TIFF Talent Lab – A First Impression

Hello Everyone! It’s been a while since we posted. We’ve been busy finishing Sadie. Our producer, Deanne Foley, is currently at this year’s TIFF Talent Lab! She is among the 20 people chosen from applicants worldwide. We’re so happy for her, and can’t think of anyone more deserving. According to the Toronto International Film Festival, the “Talent Lab leads participants in group discussions on a range of topics focused on the artistic side of filmmaking, sharpening the skills and confidence of a new generation of filmmakers.” What an experience for all involved. Here is a blog she provided for our readers about Day 1:

DAY 1 – Talent Lab – Deanne Foley

Deanne Foley

Deanne Foley

Day 1 of the TIFF Talent Lab in the can. And it’s everything that I’ve hoped it would be so far. We are a diverse group of Canadian and International filmmakers given the privilege of diving deep into the creative process with renowned filmmakers & actors. I’ve been asked to say a few things about what I learned today.

1. We all had to do 1-2 minute self portraits which screened for the group and governors. I was extremely relieved to see that I was not the only filmmaker who stressed over this daunting task. We are filmmakers. It’s easier to tell someone else’s story than our own. On to more important notes:

2. In conversation with prolific producer, Jim Stark, who produced Jim Jarmusch’s films, lead to the important question: what kind of producer do you want to work with? Are you looking for a Yes Man/ Woman who will just go raise the money & let you do want you want for better or worse OR do you want a producer who will push you to craft a compelling story & more likely to say No from time to time in the interest of making a great film. An important question. Personally, I’m interested in the later.

3. We had a screening of Ramin Bahrini’s latest electrifying film 99 Homes about the foreclosure crisis in Orlando and a father’s struggle to get his family home back by working for a corrupt real estate broker. This timely film has Oscar worthy performances by Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon. Today, we had the pleasure of listening to Ramin’s talk about his creative process. How he never shows up with a shot list or lays marks or cares about the continuity but what he strongly cares about is performance and creating an environment for discovery on the day. But the biggest surprise was to learn about his strong desire to have his film 99 Homes seen as a ‘commercial film.’ When our moderator gingerly suggested that 99 Homes was his most commercial movie to date, he jumped all over it and suggested a banner: “99 Homes– a commercial film” fly over the city of Toronto. He would love that, in fact. ‘Commercial’ is often viewed as a dirty word in filmmaking. We as filmmakers inherently want an audience and once the label of ‘commercial’ is put on a film, it’s deserving of having one.

4. I can’t finish this entry without mentioning Sandra Oh. Don McKellar’s debut feature film, Last Night, was hugely inspiring to me as an emerging Canadian filmmaker and I found Sandra Oh’s intense performance completely engrossing. It was such a treat/ invaluable/ cool to hear Sandra talk about her ideal relationship with a director. How important it is to create a safe, positive environment in order to allow an actor to do his/her work and in turn craft honest, memorable performances. We are getting to do a more intensive acting workshop with Sandra & Doug Barber today. Gotta go.


Deanne’s post about her second day can be viewed on PlayBack (and also on our media page):

Here’s more info on 99 Homes:
Here’s more info on Last Night:

Deanne Foley and Lone Scherfig (Danish Director) at TIFF

Deanne Foley and Lone Scherfig (Danish Director) at TIFF

Director Mike Leigh and Actor Marion Bailey being introduced to TIFF talent lab participants by Helen du Toit

Director Mike Leigh and Actor Marion Bailey being introduced to TIFF talent lab participants by Helen du Toit

If you are interested in more of Deanne’s work, check out the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival, on October 18th. The film, Relative Happiness, which she directed, will be shown at the festival’s closing night!

Here’s the film’s trailer:

TIFF Lab Blog by Deanne Foley
Post by Latonia Hartery