Weekly Roundup: The NFB’s Universe turns 60, Obomsawin lands another award, and New Directors/New Films is underway


Your handy one-stop-shop for film news, interviews, articles, and videos from the week that was.

Another week, another round of year-end lists! Despite only inviting a handful of Canadian features to their fall edition, TIFF has upheld their custom of unveiling their “Canada’s Top Ten”. Along with festival favourites like Michelle Latimer’s Inconvenient Indian and Tracey Deer’s Beans, the list also includes Fauna by one-time SFU prof Nicolás Pereda and Evan Morgan’s The Kid Detective, which was shot here in Vancouver. Meanwhile, Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt’s No Ordinary Man and Pascal Plante’s Nadia, Butterfly not only make TIFF’s cut but also land on Indiewire’s “Best Undistributed Films of 2020”.

The ever-prolific Alanis Obomsawin may’ve not premiered a new film this year but she still scored another accolade by (virtually) picking up the DOC Institute’s Rogers DOC Luminary Award. As reported by Point of View Magazine, Obomsawin thanked the organization for their commitment to nonfiction filmmaking and added, “In encouraging and supporting documentary filmmakers, they also ensure that the history of our country is front and centre. Once again, I want us to remember that there is freedom in our beautiful country, Canada.”

Sixty years on from its Cannes premiere, Gerry Flahive revisits Roman Kroitor and Colin Low’s Universe, the National Film Board short film that left an indelible mark on Stanley Kubrick and “altered the course of cinema’s evolution”. As Flahive writes, “Its influence on filmmaking, its poetic approach to science, and its ground-breaking special effects all affirm the NFB’s commitment to collaboration and experimentation. In some ways it is a quintessential NFB film, in that it drew on the best of both its animation and its documentary craft traditions.”

Kubrick also factors into Andrew Pulver’s catalog of “the best books about film” for The Guardian. So too does Francis Ford Coppola, who spoke with Vulture’s Bilge Ebiri about his his motivations for recutting The Godfather: Part III and the unexpected detours his career has taken. As he muses, “I have never, in my entire career, been ‘back.’ I’ve always been doing weird, stupid things and following my heart. It made no sense to handle my career the way I did, but I wouldn’t do it another way.”

A number of titles on Pulver’s list detail the rise of new breeds of filmmaker, be it the mavericks of the ’70s or the indie darlings of the ’90s. Readers curious about which burgeoning talents they should currently have on their radar would do well to keep on eye on New Directors/New Films, which is now underway. The latest episode of the Film at Lincoln Center Podcast assembles a group of critics and curators to share their festival highlights.

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