Film Review: IN THE FADE (Aus dem Nichts) (Germany/France 2017) ****

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In the Fade Poster

Katja’s life collapses after the death of her husband and son in a bomb attack. After a time of mourning and injustice, Katja seeks revenge.


Fatih Akin


Fatih Akin (written for screen by), Hark Bohm (author) (co-writer)


Director Fatih Akin broke into the film making scene with small films on gypsy music.  He has come a long way since with his new film IN THE FADE.  IN THE FADE stars top German actress Diane Kruger, which won her the Best Actress Prize at Cannes in 2017.  She totally deserves it and IN THE FADE is an incredible film that attests Akin’s prowess as a filmmaker.  The film also tackles the current problem in the world of racism and prejudice, looking at the face of neo-Nazism.  The film is named after a song by the American rock band Queens of the Stone Age, whose lead singer, Josh Homme, wrote the film’s score.

The film opens in a prison setting.  The inmates are cheering a prison wedding where Kurdish inmate, Nuri Sekerci is being wed to German Katja (Kruger).

The story moves to the present in Hamburg, when Nuri is out of prison and has a business in helping the needy.  They now have 5-year old son.  Katja met Nuri when she bought hasish from him.  Since the birth of their son Rocco, Nuri has quit drug trafficking, studied business administration while in jail, and now works in Hamburg at a translation and tax office.

Akin shocks the audience with the sudden death of Nuri and his son by a bombing, just when one expects Nuri to be the main protagonist, similar to the Janet Leigh character being killed off in PSYCHO.  No doubt an old trick, but one that still works.  It turns out that the killers are neo-Nazis.  After they are acquitted, despite damming evidence, Katja decides two things.  There is no purpose in her life and longer and that she wants justice and revenge.  No more should be said of the plot to prevent any spoilers.

Akin’s IN THE FADE moves along smoothly with nary a dull moment.  He succeeds by inserting various different events like the courtroom drama, the impact on Katja of both her parents and parents-in-law, her sister’s pregnancy and daughter and her own turmoil.  One does admire Katja’s strong character though she breaks down doing drugs at several points in the film.  But it shows the strength of her love for both her husband and child.  This is revisited in home footage she views of her son and husband at the beach, the segment that finally cracks her up.

A different look at the law is also observed.  The investigating officer initially is biased against her because of her husband’s racial background, but he eventually takes her side at the court hearing.  Her lawyer, Danilo Fava (Denis Moschitto) is also sympathetic, always probing her on, and never to give up on justice.  Any romantic involvement between the two is halted immediately with the line Fava utters that he has to drive his kid to kindergarten the next morning.

IN THE FADE is also this year’s German entry for the Best Foreign Film entry at the Academy Awards.  A good choice.  It just won the Golden Globes Prize for Best Foreign Film.



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Film Review: PADDINGTON 2 (UK/France/USA 2017) ****

Paddington 2 Poster

Paddington, now happily settled with the Brown family and a popular member of the local community, picks up a series of odd jobs to buy the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, only for the gift to be stolen.


Paul King


Paul KingSimon Farnaby 


Ben WhishawHugh GrantHugh Bonneville

PADDINGTON the livable British bear that wears a trench coat, Wellington boots and red hat, returns with another big adventure. The first (2014) PADDINGTON film was wonderful and made a whole lot of money. PADDINGTON 2 also directed by Paul King has already been released worldwide grossing $134 million and nominated for Best British film for the this year’s new BAFTA (British Academy Film and Television Awards) to be hosted by Joanna Lumley, who also has a cameo in PADDINGTON 2.

PADDINGTON 2 is live-action/CGI animated comedy film directed by Paul King and written by King and Simon Farnaby, based on the stories of the character Paddington Bear created by Michael Bond. The film is dedicated to Bond. Ben Whishaw provides the voice of Paddington, with Imelda Staunton the voice of Aunt Lucy.

The story involves Paddington, who is now settled with the Brown family in Windsor Gardens. Paddington has become popular in his community, offering people emotional support in various ways. In order to purchase a unique pop-up book of London in Mr. Gruber’s antique shop for Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, Paddington performs several odd jobs and saves his wages, but the book is stolen, and the culprit escapes, resulting in Paddington being accused of the crime and arrested. Although Mr. Gruber (Jim Broadbent) does not believe that Paddington stole the book, with no evidence that the thief existed, Paddington is wrongfully convicted and jailed.

Besides the known Paddington characters , the script includes two lively new ones. One is the villain of the piece, Phoenix Buchanan ( a price performance by Hugh Grant), a faded and narcissistic theatre actor now doing doggie food commercials looking for a comeback. He steals an antique pop-up book that Paddington wants to buy as a birthday present for her Aunt Lucy while framing Paddington in the process. His performance is camp, funny and totally winning. Make sure you sit for the entire closing credits as Grant performs his musical number in prison after he credits roll. As Buchanan sys, “This is a success because of the captive audience.” Grant won a BAFTA nomination here for Best Supporting Actor.

The second lively character is Nuckles with a capital N. It is in prison that Paddington befriends many of the inmates, including the short-tempered chef Nuckles, who hires Paddington, impressed by his marmalade sandwich recipe. Paddington is at first warned by all the inmates about Nuckles but Paddington insists that there is some good in everyone, as Aunt Lucy says. The inmates respond that it is obvious Aunt Lucy has never met Nuckles. Irish actor Brendan Gleeson who has proven himself apt at both drama and comedy is perfect as Nuckles, who proves himself finally a worthy friend to the bear.

PADDINGTON has all the ingredients of a solid family film with good values, humour, with and excitement. The climatic train segment with a chase on top of the train is both fun, clever and exciting. Everyone proves his worth, including Paddington’s adopted father, Harry Brown (Hugh Bonneville). It is also great to see Sally Hawkins as Mary Brown. Hawkins is always goodie anything and her expressive words and smile brings additional charm to the film.

PADDINGTON 2 is a total delight from start to end.


Winning LGBT Feature Screenplay of ÁNH SÁNG, by Barry Brennessel

LGBT Toronto Film Festival


Genre: Romance, LGBT, Drama

French Indochina, 1917. Two teenage boys discover their feelings for one another transcend mere friendship. But the hardships under French colonial rule, and the effects of the Great War, alter their lives forever.


Narration: Carina Cojeen
Minh: Xavier de Guzman
Thao: Anthony Yu
Laurent: Fabio Abreu
Minh’s Mother: Angelica Alejandro
Sovann: Isai Rivera Blas

Get to know the writer: 

 What is your screenplay about?

Two teenage boys in 1917 French Indochina discover their feelings for one another transcend mere friendship. But the hardships under French colonial rule, and the effects of the Great War, alter their lives forever.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

LGBTQ historical drama

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

I like movies that carry me away to another time and place, especially when the setting is one rarely visited. I also like characters who…

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LGBT Best Scene Reading of SHEPHERDING CASSIE, by Michael Oborn

LGBT Toronto Film Festival

Genre: Drama, LGBT

A father believes his nine-year-old daughter is sexually conflicted and puts her in a clinic dedicated to modifying behavior when, the town drunk, grandpa, finds out.

Narrator: Sean Ballantyne
Obie: David Schaap
Sheriff: Neil Bennett
Laurence: Noah Casey
Emily: Clare Blackwood
Agnes: Lauren Toffan
Penny: Val Cole

Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

My screenplay is about the conditioned cultural ignorance that believes we can change a persons sexual orientation. It accents the generally held mythology and folk lore that sex is alterable and that we can change people to fit our beliefs. It is about the fear of differences. In other words, A father commits his nine-year-old daughter to a behavioral modification clinic to insure she doesn’t become a lesbian. Grandpa, the town drunk, is the only person who can help her. Laurence Shepherd, a decent and respected member of the small…

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HIGHLIGHTS & VIDEOS: December 2017 LGBT FEEDBACK Film Festival

LGBT Toronto Film Festival



Best Performances: IT GETS BETTER?

Best Cinematography: CHRISTINE

Best Music: The music from MASQUERADING: TO HELL AND BACK

Watch Audience FEEDBACK Videos:

festival posterCHRISTINE, 10min, USA, LGBT/Coming of Age
festival posterSUNLIGHT OVER WATER, 15min., Canada, LGBT/Drama
festival posterIN A HEARTBEAT, 4min., USA, LGBT/Animation 
festival posterMASQUERADING: TO HELL AND BACK, 13min., South Africa, LGBT/Documentary
festival posterIT GETS BETTER?, 11min., USA, LGBT/Experimental
festival posterWE DID NOT FALL FROM THE SKY, 26min., UK, Experimental/Relationship

The LGBT DECEMBER 2017 FEEDBACK Film Festival gave our audiences simply the best of short movies from this community.

The theme of the festival was “HIDING/FINDING your true self”.

Every film showcased was about a character(s) needing to find who they really are in this crazy world.

The LGBT FEEDBACK Film Festival started as a tiny seed in July…

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Interview with Filmmaker Jesse Gotfrit (SUNLIGHT OVER WATER)

Matthew Toffolo's Summary

SUNLIGHT OVER WATER played to rave reviews at the December 2017 LGBT FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Jesse Gotfrit: The story came from a personal place, from formative relationships and experiences of intimacy that I had in my adolescence, which I thought would resonate with others.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

From start to finish, a period of about 5 months.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Character driven.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Probably learning about all the technical requirements and also working to get the best performance from my actors.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I enjoyed the mixed reviews. The criticisms…

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Interview with Filmmaker Parry Majmudar (LOSING CLAIRE)

Matthew Toffolo's Summary

LOSING CLAIRE played to rave reviews at the Los Angeles FEEDBACK Film Festival in December 2017.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Parry Majmudar: I’ve observed and read certain incidents regarding still born child and also have closely witnessed where there was a high possibility that a girl child couldn’t have survived… SHE was kept on LIFE SUPPORT and after a couple of days, She was removed from it and everyone present there were hoping and praying that she could survive the deadline given by the doctors. FORTUNATELY, God’s grace, SHE DID SURVIVE and SHE IS DOING QUIET WELL NOW. Few months back her family celebrated her fifth birthday. Hence, I got the motivation to make this film this year as a part of final project at the film school . I was present there with the family while all of this was occurring and it somehow…

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