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‘All You Can Eat Buddha’ is a quest for enlightenment in a trashy setting

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All You Can Eat Buddha is a "weird piece of filmmaking," says director Ian Lagarde. Photo courtesy Calgary Underground Film Festival.

Ten years ago, Montreal-based director and cinematographer Ian Lagarde began to dream up what eventually became his first feature, All You Can Eat Buddha. The surrealist, meditative work was almost “un ovni” – a UFO – but Lagarde said he decided to just start writing and see where that led him.

“Getting financing, having the right jury see and read the script and approve it was a quest in and of itself. There was a lot of scouting in Cuba, a lot of perfecting my Spanish, a lot of weird casting sessions,” Lagarde said. “Basically, seven rewrites including the shoot and the editing themselves – and the sound was a form of a rewrite, in a way. It was a very dense process, to say the least.”

The result, All You Can Eat Buddha, is a “weird piece of filmmaking,” Lagarde said, but one that largely is consistent with the vision he initially dreamt up a decade ago. The film follows a vacationer at an all-inclusive resort who begins to perform miracles, leading others at the resort to become captivated by his presence. The film premiered at TIFF in October 2017 and since then has picked up a pair of awards at the Whistler Film Festival and is nominated at the upcoming Prix Iris awards.

“The easiest way I’ve found to (describe the film) is basically a mystical bad trip in an all-inclusive resort. It’s the simplest way I can put it, or else it starts getting complicated,” Lagarde said. “It’s not an action movie or a psychological movie that much – the idea came from taking Siddhartha – so it’s a quest for enlightenment and putting it in the context of an all-inclusive resort. Taking that ‘noble’ quest and putting it in a trashier setting. Profane kitsch meets spiritual kitsch.”

Considering the film’s setting, Lagarde and his crew had to get creative in how they staged scenes to depict a high-end resort without actually showing that world on-screen. Lagarde said he edited the sound throughout the film almost as though it were another character.

“(Using sound), we basically populated the resort with more people and took them out as the film wore on to give the impression of the resort actually dying,” he said. “So that’s one thing to help craft the world subliminally, to narrate the story in a sense without words.”

The film is about halfway through its festival circuit at this point, Lagarde said, at which point the filmmakers will look to video on demand services to extend its audience.

“It’s a weird, meditative, ambient film that we constructed like waves, basically – looking at the sea, a slow, wavey contemplative downward spiral,” he said. “It’s got plenty of surreal elements and fantastic elements but it’s a very modest but honest film.”

Check out the trailer below.

All You Can Eat Buddha plays April 22 at the Calgary Underground Film Festival.

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Schitt’s Creek to conclude after next season

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The popular CBC sitcom Schitt’s Creek will conclude with its sixth and final season, star and co-creator Dan Levy announced in a statement today. Photo courtesy CBC.
The popular CBC sitcom Schitt’s Creek will conclude with its sixth and final season, star and co-creator Dan Levy announced in a statement today. Photo courtesy CBC.

The popular CBC sitcom Schitt’s Creek will end at the conclusion of its sixth season, series co-creator and star Dan Levy announced March 21.

“We are so grateful to have been given the time and creative freedom to tell this story in its totality, concluding with a final chapter that we had envisioned from the very beginning,” Levy said in a statement. “It’s not lost on us what a rare privilege it is in this industry to get to decide when your show should take its final bow.”

Schitt’s Creek premiered on CBC in 2015, becoming one of the network’s most successful half-hour comedies ever. The show follows the fish-out-of-water Rose family, forced to assimilate into a small town after they lose their family fortune.

Though the show’s first season received mixed reviews, it grew in regard with both fans and critics over subsequent iterations. Schitt’s Creek’s fifth season, which premiered on January 8, 2019, scored a 100 per cent “Fresh” ranking on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes.

The show is also among select company among Canadian sitcoms, drawing strong viewership in the United States and elsewhere thanks to distribution on Netflix and the American Pop network. Critics have reacted favourably to recent episodes, with TV Guide’s Megan Vick writing that each season of Schitt’s Creek has “gotten better and better.”

Read Levy’s full statement below.

New episodes of Schitt’s Creek air Tuesday nights at 9/9:30 NT on CBC.

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Watch the Oscar-nominated Canadian short “Animal Behaviour”

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The National Film Board of Canada is offering Canadians the opportunity to watch the Oscar-nominated Canadian short film "Animal Behaviour" until the end of today. Photo courtesy NFB
The National Film Board of Canada is offering Canadians the opportunity to watch the Oscar-nominated Canadian short film "Animal Behaviour" until the end of today. Photo courtesy NFB

To get prepped for the 91st Academy Awards, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is offering Canadians the chance to check out Animal Behaviour, nominated tonight in the Best Animated Short Film category.

Animal Behaviour is a new short from Alison Snowden and David Fine, who previously won an Oscar in 1994 for Bob’s Birthday. The short is the 75th Oscar nomination for the NFB, and the first short film for Snowden and Fine since Bob’s Birthday. The 91st Oscars air tonight at 8 Eastern on ABC and CTV.

Watch Animal Behaviour below (expires tonight).

Next up on The Mutt: Wynonna Earp future in doubt as Season 4 delayed

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Wynonna Earp future in doubt as Season 4 delayed

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Wynonna Earp Season 3 Episode 11/12 - "Daddy Lessons/War Paint". Photo courtesy Bell Media
Wynonna Earp Season 4 is in jeopardy, according to the The Hollywood Reporter, due to financial difficulties. Photo courtesy Space

All of a sudden, Wynonna Earp is in Purgatory.

Earpers were stunned Thursday night when executive producer and showrunner Emily Andras posted (and subsequently deleted) a tweet suggesting that fans of the show may soon have to fight for it. Another tweet, posted shortly later, took a decidedly more straight-forward approach.

Andras appeared to be responding to the news that funding for the fourth season of Wynonna Earp appeared to be on shaky ground, according to a report from The Hollywood Reporter. According to THR, financial challenges faced by IDW Entertainment have stalled production on Season 4, despite the company being contractually obligated to deliver the show to Syfy.

In response to the news, Earpers took to Twitter with the hashtag #FightForWynonna, which at the time of publication was one of the top Twitter trends in Canada. Though Season 4 has yet to be officially cancelled, IDW has yet to commit to a start date for the new season.

“IDW is committed to continuing to tell the Wynonna Earp story,” the company said in a statement posted to Twitter. “Much like the fans, we are passionate about not only the series, but the comics, the characters and the overall message that the Wynonna Earp franchise carries. We are in the process of working out the details for how the Wynonna story will continue and will share new details very soon.”

Our resident Earper, Ghezal Amiri, was a big fan of Season 3, writing that the show’s season finale, entitled “War Paint”, was a “wildly emotional conclusion.” Read her recap here.

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