Toronto International Film Festival organisers also unveiled the Canadian short film line-up, industry events and four TIFF Rising Stars on Wednesday (8).
“Through comedy, thrills, drama and suspense, films in the line-up present stories of youth and violence, coming-of-age, the environment, dysfunctional families, sex and celebrity,” TIFF senior programmer Steve Gravestock said. “From intimate, affecting stories with big impact to films with global scope, the Canadian films in this year’s festival will move audiences.”
Some of the films will be eligible for the City Of Toronto + Canada Goose Award for Best Canadian Feature Film presented annually to a Canadian filmmaker and the SKYY Vodka Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film, presented annually to a Canadian filmmaker for an “impressive debut feature.”
This year’s Canadian awards jury comprises filmmaker Jody Shapiro, CPH PIX festival director Jacob Neiiendam, actor and filmmaker Valerie Buhagiar and filmmaker Patricia Rozema.
All synopses below are provided by the festival.
Dir: Brandon Cronenberg (Canada-USA)
Syd March is an employee at a clinic that sells injections of live viruses harvested from sick celebrities to obsessed fans. When he becomes infected with the disease that plagues superstar Hannah Geist, he must unravel the mystery surrounding her before he suffers the same fate.
Cast: Caleb Landry Jones and Sarah Gadon.
North American premiere
Dir: Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette
Chloe is a young Canadian obstetrician working in a makeshift clinic within a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank where she treats pregnant women under the supervision of Michael, a French doctor. Facing daily checkpoints and the separation barrier, Chloe is confronted with the conflict and the people it affects. Her encounter with the war draws Chloe into an adventure that’s both deeply personal and as large as the land. From the producing team behind Monsieur Lazhar and Incendies.
Dir: Xavier Dolan
In the 1990s, Laurence tells his girlfriend Fred that he wants to become a woman. In spite of the odds — and in spite of each other — they confront the prejudices of their friends, ignore the counsel of their families, and brave the phobias of the society they offend. For ten years, they try to live through this transition, and embark on an epic journey which, unbeknownst to them, may cost Fred and Laurence their love.
Cast: Suzanne Clément and Melvil Poupaud.
Dir: Manon Briand
A coat check attendant in a bar decides to take an unclaimed coat back to its owner, but soon finds herself in the middle of criminal intrigue. A regular of the bar has long harboured a secret love for the attendant — enough to put his life on the line to help her. Cast: Stéphanie Lapointe, Charles-Alexandre Dubé and Louis Morissette.
Dir: Kim Nguyen
Komona, a 14-year-old girl, tells her unborn child the story of how she became a child soldier. A tale set in sub-Saharan Africa, Rebelle is also a love story between two young souls caught in a violent yet beautiful and magical world.
Cast: Rachel Mwanza (winner of Silver Bear for best actress at Berlin International Film Festival), Alain Bastien and Serge Kanyinda.
Dir: Michael McGowan
Based on true events and boasting a veteran cast, Still is a heartfelt story about an 89-year-old New Brunswicker (James Cromwell) who faces jail time when the government tries to stop him from building a more suitable house for his wife (Geneviève Bujold), whose health is beginning to fade.
Stories We Tell
Dir: Sarah Polley
In this inspired, genre-twisting film, Academy Award-nominated writer/director Sarah Polley discovers that the truth depends on who’s telling it. Polley is both filmmaker and detective as she investigates the secrets behind a family of storytellers. She playfully interrogates a cast of characters of varying reliability, eliciting refreshingly candid, yet mostly contradictory, answers to the same questions. As each relates their version of the family mythology, present-day recollections shift into nostalgia-tinged glimpses of a lively, fun-loving past and the shadows just beneath. Polley unravels the paradoxes to reveal the essence of family: a messy, intense and loving tangle of contradictions.
North American Premiere
Dir: Jason Buxton
An alienated teenager’s online threat ignites fear in a small community, in this disturbing and perceptive look at how our media-fuelled, post-Columbine culture can transform typical teen angst into intimations of murder.
Dir: Igor Drljaca
Miro, an immigrant from the former Yugoslavia, lives in Toronto. He has a hard time relating to others and he never stays in one place for too long. When he finds out that his pre-war friend Dado, who has been missing for almost two decades, is now wanted for war-era crimes, his life starts to unravel. Upon hearing that Dado still visits Zljebovi, a village on the outskirts of Sarajevo, Miro embarks on a trip to Bosnia to find his friend.
Dir: Kate Mellville
Forced to repeat Grade 12, Claire’s reputation is sliding from bad-ass to bad joke. At night, she escapes to would-be rock star Jim (aged 33), while at school, she bonds with Henry, a nerdy freshman she used to babysit. Eventually, Claire learns the difference between sex, intimacy and friendship.
Dir: Kazik Radwanski
Kazik Radwinski’s debut feature Tower is about a single and career-less man who lives at home with his parents in Toronto. He wanders alone in search of companionship and suddenly finds himself in an intimate relationship. Irritated by a raccoon that tears up his garbage, he sets out to catch it.
North American premiere
CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA
Dir: Rafaël Ouellet
After being involved in a road accident causing the death of a woman, truck driver Germain’s world collapses as he feels an overwhelming sense of guilt and remorse. His state of mind starts to worry his younger son Samuel, who puts his own janitor job in Montreal on hold to track down his older brother, drifter Alain, in New Brunswick, hoping to head back together to their hometown to give some support to their father.
The Crimes Of Mike Recket
Dir: Bruce Sweeney
Bruce Sweeney (Last Wedding) returns to the festival with this neo-noir police procedural — set against the backdrop of economic hard times — about a failed real estate agent (Nicholas Lea) whose recent attempt to turn things around makes him a suspect in a criminal investigation.
Dir: Sudz Sutherland
Home Again is about three adults raised “foreign” (in the USA, United Kingdom and Canada) from childhood and deported back to their birth country, Jamaica. Back “home” each discovers a different Jamaica from the paradise in vacation ads. We follow these three deportees on a journey for survival that surprisingly is filled with hope.
My Awkward Sexual Adventure
Dir: Sean Garrity
To win back his unsatisfied ex-girlfriend, conservative accountant Jordan Abrams enlists the help of Julia — an uninhibited exotic dancer — to guide him on a quest for sexual experience, leading him into a world of strip clubs, sensual massage parlours, cross-dressing and S&M.
The Lesser Blessed
Dir: Anita Doron
The Lesser Blessed is a powerful coming-of-age story about Larry, a Native teenager balancing his romantic heart with a dark past that threatens to unravel his life.
I Declare War
Dir: Jason Lapeyre and Robert Wilson
A group of friends play an innocent game of capture the flag in the neighbourhood woods, arming themselves with nothing more than sticks, their imagination and a simple set of rules. One afternoon, the game takes on a more serious tone and the quest for victory pushes the boundaries of friendship, giving the would-be warriors a glimpse of the darker side of human nature.
Tout Ce Que Tu Possèdes (All That You Possess)
Dir: Bernard Émond
A disgruntled academic refuses a substantial inheritance because the fortune was amassed dishonestly. Soon after, he is reunited with his teenage daughter whose mother he had abandoned when she was pregnant. From the filmmaker responsible for La Donation and La Neuvaine.
Previously announced in the Masters programme: Peter Mettler’s The End of Time.
Dir: Rob Stewart
The much anticipated follow-up film from the filmmakers of internationally acclaimed, box office hit Sharkwater, Revolution follows Rob Stewart on an adventure from photographer/filmmaker to environmental activist trying to change the world. Stewart faces danger, conflict and drama in his struggle to find the key to empowering the conservation movement so it can affect change on a global scale.
Canadian films previously announced in the TIFF Docs programme: Simon Ennis’ Lunarcy!, Jamie Kastner’s The Secret Disco Revolution and Barry Avrich’s Show Stopper: The Theatrical Life Of Garth Drabinksy.
Previously announced Canadian features include: Denis Côté’s Bestiaire (Wavelengths), Ruba Nadda’s Inescapable (Gala) and Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children (Gala).
Festival organisers also unveiled 44 Canadian short films from a pool of nearly 700 entries. For a full list visit the official website at www.tiff.net. Films in the Short Cuts Canada programme are eligible for the award for Best Canadian Short Film. This year’s jury includes journalist and author Matthew Hays, journalist Katrina Onstad and filmmaker Reginald Harkema.
On the industry programming side, producer Stephen Woolley and documentary filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal are two of the four Talent Lab governors. The other two will be announced in the coming weeks.
The four-day lab participants are: Aliocha Allard, Deron Albright, Tony Asimakopoulos, Rafael Balulu, Cliff Caines, Simone Rapisarda Casanova, Dane Clark, Heather Dahlstrom, Stuart Elliott, Kevan Funk, Sophie Goyette, Katherine Hazen, Mako Kamitsuna, Sarah Kolasky, Lindsay MacKay, Philipp Mayrhofer, Ashley McKenzie, Chelsea McMullan, Dan Popa, Christoph Rainer, Clarissa Rebouças, Storm Saulter, Ryan Silbert, Manjeet Singh and Jovanka Vuckovic.
Twelve Talent Lab alumni and three Talent Lab 2012 participants have directed or produced films in this year’s festival selection.
The Telefilm Canada PITCH THIS! event is scheduled to take place on Sept 11 at TIFF Bell Lightbox. A jury of international industry experts will award the winning team $10,000 from Telefilm Canada to further develop their project. Finallists are: Body by Mila Aung‐Thwin and Halima Ouardiri; Delirium B by Karolina Lewicka and Jon Gustafsson; Doubles With Slight Pepper by Ian Harnarine; Ivan & Evelyn by Sol Friedman; Unwanted by Ed Barreveld and Rama Rau; and The WBI by Annie Bradley, Daniela Saioni, Marilla Wex and Nikki Payne
The Producers Lab Toronto is set to run from Sept 5-8. The Canada-Europe co-production and forum is delivered through a partnership between the OMDC, EFP and Toronto International Film Festival. Financial support for Producers Lab Toronto is provided by the new European Union MEDIA Mundus programme.
Participating European producers are: Nicole Gerhards, NiKo Film (Germany); Tine Grew Pfeiffer, Alphaville Pictures Copenhagen (Denmark); Peter Hiltunen, Illusion Film & Television (Sweden); Macdara Kelleher, Fastnet Films (Ireland); Arnar Knútsson, Filmus Productions (Iceland); Isona Passola, Massa D’Or Produccions (Spain); Donato Rotunno, Tarantula Luxembourg (Luxembourg); Ada Solomon, HiFilm Productions (Romania); Yorgos Tsourgiannis, Horse Fly Productions (Greece); Els Vandevorst, N279 Entertainment (The Netherlands); Fernando Vendrell, david & golias (Portugal); and Dan Wechsler, Bord Cadre films (Switzerland).
Participating Canadian producers are: Daniel Bekerman, Scythia Films; Aisling Chin-Yee, Prospector Films; Svet Doytchinov, Yantra Films; Patricia Fogliato, Enigmatico Films; Lauren Grant, Clique Pictures; Yanick Letourneau, Peripheria Productions; April Mullen, WANGO Films; Anita K Sharma, Studio Entertainment; Sarah Timmins, Corvid Pictures; Stephen Traynor, The Film Farm; Rajvinder Uppal, At The End Of The Day Productions; and Rayne Zukerman, Zazie Films
The four actors selected to participate in this year’s TIFF Rising Stars programme – now in its second year – are: Charlie Carrick from the UK as well as Connor Jessup, Tatiana Maslany, and Charlotte Sullivan.