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Gay Films, Star Power, and Oscar Buzz: a Report from the Toronto International Film Festival

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Eddie Redmayne got a huge thumbs up in Toronto. Oscar-bound?

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

Hello all. Just back from Canada from the Toronto International Film Festival, aka the best film festival in the world, which wrapped up on Sunday. My fellow Oscar bloggers like to shill for Telluride these days but I’m convinced it’s simply Stockholm Syndrome since Telluride actually makes the press pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars for a pass for the privilege of giving them free publicity. In Toronto, if you’re lucky enough to write about the movies for a living, you get your press pass for free and your only expense, other than travel and lodging (which can add up) is your time. But what person who loves movies, wouldn’t want to spend that gorging on selections from all over the world, the best of Cannes and Sundance and a ton of new ones, some of them courting Oscar gold, too.

I was so giddy all week that even when I failed to spot Reese Witherspoon at her own party for WILD (she’s short, y’all and thus hides easily in a crowd even in a sparkly dress) I remained elated to chat with Laura Dern (one of the greats who needs big roles again!) and wonder what possessed Chris Evans to what looked like gloriously form-fitting white longjohn shirt to a party where everyone else was in suits. I’m not complaining, I’m just saying. I was so thrilled that even the sight of Eddie Redmayne’s back in his daring aquamarine suit and Andrew Garfield’s giant beard at THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING party was as good as actually talking to them, but I made do with talking to Oscar-buzzing Felicity Jones who, like Redmayne, gives her best screen performance yet in that new Stephen Hawking biopic.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP..

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'The Imitation Game' Wins Audience Award At Toronto Film Festival: VIDEO

Cumber

The Imitation Game, the upcoming film about gay codebreaker Alan Turing which you've seen us cover here, here and here, picked up a big win at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) over the weekend. The movie, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role, was honored with the festival's coveted People's Choice Award. 

From TIFF's press release:

TuringThis year’s award goes to [director] Morten Tyldum for The Imitation Game. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Alan Turing, the genius British mathematician, logician, cryptologist and computer scientist who led the charge to crack the German Enigma Code that helped the Allies win WWII. Turing went on to assist with the development of computers at the University of Manchester after the war, but was prosecuted by the UK government in 1952 for homosexual acts which the country deemed illegal. The award offers a $15,000 cash prize and custom award, sponsored by Grolsch.

The Hollywood Reporter explains what this win could mean for the film come movie awards season:

Indeed, TIFF's audience award has been one of the better harbingers of Oscar success over the 36 years in which it has been presented, with almost every one of its honorees going on to garner some measure of Academy recognition.

Look for The Imitation Game to be released in US theaters on November 21, 2014.

Watch a Hollywood Reporter interview conducted at the festival with Cumberbatch and his co-stars, wherein the star describes Turing as "an incredible hero, the father of the computer age" and "a gay icon," AFTER THE JUMP.

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Toronto School Board Member Shuts Down When Asked To Defend Homophobic, Transphobic Views - VIDEO

Sam Sotiropolous

Sam Sotiropolous, a member of the Toronto District School Board, has refused in an interview to answer questions about homophobic opinions expressed on Twitter, reports Pink News.

An August 30th tweet read “Until I see scientific proof that transgenderism exists and is not simply a mental illness, I reserve the right not to believe in it.” An earlier tweet on July 4th called Toronto Pride a “freak show.”

However, in a Global News interview, Sotiropolous - who is clearly uncomfortable -  refuses to answer questions about his views, claiming that although he has not formed an opinion on transgender people, he “has the right to reserve the right to have an opinion.”

Despite the fact that the tweet hasn’t been deleted, Sotiropolous denies calling Toronto Pride a “freak show”.  When confronted with another tweet claiming that the “disseminators” of “homosexism” are “maliciously rabid,” he walks away from the camera and appears speechless. At that point, his only comeback is he was under the impression that the interview would concern his comments on transgender people only. However, he does appear to back up his homophobic opinions, stating that “the words stand for themselves.”

At this point, he refuses to answer any more questions. The interview ends with a bizarre staring competition - which the Global News reporter wins.

Trans-rights activist Susan Gapka said that outrage at Sotiropoulos’s comments points to how far society has come in recent years.

“The terrific thing is that there are non-trans people, allies and supporters, leaping to the defense, there was a flurry on twitter, and social media, the news has covered it, that shows you how far we’ve come in the last five or ten years.”

Sotiropolous has since taken to Twitter again to defend his opinions, claiming that the school district is targeting "the rarest" types of bullying - transphobic and homophobic - while ignoring bullying based on appearance, school performance and ethnicity.

Watch the bizarre interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Rob Ford and Brother Apologize for 'Unfortunate' Attack on LGBT Demonstrators at Ford Fest

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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and his brother and city councilor Doug have issued apologies for the verbal and physical attack on LGBT protesters by Ford supporters at Friday's barbecue celebration for the confrontational mayor. 

CBC reports:

FordsFord said he didn't personally see the commotion because he was in a tent meeting with his supporters, but he still apologized for what happened.

“It's terrible things like that happen,” he said in an interview on Saturday with CP24 while attending the Taste of Toronto food festival. “I apologize and we have to move on.”

Ford’s brother Doug, who was the first to apologize for the incident, said earlier:  

“I think 99 per cent it went really well. Everyone had a good time,” he said. “I think it’s just unfortunate what happened. Like I said we apologized to the gentleman. I don’t know. It’s tough for him to show up I guess. There was a little bit of taunting on both sides. I just wish it didn’t happen.”

About six demonstrators showed up with signs protesting Ford's homophobia - which popped back in the news two weeks ago when Ford cast the lone dissenting vote for a proposal that would support homeless LGBT youth. 

The Ford brothers, however, remain "offended" that people still think they're homophobic.  


Rob Ford Supporters Attack LGBT Demonstrators At Ford Fest: VIDEO

Ford Fest, Toronto mayor Rob Ford's annual barbecue celebration, turned ugly yesterday when gay right supporters were both verbally and physically attacked in the city park in which the event was held.

The CBC reports:

About six demonstrators protesting what they called Ford's homophobia turned up at Thomson Memorial Park in Scarborough, holding signs that called for the mayor's departure from office.

"He needs to be held accountable," said Poe Liberado, who faced loud jeers from Ford fans. "His buffoonery is dangerous, his positions are dangerous and he needs to be taken seriously." 

Igns

The mayor's supporters, however, weren't pleased with the anti-Ford sentiment, with a number of individuals getting into verbal confrontations with the protesters.

At one point, a few Ford fans grabbed the signs being held by the protesters, tore them up, and threw them on the ground, stamping on them in the process. One man claims to have been assaulted. Toronto police said they are investigating the matter. 

"Go home," they yelled. "This is Ford Nation!" One man claims to have been assaulted. Toronto police said they are investigating the matter.

Just two weeks ago, Ford cast the lone dissenting vote for a proposal that would support homeless LGBT youth.

There's video of yesterday's violent incident in which Ford supporters assure the gay rights demonstrators with things like "We don't have anything against you guys. We just have different morals." They then proceed to destroy their pro-LGBT signs and repeatedly chant "Ford Nation." Watch, AFTER THE JUMP.

Also, AFTER THE JUMP, is a Global News segment in which gay rights demonstrators describe yesterday's attacks which include one man who was shoved and struck on the head. A Global News reporter asked Ford about the assaults but the mayor has refused to comment.

Via Joe.My.God.

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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Casts Only 'No' Vote on Proposal to Help City's Homeless LGBT Youth

Ford

The Toronto City Council voted 37-1 on "a proposal to find ways to better assist homeless young people who are gay," the Toronto Star reports:

The three-part proposal asks the city’s shelters chief to look into allocating 25 per cent of beds in an existing youth shelter to people who identify as LGBTQ2S (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, two-spirited).

It also asks the city to issue a call for expressions of interest in operating a shelter or transitional housing for gay youth, and requires the city to provide anti-homophobia training to all shelter employees.

The lone dissenting vote? Homophobic Mayor Rob Ford.

According to the paper:

Ford, who has a long history of homophobic remarks and opposition to gay initiatives, placed a temporary “hold” on the proposal Tuesday to prevent it from passing unanimously without a vote. He did not explain his opposition.

The vote came a day after Ford refused to stand during a council ovation for the organizers of the World Pride festival. He said later that he is “not homophobic,” but he would not explain why he did not join in the applause.

Despicable.


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