Posts Tagged ‘Sloan Avrich’

TIFF 2014: Metro Canada’s Reel Guys are on Red Alert (and on screen) at TIFF

redBy Richard Crouse & Mark Breslin – Metro Reel Guys

As the Reel Guys continue their journey into the heart of the Toronto International Film Festival, Richard Crouse discovers a conflict he’s never encountered before and Mark Breslin uses the word “neurasthenic” for the first time ever during a major film festival.

Richard: Mark, I’ve been covering the film festival for a long time, but this is the first time I’ve had a conflict like the one Red Alert poses. It’s a short documentary about recent reports that redheads were going to become extinct. It features 10-year-old Sloan Avrich (a redhead whose father Barry directed the film), geneticist Amro Zayed, flame-haired model Lucy Liberatore and me as the resident film expert on all things Lucille Ball and Julianne Moore. I can’t review it, of course, but unofficially I give it 6 out of 5 stars. Writer Anne Brodie asked Sloan why she cast me in the film. “He is a friend of my parents. So I just asked him and he said yes. What a nice guy.”

Mark: I haven’t seen the film, but let me help you out: “Red Alert is a highly entertaining doc that truly comes alive whenever film expert Richard Crouse comes onscreen. His palpable magnetism and clever wordplay take a great little film and lift it to new heights.” I feel I can review a film without having seen it because I like all of Barry Avrich’s work. His showbiz documentaries are always great, but if you want to see a real oddball piece of hysteria check out Amerika Idol, about a small Balkan town that wants to erect a statue of Sylvester Stallone to bring the tourists in.

RC: I guess I was late to jump on the Benedict Cumberbatch bus. I liked Sherlock well enough and have seen him in several movies, but for me, and I know I’m the last to get it, his performance in The Imitation Game is a game changer. He plays real-life character Alan Turing, a Cambridge mathematician who volunteers to help break Germany’s most devastating WWII weapon of war, the Enigma machine. It was a top-secret operation, classified for more than 50 years, but that wasn’t Turing’s only secret. Gay at a time when homosexuality was illegal, punishable by jail or chemical castration, he was forced to live a world of secrets, both personal and professional. He’s fantastic in the movie and after interviewing him at TIFF I can tell you he has a voice that sounds like melted wax.

MB: The movie is a sad and shameful story, tragic, really, about how a hero can be persecuted for his personal life. Cumberbatch, who I thought you wore with a tuxedo, specializes in neurasthenic roles and he brings an aristocratic grace even to comic book movies. I’m not surprised you liked him as Turing. He’d also make a great Kim Philby — the British spy who secretly worked as a double agent in the ’50s.

RC: Cumberbatch has a look that seems to lend itself to period pieces, as does his co-star Keira Knightley who plays Joan Clarke, a brilliant female mathematician who worked alongside Turing during WWII. In my chat with her, she pointed out that the movie may be set in the 1940s but is still timely today: “She was paid a fraction of what all the men were paid, which is still what feminists are arguing about today. So in that way it still is a very current issue in the same way that as much as gay rights have moved on since the ’40s and ’50s, it’s still an issue.”

MB: Knightley’s come a long way from the female soccer player in Bend It Like Beckham. I just loved her in this year’s Begin Again and I thought she was great in Last Night and Never Let Me Go.


Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 4.59.07 PM“Canada AM” film critic Richard Crouse says “The Captive has good tension, but never really seems to gel,” and chats up a TIFF called “Red Alert.” It’s a 6 strar out of 5 movie… mostly because Richard is in it.

Watch the whole thing HERE!

Richard talks about redheads at the Toronto International Film Festival


“I love being a redhead” – Sloan Avrich

 “I wish I had red hair.” – Richard Crouse, film historian, author

Known for his revealing and controversial feature length docs on media moguls, director Barry Avrich embarks on a new direction with Red Alert, a 9 minute short inspired by his daughter Sloan, that will have its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF14) in the Discovery program.

In Red Alert, Sloan, a 10 yr old redhead, is distraught when she discovers on the internet that red hair will be extinct within one hundred years.  She sets out to make a documentary on the subject and debunk the myth so she and her fellow gingers can relax with the assurance that their legacy is not under threat.

Red Alert is the first film collaboration by father, daughter team Barry Avrich and Sloan Avrich.  One day while working in his home office Sloan asked him why he always made films about subjects she either didn’t know (Lew Wasserman, Bob Guccione) or wasn’t interested in (Harvey Weinstein, Garth Drabinsky).  Barry challenged her to come up with her own ideas of what she’d like to see and proposed that they make a film together.  Sloan had recently run across an article online stating that redheads would be extinct in 100 years , and, rather alarmed, she decided she had to get to the bottom of the matter to see if it was really true.

Thus Red Alert was born.  Sloan began researching the subject, unearthing footage and online articles about Kick A Ginger Day, an anti-ginger episode from South Park and a 2007 NBC The Today Show interview with Steve Warrington redhead activist and founder of online community  Along the way Sloan finds arguments for and against the future of red hair and learns to not believe everything you read on the internet.

Sloan also researched, selected, recruited and prepared interviews with experts including film historian and critic Richard Crouse, who reveals how redheaded stars like Lana Turner and Myrna Loy became even more famous during the transition from black & white to colour film when their glamorous locks registered with audiences.  Geneticist Amro Zayed explains the science behind red hair, and celebrity hair stylist Daniel Fiori, model Lucy Liberatore and fellow gingers give their best tips for redheads.

“Red Alert” is a World Premiere in Discovery at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) 2014