Water Lilies – also share scripting credits. Their combined talents result in a comedy thatCahiers du Cinema compared (positively!) to the work of both Will Ferrell and Wes Anderson, and which described as ‘sweetly nutty’.  Perhaps having doubted that a group of non-actors and a first-time director could pull off such a high-concept comedy with any degree of success, the Montreal Gazette ended up declaring it ‘a hilarious and surprisingly accomplished satire.’  With such a talented group of collaborators, perhaps it shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise after all.

    –  Lost Dominion Screening Collective
This screening marks the debut of the Canadian Cult Revue film series at the ByTowne, presented by the Lost Dominion Screening Collective.
Regular admission prices apply, or you can buy a series pass: 11 movies for $45.

Sep 2, 2011

Canadian Cult Revue Starts Sept 17th with Deadly Eyes

Deadly Eyes, Rated R, Sept. 17th at 10pm, Mayfair Theatre

 The Lost Dominion Screening Collective presents a gorgeous 16mm print of the Canadian camp classic "Deadly Eyes" (1982), in which Toronto is overrun by giant killer rats!

Disgruntled maintenance worker Scatman Crothers wants a vacation, scream queen Lisa Langlois wants to bed the gym teacher, and noted rat-ologist Cec Linder just wants to talk your ear off, but these losers are no match for the swarm of genetically mutated rodents - actually dachshunds in fur coats! - who set out to eat their extremities for dinner.

In spite (because?) of a forehead-slapping screenplay and an overweening preponderance of love interests, this howler is by far the most entertaining Canadian killer-rat movie of the 80s. Import director Robert Clouse, best known for his many Bruce Lee flicks, makes the most of his tax-shelter budget; the film keeps on catching you by surprise with unforgettable set pieces in bowling alleys, movie theatres and subway tunnels. They even eat a baby.

Jonathan Culp - programmer at "Toronto's Classiest Cinema". Trash Palace - will be there in person to introduce this rare gem, one of the most entertaining films ever to be utterly forgotten by its nation of origin.

Jun 14, 2011

Canadian Cult Revue Season II (September - April)

Festival Passes are only $45.00 for 11 films!

Most of the films will play at the Bytowne Theatre, with our late night debut and afternoon children's films showing at the Mayfair.

All films playing at the Bytowne start around 7pm. Check the Bytowne calendar for the exact time.

Normal ticket prices at the door. Festival Passes can now be bought at the Bytowne box office and Invisible Cinema at Bank and Lisgar.

Films playing at the Mayfair will have various start times and prices. Please check the Mayfair schedule for the exact times.

More info to come.

Canadian Cult Revue Season II
September 17th 2011 - April 4th 2012


Sept 17th Deadly Eyes, 16mm, 1982, 87mins, Mayfair Theatre, LATE SHOW 11pm-ish

Giant rats attack T
oronto… starring Scatman Crothers (The Shining) and Canadian TV-staple Sarah Botsford (E.N.G.). The rats are in fact wiener dogs dressed up in hairy coats!
Sept 28th The Ivory Tower, HD, 2011, 77mins, Ottawa Premiere, Bytowne Cinema, 7pm ish
Director/musician/puppeteer Adam Traynor's feature film debut, a chess-epic starring a gamut of cult Canadian musicians including piano prodigy/iPad commercial composer/Grammy-nominated producer Chilly Gonzales, Juno-Award winning DJ Tiga, and internationally-renowned raunch rocker Peaches. Guest appearances by indie-pop superstar Feist and underground sensation the World Provider.
Adam Traynor was raised in Old Ottawa South, went to Hopewell Elementary School and attended Glebe Collegiate, making us very pleased to get the chance to debut his film in Ottawa.
Oct. 26th Rabid, 35mm 1.85, 1977, Rated R, Bytowne 
Early Cronenberg: rabid Montrealers run wild, infected by Marilyn Chamber's parasitic underarms.
Nov 9th Carry on Sergeant! (1928) (Silent film) 35mm 1.37, PG, 100mins, Bytowne
Canada’s dramatic take on the Great War well before Paul Gross's Passchendaele. The biggest-budget Canadian movie of the 1920's had the misfortune to be produced as a silent film just as theatres were transitioning to sound. By the time it was released audiences were already enamored of the new audio era, and the film failed at the box office and fell into obscurity. We now revive it with a live soundtrack by Ottawa composer Mike Dubue (Hilotrons).
Dec 7th  Janis, 35mm, 1.85, 1974, AA, 100mins, Bytowne
60’s music icon Janis Joplin rocks it out, produced by Ottawa’s own Crawley Films. Amazing footage of a musical legend at her peak.
Dec 28th  The Dog Who Stopped the War, 35mm, 88mins, Family, 1984, Mayfair Theatre, 1:30pm
This 1980's kid's classic was produced in Quebec as La guerre des tuques.   Familiar to many as "that film with the giant snow fort". 
Jan 25th  Videodrome, 35mm, 1.85, 88mins, rated R, 1983, Bytowne
Long live the new flesh! Starring Blondie's lead singer Deborah Harry and Oscar-winner James Woods. Video mutates humanity in this genuinely creepy Marshall-McLuhan-influenced horror classic.
The River of Life, or The Case Against Certainty, DCP 2K, 71mins, Directed by Edward Folger

In a tribute to the work of his friend, the late Canadian/Bolivian/Dutch artist Juan Geuer, Canadian/American filmmaker/poet Edward Folger builds a jig-saw vision of his life in Ottawa, in the form of a graphic raga, evolving, like classical Indian music, from a leisurely beginning, into a frenzied ride on the force of nature. He draws from his history with media – still photography, feature films, early consumer video; moving on to standard digital and state of the art, high definition video; and finally, into online virtual worlds.

From New York, New England, Ottawa, rural Ontario, and the vast digital world of Second Life, in concert with artists from France, Portugal, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Sweden, and Denmark, each stanza of this video poem twists in a new direction – drama, documentary, animation, still montage, experimental, music video. The worldview that Folger shared with Juan Geuer is the glue holding all the pieces together. Portions of the film have been screened previously at various galleries and international film festivals and some chapters were produced with the support of the City of Ottawa and SAW Video Media Arts Centre.

Folger’s work leaps forward into the Twenty-First Century, visualizing String Theory and M-Theory, vibrating in the full eleven dimensions of reality.

– László Fontoskodó, Director of the Institute for Post-Quantum Critical Studies
March 14st Peanut Butter Solution, 35mm 92mins, PG, 1985, Mayfair Theatre 1:30pm 
Children's classic (sort of about the crisis of premature balding?) from director Michael Rubbo (Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Traveller).
March 28th Lost Films from Library and Archives Canada, 35mm,1.37, Non-rated, Bytowne

Bits and pieces of various lost films from the vaults of Library and Archives Canada, set to new live musical scores.  More information to come.

April 4th Jesus Christ Superstar, 35mm, 2.35 scope, 106mins, 1973, PG, Bytowne
Norman Jewison’s musical about the last few weeks of Jesus Christ's life, heavily affected by the cultural haze of the 60’s and 70’s.

May 26, 2011

70mm Frames from "Ontario" Osaka Expo 70'

For the 70mm film junkies here is a rare look at the Expo 70' film "Ontario" directed by Christopher Chapman. The film was later shortened for the opening of Ontario Place and renamed "Festival" which we played at last years 70mm festival.

Ontario, 1970, 26mins, 70mm 5-perf, 6-track mag (though apparently at the Expo 70' screening it ran 12 track, 6 tracks on the the film, an six more running interlock on fullcoat mag.

An interview segment with Chris Chapman about the film.

This abridged interview, recorded in 1989 and transcribed by Patricia Thompson, the late editor of Film Canada Yearbook, was conducted by Gerald Pratley, then head of the Ontario Film Institute. It was edited by Risa Shuman and Gerald Pratley, with additional material by Christopher and Francis Chapman and Wyndham Wise, 2010. © Ontario Film Institute

GP How did your film for Expo 70, in Osaka, Japan, come about?

CC I was in Los Angeles working on The Happy Time when James Ramsay came down and persuaded me to come back to Toronto to do an Ontario film for Expo 70 in Japan. I knew in a sense that I was asking for trouble; but I was keen to communicate to Oriental audiences because I felt there was something in the relationship between nature and man, and work and play, which was universal. I felt I would like to try this again.

GP You didn't want to repeat yourself. You didn't want another 'Ontari-ari-ario.'

CC No! Actually, I was thinking lyrically; I wanted to take big pan shots and move them slowly across the screen. And I went out and did this. It was not going to be A Place to Stand and it wasn't going to be music from one end to the other. I wanted to take pieces of a music camp up north, or a June Mardi Gras in Ottawa, or the calliope in Western Ontario - all this things that gave it a spirit somewhat different from A Place to Stand. Bill McCauley was musical director and worked closely with me composing the linking music. I was asked to make a longer film, which was fatal; the crowds were just too big for anything longer. Francis joined me, and we called the film Festival.

The first thing James Ramsay from the ministry did at the initial screening in Toronto was to give out a questionnaire asking audiences to compare it to A Place to Stand, which just killed me. The whole idea of even trying to compare the two was the wrong way to go about it. Anyway, it obviously wasn't A Place to Stand, and was never intended to be. So it went to Japan - the longer version - [but] the Ontario Pavilion was an absolute disaster. And I was tied in with its program. There was a monumental multi-slide show that didn't work properly, and it was confused with my film. I went to Japan feeling very depressed after hearing all the bad publicity in Ontario, but in Japan I was greeted warmly and they said the film was an enormous success. The theatre was supposed to hold 650 people, but 1,200 were trying to get in. There were several items in the papers about the success of the film, and it raised my spirits somewhat. Some reviewers considered it one of the most Japanese of all the films at Expo. But despite the fact it won an award at Expo, the ministry considered the whole venture a failure and they didn't even announce the award.

GP And you've never been asked to make a film for Ontario since?

The closing flying shot going over and down Niagara Falls, filmed in 65mm
CC Oh, no, and it would be wrong for me to do another. There are great young talents who should be given a chance. But I will say this, Ontario Place was built and put up entirely as a result of the success of Expo 67. They had Cinesphere, but they weren't going to put in an IMAX screen. IMAX was nearly bankrupt. I convinced Ontario Place that an IMAX system should be included on the grounds that it is a very exciting new medium; it's Ontario, and it's going to be sold to the States if they don't adopt it. So they decided to install an IMAX projection system. In 1973 the new director of Ontario Place, Ian McLennan, asked me to do Toronto the Good, a multi-media show using 36 slide projectors in combination with 35-mm film, and I enjoyed working with Francis again. It was done in remarkably short time, and the possibilities were so exciting; the film part was going to be there all the time, but over the seasons we could change all the slides. They were designed for that purpose, so there was always something new. It did very well and there were some tremendously nice comments. 

For more of the interview go here

Mar 4, 2011

The Lost Dominion goes to the woods

Our second "Cinema Under the Stars" will be held at Raven's Knoll Campground on the August 26-27th.
Check back for details regarding the films. We will be screening two films one on Friday August 26th at dusk and the second on August 27th. The films will be projected on 35mm film and the movies are free for campers.  Raven's Knoll is located close to Eganville, Ontario.

Jan 20, 2011

Extreme Documentaries Double Bill Feb. 16th

February 16th at the Mayfair Theatre, $10

The Man Who Skied Down Everest 7pm, New 35mm print, 1975, 88mins, 2.35 Cinema Scope

The Man Who Skied Down Everest, produced by Ottawa's own Crawley Films, is a monumental movie in more ways than one. Founded by Budge Crawley in the late 1940's, Crawley Films grew into Canada's largest independent film studio, and even rivaled the NFB for cinematic output. It produced everything from Canada's second animated feature film (Return to Oz) in 1962, to industrial films, tv commercials, feature films and documentaries. Based in Ottawa/Gatineau, with a studio in Old Chelsea and a branch office in Toronto, it produced over 5000 films and won numerous awards over its 43 year history, including the Academy Award for Best Feature Length Documentary in 1976 for The Man Who Skied Down Everest (the first Academy Award ever won by a Candian feature film).  This film follows Japanese adventurer Yuichiro Miura as he attempts to sky down the tallest mountain in the world. Very popular with both audiences and critics of the time,  this is a film that deserves being seen on the big screen.

Life Without Death, 8:45pm, New 35mm print, 2000, 83mins, 1.37

Ottawa director Frank Cole created an epic existential documentary with Life Without Death, a personal tale of survival set in one of the harshest environments imaginable – the elemental and unforgiving landscape of the Sahara Desert.  By attempting to become the first person to cross the Sahara on foot, Cole presaged the popular reality-based tv shows like Man Vs. Wild and Survivor Man, but it's closer to Lawrence of Arabia than anything comparable on reality TV. This film has gained a devoted cult following with good reason. Cole's chronicle of his struggle against the desert at the limits of human endurance is mesmerizing in its intensity and stunning in its stark and poetic visual-composition. In it, Frank Cole manages to confront the most basic realities of human existence in a herculean test of fortitude and will.  This is a documentary that stays with you long after you have seen it. 

For more on the films read John Yemen's preview here.