Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Winnipeg sex comedy the lighter side of TIFF

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TORONTO -- Writer-star Jonas Chernick (pictured) wants to make sure he's clear on one point about his new film, My Awkward Sexual Adventure.

"It's not autobiographical," he said with a laugh during a recent interview.

Phew. Now that that's out of the way, the film -- which is being featured at the Toronto International Film Festival -- follows a repressed accountant (Chernick) whose longtime girlfriend dumps him after their latest fumbling sexual misadventure.

Devastated, he eventually embarks on a mission of sexual education with help from a stripper (Emily Hampshire) who needs his assistance with a crushing debt load.

The 39-year-old Chernick describes the raunchy, raucous film (directed by Winnipeg's Sean Garrity) as a "romantic" comedy, but don't expect the artful love scenes that usually populate those kinds of movies.

"Most films, the way they depict sexuality is usually very graceful, very elegantly lit," said Chernick, best known for his Gemini Award-winning role on The Border.

"But I think sex is really funny and embarrassing and vulnerable and it can be awkward, and I really wanted to explore that. So we have a character who really has to face his fears and confront his own hangups in a way that I think we can all relate to, even though no one wants to talk about these things.

"And I really wanted it to be honest -- and explicit at times -- but really just true, and hopefully that's what we've achieved."

Of course, Chernick knows that the Toronto film fest primarily showcases more serious, thoughtful fare. And he hopes that works in his film's favour.

"At the Toronto film festival, you see great movie after great movie, but most of them are darker -- they're dramas, social dramas, and we are a sex comedy," said Chernick, who shot and set the movie in his native Winnipeg.

"This is the one that you'll want to see as a break from the awesome Iranian movie that's going to win all the awards. It's a romp. You're going to laugh. You're going to watch the movie through your fingers, I think, because it really does unveil a lot of sad, funny truths about human sexuality that you don't see very often."

The Toronto International Film Festival wraps up Sept. 16.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 12, 2012 D2

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