I’m just going to assume that you will want to check out the TIFF Bell Lightbox’s Next Wave Festival, because who wouldn’t want to attend this FIRST annual celebration of youth innovation and film culture taking place this May 10-12? Not only does the Next Wave festival feature some pretty cool films about issues that affect today’s youth like Mathew Lillard’s Fat Kid Rules the World, Delphine and Muriel Coulin’s 17 Girls, and Amir Bar-Lev’s Re: Generation Music Project. It also showcases original content picked, formatted, and pressed hot off the minds of burgeoning filmmakers and designers.
Part of the Next Wave Festival, the Future Frames programme displays a selection of outstanding new works created by filmmakers attending postsecondary film schools in Canada. Including everything from hand drawn animation to computer generated graphics, the Future Frames programme features shorts like Miles Jay’s social network dystopia Blink, Margaret Donahoe’s Fat a reflection on issues with body image, and Chris Chami’s Make Treksabout a not-for-profit organization that utilizes social media to raise awareness for Toronto’s homeless.
One of the great things about the Next Wave Festival is that TIFF seems to have picked up on an aspect of today’s youth culture absolutely intrinsic to our entertainment: video games. So although Next Wave sports the appearance of being just a film festival, the Future Games programme is certain to entertain anyone born in the age of Nintendo (or in many cases Nintendo 64). In the Future Games programme, post-secondary students from across Canada will showcase their original video games like ASDF which boasts your helping “a colourful posse of gangsters navigate their way through a pixilated labyrinth, one key stroke at a time” or Super Conveniently Head Controlled Face Fight 10987654321 where your head is literally used as a controller in this interactive portion of the festival.
Each event is followed by a panel discussion in which high schoolers can speak to filmmakers and game creators to gain insight on the film and gaming industries. With all this, and playful workshops open to the public, we strongly urge you to go check out a film, a video game, or a work shop at the TIFF Next Wave Festival. It’s your best chance to know ‘what’s poppin’ with the youngins these days!
Director(s): Muriel Coulin, Delhpine Coulin
Running Time: 87 Minutes
Recommended? Strongly! This is like an episode of Degrassi meets the Twilight Zone
One of the best things about any good 90’s pre teen film is its reckless sense of idealism. Films like Camp Nowhere or The Baby Sitter’s club made the idea of kids living in a self sufficient, adult free community not only plausible, but fun to watch. This is the most disconcerting aspect of sisters Muriel and Delhpine Coulin’s 17 Girls– a film that takes this wacky and tired idea of kids being self –sustained to new and ultra-realistic heights.
Based on true events, 17 Girls follows a group of teenaged ‘it girls’ living in the slow sea side town of Lorient. After their wayward leader Camille (Louise Grinberg) finds out she’s pregnant, the girls form a pregnancy pact swearing to get pregnant, move out, and raise their children together. With sharp cinematography and attention to detail, 17 Girls is a gritty, unflinching snapshot of youth culture and the authenticity of these young actresses creates realism similar to Larry Clarke’s Kids.
As these young mothers to be smoke weed, drink, and party their pain away the Coulin’s dig deep into the issues of parental neglect and feelings of hopelessness that many youths struggle with. When babies function as a message of youthful rebellion, 17 Girls makes us aware of the extreme lengths that youths will go to in order to have their voices heard.
Fat Kid Rules the World
Director: Matthew Lillard
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Recommended? Hell yes, and with extra large popcorn with extra butter and coke to wash it down.
A day in the life of a fat kid, punk rocker manifesto, a dark teenage angst comedy- no matter what label you give Fat Kid Rules the World, it will still never live up to everything this film is about. Based on K.L. Going’s novel, Fat Kid Rules the World is actor Mathew Lillard’s directorial debut and tells the story of a fat kid named Troy (Jacob Wysocki), whose lazy daily routine has made him completely unenthusiastic about life.
Yes, it’s okay to call Troy a fat kid here and this is because Lillard forces us tp see Marcus as just this: a character that we’ve all grown up with (or even been) in our schools and neighbour hoods. Troy is the gentle-giant fat kid who likes to eat Twinkies, play video games, and mind his own business, but it is through Troy’s eyes that Lilllard acquaints us with the often unseen struggles which Troy and other fat kids around the world go through in order to fit in anywhere.
When pill popping, punk genius Marcus (Matt O’Leary) saves Troy from a suicide attempt (an attempt which is somehow very funny), Marcus tells Troy the only way to repay him is to be the drummer in his band. Never having laid a hand on any instrument other than his computer mouse, Fat Kid Rules the World fuses the punk and D.Y.I aesthetic with Recess’ Mikey Blumberg in order to give one of the sweetest tales from an outsider’s perspective I’ve ever seen. With a great punk inspired soundtrack and playfully grotesque surrealist sequences, Fat Kid Rules the World makes it clear that Lillard still has a little SLC Punk leftin him.
Director: Amir Bar-Lev
Running Time: 75 Minutes
Recommended: Yes! A must see for musicians, DJs, and any music connoisseur
Being born and raised in the digital age of music, it’s no surprise that so many of my favourite albums feature one DJ or another scratching and mixing away at samples. Still, even at my tender age of 22, I find myself feeling outdated by the next generation of inventive youngsters who have come up making music on their MacBooks: one person armies with the power to recreate the sound of a full scale orchestra at their finger tips.
Documentarian Amir Bar-Lev’s Re: Generation Music Project combines the likes of 5 DJ superpowers: prolific hip hop guru (RIP Guru) DJ Premier, British playboy musician Mark Ronson, electronic metal head mastermind Skrillex, veteran alternative dance duo The Crystal Method, and the hip hop/electro inspired Pretty Lights. The documentary sees these DJs given the challenge of creating a song of a genre (country, classical, rock, funk, and jazz) that is far out of their comfort zone.
Really though, it is collaborations with artists like Nas, Erykah Badu, and The Doors which evolve Re: Generation Music Project past being simply music documentary. Rather, seeing these digital based artists of the next generation tinker, test, and combine their styles with big band sounds and live orchestras makes Re: Generation Music Project an invigorating purview into the past and the future of music production- a must see for any music aficionado of any age.