Okay folks, it's time for another update. Last weekend, we shifted our focus to the
to keep you updated on everything that happened surrounding this year's
Now we are back on the main site with a roundup of the early days of the festival including the world premiere of
»Into the Forest«
on September 12. Among those attending the event held at
were the two leading actresses Ellen Page and
Evan Rachel Wood
Callum Keith Rennie
and her daughter Jacoba as well as author
. While there was no sign of actor
stepped out on the red carpet to support her long-time Canadian friend.
Due to the lack of reports and videos from inside the theatre, I can't say if there were standing ovations following the premiere screening or how well the movie was actually received by the audience. Hopefully Marci will be able to shed some light on that soon. What I do know, however, is that Rozema's post-apocalyptic tale got good reviews for the most part with both Page and Wood being the stand out performers. They seem to pull off the omnipresent bond between their characters Nell and Eva very well and make it easy for the audience to relate to the scenario when their present day society falls apart, all the things you took for granted are taken away from you piece by piece and the life you've dreamed of becomes pure utopia.
Given those reviews and the timeless theme of the movie, it eventually came as no surprise that
quickly snapped up the North American rights at the beginning of last week. While it is not yet known how the distribution of the movie will play out,
is currently planning some advance screenings prior to a general release in Canada in the coming months. It might also interest you to know that the movie already made its way to other countries and will be screening at the
20th Busan International Film Festival
in South Korea as well as the
48th Sitges Film Festival
(also known as Festival Internacional de Cinema Fantàstic de Catalunya) in Spain. Here's to hoping that this is the initial spark for further releases around the globe!
On a different note: The thing I remember the most from this past weekend are the 10 hours of sleep I had in 3 days, and our EPO friend Mireille Lanser's question being picked up by Ellen in a video from
The Hollywood Reporter
. In the run-up to the festival in Toronto, the newspaper announced that the stars coming to the
lounge will answer fan questions and called people to send in what they want to know from the celebrities via Facebook. It was during the night-time from Saturday to Sunday at around 4:00 AM in Germany and I was already about to go to bed when I discovered that the video popped up on msn.com an hour earlier. I immediately reached out to Mireille via Facebook asking "OMG, OMG OMG, are you sitting down?" and shared the joyful occasion with her. It goes without saying that Mireille was absolutely delighted about this and we spread the word to our followers making a long day even longer. All of Team EPO including Wayne and Trisha celebrated with Mireille because she totally deserved this! Not only because she is a part of our team, but also because she is one of the loveliest and most extraordinary people that we’ve ever met! You can find the video along with a complete transcript of the question and Ellen's answer after the jump.
What’s the best and what’s the worst thing about being an actress?
"The best part of it is acting. That’s what I love to do. To have the opportunity to work with someone like Evan; who, when you are doing a scene with, you feel utterly and completely present with. Seperated from the reality that surrounds you. It’s a really extraordinary feeling. And when I would say the worst part is, I don’t know. I think it’s hard. I think I feel so lucky, and so privileged to do something I love, and to be paid to do it. And to get to travel, and meet and work with incredible people. I feel I would be a jerk to be complaining about anything."
Since we are still working on our new video gallery and didn't want to put any further effort in the existing listings, we haven't added new clips to the website yet. However, you can find many videos related to the festival in our
constantly updated TIFF15 playlist
on YouTube! And finally here's a summary of all reviews and press comments for
»Into the Forest«
that were published during the last week!
»Into the Forest« - Press Reviews "The performances by the principal actresses play a big part in whether Into the Forest works or not, and so it’s an enormous credit to Page and Wood that many of the scenes play as well as they do. Page steals much of the spotlight due to the nature of her character, a more playful, silly, and outwardly emotional person. As an actor she’s already remarkably charming, but as Nell she makes her as endearing as possible without being overly cute about it [...] Fantastic - Set in an imaginable, only slightly futuristic apocalypse, Into the Forest is a compelling portrait of a sisterly bond in the wake of an existential crisis."
(4.5 out of 5) — Darren Ruecker,
We Got This Covered
"Page and Wood are terrific together, with all the symbiosis and friction expected of close siblings, but Nell’s and Eva’s interior lives are regrettably thin. As with her 1999 Jane Austen adaptation “Mansfield Park,” Rozema has an attraction to literary material, but despite her evident intelligence and sensitivity, she lacks the facility to bring it to specific cinematic life. Connecting the incidents in Hegland’s book gives “Into the Forest” plenty of dramatic kick, but the film leaves the impression that the characters’ full selves remain stubbornly on the page, as thoughts not translated into action."
— Scott Tobias,
"At times troubling and even frustrating (people aren't always likeable in these situations), this intimately observed portrait of two sisters finding strength in each other is a deeply moving testament to the nature of what remains of our identity when all of the noise and modern conveniences of the world are stripped away."
(8 out of 10) — Robert Bell,
"Into the Forest succeeds on so many levels. It is the most sensuously filmed I have seen this year. Cinematographer Daniel Grant’s work is accomplished, menacing and breath-taking. Director Patricia Rozema has a history of bringing out the best in actresses. Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood sky-rocket. They bring out the best in each other in two very demanding roles with intensity, fervour and love. I was completely mesmerized watching these very talented performers."
— George Kozera,
"Based on the Jean Hegland novel, Into the Forest is the first theatrical feature from Canadian filmmaker Patricia Rozema since 2008, and while it isn’t exactly a full-on return to form, it’s a well acted, gorgeously shot, and often interesting take on a rather tired and clichéd sort of post-apocalyptic fable. [...] It’s not perfect, but it’s a fine addition to the usually testosterone driven post-apocalyptic genre."
— Andrew Parker,
Toronto Film Scene
"Ellen Page does an admirable job of playing someone trying to make the best out of a bad situation while Evan Rachel Wood coolly portrays a diva. The perspective of the crisis never goes beyond the two girls which results in the audience being solely invested in them. [...] Filmmaker Patricia Rozema makes effective use of out of focus imagery to indicate an unwanted presence and cleverly shifts the framing to emphasize the emotional trauma a character is experiencing. If the pacing of the opening act had been maintained throughout Rozema would have crafted a tense thriller; however, the story drags on like catastrophe being depicted."
(3 out of 5) — Trevor Hogg,
Live For Films
"Page and Wood’s comfort around one another is truly remarkable; in the film’s clear standout sequence, Page bathes a nude Wood as she trembles like a leaf on a tree. Their verisimilitude as siblings suffers a bit from odd miscasting — there’s no way that Page is studying for her SATs — as well as the fact that Page and Wood don’t look like they could possibly share any DNA. For the most part, though, it’s easy to overlook this by virtue of their true-blue intimacy with one another."
(B) — Charles Bramesco,
"As a parable of resilience, the film is only as persuasive as one’s willingness to believe it. The performances help. Rennie could be any earnest father as he tries to protect his daughters and dies cutting wood for them. Page, playing headstrong Nell, is a tough fighter. Wood, radiant as a dancer who rehearses to her metronome, survives the extreme conditions and her own obsessional fantasies."
— David D'Arcy,
"Into the Forest is earnest, earthy, and a little bit silly, which is not an unwholesome combination. It’s also excellently acted by Page and Wood, neither of whom ever quite look as ragged as eight months off the grid would imply but still inhabit their roles with believable love and affection for one another. Rozema has spent the last decade or so lost in the industrial forest that swallows up Canadian auteurs; now, it looks as if she’s come out the other side."
— Adam Nayman,
"Into the Forest is therefore also a nail-biter of suspense asking if or when these two young girls will die. Starvation, boredom, stir-crazed lunacy, or uninvited guests could all supply this end and many come very close to doing exactly that. The journey is nuanced and subtle, though, just like its science-fiction premise. So don’t expect a thrill a minute. I think the slow pace, despite its usually active subject matter, tripped up many people because inappropriate laughter and walkouts occurred throughout the TIFF screening I attended. Conversely, I appreciated the gradual burn and the intelligence utilized to reject the appeal of going bigger. Personal conflict is more attuned to what I’d face in these circumstances than Mad Max spectacle."
(B) — Jared Mobarak,
The Film Stage
"Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood star as sisters who suddenly find their small little home in the woods thrust into darkness, and silence, as the power grid fails across North America. It doesn’t really matter why any of that happens–the film is really about what the sisters do next, and that’s what makes Into The Forest so fresh and exciting. The film nurtures their story, sows doubt, and then reaps the consequences with an ending that feels right on every level. While I can’t speak to the film’s success as an adaptation of the book, its a joy to watch."
(3.5 out of 4) — W. Andrew Powell,
"Into the Forest is the most insane movie I've seen in years, and I read the book. [...] If only the film were stronger. Its anti-technology message and epiphany is too over-the-top. It detracts from how perfect and believable Ellen and Evan are as sisters in crisis. They're two of the best actresses of their peer group, but this adaptation doesn't do them or the book justice. All it needed to do was pick a genre. Horror? Suspense? A relationship drama?"
— Joanna Adams,
"Despite strong performances from Page and Evan Rachel Wood as sisters struggling for survival, Patricia Rozema’s adaptation of Jean Hegland’s popular novel struggles to grip [...] the problem with Rozema’s adaptation: their relationship isn’t that compelling. It’s revealed in clunky fashion through home movies, that Nell and Eva’s mother died not long ago of an unnamed disease. Their grief registers, yet the characters remain underdeveloped as people worth investing in. That’s not to discredit the work done by Page and Wood, both of whom go as deep as they can go with Rozema’s surface-level handling of the material (she also wrote the screenplay). Their sisterly bond is undeniable; it’s too bad that as individuals, they never manage to ring clear."
(2 out of 5) — Nigel M Smith,
"The actresses inhabit a wholly believable sibling dynamic, with Eva needing more nurturing than her sister and only really drawing nourishment from her dance sessions — beautiful episodes of abstract movement choreographed by Crystal Pite. Page, watchful and worried, carries responsibility on her shoulders without bitterness. [...] The Bottom Line: A high-caliber survival film focused on familial bonds over genre scares."
— John DeFore,
The Hollywood Reporter
"Maybe the biggest surprise as I knew the least about it — is Patricia Rozema's Into the Forest. [...] What Rozema created is the image of a welcoming forest, of the possibility of a retreat and a new beginning, the beginning of a home. Forests were the beginnings of civilization. Once people left the caves they started to build shelters/homes with wood. When they hit the deserts, they invented monotheism (think of all the prophets who have their visions in the desert) and air-conditioning, the ultimate rebellion against nature. These two women take the next step that we all have to take sooner than later. Thank you, Patricia, for tying our laces!"
— Jörn Weisbrodt,
"Ellen Page (in her first starring role since Whip It) and Evan Rachel Wood are superb, particularly the latter in a couple of devastating scenes. Outside some moments of clumsiness at the beginning thanks to some goofy next generation tech, Into the Forest unfolds confidently. Whether it sticks the landing, it’s up to you to decide, but it’s a hell of a ride. Four soon-to-be-roasted prairie dogs."
— Jorge Ignacio Castillo,
"Watching her work here and in “Freeheld,” one notices something about Ellen Page—she’s always remarkably present. You can see her listening, thinking and responding to her fellow actors and the situations that confront her. She doesn’t seem forced. Wood is typically strong as well (she’s an underrated actress), but it’s Page’s journey from what almost feels like a teenager to the de facto leader of the house that I find the most interesting. Still, “Into the Forest” remains a near-miss despite the strong work by its two leads as, and this could be a flaw of the source material, it starts to feel unfocused and directorially thin. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if other people see enough in these two performances to feel otherwise."
— Brian Tallerico,
"As a pair of leads very much carrying the thing—with an appearance from the sympathetic Max Minghella—Page and Wood are completely capable. You might never have imagined them as siblings before, but their cut glass cheekbones and steady gazes feel entirely sisterly. [...] Though the seasons are oddly unchanging and there’s a little head-scratching logic in the last reel, the film provides a compellingly fresh addition to a growing End Of Days cinematic subgroup."
— Carsten Knox,