Monday, December 13, 2010

The Refocus Holiday Gift Guide 2010

I have to admit that I kiiiiiiind of like reading holiday gift guides. I hate them when they're full of products that have clearly been sent to a website or magazine, and are full of Amazon affiliate links, but they're fun, so I thought I'd write a Refocus Holiday Gift Guide. I'm putting it all together now, so it's probably not going to be huge.

Fund a Film
Instead of giving your friends a DVD, why not make a donation on Kickstarter (or any of the other similar crowdfunding sites) to an independent film in your friend's name? Some filmmakers even offer a copy of their film or tickets to its premiere when it's completed, so it's almost like giving two gifts. Might I suggest donating to the new film by the Zellner Bros?

Support Filmmakers + Distributors Whose Films We've Screened
You could give the gift of Aaron Katz's QUIET CITY and DANCE PARTY, USA, Josh and Benny Safdie's THE PLEASURE OF BEING ROBBED, Jody Lee Lipes' BROCK ENRIGHT: GOOD TIMES WILL NEVER BE THE SAME. And did you know that Ronald Bronstein, the star of DADDY LONGLEGS, is a filmmaker, and made an incredible film called FROWNLAND? Oh, and if you can't make our screening of NY EXPORT: OPUS JAZZ on Wednesday, it's also available on DVD!! DOWN TERRACE was Ben Wheatley's first feature, so no previous films to buy from him... But Evokative Films, its distributor in Canada has a lot of great films available like ADRIFT IN TOKYO, HAZARD, DAYTIME DRINKING, and CRYING FIST.

I'll be honest with you guys... I'm already getting bored with creating this list. I doubt I'll suggest another two things before giving up and posting it.

The Criterion Collection has been putting out some great boxsets under their Eclipse label. The latest is a set of five films by Canadian documentary filmmaker extraordinaire, Allan King, called THE ACTUALITY DRAMAS OF ALLAN KING. It's a beaut! They've also put out some cool sets of Japanese films. I'm a big fan of the NIKKATSU NOIR set, and while I haven't watched all of the OSHIMA'S OUTLAW SIXTIES set yet, it's got JAPANESE SUMMER: DOUBLE SUICIDE in it, which made it a must have for me.

One more maybe? ...

All right! Now I'm SO glad that I did this stupid gift guide! Last year I purchased a print copy of "Incite!: The Journal of Experimental Media & Radical Aesthetics"'s first issue, and loooooved it! I thought I would see if there were any copies of it left and if there were, I'd suggest it as the final item. Well not only are there still print copies of Issue One left (which is also available to read for free on their website), but a NEW ISSUE is now available for purchase. I just ordered mine. Can't wait!!!

So yeah... That was a feeble attempt at a Gift Guide, but what I wrote about is all pretty awesome stuff. What's on your wish list this year?

Hope to see you all at our screening on Wednesday!

Happy Holidays!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Refocus #3 - NY EXPORT: OPUS JAZZ (Now with date, time, and venue!)

Our next screening will be taking place on Wednesday, December 15th at Double Double Land (209 Augusta Ave). Film starts at 8PM!

We had such a good experience at DDL this month, we asked if they would host us again. Luckily they said they would!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Our second screening last night was fantastic, and I want to thank everyone for coming. Hope you enjoyed the films. Remember to tell everyone you know about them!

Thanks to Double Double Land, who were great hosts. We're considering doing more screenings there, we liked the setup so much.

As I said at the screening; next month we'll be screening Jody Lee Lipes and Henry Joost's NY EXPORT: OPUS JAZZ. Date and location coming very soon!

Here's the trailer:

Also, please join our mailing list to make sure you're kept up to date on future Refocus screenings.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Feeling the Love

Leading up to our screening of COLD WEATHER and DADDY LONGLEGS on Tuesday at Double Double Land, we're getting some good lovin' from the press and Twitterverse.

Check out the write-ups from Eye Weekly and the Toronto Star.

And some tweets:

Friday, November 12, 2010

Refocus #3 Tease

Details in the coming weeks.


November 23rd!

Save the date because Refocus' second screening is happening that night. A FREE (as always) double bill of two of the year's best American films. Aaron Katz's COLD WEATHER will be screening for the first time in Toronto, and Josh and Benny Safdie's DADDY LONGLEGS will be screening for the first time in Canada.


The screening is at Double Double Land (209 Augusta Ave).

Aaron Katz | 2010 | 96 min | USA

Official Selection SXSW Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival, and BAMcinemaFEST.

"An impressive experiment in genre in more ways than one: a pulp fiction of troublesome dames and distinctly costumed villains, wedded to conversational comedy, while also a subtle exploration of friendship... Nobody does unspoken tension and unforced sensuality quite like Aaron Katz." —LA Weekly

"I doubt there will be a better American film this year" - Mark Peranson, Cinema Scope

When his life in Chicago implodes, forensic science graduate Doug gives up his pursuit of science and returns to Portland, Oregon to work in an ice factory, read Sherlock Holmes novels, spend time with his sister, and generally mope around. Yet, just as director Aaron Katz lures the viewer into expecting another study of 20-something ennui, he turns the plot on its head when Doug’s ex-girlfriend mysteriously disappears. With sublimely lyrical visuals by cinematographer Andrew Reed, Katz (Dance Party, USA) ratchets up the suspense while playfully riffing on the standard mystery genre tropes, casting Doug’s sister as the Watson character and reimagining that relationship as an exploration of familial communication. -BAMcinemaFEST


2009 | Josh and Benny Safdie | 100 min | USA

Official Selection: Cannes Film Festival (Directors' Fortnight), and Sundance Film Festival.
Nominated: Gotham Awards - Best Breakthrough Actor, Ronald Bronstein.

..."This beautiful, off-the-cuff comedy-drama recalls John Cassavetes' shaggiest, most honest work." -Joe Neumaier, The New York Daily News

"Suppose what we call "parenting" is just a situation in which overgrown kids take care of smaller ones? That's the underlying premise of Daddy Longlegs—a funny, fantastic, genuinely alarming quasi-autobiographical cheapster by twentysomething New York brothers Josh and Benny Safdie." - J. Hoberman, Village Voice

After months of being alone, sad, busy, sidetracked, free, lofty, late and away from his kids, Lenny (Ronald Bronstein, the writer/director of FROWNLAND), 34 with graying frazzled hair, picks his kids up from school. Every year he spends of couple of weeks with his sons Sage (Sage Ranaldo), 9, and Frey (Frey Ranaldo), 7. Lenny juggles his kids and everything else all within a midtown studio apartment in New York City. He ultimately faces the choice of being their father of their friend with the idea that these two weeks must last 6 months. In these two weeks, a trip upstate, visitors from strange lands, a mother, a girlfriend, “magic” blankets, and complete lawlessness seem to take over their lives. The film is a swan song to excuses and irresponsibility’s; to fatherhood and self-created experiences, and to what its like to be truly torn between being a child and being an adult. -IFC Films

Watch Here!

DOWN TERRACE - Out now in Toronto!

Ben Wheatley's DOWN TERRACE is now playing at the Carlton, in Toronto. Please support it.

83% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes
4 Stars from Eye Weekly
4 Stars from Now Magazine
3 Stars from Toronto Star
"...very few films succeed in being quite this funny." - Exlaim

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Refocus #1 - New Time and Location

Please see the new time and venue for tomorrow night's screening. I've edited the previous post.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Refocus #1 - DOWN TERRACE

Thank you for your patience! After a long wait, we've finally scheduled our first screening!

Refocus #1: DOWN TERRACE (Toronto Premiere)
Ben Wheatley | 2009 | 89 min | UK
Wednesday, September 29th
9:00PM - 11:00PM
at J.S.'s Living Room (285 1/2 College St.)

After serving time in prison, small-time gangsters, Big Bill and Karl (real life father and son, Robert and Robin Hill) head home to try and figure out who's responsible for their time away. Once home, tensions rise and paranoia takes over Bill, Karl, the family matriarch, Maggie (Spaced's Julia Deakin), and all of their friends/fiends. Shouting matches, bitter family resentment, an unwanted pregnancy, and bloody murders follow.

Heavily influenced by the kitchen sink films of Mike Leigh, with a pinch of the Coen Brothers, DOWN TERRACE is one of the most refreshing and enthralling entries into the gangster genre of the last decade.

Winner of:
Best UK Feature - Raindance Film Festival
Next Wave Best Feature - Fantastic Fest
Grand Jury Prize Narrative Feature - IFF Boston
Raindance Award - British Independent Film Awards

Official selection of:
New Directors/New Films - New York, USA
PIFAN Film Festival - Puchon, South Korea
Fantasia Festival - Montreal, Canada

Check out the trailer here:

Remember that all Refocus screenings are FREE with an unwritten contract that you'll spread the word about the films via mouth, print, interwebs, or any other form you have at your disposal.

Doors will open at 8:45, and the screening is at 9.
The venue is licensed and there will be wine and boozy hot chocolate.

Please invite all of your friends.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Coming Attractions

Refocus is a new film series starting this spring/summer which will screen exciting new independent and international films in Toronto.

All screenings in the series will be free*.

Yes, there's an asterisk beside "free". It's a pretty painless one though.

*Audience members will be asked to "pay" for screenings by doing some of the following things:
-By writing about them on their blogs.
-By posting comments about the screenings and films on the Refocus blog.
-By donating money through the Refocus blog, directly to the filmmakers whose films you've seen at the series.
-By telling their friends about the films and Refocus. ... And not just those that they know like "independent film".
-By discussing the films with fellow audience members afterward.
-By Tweeting, Facebooking, and whatever else "the kids" do these days to disseminate information quickly.

More information later. For now, please follow @RefocusFilm on Twitter, join our mailing list, and tell as many people about us as possible! Thank you so much in advance.

If you have any questions, you can e-mail me at