Ellen Page

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A disappointment for Ellen Page fans in Chlotrudis

It's looking like JACK AND DIANE, the lesbian, werewolf flick we were all on pins and needles about has lost Ellen Page. Recently Cinematical reported that the film has abruptly disappeared from Ellen's imdb page, and the film's website is no longer active.

JACK AND DIANE was to have starred Page and her JUNO co-star Olivia Thirlby, as teenage lesbians who meet in New York City and spend the night "kissing ferociously." Trouble is, one of them discovers that her newly awaken sexual desires turn her into a werewolf. Page and Thirlby were terrific as best buds in JUNO, and this was certainly a film with an audience just waiting for it to be made. Well, last September in Toronto, Ellen and Olivia talked with First Showing about the difficulty the film has had in obtaining financing, and my suspicion is that even with Page's star having risen, the filmmakers were unable to get the necessary investors to begin filming, and Page's increasingly busy schedule just got in the way.

Here's hoping that the film gets its financing in order and that Ellen's schedule opens up again... or something. What a joy it would be to watch Ellen and Olivia spending the night snogging as it were, then sprouting fur and a wolf's snout and running around howling!

Independent Film Festival of Boston Announces 2008 Festival Line-Up

The Independent Film Festival of Boston has announced its festival line-up for when it returns to the Somerville Theatre, the Brattle Theatre and the Coolidge Corner Theatre April 23 - 29, 2008. Opening the festival is TRANSSIBERIAN, the latest from director Brad Anderson (NEXT STOP, WONDERLAND; HAPPY ACCIDENTS) starring Woody Harrelson, Emily Mortimer, and Ben Kingsley. Anderson, his screenwriter Will Conroy and the cast will be in attendance at the opening night premiere. Closing the festivities on Tuesday, April 29 at the Coolidge Corner Theatre will be Werner Herzog's environmental documentary ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD.

The Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film will be co-presenting two films at the IFFB, both from our neighbors to the north. On Friday, April 25 and Sunday April 27, join us for another tour de force performance by the talented Ellen Page who stars in THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS a visual extravaganza directed by Bruce McDonald. Chlotrudis will also welcome Guy Maddin to town for his magnificent autobiographical, pseudo-documentary, MY WINNIPEG. It screens on Monday, April 28.

Read the IFFB's official announcement below:

The Independent Film Festival of Boston (IFFBoston) today announced the films that will be featured at the 2008 Independent Film Festival of Boston. The sixth annual festival will be held April 23-April 29, 2008. This year, to meet the demands of its growing audience, IFFBoston has expanded its slate to include 96 films. The festival, complete with over 150 film screenings, filmmaker Q&A sessions, panel discussions, visiting filmmakers, parties and events will showcase the works of filmmakers who seek to create films that are life changing, thought provoking and expose aspects of life in new and revealing manners.

TRANSSIBERIAN directed by Brad Anderson, written by Brad Anderson and Will Conroy, and starring Woody Harrelson, Emily Mortimer, and Sir Ben Kingsley will open the festival on Wednesday, April 23rd at the Somerville Theatre in Davis Square. This marks a return to Boston for Brad Anderson, who previously shot his features NEXT STOP WONDERLAND and SESSION 9 in the city. Brad Anderson, Will Conroy, and cast will be in attendance for the Opening Night screening.

ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD directed by Werner Herzog, will close the Independent Film Festival of Boston on Tuesday April 29th at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline.

Two feature length films will be making their World Premiere at the Independent Film Festival of Boston this April. The first, TWELVE, brings twelve of Boston’s brightest young filmmakers together on a collaborative project wherein each of them directed a segment of the film, each in a different month of the year, with the other 11 directors always serving as their crew. The directors who make up the twelve are Scott Masterson, Seanbaker Carter, Andy McCarthy, Garth Donovan, Luke Poling, Noah Lydiard, Megan Summers, Brynmore Williams, Joan Meister, Marc Colucci, Jared Goodman, and Vladmir Minuty.

The second film having its World Premiere at the festival is MEADOWLARK, an autobiographical documentary by first-time filmmaker Taylor Greeson, which simultaneously explores issues of faith and sexuality while confronting the violent murder of the filmmaker’s brother.

Special guests attending the festival include Famke Janssen, Guy Maddin, Harmony Korine, Harlan Ellison, Mary Stuart Masterson, Jay McCarroll, Chris Eigeman, Brad Neely, Harry & The Potters, and many more to be announced in the coming weeks.

Discounted passes are available on the festival website, http://www.iffboston.org, through March 31st. Individual tickets will be available on the website starting April 1st. There are film-only passes, party-only passes, and Chrome passes which grant access to all films and parties available.

INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL OF BOSTON 2008 OFFICIAL SELECTIONS:

Narrative Features
AUGUST EVENING, directed by Chris Eska
BALLAST, directed by Lance Hammer
BEAVER TRILOGY, directed by Trent Harris (Buried Treasure screening)
BIG MAN JAPAN, directed by Hitoshi Matsumoto
BLOOD CAR, directed by Alex Orr
THE CAKE EATERS, directed by Mary Stuart Masterson
FLASH POINT, directed by Wilson Yip
FROWNLAND, directed by Ronnie Bronstein
GOLIATH, directed by David Zellner & Nathan Zellner
JETSAM, directed by Simon Welsford
MEDICINE FOR MELANCHOLY, directed by Barry Jenkins
MISTER LONELY, directed by Harmony Korine
MOMMA’S MAN, directed by Azazel Jacobs
MONGOL, directed by Sergei Bodrov
MY EFFORTLESS BRILLIANCE, directed by Lynn Shelton
MY WINNIPEG, directed by Guy Maddin
NATURAL CAUSES, directed by Alex Cannon, Paul Cannon, and Michael Lerman
THE NEW YEAR PARADE, directed by Tom Quinn
PHOEBE IN WONDERLAND, directed by Daniel Barnz
PING PONG PLAYA, directed by Jessica Yu
PINK, directed by Alexander Voulgaris
SAVAGE GRACE, directed by Tom Kalin
SEVERED WAYS: THE NORSE DISCOVERY OF AMERICA, directed by Tony Stone
STUCK, directed by Stuart Gordon
TIME CRIMES, directed by Nacho Vigalondo
THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS, directed by Bruce McDonald
TRANSSIBERIAN, directed by Brad Anderson (Opening Night Film)
TRIANGLE, directed by Ringo Lam, Johnnie To, and Tsui Hark
TURN THE RIVER, directed by Chris Eigeman
TWELVE, directed by Scott Masterson, Seanbaker Carter, Andy McCarthy, Garth Donovan, Luke Poling, Noah Lydiard, Megan Summers, Brynmore Williams, Joan Meister, Marc Colucci, Jared Goodman, and Vladmir Minuty
VEXILLE, directed by Fumihiko Sori
WOODPECKER, directed by Alex Karpovsky

Documentary Features
AMERICAN TEEN, directed by Nanette Burnstein
AT THE DEATH HOUSE DOOR, directed by Steve James and Peter Gilbert
CRAWFORD, directed by David Modigliani
DREAMS WITH SHARP TEETH, directed by Erik Nelson
ELEVEN MINUTES, directed by Michael Selditch
ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD, directed by Werner Herzog (Closing Night Film)
FRONTRUNNER, directed by Virginia Williams
THE GREENING OF SOUTHIE, directed by Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis
INTIMIDAD, directed by David Redmon and Ashley Sabin
JOY DIVISION, directed by Grant Gee
JUMP!, directed by Helen Hood Scheer
LIFE. SUPPORT. MUSIC., directed by Eric Metzgar
THE LINGUISTS, directed by Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, and Jeremy Newberger
LIONESS, directed Meg McLagan and Daria Sommers
MEADOWLARK, directed by Taylor Greeson
NERDCORE RISING, directed by Negin Farsad
NOT YOUR TYPICAL BIGFOOT MOVIE, directed by Jay Delaney
PUBLIC ENEMY: WELCOME TO THE TERRORDOME, directed by Robert Patton-Spruill
SAVIOURS, directed by Ross Whitaker and Liam Nolan
SECOND SKIN, directed by Juan Carlos Pineiro Escoriaza
SECRECY, directed by Robb Moss and Peter Galison
SEX POSITIVE, directed by Daryl Wein
SONG SUNG BLUE, directed by Greg Kohs
VERY YOUNG GIRLS, directed by David Schisgall
WE ARE WIZARDS, directed by Josh Koury
WILD BLUE YONDER, directed by Celia Maysles

Short Films
APOCALYPSE OZ, directed by Ewan Telford
AQUARIUM, directed by Rob Meyer
A CATALOG OF MY ANTICIPATIONS, directed by David Lowery
CHIEF, directed by Brett Wagner
DOXOLOGY, directed by Michael Langan
THE DRIFT, directed by Kelly Sears
THE EUROPEAN KID, directed by Ian Martin
THE EXECUTION OF SOLOMON HARRIS, directed by Wyatt Garfield and Ed Yonaitis
FILM MAKES US HAPPY, directed by Bryan Wizemann
GLORY AT SEA, directed by Ben Zeitlin
HEARTBEATS, directed by Vincent Coen
IF A BODY MEET A BODY, directed by Brian Davis
I HAVE SEEN THE FUTURE, directed by Cam Christiansen
I LOVE SARAH JANE, directed by Spencer Susser
JACKSON WARD, directed by Matt Petock
KIDS + MONEY, directed by Lauren Greenfield
LA CORONA, directed by Amanda Micheli and Isabel Vega
LARRY (THE ACTOR), directed by Brett Portanova and Eric Poydar
THE LONELY BLISS OF CANNONBALL LUKE, directed by Levi Abrino
MAN, directed by Myna Joseph
MAYBE IN THE SPRINGTIME, directed by Mai Sato
MR.P, directed by Jake Vaughan
PEPPER, directed by Harry McCoy
PRIMITIVE TECHNOLOGY, directed by Bo Price
THE PULL, directed by Andy Blubaugh
THE RAMBLER, directed by Calvin Reeder
REORDER, directed by Sean Garrity
SAFARI, directed by Catherine Chalmers
SANGIT SENYOR, directed by Alan Lyddiard
SAVE THE WORLD, directed by David Casals-Roma
SIKUMI (ON THE ICE), directed by Andrew Okpeaha MacLean
SPIDER, directed by Nash Edgerton
34x24x36, directed by Jesse Epstein
TONY ZOREIL, directed by Valentin Potier
WELL-FOUNDED CONCERNS, directed by Tim Cawley
WOMAN IN BURKA, directed by Jonathan Lisecki

Panel Discussions

  • Collaborative Screenwriting Presented by Zhura.com
    A discussion with screenwriters and other industry professionals on the benefits of collaboration featuring Amy Fox (Heights) and Will Conroy (Transsiberian)
  • Distribution 2.0
    A discussion with some of the companies on the cutting edge of film distribution featuring representatives of Spout.com, Current.com, Indiepix, and Ourstage. Moderated by Amy Dotson of the Independent Feature Project (IFP).
  • Comics to Film/ Film to Comics
    A presentation by “Robot Stories” writer/director and writer of the hit comics The X-Men and World War Hulk, Greg Pak.

The Independent Film Festival of Boston will reach a diverse audience by incorporating a number of venues in the greater Boston community including:

  • Somerville Theatre in Davis Square
  • Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square
  • Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline

I'm not even a horror fan and I'm excited!

I know, I know, it seems like every other post on this blog has something to do with Ellen Page. Well, she is one of the hottest young actors out there, and Chlotrudis did kind of discover her south of the border, and she is a frickin' amazing actor. Well this news from Cinematical is just too cool for words. The headline of their blog post reads, "Sam Raimi to Direct Ellen Page in 'Drag Me to Hell'" Doesn't that just rock your world? I'm sure if you are a horror fan it does. And if you're not (I'm not) there's something about that headline that just thrills me a little bit.

Can't Get Enough of That Page!

Okay, so Ellen Page seems to get an inordinate amount of attention on Mewsings, but after all, Chlotrudis did kind of discover her back in 2005 awarding her with a Beakthrough Award... and the rest is history. Besides, she's just so good! Case in point: the other day I blogged about a film at Sundance called SMART PEOPLE, starring Dennis Quaid, Ellen Page, Thomas Haden Church and Sarah Jessica Parker. This will probably be Ellen's next film to hit the big screen (unless U.S. distribution wises up and picks up on THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS... or better yet, it plays at the Independent Film Festival of Boston) and I've gotta say, judging by this clip Miramax has released, Ellen's in fine form as usual, and the rest of the film looks pretty good as well. It's director Noam Murro's first feature, but I'm excited about his next project, an adaptation of Alice Munro's Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, with Julianne Moore in talks to star.

Great Interview with Ellen Page on NPR

Ellen Page... Ellen Page... Are we tired of reading/hearing about Ellen Page? No! As many people south of the 54'40 don't know, Chlotrudis discovered Ellen Page in the U.S, awarding her with the Breakout Award in 2005, before HARD CANDY or X-MEN: THE LAST STAND were released. We co-presented the still-unreleased AMERICAN CRIME with the Provincetown International Film Festival which starred Ellen and Catherine Keener earlier this year. Now with the imminent release of the terrific Ivan Reitman comedy JUNO, Page is poised to really break out to a wider audience. Take a listen to this wonderful NPR interview with this talented actress.

THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS Official Trailer

So I haven't seen a U.S. distributor pick this one up yet (what are you waiting for?), but my hope is that if JUNO is a smash, THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS might have a shot. This was my top film of the Toronto International Film Festival. It stars the amazingly talented Ellen Page, who is about to become a star, and who I told in Toronto Chlotrudis was totally taking credit for her success in the States (which she was completely cool about). I don't know when you'll get to see THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS in the States (hopefully when we co-present it at the IFFB? Brian? Nancy? Adam?) but here's the nifty trailer. Oh, it's directed by that talented Canadian director, Bruce McDonald.

THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS' Canadian Release and a Canadian Chlotrudis?

My top film at September's Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) was Bruce McDonald's powerful and innovative THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS. Starring the fearless Ellen Page, this film chronicles a troubled adolescent's desperate search for her missing younger brother as her mind fragments into hysteria and near madness. Twitch reports that THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS will be released on three screens in Canada on November 2. I can't tell how this release compares to the releases of other Canadian-made films in their home country. One of the ironic things about TIFF is that we try to see as many Canadian films as possible because they rarely get released in the U.S. The hometown audiences do the very same thing because of their poor release in their home country! You'd think a movie sporting adirector with a track record like McDonald's, and a rising star like Page would get some attention. No word on a U.S. release, but if Page's other outstanding film, JUNO, coming out in December, performs as well as it should, THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS just may get a little more notice. Otherwise I will be pushing for an appearance at the Independent Film Festival of Boston next April.

Now what's this about a Canadian Chlotrudis? Isn't that a little redundant? Actually I was thrilled to find out about the First Weekend Club (which I discovered by following the TRACEY FRAGMENTS trail from Twitch back to Mad About Movies to First Weekend Club.) Catch the first sentence of their mission statement: First Weekend Club builds audiences for Canadian films. They do this by building awareness and strong box office for great Canadian cinema on opening weekends. It's free to join, but I think you might have to live in Canada. There is currently an exclusive interview with Bruce McDonald featured on the front page. I think Chlotrudis needs to meet the First Weekend Club.

We Interrupt the TIFF Reports for the JUNO Trailer!

Thanks to Cinematical we've got the just released trailer for one of the most talked about films from TIFF, Jason Reitman's JUNO starring Ellen Page. This film is really poised to be Ellen's star-making film, and it's sure to be a monster for Chlotrudis. The trailer very wisely avoids many of the laugh-out-loud moments in the film, but it does a nice job setting up the wise-cracking, quirky elements of the film. Do check it out:

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TIFF Day 6: Catching my Breath

After four movies and two parties on Tuesday, I knew I would have to take it easy on Wednesday, so I scheduled a two-film day. Of course, what I didn't account for was the fact that I had to get up early in the morning one last time to go to the box office, and my afternoon was booked for a group-Chlotrudis lunch (the only time I would see Ned & Ivy during the entire festival!) With the ever-growing festival fatigue that hits in the latter half of the trip, and another party looming in the evening, I knew this was going to be a tough day. Fortunately, our first film wasn't until 12:30 p.m., so we did have a couple of hours in the morning to rest.

UNE VIEILLE MAÎTRESSE (France; 114 min.)

director: Catherine Breillat

cast: Asia Argento, Fu'ad Aït Aattou, Roxane Mesquida, Claude Sarraute, Yolande Moreau

A new Catherine Breillat film is always something that sparks my interest, and in her latest film, the first after the director endured a serious stroke, Breillat tries her hand at a period piece... a true costume drama set in the early nineteenth century. Based on writer Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly’s notorious novel of sexual intrigue, UNE VIEILLE MAÎTRESSE charts the tempestuous ten-year relationship between young Ryno de Marigny and the foul-mouthed, half-Spanish libertine Vellini. Now that Ryno is engaged to marry the virtuous gem of the French aristocracy, Hermangarde, he must come clean about his past to her grandmother La marquise de Flers, who is shockingly understanding. Ryno insists that it is over between he and Vellini, and explains to La marquise the sexual dynamic that kept him in her clutches for so many years. Their late night conversation is punctuated by the voracious sexual encounters and the social manipulations between the young lovers.

The casting of Asia Argento as Vellini is an interesting choice for Breillat. Argento is not known for her deft acting skills, and her on-screen presence is decidedly modern. Still, she inhabits the roll of Vellini quite well; her unrefined screen presence matching the uncouth Vellini in a way that works for the film. Newcomer Fu'ad Aït Aattou, a barber Breillat discovered at a French cafe, does a fine job as Ryno, acquitting himself nicely despite being chosen quite obviously for his looks. Frequent Breillat collaborator Roxane Mesquida (FAT GIRL; SEX IS COMEDY) adds just enough backbone to the virginal Hermangarde to give her much needed depth. The standout in the cast is certainly Claude Sarraute as the unflappable La marquise de Flers, who takes in Ryno's scandalous story and gives him the benefit of the doubt that he has changed.

What lifts UNE VIEILLE MAÎTRESSE above the vaguely reminiscent DANGEROUS LIAISONS is the way the two main characters are allowed a range of emotions. There is more than just cruel manipulations behind the actions of the young lovers; true emotions simmering just beneath the surface. As far as the production itself, Breillat, who in her introduction to the film explained her obsession with period details, has taken pains to create an accurate look and feel of the time. The film's budget is more than all her previous films combined, and you can see where the money was spent onscreen. This is a fine continuation of a controversial filmmaker's body of work.

THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS (Canada; 77 min.)

director: Bruce McDonald

cast: Ellen Page, Ari Cohen, Max McCabe-Lokos, Max Turnbull, Julian Richings, Zie Souwand, Slim Twig

This was surely the year of Ellen Page at the Toronto International Film Festival. After receiving well-deserved accolades for her fine comedic work in JUNO, she turns around a floors audiences in Bruce McDonald's ("Twitch City"; HIGHWAY 61) dramatic feature THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS. This is a film that has the potential to blow your mind, incorporating a strong enough screenplay, a powerhouse lead performance, and a visionary director that pushes the boundaries of filmmaking to take the film's title literally and give the audience visual fragments of the titular character's psyche.

In some ways, Tracey Berkowitz is similar to Juno, Page's other leading role at the festival. Both are high-school girls on the fringes of that community. But while Juno has a strong support base in her friends and family, Tracey is adrift alone, picked on mercilessly by her peers, and shunned by her parents who find her to be a problem child. Or it's possible that Tracey is just a very disturbed young girl rejecting any assistance that comes her way. The film is told entirely from Tracey's decidedly skewed point-of-view, it is difficult to gauge the ineffectiveness of her parents accurately. Central to the story is the disappearance of Tracey's seven-year-old brother, who thinks he's a dog. The story is told in flashback, through erratic flashes of Tracey's memory, as she rides a bus through the city, wrapped only in a flowered shower curtain, an impending blizzard looming in the near future.

Two films came to mind as I watched THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS: Lukas Moodysson's LILJA 4-EVER and Darren Aronofsky's PI. The former because we are watching the helpless downward spiral of a girl in way over her head. The latter because of the visual and aural assault Bruce McDonald uses to convey this tragic story. The fragmented visuals and helter skelter editing McDonald employs really adds tremendously to what might have otherwise been an R-rate after-school special type of story. The powerful, sountrack by Broken Social Scene matches the visuals nicely. The film works best if you stop resisting and let it wash over your senses. Moments of near calm are granted in Tracey's discussions with Dr. Heker, a female psychologist cast and played brilliantly by the very male Julian Richings (MY LIFE WITHOUT ME; THE RED VIOLIN).

The film has some minor flaws, mainly in the screenplay, but Page's outstanding lead performance and McDonald's creative and assured directorial hand managed to catapult THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS into my top film of the Festival. I'm hoping that a successful roll-out of JUNO will grant THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS a U.S. distribution deal. I would also love to co-present this film at the Independent Film Festival of Boston next April if it hasn't yet been released.

Once again, we hooked up with Don and Tracy after the film, along with Gerry Peary and Callum Keith Rennie, to walk over to the Century Club and THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS after-party. We once again chatted with Nadia Litz and Kish, as we navigated the crowded party filled with Canadian film notables. Just as the late hour threatened to overwhelm us and we made our way to the exit, we came across the star of the evening, the incredibly talented Ellen Page, and we were able to chat with her, congratulating her on her success. She graciously allowed us to take all the credit south of the border for discovering her rising star when we gave her the Breakout Award at the 11th Annual Chlotrudis Awards.

McDonald and Page Score in Berlin

Canadian filmmaker Bruce McDonald's latest film THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS scored a distribution deal at the Berlin Film Festival this week. This experimental film stars busy Chlotrudis-winner Ellen Page, who is nominated this year for her compelling performance in HARD CANDY. To tell his story of a girl struggling with puberty, McDonald takes the film title literally by using fragments of images, often many at a time, to visually represent what Tracey is experiencing. McDonald film work has been little seen in America (HIGHWAY 61, DANCE ME OUTSIDE, HARD CORE LOGO, PICTURE CLAIRE), but Chlotrudis members will definitely know him for some of his television work ("Twitch City," "DeGrassi: the Next Generation," "Queer as Folk").

THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS has been picked up by Canada's Odeon Films for distribution in Canada and Germany. Here's hoping it makes an appearance south of the border. With Page getting some attention with HARD CANDY, and the recent Sundance premiere of AN AMERICAN CRIME, in which she co-stars with Catherine Keener, perhaps THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS has a chance of getting U.S. distribution. THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS is based on a novel by Maureen Medved who also wrote the screenplay.