Month: June 2013

When it comes to online privacy ‘Terms And Conditions May Apply’

With the latest revelations about surveillance by the NSA  the past couple of weeks have seen an explosion in the conversation over what exactly happens to our online data, and just how accessible our personal internet communications are by government bodies. Indeed, thanks to the recent leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, we now have further insight into just how closely connected government surveillance programs and the corporations we rely on daily such as Facebook, and Google have become.

These latest leaks also happen to coincide with the release of a gripping new documentary by filmmaker Cullen Hoback called  ‘Terms And Conditions May Apply’. The film sheds light on just how much information is held about ordinary citizens by corporations and government, and how that data is being used in some disquieting ways.

But the film also takes a step back to raise the question, how did we get to this point?  How did we so quickly end up in a world where the majority of our day-to-day communications are legally accessible by the government – even without being suspected of a particular crime –  and what could this mean not only for our privacy, but for the very ability for citizens to dissent? Terms_and_Conditions_May_Apply_1

It’s both a timely and riveting doc and despite dealing with serious issues, it manages to be a really fun film to watch. Terms And Conditions had it’s Canadian premiere at Hot Docs in May, and I took the chance to sit down with director Cullen Hoback. But be warned, it may just leave you shocked at what we agreed to in the fine print!

The film is opening up in several U.S. markets in July including New York and Los Angeles, and for more announcements on upcoming screenings head over to

Listen to the full interview here!

Humorist David Sedaris on Writing, His Public/Private Persona, and on Not Feeling Like a Success

David Sedaris

Author David Sedaris

Best-Selling and celebrated author David Sedaris has been delighting readers for more that 20 years with his self-effacing essays in which he mines stories from his family, childhood, and day-to-day experiences for the perverse humour of human existence.

Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris

Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris

He first gained popularity in the early 1990s with his humourous radio essays on NPR (such as the SantaLand diaries in which he recounts his stint working as a Christmas elf at the Macy’s Department Store) and then later through his contributions to PRI’s This American Life, and the New Yorker magazine.

His latest collection of essays  Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls is his 9th book and has earned him the usual glowing reviews and place on-top of the best-sellers list.

David Sedaris was in Toronto in May as part of his book tour and I leapt at the chance to have him on for an interview. We spoke about everything from his success as an artist, and his public persona, to his early days as a writer, and his admiration for the radio prose of the great Jonathan Goldstein.

Two New Documentary Films: 1) Tiny – A Story About Living Small & 2) Caucus

This week a look at two new documentary films, which played at this year’s Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto.

First up – Tiny A Story About Living Small takes a look at the new movement of living small in a big way.

We North Americans are known for our love of material things, including large houses. But a growing community of individuals and couples have started questioning the more is better paradigm and have begun experimenting just how little we need to be happy.  One of the most interesting examples of this are the self-proclaimed “Tiny Housers” – people who have have opted to radically downsize their lives by building and living in tiny houses 200 square feet or less, a size no bigger than your average parking space!

Filmmakers Merete Mueller and Christopher Smith

Filmmakers Merete Mueller and Christopher Smith

Now the new film Tiny – A Story About Living Small takes a look at this trend of small living. The filmmaking team of Christopher Smith and Merete Mueller document their own journey of building a tiny home (despite having no previous experience building) and also profile six families who have opted for the small house lifestyle and the reasons they decided to so radically simplify and downsize their lives.To find out more about the film and about Tiny houses check them out at

And in the second half, Caucus is a rare behind the scenes look at the ground battle of american presidential politics. The film by AJ Schnack and Nathan Truesdell follows the 2012 Republican Iowa Caucus and documents the nine often lonely months the 8 republican candidates – From Michelle Bachmann to Mitt Romney spent traveling, stumping and campaigning around Iowa in the lead up to that states “first in the nation” primary vote.  From corn dogs to lonely town halls, it’s a look at the bizarre nature, spectacle and life of being a presidential hopeful.


It’s a verite look into american politics we haven’t seen since 1993’s The War Room. You can find out more at