Saturday, 14 May 2016

Tony Robbins is not your Guru.

Tony Robbins is a master at motivating people into changing their lives, although I have been reading his books and listening to him speak since the 80's I have found it hard to stick but what the new documentary: Tony Robbins: I am not your Guru explains is that you need a physical shift in the way you transform into a new way of being.  I guess I haven't had that physical change but I must say that some of the things he has said over the years have stuck with me.  I find myself thinking about a lot of it after seeing the documentary which takes you into his Date with Destiny 12 hour, 6 day seminars.  You pretty much give up everything and focus on your life in those 6 days, and I guess that's where the physical transformation comes into play.  When all you do is focus all of your attention on the things you are unhappy with in your life you start to think about what you have to do to change it.  Tony helps you zero in on what the core of the problem is and what you have to do to make the change.

I saw the documentary at the 2016 Hot Docs film festival where Tony was in attendance to introduce the film.  I have to tell you that I stood in a rush line for an hour to see the 1st screening at which he did a full Q&A and unfortunately the Rush line cut off just in front of me.  So my friend and I killed time at the coffee shop next door waiting for the 2nd screening.  I knew Tony would be there and wanted to get a chance to see the screening and hear what he had to say, even though I knew the film is going to be shown on Netflix in July.  We did get in and we did get to see Tony Robbins but unfortunately he wasn't able to stay for a Q&A afterwards but the director Joe Berlinger did.  Joe was the director of the great documentary about Metallica: Some Kind of Monster.

Joe explained that he met Tony socially years ago and didn't believe in the seminars but Tony invited him to attend one and even though he was skeptical it changed his mind and his life.  He decided he wanted to make a documentary about it and see if it was real and was persistent in asking Tony to let him do it and after a long time Tony finally agreed.  He didn't want the cameras to get in the way of the attendees experience.  Joe took a fly on the wall approach to filming and even though he did some interviews it is mostly just viewing people going through their experiences at the seminar and sharing their stories.

Because I was well aware of what Tony Robbins does after even seeing him live at a Millionaire Mind weekend seminar at the Metro Convention Centre years ago, note: don't go see him on a full stomach,  I wasn't able to stay until the end of his seminar but I got a good 40 minutes experience of it.  It's a non stop full impact high energy and very interactive presentation.  Prepare to be all in if you attend one of these seminars.  The one I attended was a weekend with many different speakers and although I was turned off by many of them because I found that most of them were just pushing books or future expensive seminars,  there were a few of the speakers that were very interesting and made a lot of sense.  I am sure Tony tried to sell some books and seminars but I left before he got to the sell part.  That was the only thing that turned me off was that most of these things get you hyped up and sucked in to spend more money, kind of like some psychics.  I am not saying Tony does this but it's because of this kind of practice that Tony has a lot of skeptics.  I do think he is the real deal and understands and can get to the root of someone's problems like a qualified psychologist.  I suppose you really need to experience it or read the books to see if things click for you.

I would suggest that you see the documentary and decide for yourself if you believe in it or not.
I do think that Tony is genuine and real and you have to be to do this for 30 plus years with countless corporations and celebrities.  Celebrities who were in attendance at the seminar shown in the documentary were Julian and Derek Hough and Maria Menounos.

He has a reputation as huge as he is and I suppose the title of the film speaks to the fact that you have to do the work and he just gives you the tools to do it.

I would recommend seeing the documentary if you don't know much about him and see if any of it relates to your own life.  Watch with an open mind and you will get something from it.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Madonna's former dancers Strike a Pose

STRIKE A POSE - Documentary - 2016

(photo by Linda Posnick)
Strike a Pose;top row: Salim Gauwloos, Oliver Crumes III, Carlton Wilborn, Kevin Stea 
bottom row: Luis Camacho, Jose Gutierez

In a continuation on my reviews of films that were screened at Hot Docs 2016 in Toronto this festival May 2016,  on the last weekend of the festival I attended the screening of Strike at Pose at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema.  I heard I missed the screening that had all the men from the film at the screening but the screening I attended was just as popular and full.  I had to sit in the stiff neck section at the front of the theatre even.

The documentary was directed by Ester Gould and  Reijer Zwaan.

The subjects of the film were Madonna's former dancers from her Blonde Ambition tour and were seen in her controversial documentary TRUTH OR DARE.

The directors take a look at what has happened to these acclaimed dancers since the Blonde Ambition tour ended.

The film is a combination of laughs, sadness, irony, tragedy and triumph with all of these characters and I mean characters with big personalities and insane life stories.

Sadly Madonna doesn't appear in the film but is seen through clips from the Blonde Ambition tour and the Truth or Dare movie.  After the tour was over they all went their separate ways even though during the tour they became like a family with Madonna being the Matriarch.

The Truth or Dare documentary was Madonna's plan to push buttons and boundaries and the world and question everything that is thought of as the norm.  But there are always consequences to these actions and Madonna's challenge to her dancers to kiss turned into a legal battle following the outing of the dancers on film.  It's one thing for you to choose to come out in a public forum but another to be pushed out by a dare.

Strike a Pose tells each dancers story from the tour until current day.  I would say that all of the dancers have had various major life struggles since riding high on the tour.  Nothing lasts forever as they say.

The dancers hadn't kept in touch even though they loved each other but it took these documentary filmmakers to bring them together many years and many lives later.

This film will make you laugh and make you think and make you feel for these individuals that never attained the superstardom that Madonna did.

Although I am not big on giving films star ratings... I would give this one a SuperStar!!

Go see it if you get the chance..  It's a fun look at where we have come from.

for more info on the film go to their website:

One on One with Ants on a Shrimp director Maurice Dekkers

At Hot Docs I  had a quick one on one chat with Maurice Dekkers the Director of "Ants on a Shrimp", the documentary about famed Michelin Chef Rene Redzepi's restaurant Noma setting up a PopUp restaurant in Japan.

Maurice and his crew want to shoot like flies on a wall or ants on a shrimp and give the viewer a look from the inside of the inner workings of a high level restaurant in food development.  Rene's goal was to be uncomfortable and break outside of any pre conceived box that people expected him to fall in to. He was a stranger in a new place looking for a way to merge terroir, technique and style to create new dishes you could only find in that particular location at that particular time.

I asked Maurice 10 questions about the film and the food. 

1.  How did you become involved with this project?
"I was working with Rene on a a television series when the opportunity to document the Noma popup came up.

2.  How long did it take to film?
"A couple of months, about a month in the restaurant and the rest in Denmark and around Japan".

3.  What were some of the challenges?
It was self funded. Jumping on it quickly after discussing it with Rene.  It was his first long form documentary.

4.  What do you think about food bloggers?  We agreed that there are good ones and bad ones but he also said that food bloggers helped with his chocolate business, Tony's Chocolonely, in Amsterdam.  He also said that Rene likes storytelling and likes the way some bloggers tell a story about the food.

5.  How big was your crew?
It was a crew of 3 people.

6.  Did you and the crew get to eat any of the Noma food while filming?
"Yes of course, we were the Guinea Pigs".

7.  What was the weirdest thing you ate?
"Cod sperm" and foraged things you don't know you can eat.

8.   Do you have any other projects lined up?  "No, not now".  He will be busy doing the festival circuit for a while.

9.  Have you spent any time at any Toronto Restaurants?  He went to one restaurant for Tapas with the group from Eatable Films but he couldn't remember the name but he enjoyed it.

10.  Do you think Rene's approach in developing recipes using native local food could be a solution to issues like food insecurity, poverty and food waste?

He wasn't sure but thought maybe in some ways, although the food at Noma is very expensive because of the research and development and the man hours to produce the labour intensive food.
He also said that Rene's approach to the Japan Noma was to be uncomfortable and not do exactly what they did in Denmark but learn from their surroundings.

Read my post about the film "Ants on a Shrimp" here:

At the time of this post the film was just beginning the festival circuit so there isn't a theatrical release date yet.