Posted on September 14, 2019

WAYDOWNTOWN was the very first film ever screened at CIFF, way-back in 2000. This year we're bringing it back for our 20th anniversary, along with Gary Burns, the film's director, who will be in attendance for the red carpet and for a Q&A after the film's screening on September 19th. We asked him to look through this year's film line-up and get an insight into how he chooses what films he'd most like to see at this year's festival.


Gary Burns is a Calgary based writer and director who has been making documentary and narrative feature films for over twenty years. He’s best know for The Suburbanators (1995), Kitchen Party, (1997) waydowntown (2000), and Radiant City (2006). His most recent work includes The Future is Now! (2011), Flexie! All The Same and All Different (2015) and Man Running (2018)


I don’t feel comfortable recommending films I haven’t seen, but when it comes to festivals everyone, aside from the programmers, is in the same boat. When looking through the program I search out films by directors I’m a fan of, so Agnès Varda, (VARDA BY AGNÈS) Ken Loach (SORRY WE MISSED YOU) and Alan Zweig (COPPERS) stood out at the start.

Then I look for prize winners at the big festivals, PARASITE (Cannes,) and SYNONYMS (Berlin.) I’m a bit leery of Sundance award winners but I’ll consider it as well (HONEYLAND).

Then there are the films a festival insider has recommended (17 BLOCKS), the films that are getting press at TIFF (ONCE WERE BROTHERS: ROBBIE ROBERTSON AND THE BAND), which if you listen to Q on CBC you’re going to hear a lot of this time of year. I’m a big fan of everything associated with The Band so I’ve got this on my list.

Last I look through the guide and see if anything catches my eye -  a European film with Jesse Eisenberg (VIVARIUM) about suburban dystopia, and LES MISÉRABLES, a fiction feature from a documentarian that was in the main competition at Cannes. I may give it a look; I really like French films.


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