The Toronto International Film Festival is just that, international. While the Academy prides itself on bringing together the best and brightest from all over the world, we’re equally proud of the Canadian talent holding their own. Check out our list of ten TIFF films not to be missed (and the Canadian Screen Award winners and nominees who run them):
This zombie movie kicks off our list with a bang. Actor and filmmaker Robin Aubert has cleaned up at previous Gémeaux and Genie awards shows with nominations and wins. He’s hitting up TIFF with Les Affamés, (translation: “The Ravenous”) which he both wrote and directed. The thoughtfulness applied to the film’s political nature will make audiences want to get inside Aubert’s mind and really pick his braaain.
Anita Doron was nominated for a 2013 Canadian Screen Award in the category of Adapted Screenplay. Now she takes on Deborah Ellis’ popular and powerful novel, The Breadwinner, adapting the book about a young Afghan girl determined to defy the Taliban into a screenplay.
One would be hard-pressed to find a more fitting example of classic Canadiana at this year’s TIFF. Writer, director, actor, and Canadian Screen Award winner Sarah Polley adapts Margaret Atwood’s 1996 novel of the same name into this masterpiece starring Canadian Screen Award winner Sarah Gadon and even the legendary Genie and Canadian Screen Award-winning David Cronenberg.
Director-editor Sean Menard was previously nominated for a 2016 Canadian Screen Award for Best Sports Program or Series, and now he ventures into “Jurassic Park”, the clever moniker for the world of Vince Carter and the Toronto Raptors.
In this film, the leading character, Irene faces her fears: the adolescent bullies from her small town. The highly anticipated Don’t Talk to Irene employs the creative vision of cinematographer Paul Sarossy, who has been collecting awards and nominations since the ‘90s from the Genie, Gemini, Gémeaux, and Canadian Screen Awards.
Patrick McLaughlin serves as the cinematographer in this documentary about the deceit in the Multiple Sclerosis community. McLaughlin has previously won a Canadian Screen Award in 2015 for Best Cinematography in a Feature Length Documentary, making the 97 minutes of this movie heartbreaking, but a visual treat.
This story of finding one’s origin takes place when a young woman from Montreal reconnects with her Italian and Dutch roots. In this fitting co-production with The Netherlands and Italy, legendary Canadian producer Don Carmody represents. His track record is nothing to scoff at either; of the combined seven Genie and Canadian Screen Awards for which he has been nominated, he’s won…well, all of them.
Producer, writer, director Alanis Obomsawin won two Canadian Screen Awards in 2014 including the Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary Program and the Humanitarian Award, making this documentary an undoubtedly promising one. She introduces the audience to the community of the Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba where active decolonization takes place.
Director Cory Bowles is perhaps best known for his acting work in Trailer Park Boys for which he won a Gemini award, but he shows his serious side in this feature-length expansion of his short film of the same name. The film centres around a police officer entangled in the dichotomy of his titular identity, as inflicted by our society’s law enforcement and their all-too-frequent abuse of force.
Not to be missed, this 7 minute short from Sol Friedman features a fantastic conversation between one of the world’s greatest thought leaders…and Stephen Hawking. Sol Friedman has previously attained a Canadian Screen Award nomination for Best Animated Short, and a win for Best Short Documentary. Only viewing this short at TIFF will tell you if this is the former or the latter.
Honourable Mention To:
Producer Marcel Giroux was nominated for multiple Genie awards in the ‘90s and now he takes part in seeing that this horror movie turned social commentary makes its way to the big screen.
Written for the Academy by Kathleen Walsh