The Toronto International Film Festival may have wrapped for another year, but with The Master, Laurence Anyways, Rebelle, Tabu, End Of Watch, Dredd and Show Stopper: The Theatrical Life Of Garth Drabinsky all opening today, you could be forgiven for thinking TIFF still holds the city in its sway. And I say: Hey, whatever keeps you from seeing Trouble With The Curve.
Oh, and speaking of the festival: did you miss Mark Cousins's epic documentary The Story Of Film: An Odyssey at TIFF last year? You almost certainly did, because it's 15 hours long and only the absolute hardcore festivalgoers could fit it into their schedules. But you'll be happy to hear that the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema has found a more manageable screening option. The doc will be presented over a seven-week period, with a new segment shown every Sunday (and repeated on Tuesday). A series pass costs $44; members pay just $32. This is essential stuff, and there's still no word of a home-video release, so you might as well start rescheduling your evenings.
If you're looking for a different sort of film festival, Commffest runs tonight through Tuesday at the Rainbow Cinema Market Square on Front St. East. Billing itself as a Global Community Film Festival, Commffest spends five days screening shorts and documentaries of social and cultural relevance, tackling every topic imaginable.
Highlights include The Fourth World (Sunday, 1 pm), a documentary by Mark Volkers that confronts the fact that one-sixth of the world's population live in slums, dehumanized by poverty, and the closing-night gala, The Gospel According To Vivienne (Tuesday, 7 pm), which tracks the life of Montreal jazz singer Vivienne Deane, whose career changed dramatically when she found religion. Dean will perform after the screening, so her fans will want to be there for that.
Also in local festival news, the Abilities Arts Festival has a film component this weekend at the Carlton Cinemas, featuring three programs of shorts focusing on physically and psychologically challenged characters coping with the world on their own terms.
Liaisons, screening tonight, is a program of dramatic shorts; Saturday's DesirAbility presents adult-oriented trio of documentaries that address sex, followed by a panel discussion, and Sunday's Art & Life, Life As Art features more experimental works. All screenings start at 7 pm.