Double Feature: New Canadian Independents
Date: December 12, 2017
Location: Downtown Independent
Address: 251 S. Main St, Los Angeles, CA. 90012
Los Angeles premieres!
Werewolf director Ashley McKenzie and
How Heavy This Hammer producer Dan Montgomery in person!
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