Toronto’s Open Roof Festival (ORF) has moved to the city’s newest cultural hotspot – Lower Junction in Toronto’s Junction Triangle neighborhood. The festival will once again offer filmgoers an eclectic mix of Hollywood and indie flicks paired with emerging musicians or bands in a variety of genres. As with previous years, I have curated my Top 5 Picks for this year’s ORF.
Wednesday, June 27
Music: Moscow Apartment
Moscow Apartment, a Canadian indie rock band with folk roots based in Toronto will enliven the ORF stage with their signature cool sounds. After that, Corey Finley’s Thoroughbreds screens. The film premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival to great acclaim. This black comedy is centred on two affluent teen girls played by breakout stars Olivia Cooke and Anya Taylor-Joy, who seek out to murder a pervasively sinister stepfather.
I have not seen Thoroughbreds yet, but I have heard good things about it. I have taken a listen to its excellent soundtrack featuring one of my faves, Tanya Tagaq.
Wednesday, July 4
Music: The Heavyweight Brass Band
Evening festivities kick off with The Heavyweights Brass Band, the New Orleans Jazz-inspired ensemble. After the great music jams, the fun continues with a screening of Darren Curtis’s Boost – a gritty and thrilling look at the lives of two teenage best friends (Nabil Rajo and Jahmil French) from Montreal who become entangled with the mob after a car they stole is involved in a fatal accident. The Quebec-produced, English-language action thriller features raw, critically-lauded performances, with Rajo having won a Canadian Screen Award for Best Actor for this role.
Another film I am so looking forward to, and so should you!
Wednesday, July 11
Film: Love, Simon
Music: Tomi Swick
ORF favourite Tomi Swick returns with his multi-instrumental talents and rock sensibilities. From there, the celebrations continue with the heartwarming coming-of-age comedy Love, Simon. A top notch teenage romance, the film stars Nick Robinson as Simon Spier, a high school student coming to terms with his identity as he struggles to keep his sexuality a secret from his parents (Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel) and classmates.
I truly, truly enjoyed everything about Love, Simon. It is more than a teen rom-com; it is a genuine coming of age film that is relevant to today’s youth culture.
Wednesday, July 25
Film: The Death of Stalin
RubēHill, Ontario-born artist Alex Stavropoulos-Laurie’s LCD-Soundsystem-inspired musical project, will have capture ORF audiences. After the music, Armando Iannucci’s The Death of Stalin takes centre stage with its darkly absurd comedy. Recounting the last days of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, the film finds comedic gold in the chaos, anarchy and outwardly zany hijinks of Stalin’s political party and hilariously inept potential successors. Starring Steve Buscemi, Jeffrey Tambor, Michael Palin, Jason Isaacs, Rupert Friend, Paddy Considine and Andrea Riseborough, the film is a timely political satire.
The Death of Stalin is also another film that I was pleasantly surprised by; smart-funny with a great cast.
Wednesday, August 8
Film: The Green Fog
Music: Liam Russell
Local singer-songwriter Liam Russell returns to the ORF stage to share local Toronto indie beats. Following this, audiences will be treated to a film directed by one of Canada’s most celebrated and discussed independent filmmakers – Guy Maddin – the unique, singular psychedelic assemblage The Green Fog. The film lovingly pays homage to and cheekily recreates Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. Featuring a Kronos Quartet-performed score, The Green Fog sounds as good as it looks.
My inner cinephile is excited about seeing The Green Fog with all its Maddin’s goodness.
This year’s ORF line-up has lots of treats for us to look forward to. ORF kicks off on June 20th with Wes Anderson’s Rushmore, and will present screenings every Wednesday for 10 weeks. Tickets are on sale for $15 each. For full event listings, and to purchase advance tickets, go to OpenRoofFestival.com.