Female Directors at TIFF

Like many time periods preceding it, the fall film festival circuit of 2019 has been a mixed bag of results for female filmmakers. The Venice Film Festival spared a measly two slots in its competition for films directed by women and, as if to thumb their nose at those decrying their regressive attitudes, awarded their Best Director prize to convicted rapist Roman Polanski. All this from a festival that signed the 50/50 by 2020 pledge for gender parity just last year, to boot. As Katrin Gebbe, director of Pelican Blood told me, “In the past few years, we’ve started to put our finger into the wound.”

Meanwhile, at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the programmers paid more than lip service to their commitment on equality. Female directors comprised 36% of this year’s selection at TIFF, with percentages even higher in sections like Contemporary World Cinema and the high-profile Galas. Look beyond the numbers, too, and it’s clear that quantity did not come at the expense of quality.

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Martin Scorsese

During periods of his career, Martin Scorsese has enjoyed working with one lead actor over and over again. In the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties, that actor was Robert De Niro. In the last two decades, it was Leonardo DiCaprio. However, the three have never worked together on a feature film. That’s the gag in a series of commercials for two casinos in Manila, Philippines.

Scorsese directed the commercials, which star DiCaprio and De Niro as themselves, competing for a same role. However, these are not just commercials. These are basically trailers for a short film called The Audition that will also bring Brad Pitt into the mix. Yes, it’s a Martin Scorsese directed short starring DiCaprio, De Niro and Pitt. And rumor has it, each actor made over $10 million for the work. Check out the Martin Scorsese Leonardo DiCaprio Robert De Niro commercials below. Read More »