In brief: The Rhapsody to world premiere at TJFF

The Rhapsody
Plus: Justin Ducharme brings Positions to Sundance Institute Native Lab, Oscar-nominated Théodore Ushev is among latest SODEC funding recipients, and more.

The Canadian feature documentary The Rhapsody directed by David Hoffert will make its world premiere at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival (TJFF). Paul Hoffert and Brenda Hoffert produced the film, about late composer Leo Spellman (pictured), a Polish-Canadian Holocaust survivor.

Spellman’s story of trying to bring his lost musical masterpiece to the stage is told through his secret wartime diary, read by actor Stephen Fry, as well as animation and interviews with family and colleagues.

This is the 30th anniversary of TJFF, which will also have the Israel/Canada/Belgium copro Blue Box by Michael Weits. The career of Canadian actor Marilyn Lightstone will be honoured with five free archival screenings of her films.

Justin Ducharme joins Sundance lab

Canadian Indigenous writer-director Justin Ducharme is among the participants in the Sundance Institute’s 2022 Native Lab, in which artists and storytellers develop their original projects for the screen with guidance and mentorship. The lab is running online and in-person in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Ducharme is a Native Lab Fellow with Positions, about a young queer Indigenous man’s move to an urban centre from his rural hometown “and his unapologetic exploration through sexual desire, his quest for financial stability, and the pursuit of agency over his own body,” says a news release.

Ducharme was raised in the Métis community of St. Ambroise on Treaty 1. He currently lives and works on the Unceded Territory of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh Nations.

The Indigenous Screen Office partnered with the Sundance Institute Indigenous Program for the Native Lab, reserving one spot for an Indigenous filmmaker from Canada to partake in this year’s offering.

Oscar nominee among SODEC funding recipients

The Society for the Development of Cultural Enterprises (SODEC) has announced production funding for eight short films (fiction and documentary) and a short-format narrative digital project.

Short films receiving support include the animated tale Le loup (The Wolf) from Bravo Charlie Inc., written and produced by Oscar-nominated Théodore Ushev (Blind Vaysha); sci-fi story A Time of Mice and Hubris (Les Productions Ecranhia), written by Patrick Baby and Olivier Xavier, who also directs; and the comedy Dans le ventre de Ghislaine (In Ghislaine’s Belly) from Une charmante production, written and produced by Éléonore-Franie Bernier.

The short-film list also includes: drama Jusqu’à ce qu’on meure (Until We Die) from Voyelles Films Productions, written by Yury Paulau and directed by Brigitte Poupart and Myriam Verreault; documentary La petite ancêtre (The Little Ancestor) from Ha! Ha! Productions, written and produced by Alexa Tremblay-Francoeur; and fantasy horror Mothers and Monsters (Les Productions Club Vidéo), written and produced by Edith Jorisch.

That cohort is rounded out by comedy Un après-midi à se fesser dessus (An Afternoon of Spanking) from Les Productions Ô Films, written and produced by Garance Chagnon-Grégoire; and thriller White Noise from Les films Misfit (9445-3818 Québec inc.), written by Christina Saliba and Tamara Scherbak, who also directs.

The short-format digital project is Les naufragés (The Shipwrecked) from art et essai, written and produced by Samuel Lepoil.

Vancouver gets first-ever Greek Film Festival

The Hellenic Canadian Congress of BC and The Cinematheque have announced the inaugural Vancouver Greek Film Festival.

Running June 16 to 19, the in-person event will be hosted at The Cinematheque film institute and feature contemporary and classic Greek films in celebration of Greek Heritage Month this June.

The festival will open with 1964′s Zorba the Greek, directed by Michael Cacoyannis, and close with 2019′s Greek to Me, directed by Harry Killas.