Brace yourself for movies, movies and more movies for children and Comic Book lovers in filmfest-crazy T.O.

Better rest your eyes this week. Two more major film festivals are almost upon us.

The Toronto international Film Festival’s celebrated children’s festival, Sprockets, proudly offers “the films kids around the world are lining up to see.” And yes, these children’s

IRREVERENT TUNESMITHS: the gang's all here

films really are international. This coming weekend includes five features short films from Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Germany and Mexico, presented in collaboration with the Canadian Film Centre’s popular Worldwide Short Film Festival. And no, black tie is not required. Screenings start Saturday morning at 9:30 am, and one of the best things about the excellent Sprockets website is that you can personally program Best Bet viewing for your kids by based on age or their current school status [Grade 3, Grade 5, etc.) For all the deets, just click here.

HIRSCHFELD by Hirschfeld

Also premiering this Saturday is the 2010 Toronto Jewish Film Festival, which may have snagged more hot titles than ever before. Two movies about movies, The Brothers Warner and Cinemas Exiles: From Hitler To Hollywood, are ringing that Don’t Miss bell for me. Also bound to garner attention: Gay Days, which chronicles the rise of openly gay citizens in Israel [from three in 1985 — yes, three — to 3,000 by 1998;) and is one of more than two dozen Canadian premieres; and a screening of Larry Weinstein‘s much-lauded dramatic documentary Inside Hana’s Suitcase.

HANA'S SUITCASE: encore screening

Special focus of this year’s TJFF is People Of The Comic Book, a salute to the artists and innovators who communicate with millions by creating images that make us laugh and cry. Hot ticket highlights of this special sidebar series include The Line King: The Al Hirschfeld Story, about the brilliant New York Times caricaturist; Irreverent Imagination: The Golden Age Of Looney Tunes; and encore screenings of Bob Zemeckis’ classic Disney ‘Toon Town comedy Who Killed Roger Rabbit, Ralph Bakshi’s X-rated Fritz The Cat, and Ron Mann’s classic Comic Book Confidential. (Talk about yer embarrassment of riches!) Tickets are now on sale for the run of the festival. For the complete schedule and more info, just click here.

AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME: Do you think Rick Mercer deserves an Olympic medal?Toronto Star sports reporter Randy Starkman does. Yesterday in his excellent Olympics blog at http://www.thestar.com Starkman proclaimed that Mercer should be named an honorary Canadian Olympian.

“For one thing,” he wrote, “the bits he does with Canadian Olympic athletes are hilarious, but at the same time show a great appreciation for the athletes and their sports. Check out Rick trying out bobsleigh or biathlon or synchronized swimming and water polo.

MERCER: honorary medalist?

“Maybe Mercer keeps going back to the Olympians to do his shtick because he finds them so accommodating and easy to work with, but you also gets the sense that he understands what they’re about and the contribution they make to the country.His March 2 blog in which he takes up their cause with future funding on the line really shows that. He writes:

“And see this is the thing about governments; governments can take any amount of money and they can make it seem like a lot or a little. And we’ve been told over and over again that this government – this wonderful government – has spent over 55 million dollars over five years supporting amateur athletes. What a huge amount of money. Who’s ever heard of such a sum? 55 million over five years. In fact it’s the same amount of money this same government has spent in one year, in one Conservative riding, preparing for one G8 meeting. A meeting by the way that will last one day. Starts at nine, ends at five. And at the end of the day the only Canadian on a podium will be the prime minister. Never mind Owning the Podium, this is more Pass the Imodium.

“And my guess is when the meeting’s done, no six year old is gonna be inspired to be the best in the world at anything. That is the job of our Olympians. Team Canada did their job now it’s time we do ours and make sure the bucks don’t stop here.”

STEWART: chicken zzzzoup

Adds Starkman: “Maybe Rick Mercer should be in that parade in Montreal later this month.”

Maybe he should.

SEE/HEAR: And now, for the educational part of our program, Martha Stewart will show us how to put a chicken to sleep. And yes, I know what you’re thinking. And no, I’m not making this up. Hey, seeing is believing. To watch  Ms Stewart induce poultry zzzz’s, just cluck, uhh, click here.

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