Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Superhero? Super Channel? Or Super Depressing...

Can good taste alone sustain a nation?

Good question...and the answer is, probably not.

A few years ago, Canadian filmmaker Michael Sparaga and director Blake Van de Graaf made Sidekick, a low budget but fun and clever take on the mythos of the superhero. But faced with the distribution and exhibition issues we all have to deal with here in Canada, Sparaga took his feature on the road, trying to drum up some grassroots interest. The result of that road trip is the documentary Maple Flavour Films.

Kate Taylor reviewed the doc in todays Globe & Mail.

Sparaga has tidily summarized the embarrassing plight of the Canadian film here and, as one of his subjects comments, it is now time for those in the industry to stop talking and start reviewing the possible solutions and either reject or implement them. There are lots of people in this doc ready to say they don't like Canadian movies, but my reaction is always: How would you know you don't like them if you can't ever find them at your local theatre?

Of course, this being the Canadian film industry, Sparaga's story does not have a fairy-tale ending. The point of his tour was to get enough word of mouth going that Sidekick would get a further theatrical release; it didn't. And now his doc is airing on a financially struggling pay channel that is largely eclipsed by its competitors. Oh well, you can also download Maple Flavour Films at iTunes Canada, and it will show up on free TV eventually. You want to be a Canadian superhero, you have to be long on patience.

MFM airs tonight at 8pm on Super Channel, you know, the other movie network you can't easily find on your local dial because of indifferent or biased cable providers. Maple Flavour Films might not be the feel good Canada Day movie you want to see today, but it's certainly worth watching.

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