Festival season is upon us and North by Northeast (NXNE) returns in the thick of it this June with NXNE Film Festival. Featuring a brand new line-up of made-in-Canada content amongst the international fare to be served up at this year’s fest, NXNE will screen more than 40 films from June 11–17, at the NFB Mediatheque, the Royal Cinema, and Toronto Underground Cinema.
NXNE 2012 will include six Canadian premieres and eight world premieres, including a gala premiere of the Canadian presentation of My Father and the Man in Black. A feature-length documentary focusing on Johnny Cash’s talented but troubled manager, Canadian impresario Saul Holiff, the film was written and directed by Saul’s estranged son, Jonathan Holiff. It includes previously unreleased footage that weaves a fascinating, tragic story. Six months after his father’s death (2005), the younger Holiff discovered a storage locker containing hundreds of handwritten letters between Saul, Johnny, and June Carter, as well as taped conversations with Cash and an audio diary reaching back to 1965.
The festival will also feature the Canadian public premiere of My Hometown, an animated short produced and directed by Canadian filmmakers Jerry Levitan and Terry Tompkins. My Hometown is narrated by Yoko Ono and embodies Ono’s original poem of peace and the importance of home, using illustrations done by children across the globe. This will be screened alongside I Met the Walrus, an animated film directed by Josh Raskin and produced by Jerry Levitan. This animated film details the 14-year-old Levitan’s encounter with music legend John Lennon.
To date, the other confirmed NXNE films to be screened are
Ages and Stages: The Story of the Meligrove Band – Director: Brendan McCarney
The story of the unluckiest band in Canada: This feature-length documentary highlights the trials and tribulations of the Meligrove Band as they strive to make a name for themselves in the music industry.
Amos the Transparent: Sure As the Weather – Making A Music Video
Director: Gavin Michael Booth *World Premiere
This documentary offers audiences a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into Ottawa band Amos the Transparent and their crew’s efforts to achieve a single-take music video.
The Ballad of Hugh – Director: Marco DiFelice *World Premiere
This feature-length documentary is the story of Hugh Oliver, an unknown – but older – artist trying to make it in the youth-obsessed entertainment biz. Centering on a golden day of recording at Canterbury Studios in Toronto, the film is interwoven with interviews, animation, and music videos.
Disposable Film Festival – Director: Various
Celebrating the democratization of cinema made possible by new, inexpensive video technology, DISPOSABLE offers a forum for non-traditional filmmakers through workshops, competitions, panels and other events intended to educate and inspire.
Down: Indie Rock in the PRC – Directors: Andrew Field and Jud Willmont *Canadian Premiere
Documenting the indie rock music scene in China, the film features performances and interviews with the hottest indie bands in China today, including SUBS, PK-14, Hedgehog, Carsick Cars, and Flying Fruit.
Embracing Voices – Director: Elisa Paloschi *World Premiere
Multiple Juno Award-winning jazz luminary Jane Bunnett came back from the brink after facing depression and the fear that she would never be able to make music again. This documentary follows Jane’s personal and musical journey as she produces her most ambitious CD to date.
Fugitives: Wax Live – Director: Shawn Thomsen *World Premiere
On August 20, 2010, Def Jam rapper WAX (still unsigned at the time) arrived in Toronto to play a series of shows, only to be turned away at the border. Fugitives: Wax Live recounts the story of those who smuggled Wax into the country and the legal repercussions suffered by all involved.
Going Deaf for Nothing: The Story of a Rock ‘N’ Roll Band
Director: Susana Halfon *World Premiere
This is the story of the music business as seen through the life of Sacramento’s Magnolia Thunderfinger, a local bar-scene mainstay. A must-see primer for anyone interested in rock ‘n’ roll and 25-year-old piss.
Jim Talks – Director: Jackson Fishauf *World Premiere
This super 16 mm documentary short focuses on the life and art of influential photographer Jim Allen.
KMS: Jewish Negroes – Director: Moran Ifergan *Canadian Premiere
Taking place in a large ghetto in central Israel, KMS: JEWISH NEGROES looks at a year in the life of three Ethiopian Jewish friends. The film observes the trio’s daily life as rap singers in the band KMS, while touching on the realities of a black generation’s struggle for identity amidst a “white Israel.”
Misguided – Director: Ilse Kramer
Two hands move together and apart in an expression of lyrics by Jennifer Castle from her album Castlemusic.
Once In A Lullaby: The PS 22 Chorus Documentary
Director: Jonathan Kalafer *Canadian Premiere
This documentary follows The PS 22 Chorus after a surprise visit from actress Anne Hathaway to invite them to sing at the Academy Awards. This doc follows these 5th graders and their inspiring teacher from Staten Island to Hollywood, with behind-the-scenes drama at the Oscars.
Sa Javier Metal: The History of Swedish Hard Rock and Heavy Metal –
Director: Yasin Hillborg *Canadian Premiere
With artists like Europe, Yngwie Malmsteen, Entombed, and In Flames, Sweden has become one of the most important exporters of hard rock and heavy metal in the world. This film documents the rise of Swedish metal across the world.
Slaughter Nick for President – Directors: Liza Vespi, Rob Stewart and Marc Vespi *World Premiere
This film examines how actor Rob Stewart inexplicably became a symbol of freedom through the long-forgotten TV role of Nick Slaughter in Tropical Heat (a.k.a. Sweating Bullets), during the Serbian protests which led to the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic.
Previously announced NXNE Film screenings include Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy (Director: Rob Heydon) andWhat Did You Expect? The Archers of Loaf Live at Cat’s Cradle (Director: Gorman Bechard).
All NXNE Festival passes and wristbands are now on sale, available at www.nxne.com.
The complete NXNE line-up and schedule will be announced over the next few weeks. Stay tuned!