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Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Canada

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Stander

Chris Campbell

StanderWhat if you made a film and nobody saw it? What if you made a great film and nobody saw it? The film Stander, directed by Bronwen Hughes falls into that category. Based on the true story of a gang that robbed banks in South Africa in early 1980s, it's not a straight-ahead drama based on true life. The film is stylish, surprising and moves along at a great pace and manages to combine heart-wrenching historical details with more tradition action film details. You go on a journey and the film changes tone from time to time and subverts your expectations. I can understand why the studio would have a hard time promoting the film. It exists somewhere between an art film and an action film. Bronwen Hughes is a fascinating director. She's nominated for Best Director in the Genie Awards and is choosing fascinating projects to develop and direct from her earlier work directing some of the filmed segments for Kids in the Hall to a children's feature such as Harriet the Spy. What is great to see in a director is a willingness to face challenges and not to keep making the same films again and again. Of the Genie nominated directors this year, Hughes is the best, but I wonder how many of the Genie voters will have seen the film. But that doesn't really take anything away from the film. I think that it will become a slowly-growing gem that people will gradually discover and wonder, "why haven't I heard about this film?"
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