On Kyle Edward Ball’s Skinamarink (2022)

By Jacqueline Valencia A little boy and his older sister find out that they are left alone at home. The adults have disappeared and so have the doors and windows. The only constant they have are their toys and a tv playing old cartoons. I will leave it at that.

On Sebastián Lelio’s The Wonder (2022)

by Jacqueline Valencia The very bare bones of sound, image, a dolly shot, and a voice that come to set the stage. Then all of a sudden, a screen will take its audience to the middle of the ocean, or flying like a kite above a beach. It’s the way

#TIFF22 Interview with V/H/S 99’s Verona Blue

by Jacqueline Valencia On September 16, 2022, I met up with LA-based actress Verona Blue. I’ve known Verona for a long time since my later goth days in the clubs. Verona has been a local Toronto DJ, alternative model, animal rescuer, and always an up and coming actress. I hadn’t

#TIFF22 On Sophie Kargman’s Susie Searches (2022)

by Jennifer Valencia Susie Wallis (Kiersey Clemons) is an awkward young woman holding down part-time school, a job at Burger Bonanza, and an internship at the Sheriff’s office all while being the primary caregiver to her mother who has MS. She is quirky, unpopular with almost everyone she encounters and

#TIFF22 On Miles Warren’s Bruiser (2022)

by Jacqueline Valencia Director: Miles Warren Toxic masculinity hurts everyone. It carries itself through intergenerational trauma and can prevent tenderness and empathy in times of conflict. In Bruiser, Miles Warren explores the complexities of toxic masculinity in a nuanced coming of age story. Fourteen year old Darious (Jayln Hall) comes

#TIFF22 On Soko and DeFilippo’s Free Money (2022)

by Jacqueline Valencia Directors: Sam Soko and Lauren DeFilippo The answer to ending poverty is to share and not to hoard the means by which everyone in the world can have their basic human needs met and rights protected. World poverty is very much tied into capitalist ventures and climate


by Jennifer Valencia (Director: Anthony Shim) This is a story that is not new to me. It may not be the exact same story, circumstances, or culture but it is a story many of us children of immigrants or immigrants ourselves know all too well. Riceboy Sleeps (2022) tells the


by Jacqueline Valencia It’s Toronto Film Festival time and as accredited press, Critical Focus is ON IT. First thing’s first, I would like to acknowledge the work of a lot of film PR companies who have reached out with screeners for those of us who can not make it entirely

On Don McKellar’s Sensitive Skin (2014)

by Jacqueline Valencia I’ve been accused of loving Toronto too much. In these dire times, with the way the city is run, it’s hard to keep loving a city that will either drive you out or eat you up whole. Born and raised here (my parents decided to take my

On Chad Ostrom’s The Day After Halloween (2022)

by Jacqueline Valencia Audiences need more horror movies with clever stories. Horror movie lovers can be discerning and quite critical of what they will champion. I do love horror and I’ve loved it since I was a kid. Nothing better than having a pile of VHS tapes to babysit you

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