True story. On the last day of the festival I went to the main box office to buy a t-shirt to prove that I had been a part of the wonderful madness that is Hot Docs but of course all  t-shirts were sold out! I had two choices at that point: A Hot Docs thermos or a Hot Docs umbrella. In the end I went for the umbrella so I paid my $20 and I was off.

Part of me wished that a rainstorm would hit just so I could get my moneys worth.                                                                                Well it didn’t rain but all in all, it was a wild ride!

Let’s re-cap the whole Hot Docs experience, working backwards shall we?

By the way, not that you asked but right now I’m listening to a reggae-fied version of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band by Easy Star All-Stars. Yeah mon.

Ok, where was I? Oh yes, a re-cap.


Last day of Hot Docs and a sold out screening of THE STORY OF FURIOUS PETE at the Cumberland 3 in Yorkville. This was a nice way to wrap up the festival. We had three screenings in all; two were open to the public and they both sold out very quickly, the other one was part of the Docs for Schools program, which is organized for students across Ontario. We were in the company of some great films and talented filmmakers so that what was pretty cool. Have a look if you are so inclined:

The audience reaction from all three screenings was overwhelmingly positive! I have to say that there’s no greater thrill than knowing that you’ve helped to create something that makes people laugh, cry and squirm.

For those of you that came out looking for the gross out factor, I think it’s safe to say that we delivered that to you in a super sized package.

But the thing that I really love about this film is how many layers it has and how quickly it switches gears from something as disgusting as watching Pete eat a massive ball of ribs to then seeing him a moment later in a heartfelt and tearful embrace with his Mom- this was easily one of the most heartbreaking scenes. I could hear people crying in the audience and I have to admit I was one of them- even after watching it a hundred times.

At the Sunday screening during the Q & A we had a man and woman in the audience who admitted to having struggled with their own eating disorder. It was actually quite touching. I really hope this film helps those suffering from anorexia to feel like it’s not hopeless and that they’re not alone because it’s an awful illness. Anything is possible if you believe and you’re determined!

Lots of other interesting questions popped up during the Q & A but mostly people just wanted to know how Pete does what he does. Yes indeed, ladies and gentleman…that boy is a natural born eater!!

By the way, now I’m listening to the soundtrack to a strange little movie called Wristcutters: A Lover Story. It’s fantastic!


For most of Hot Docs, I was either doing interviews or attending various seminars so today I decided to actually watch some documentaries. I managed to catch two tearjerkers that I really enjoyed: Monica & David and Leave them Laughing.

Monica & David is the story of a Down syndrome couple and it’s wonderful! It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with these two. The documentary begins two weeks before their wedding and follows them a year into their life together as a married couple. It’s a really sweet film and probably one of my favourites from everything I saw.

Right after Monica & David I hightailed it to my next screening.

Leave Them Laughing is a perfect example of how important it is to have an interesting documentary subject. Carla Zilbersmith is a feisty 46-year-old writer/singer/performer. She’s got a quick wit and a very dark sense of humour- she is also dying from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Here’s a direct quote from Carla: “When life f**ks you up the ass, employ the lube of laughter.” Wise words indeed!

The one thing I wasn’t crazy about was the actual way this was filmed. Many of the interviews took place in front a green screen with various images added in afterwards. I found the whole thing kind of distracting….but as a story and a subject, this was a home run!


I got up early this morning, watched To Sir With Love and wrote a review of that film for my on air gig hosting The Film Can on Treasure HD.

After that, I switched gears and made it down to Hot Docs central, did a bit of schmoozing and attended the awards presentation at the Isabel Theatre followed by the Awards reception at the Windsor Arms. I definitely could have used that umbrella I bought two days later because it was raining something fierce!!!


Today was a mixed bag. The morning started off early with Pete and I doing a pre-taped  interview with Jane Hawtin on CBC radio’s Metro Morning.

Then we rushed to the Bloor Cinema for a special screening of the doc.  This was a different audience. It was a theatre filled with kids from various schools around Ontario. I think they really got a kick out of Pete’s special ‘talent’ because they swarmed him afterwards during the Q&A. We may have a new generation of competitive eaters coming forward soon!

After the screening of our film, I attended an informative seminar on the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund. Then it was off to Happy Hour to network and schmooze with various buyers and distributors. I met some interesting people and had a few pretty good conversations regarding other projects I’d like to develop so we’ll see what happens.

At 7pm, I made it to the Isabel Bader Theatre for a screening of Nenette. On paper, this film really shouldn’t work but I’ve got to say I hope that you all get a chance to see it because I was completely mesmerized by it!!

Basically the whole documentary takes place at a French zoo with the cameras locked off on several orangutans- but the star of the show is Nenette. Through the whole film we hear various tourists and visitors commenting on Nenette and company from behind the glass- but we never see them. It was an incredibly simple but poetic doc. Nenette was definitely one of my favourites!

My intention was to go see Adrien Grenier’s Teenage Paparazzo but that screening didn’t start until 9:30pm so I opted instead to drive my ass home.

A long but productive day!



I realize now that I’m the type of person who is happiest when there is a lot going on around me. Ok, maybe ‘happy’ isn’t the right word but in some strange way, I get off on the nervous energy that comes with juggling many different balls in the air.

As if I wasn’t busy enough promoting THE STORY OF FURIOUS PETE, I’m also working out all the details for an upcoming shoot for a TV pilot. So this morning started with a conference call with some of the key players involved with this shoot.

I can’t say too much about what the TV show is but it’s very detailed and requires a lot of planning- good times!

What else happened today? Oh yeah, I did an interview with Check it out at the link below:–from-anorexia-to-eating-contests-chatting-with-the-director-of-furious-pete

Again I was hoping to catch some films at Hot Docs after all the phone calls and emails were taken care of there was no time…


What’s on the menu for today?

Ahhh yes, another interview to promote THE STORY OF FURIOUS PETE…he pimping continues my friends!

This interview was for a show called The Electric Playground. If you missed it, here it is:

I also went to an interesting and informative seminar about the importance of a creating a really great demo when pitching your project to a broadcaster. The class was called Anatomy of a Trailer and the guest speaker was Fernanda Rossi aka the Doc Doctor.

I’ve always thought that having a strong demo, trailer, whatever you want to call it, is very important because first of all, it visually shows the broadcaster what you are taking about so much more so than just a one sheet pitch.

Second of all, it shows whoever you are pitching that you are able to convey your message clearly and concisely….and when you are asking somebody to give you money, you better be able to put his or her mind at ease that you know what you’re doing.

I’m actually really happy with the official trailer for our doc because in 3:30 seconds, you’re taken on this really crazy, absurd and emotional roller coaster ride. I think you get a sense of what the doc has to offer but you’re left hungry for more- sorry, pardon the bad pun.

Later that night, I made an appearance at the Steam Whistle Brewery for a Hot Docs party. Nothing to exciting too report. Had a couple beers, some poutine, chatted with a few people and called it a night.


I’ve got a very busy today!

Two back to back interviews: ET Canada with my buddy and one of the nicest guys in broadcasting Rick Campanelli and Naked News- for those of you wondering, no the person who interviewed Pete and I was not naked and thankfully neither were we!

The ET Canada interview took place at Lone Star, which is where we shot the end credits of the film with three different cameras in real time as Pete devoured a 72-ounce steak. You have to see this massive slab of meat in person to really get a sense of the sheer bigness of it!

Lone Star were nice enough to grill one up for us on camera for the interview and afterwards, Rick, Pete, Jay (cameraman), Andrea (publicist), Sue (Lonestar) and I did our best to eat as much of it as possible but we barely made a dent in it. Pete was busy with some fajitas; otherwise it would have been gone in record time.

After the interviews were done, it was time for more Hot Docs seminars.

I don’t know if it was the lack of an air-conditioned room or the tiny desks but I felt like I was back in school.


Today is the big day!!!

It’s the World premiere of The Story of Furious Pete. Hot Docs 2010 baby!!

I’ve been so busy in the weeks leading up to the festival doing interviews and promoting the film that I haven’t allowed myself the opportunity to really absorb what is happening here. This is huge. Hot Docs is North America’s largest documentary film festival and this is their 17th and biggest year ever. Over 2,400 films were submitted and roughly 170 were selected. Our film was one of them! This was the first time I had actually submitted a film to Hot Docs so I was totally unaware how hard or how easy it was to actually make it into a festival like this. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

Anyway, as I drove down to the Royal Cinema, I was slightly overcome with emotion. We had a sold-out show and aside from some friends and family who were attending, basically it was a bunch of people I didn’t know who bought a ticket to see this film because they were intrigued enough to want to see more. The pressure!

As an added bonus, I thought it might make for an interesting media photo op if we stage a watermelon-eating contest before the screening. It was Furious Pete vs. two guys who didn’t stand a chance but it sure as hell was funny to watch!! Global, City News and Omni all came out to cover it for the evening news so that was cool.

And then it was time to turn the lights off and watch the show.

Other than my wife and a couple other people, this was the first time that a theatre filled with people would be watching The Story of Furious Pete.

I was a little freaked out by that idea.

The whole thing was a blur. I remember people laughing, I remember people being grossed out, I remember people crying and I kind of remember a Q & A afterwards.

It really was a great night!

I had a few goals for this film: I wanted to show people something they’ve never seen before, I wanted to open up a discussion about male anorexia which is a topic we don’t often hear about and I wanted people to be entertained for 85 minutes. Ultimately, I wanted people to NOT be bored!! Judging by people’s reactions, I think we succeeded.

A quick thanks to a few people who helped make this film happen: My producing partner and editor Igal Hecht, Director of photography Chris Sherry and of course Pete Czerwinski for trusting me with some very personal details.

Oh, and of course, thank you to Omni Television for getting behind this project. After we make the rounds on the festival circuit, it will air on that channel in the fall sometime.

Peace and Good vibes,                                                                                                                                                                                         George Tsioutsioulas

P.S. here are some links for various press on THE STORY OF FURIOUS PETE: – CBC NEWS – BREAKFAST TELEVISION—tuesday-april-27-2010/#clip294943 – ETALK – MSN – YAHOO–from-anorexia-to-eating-contests-chatting-with-the-director-of-furious-pete – CITYTV.CA–scarborough-native-s-film-screens-at-documentary-festival – SCARBOROUGH MIRROR – SUITE 101 – SUITE 101 – THE ELECTRIC PLAYGROUND – NOW MAGAZINE  – City TV news – CTV NEWS – GLOBE & MAIL – CTV.CA – FILM SCHOOL REGECTS – DOC SPACE  – NATIONAL POST (Pete’s interview) – NATIONAL POST (overview on hot docs) – THE EDGE – NEWS TALK 1010 – TORONTO LIFE – SHALOM LIFE–what-s-on-hot-docs-fest-looks-at-human-condition – STAR – MOVIE FONE – GLOBE & MAIL -GLOBE & MAIL – TORONTOIST – EXCLAIM – CANOE – EYE WEEKLY – AOL / MOVIEFONE – SAMARITIN MAGAZINE – McMaster NEWSLETTER – INDIEWIRE – CBC.CA–furious-pete-is-ready-to-eat – MISSISSAUGA.COM – CTV.CA – NATIONAL POST – NATIONAL POST – THE FINAL GIRL PROJECT / BLOG – pub sub – TORONTO FILM SCENE – BLACK HAT MEDIA – BLOG TO – MACLEANS.CA – BODYBUILDING.COM – HOT DOCS (DOCS FOR SCHOOL PROGRAMS) – CENTENNIAL COLLEGE NEWS WIRE – CENTENNIAL COLLEGE BLOG

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