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Double Feature: New Canadian Independents

December 12, 2017

Double Feature: New Canadian Independents

How Heavy This Hammer (Dir. Kazik Radwanski, 2015) & Werewolf (Dir. Ashley McKenzie, 2016)

Los Angeles premieres!
Werewolf director Ashley McKenzie &
How Heavy This Hammer producer Dan Montgomery in person!


7:00 PM


7:30 PM


Downtown Independent
251 S Main St
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Yanai Initiative logo_edited.jpg
Yanai Initiative logo_edited.jpg

Over the  past half-decade, Canadian independent filmmaking has experienced a  resurgence. Working outside traditional funding channels, a  constellation of new directors from across the country have emerged with  unique styles and sensibilities, distinct in their regional  specificities while standing firmly at the vanguard of new cinematic  storytelling possibilities.

Two of  the most notable names to have arisen from this movement, Toronto's  Kazik Radwanski and Nova Scotia's Ashley McKenzie, have each recently  produced films that have earned an uncommon amount of international  attention. Upon its premiere at TIFF, Radwanski's second feature, How Heavy This Hammer,  a modest portrait of a Bulgarian immigrant who one day decides to leave  his wife and explore the frontiers of middle-age dating and  single-parent living, instantly solidified the filmmaker as this new  generation's most gifted and empathetic curator of everyday domestic  travails.

No less attuned to the subtle gradations of the human condition, McKenzie, with her feature debut Werewolf––a  vividly realized romantic tragedy following two young addicts living on  the margins of New Waterford that has picked up numerous awards as its  traveled across North America and Europe––has announced herself as an  equally uncompromising chronicler of emotional and psychological trauma.  Together the work of these two young directors speaks not only to the  exciting developments in Canadian independent filmmaking, but to the  breadth of contemporary cinematic invention as a whole.

~ Join us for a reception following the screening!

Striking, clear-eyed, and very, very funny, [How Heavy This Hammer has] been justly celebrated as one of the best Canadian films in years.

- Calum Marsh, Village Voice

[How Heavy This Hammer]  remains without judgment, forming a story nearly recursive in  structure... This is something no television show would attempt, no  mid-tier festival film dare gamble their eligibility for an audience  award on. Yet here it is: quiet, a bit pensive, a bit mysterious, and  never less than thoughtful. The kind of film you love to discover.

- Daniel Kasman, MUBI Notebook

By  way of a sure sense of behavior... McKenzie fuses a documentary-like  observational precision with a creative imagination that endows her  characters’ struggles with a quietly monumental grandeur.

- Richard Brody, The New Yorker

[Werewolf's]  narrative materials are generic, but the filmmaking is vivid and  specific... The finely gradated interactions between the protagonists  and different representatives of various institutional establishments  place empathy and ambivalence side by side, where they belong.

- Adam Nayman, Cinema Scope

[Werewolf]  is distinguished by McKenzie’s almost monomaniacal head-down focus on  minutiae, her attempt to tell a story through a collection of  process-based sequences—the daily routine at the clinic gradually gives  way to the MacNeil character’s job at a soft-serve ice-cream place,  broken down into the component parts of a crap job, with the rumble of  hand-grinding Oreo cookie bits taking on a particularly ominous quality.

- Nick Pinkerton, Artforum

(Available to download after screening date)

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