The Toronto International Film Festival announced the finalists for Telefilm Canada's PITCH THIS! contest. For the 20th year, six teams of emerging filmmakers will spend six minutes each pitching their feature film idea to a live audience and a jury of film professionals. The winning team will receive $15,000 for project development.
At first, I thought it would be a daunting choice to select a winner. After a brief period of thought I have already selected a winner. I'll explain later.
The six finalists are:
La Cercania (Jorge Thielen Armand, Rodrigo Michelangeli)
"Oana's father falls gravely ill in Venezuela, she beaks her 15 year exile in Canada .... she reconnects with her half sister ... amid the devastation caused by the economic crisis."
What Night Taught Her (Lauren Grant, Lisa Rideout, Ashley Cooper)
"An intimate look inside Canada's first sex workers rights organization and the people who run it. ... "
Blue Flower (Genevieve Dulude-De Celles, Sarah Mannering, Fanny Drew)
"A video of a six-year-old Romanian art prodigy goes viral ... Mihai is sent to evaluate the girls production - returning to his home country for the first time in 30 years."
Paying For It (Kristy Neville, Natalie Urquhart)
"After his long-time girlfriend begins sleeping with another man, an introverted cartoonist begins sleeping with prostitutes. ... an unconventional rom-com" If there is one introvert on the selection panel let them speak now or forever hold my peace.
Worst Team Ever (Kathleen Jayme, Michael Grand, James Brown)
"This ... documentary tells the unfortunate story of what happened to the Vancouver Grizzlies, Canada's other NBA team." As if that isn't typical Canadian style. Focussing on our failures instead of our accomplishments.
Epochal (Rodrigi Barriuso, Kyah Green)
"When dementia begins to progress a transgender woman living with Alzheimer's at a transphobic nursing home finds herself mentally regressing to a time before her transition."
My pick for winner of Telefilm Canada's PITCH THIS! competition is the final entry Epochal. Let me explain why. First of all, we live in an aging society. Then, there is the mental health issue which is a hot topic by anyone's standards. Plus, there is the concept of gender identity that deserves to be considered in terms of a whole person not as a standalone characteristic. Finally, there is the notion of fighting for self acceptance despite the messages that would be conveyed through a rigid external environment. Overall, I feel this is the most original idea among the finalists this year. If originality and timeliness count for anything it will be an Epochal win.