Reflections and Announcements (not necessarily in that order)

I’ll start with the announcements.

Behind the scenes at Carbon Arc we’ve been busily programming, aiming for the very best films we can secure for the rest of the winter/spring season. As I have mentioned in the past, it’s a bit of a dance: The programming committee selects a group of films we think would interest the Carbon Arc audience. Then we have to find out whether they’re available in Canada at all, or if the local multiplex cinemas are planning to show them. There’s also the question of timing: Was the film screened at local film festivals, and if so, was it warmly received? Is the film a little too old? Is it available already on the internet? Sometimes a little overlap is OK, and sometimes it isn’t.

And will the distributor even respond to emails? (They don’t always.)

Through all this, we’ve managed to screen a stellar season of independent and international cinema so far, and we want to keep it going. So, we’re happy to announce a partial schedule of films starting with our return on March 25 and going into April.

The Brand New Testament is a wild fantasy/comedy in French, examining god, life, and death. The trailer is so damn laugh-out-loud funny, I hope the feature can live up to it. I’m reasonably confident: Any film that features Catherine Deneuve and a gorilla has something to recommend it. In its review,  The Playlist called the film “more playful than subversive,” and the Hollywood Reporter review called it “irresistible.” The screening is at 7pm on Friday, March 25.


I'm so happy I get to write the following sentence:

Due to popular demand, we’re bringing back Embrace Of The Serpent. The first time we screened it, back on Friday, February 19, we had more people at one screening than we’d ever seen before and sadly had to turn many away. We made our case to the distributor and they kindly allowed us to screen the Colombian epic again at 9:30pm on Friday, March 25.


The big announcement today: We got Anomalisa.

This is the animated film (nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe) written and co-directed by Charlie Kaufman, the genius screenwriter behind Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind.

This is Carbon Arc’s first partnership with Paramount Studios, and they have particular requirements around ticket sales. As a result, we won’t be selling advance tickets via the website for this film. We’re still figuring out the ticket sale particulars, but we’ll let you know as soon as we have it all locked down.

The film will screen on Friday, April 1, at 7pm and 9pm.


On Saturday, April 2, at 7pm, we’re screening the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, a collection of some of the world’s best commercials. And on Friday, April 8, we’re showing The Club, a very well-regarded Chilean film about a group of scandalized priests living with their sins out in the wilderness.

For Canada Film Day we’re working hard to secure Sleeping Giant, a Canadian Screen Award-winner, and we have a few other gems in the works, including more Japanese anime and other international award-winning features. But more about those films when things get confirmed.

Now for the reflections.

Regular readers of this blog will know part of my task here as Writer-in-Residence at Carbon Arc is to produce a script for a short film, and share my process. I’ve written longer form scripts before and I’ve written outlines. I think I’ve written maybe two short film scripts in my life. Both went directly into a drawer and have been ignored.

This is turning out to be harder than I thought it would be. I think about feature films all the time and the storytelling therein, but rarely do I consume or think of how to do it in under 10 minutes.

I sat down with a friend who’s directed a number of short films. He recommended I watch more shorts, to help put my mind in that frame. Also, he said I should watch the first 10 minutes of a number of features. What do we learn about character and mise en scene in those 10 minutes?

I’m also someone who tends toward genre in my writing, but I feel like this is a good opportunity to do something more intimate and less regimented.

That’s what I’m doing this week. Slowing down and taking a little time to appreciate the story that can be told in a few minutes.

More soon.