Friday, September 20, 2013

Montreal International Black Film Festival opens with tribute to Danny Glover

It was a full house at the Imperial Theatre on September 18, as the ninth edition of the Montreal International Black Film Festival kicked off in grand style with the Canadian premiere of the film “Chasing Shakespeare” and a tribute to one of the film’s stars, veteran actor Danny Glover.

Glover, who is best known for his performances in such films as “The Color Purple”, "Witness", "Grand Canyon", the HBO bio pic "Mandela"and the “Lethal Weapon” franchise, was honoured with the 2013 Humanitarian Award for his work championing civil rights, fighting apartheid in South Africa and racial profiling by taxi drivers in New York, and serving as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador focusing on poverty, disease and economic development in the Third World, and his current role as a UNICEF Ambassador.

After he was given the award by festival founder, the dynamic Fabienne Colas (pictured below on the right) and program director Emile Castonguay (pictured below on the left), the 67-year-old Glover humbly accepted the honour by stating how he was born at a time when such social justice causes as equality for women, civil rights, and rights for farm workers were beginning to flourish.

“These days, with poverty, starvation and exploitation around, it’s up to the young people to step up to the table as artists, professionals and mothers and fathers to realize the importance of their moment of history is right now,” he said. “If these problems are not reversed, the potential of humankind is in jeopardy. The work that we do now will hopefully allows us to celebrate a better world for all, and a planet that will work for all of us, for all of humanity and for all of the species.”

The tribute was followed by the premiere screening of Norry Niven’s magical, spiritual drama “Chasing Shakespeare”, which tells the story of how a 40-year romance between a Black man and a Native American women developed in Arkansas during the early 1970s, and how the young woman’s passion for the plays and sonnets of William Shakespeare becomes the link that brings the pair together. The very emotional film is well complemented by strong performances by Glover and Chelsea Ricketts, who portrays the young Venus Red Hawk, whom Glover’s character eventually falls in love with and marries.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

An evening with Kathleen Turner

During the final weekend of the Montreal World Film Festival, attendees got a treat on August 30 at the Imperial Theatre, when actress Kathleen Turner received the festivals Grand Prix of the Americas for lifetime achievement from festival founder Serge Losique.

In a special live tribute to Turner and her career, clips were shown from some of her best known film performances, including “Romancing the Stone”, “Body Heat”, “Prizzi’s Honor” and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”. This was followed by a live interview with Turner, in which she related several interesting behind-the-scenes anecdotes, including how because of an actors’ strike in the summer of 1980, the shooting of “Body Heat” was done during the winter months, and she and co-star William Hurt had to chew ice cubes in between takes, so that their breath didn’t cloud when they spoke their lines; and when she was filming “Prizzi’s Honor”, director John Huston told her that “no woman is sexy and funny at the same time.” Turner also mentioned she will be making her singing debut at the beginning of 2014 when she appears in the stage production of “Mother Courage” in Washington, D.C.

The evening also included video tributes to Turner from co-stars Danny Devito and Michael Douglas, as well as a lively 96-year-old Kirk Douglas, who related the time when they “dated” during the filming of “Romancing the Stone” on location in Mexico. And Turner’s daughter Rachel sang a song in honour of her mother that she written and composed herself especially for the occasion.