2015 TIFF’s The Next Wave Film Festival – Day 1

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The Next Wave Film Festival is a film program this is dedicated to youth between the ages of 14-18. Movies from around the world are shown at TIFF (Toronto’s home of the annual film festival). This includes special guests, workshops, and a film challenge for youth filmmakers. There’s also a committee that consists of twelves students that selected from a group of film aficionados.

More info here: http://www.tiff.net/festivals/nextwave15/about-next-wave

And here: http://www.tiff.net/festivals/nextwave15/nextwavecommittee

For the first time, These Girls On Film is proud to bring you some reviews and insights into the films screened for the festival from February 13-15th.

It’s important for us to note that the Next Wave Fest is a refreshing take on film for youth. Most of us are used to musicals or romantic fare that doesn’t consider the complexities and grit that teenage-hood entails. While the subjects of these films cover a range of comedies, dramas, and entertaining fare all around, the film’s directors have taken great care at exposing the realities of growing up and how an audience, at any age, can still palpably relate to learning as we grow, because in truth, we should never stop.

This batch of capsule reviews by Jacqueline Valencia.

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Girlhood (2014)

Director: Karidja Toure

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Karidja Toure plays Marieme, a quiet girl who lives in a disenfranchised neighborhood in Paris with her frustrated parents and baby sister. She joins a gang of young teen girls and finds a sisterhood she’s always wanted. The young girl gets into trouble with her new friends and soon comes into her own by finding her strength within. What makes this drama so enthralling is the way director Celine Sciamma lets her actors react naturally on screen, revealing a vulnerability and toughness that is rarely allowed to be shown in teenage women. The vital moments in a girl’s coming of age, is not that she’s getting older, but that she’s forging her identity within the confines of her supports. This will be one of the biggest highlights of this festival.

Also, do not miss this film because it has a solid and wonderfully ethereal soundtrack by Para One (aka Jean-Baptiste de Laubier).

(Note: a full review is pending at a further date with more exploratory analysis)

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Wet Bum (2014)

Director: Lindsay Mackay

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Sam is all elbows and thumbs, the teen awkward stage. She wants to become a lifeguard, but as she trains, she helps her mother clean up a retirement home. Bullied by her peers in swim class, she experiences her first crush on her lifeguard instructor. At the retirement home, she inadvertently becomes involved with some of the resident’s lives due to her good heart and innocence. Julia Sarah Stone takes on the role of Sam with all the visceral heartbreak of her age and the anger that can manifest itself in her circumstances. Lindsay Mackay’s feature was a gem at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival and it’s encouraging to see it doing so well outside of it. The biggest take away that you can get from this film is that growing is a universal condition: shocking, traumatic, and tender all the same.

You can find my full review here: http://nextprojection.com/2014/09/04/tiff-wet-bum-review/

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Dessau Dancers

Director: Jan Martin Scharf

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So where were you after you saw breakdancing for the first time? What did you after? My dad went out got me a cardboard square that said BREAKDANCING all over it. As part of the hip-hop and rap subcultures at the time, breakdancing became part what one would every see on the streets in the 1980s.

Director Jan Martin Scharf brings us the tale of breakdancing as part of an individualistic movement in 1985 communist East Germany. The tale begins right off the bat with youths being exposed to Stan Lathan’s Beat Street. Among them is  Frank (Gordon Kaemmerer) and his best friend, Alex (Oliver Konietzny), kids that are part of the few who are allowed to train for gymnastics championships. As their love for the music and the dancing grows, their government tries to restrict it’s spread.

While the subject can border on light because of the dancing aspect, the themes deal with a hard and complicated setting. Scharf doesn’t dive too deeply into those themes, which could be the film’s detriment. Characters are also mostly surface, like most 80s teenage films by the way, which offers more to the nostalgia that the movie evokes. The soundtrack is retro synth, a current focus for kids looking towards old forms to formulate new genres like the now popular set of retro futurism.

Go expecting a film with good intentions. Leave knowing that the 80s still live on with today’s generation.

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jackie1

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