Eyes on the Prize

Christie Pits Film Festival
June 25 — August 20, 2017

programme NOTE

What drives us to compete? How far would you go to win? This summer, Christie Pits Film Festival presents Eyes on the Prize, a summer-long weekly series of short and feature films about competition and beating the odds. Each film in the Eyes on the Prize programme explores these themes from a different perspective, ranging from the kaleidoscopic dance competitions of Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom, to ruthless high school cheerleading squads in Bring It On, to the hilariously petty antics of dog show rivals in Christopher Guest’s inimitable Best in Show. The series opens with a special screening of Harold Lloyd’s silent comedy The Freshman with an original musical score performed live by Toronto’s The Holy Gasp. This slapstick classic follows the increasingly over-the-top hijinks of a comically inept college freshman resolutely determined to become popular by joining the football team. In the iconic film noir The Maltese Falcon, Humphrey Bogart leads an all-star cast of criminal schemers, all one-upping one another as they chase a fortune in hidden jewels, and this classic will be paired with the noir-inspired animated short film Phantom City. West Side Story’s star-crossed lovers from rival immigrant communities are caught between singing-and-dancing street gangs as they struggle for a piece of that most elusive prize, the American Dream. This year’s Canadian feature selections similarly focus on marginalized people pushing against social barriers. Amber Fares’ Speed Sisters tells the inspiring true story of the first all-women team of race car drivers in the Middle East, and will be paired with two short films also focused on women driven to compete, Underdog and Boxing. Lana Šlezić’s Bee Nation paints an intimate documentary portrait of First Nations kids vying for the top prize in the national spelling bee. And what would a series about competition be without a powerful sports drama? Christie Pits Film Festival’s 2017 programme will close with a special surprise screening of a modern sports classic that packs a serious emotional punch. Keep your eyes on the prize with these great films and more all summer long in Christie Pits Park!

Eyes on the Prize is co-curated by Emily Reid and Felan Parker. This series is made possible with funding from Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council.