TIFF Announces Canadian Films for Festival 2013

Rhymes for Young Ghouls. Photo courtesy of the Canadian Film Centre.
The Canadian films for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival were announced today and the line-up of local work is just as strong as the impressive international programming slated for the festival thus far. TIFF 2013 already has a number of top Canadian directors lined up for the festival with non-Canadian films (see: Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners, Jean-Marc Vallée’s Dallas Buyers Club, and Atom Egoyan’s Devil’s Knot), so there’s ample opportunity for new discoveries in the Canadian content at the festival this year. Villeneuve, however, will be showing a Canadian co-pro at the festival in addition to Prisoners, as his other Jake Gyllenhaal pic Enemy, adapted from the José Saramago novel The Double, will screen at TIFF. Among the notable new Canadian filmmakers is Jeff Barnaby, who will make the world premiere of his feature debut Rhymes for Young Ghouls in the Discovery programme. Rhymes for Young Ghouls is a strong Canadian film to watch, as it is one of several films included in the announcement to spotlight work both by and about First Nations Canadians. Alanis Obomsawin’s Hi-ho Mistahey! was previous announced among the TIFF Docs films, as were three Canadian Gala screenings: The Grand Seduction, The Right Kind of Wrong, and The Art of the Steal.

Other exciting prospects in the Canadian line-up are new films from Bruce McDonald, Xavier Dolan, Robert Lepage, Ingrid Veninger, Wiebke Von Carolsfeld and Louise Archambault, whose Gabrielle is the latest feature from powerhouse producers Kim McCraw and Luc Déry (Incendies, Monsieur Lazhar, Inch’Allah). I’m also looking forward to Cinemanovels, the new film by Terry Miles, whose last TIFF film A Night for Dying Tigers was the first film I saw at TIFF when I covered it as a blogger. (It never found the audience it deserved, so hopefully this film will.) Also coming to TIFF after success at Cannes and the Quebec box-office is Sarah Prefers to Run, which will join Rhymes in the Discovery programme. The third Canadian film in Discovery is All the Wrong Reasons, which marks one of the more sentimental selections at the festival as it stars the late Glee star Cory Monteith

The Canadian announcement also included the line-up of short films for the Short Cuts Canada programme. SCC marks the only programme at TIFF to feature 100% Canadian content. It’s also the main haven for shorts at the festival, aside from Wavelengths, as other programmes might include the odd double-bill with a short, but that’s rare. TIFF-goers will have an additional chance to see the shorts, which are rather difficult to get tickets to during the festival, as the short films will be available on YouTube 24-hours after their festival screening and be online until September 19th. The added availability of the shorts is a great decision and one that will afford extra exposure for Canadian filmmakers. Among the films and talents to see online and/or at the festival are An Extraordinary Person by Xavier Dolan collaborator Monia Chokri, Candy by Cassandra Cronenberg, the hypnotic psychological thriller We Wanted More by Stephen Park, and a quartet of stereoscopic 3D animated films from the NFB (Claire Blanchet’s The End of Pinky, Bruce Alcock’s Impromptu, Theodore Ushev’s Gloria Victoria and Chris Landreth’s Subconscious Password).

The Canadian films announced today are:


Denis Villeneuve, Canada/Spain,World Premiere
Based on The D ouble by Nobel Laureate José Saramago, this film explores the troubled psyche of a man who is torn between his mistress and his wife. Jake Gyllenhaal gives a brilliant performance as both Adam and Anthony—a man and his double—engaged in a lethal and erotic battle.

The F Word
Michael Dowse, Canada/Ireland, World Premiere
When Wallace meets Chantry, it could be love at first sight... except she lives with her long-term boyfriend. And so Wallace, acting with both best intentions—and maybe a little denial—discovers he dirtiest word in romance: friends. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Adam Driver and TIFF Rising Star Megan Park.

Louise Archambault, Canada, North American Premiere
Gabrielle is a young woman with Williams syndrome who has a contagious joie de vivre and an exceptional musical gift. Since she met her boyfriend Martin at the recreation centre where they are choir members, they have been inseparable. However, because they are different, their loved ones are fearful of their relationship. As the choir prepares for an important music festival, Gabrielle does everything she can to gain her independence

The Husband
Bruce McDonald, Canada, World Premiere
Henry is married, has a son, and a decent job in advertising. Trouble is his wife is in jail for sleeping with a 14-year-old boy. Struggling to keep it together and prepare for her release, an encounter with the boy—his rival—sends Henry on a path of self-destruction. Starring Maxwell McCabe-Lokos, August Diehl, Sarah Allen, Jodi Balfour andStephen McHattie

Tom At The Farm (Tom à la ferme)
Xavier Dolan, Canada/France, North American Premiere
Tom, a young advertising copywriter, travels to the country for a funeral. There, he's shocked to find out no one knows who he is, or his relationship to the deceased, whose brother soon sets the rules of a twisted game. In order to protect the family's name and grieving mother, Tom now has to play the peacekeeper in a household whose obscure past bodes even greater darkness for his trip to the farm.

Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky, Canada, World Premiere
Watermark is a feature documentary film that brings together diverse stories from around the globe about our relationship with water:  how we are drawn to it, what we learn from it, how  we use it, and the consequences of that use. Shot in stunning 5K ultra high-definition video and full of soaring aerial perspectives.


All the Wrong Reasons
Gia Milani, Canada, World Premiere
Loss of one’s identity drives this ensemble film from first-time feature writer/director Gia Milani. Cory Monteith stars as an ambitious  department store manager whose wife (Karine Vanasse) copes with a loss as co-worker (Kevin Zegers) battles back from a traumatic  injury and cashier (Emily Hampshire) takes  advantage of it all.

Rhymes for Young Ghouls
Jeff Barnaby, Canada, World Premiere
Kids on the Red Crow reservation are doomed. If you can't pay your "truancy tax", that's you up at the residential school, beat up and abused. At 15, Aila is the weed princess of Red Crow. After being thrown into the school’s dungeon, she decides to fight back.

Sarah Prefers To Run (Sarah préfère la course)
Chloé Robichaud, Canada, Toronto Premiere
Sarah is a gifted runner. Her life changes when she’s offered admission to Quebec’s best university athletics program in Montreal — far from her home. Sarah doesn’t have her mother’s financial support for the move, but she leaves anyway with her friend Antoine. Though barely out of their teens, they get married because they want the best scholarships and loans. Sarah doesn’t want to hurt anyone with  the choices she makes, it’s just that she loves running more than anything else.


A Journey  (Une Jeune Fille)
Catherine Martin, Canada, World Premiere
Chantal is a secretive young girl who lives with her sick mother and unemployed father. When her mother dies, she leaves the family home for the Gaspé Peninsula. Bringing with her a photo  of a beach where her mother longed to return, Chantal tries to find the place—but her efforts are in vain. After wandering around for days, she runs out of money and finds refuge with Serge, a taciturn farmer, on  his small farm in the back country. Serge hires Chantal, and gradually they take to each other, forming a strong bond.

The Animal Project
Ingrid Veninger, Canada, World Premiere
A story about a father, a son, and six characters dressed in furry suits. An unorthodox acting teacher (Aaron Poole) attempts to push a group of eager young performers out of their comfort zones, while struggling with his own ability to live an authentic and fulfilling life with his teenage son.

Terry Miles, Canada, World Premiere
As a young woman (Lauren Lee Smith) prepares a memorial film retrospective for her late estranged father, his work begins to influence her life in strange and significant ways. Also starring Jennifer Beals and Ben Cotton.

Le Démantèlement
Sébastien Pilote, Canada, North American Premiere
Gaby owns a lamb farm. He has two daughters that he raised like princesses. One day, the oldest asks him for some financial support  so she doesn’t end up losing her house. Gaby  decides to dismantle the farm.

The Dick Knost Show
Bruce Sweeney, Canada, World Premiere
The Dick Knost Showis a character-based satire on sports-talk culture. Dick Knost is a star sports talk host. He's prickly, acerbic and  chronically impulsive. After dismissing the danger of concussions in hockey, he suffers a series of concussions himself, and  faces the  danger of losing his job, his friends and his identity.

Empire of Dirt
Peter Stebbings, Canada, World Premiere
Like many Native families, Lena Mahikan grew up in the cycle of abuse. Her father, a residential school survivor, was an alcoholic until he killed himself when Lena was 10. Her mother, only 14 years her senior, turned to the slots. By the time Lena was 15, she was pregnant and, before giving birth, was kicked to the curb by her mom. The cycle continues and Lena is now watching helplessly as her own daughter, Peeka, spirals out of control, landing herself in the  hospital  following a drug overdose. As a final attempt at survival, Lena decides to return home and face her own mother and a past she’s desperate to escape.

Richie Mehta, Canada North, American Premiere
After sending away his 12-year-old son Siddharth for work, Mahendra (a chain-wallah who fixes broken zippers on the streets) is relieved —his financial burdens will be alleviated. But when Siddharth fails to return home, Mahendra learns he may have been taken  by child traffickers. With little resources and no connections, he travels across India in pursuit, with the hope that whatever force took  his child away will return him unharmed.

Wiebke von Carolsfeld, Canada/Ireland, World Premiere
Stay is about people at a crossroads, struggling to find a home. Abbey finds herself in love with Dermot, a disgraced professor who  retreated to the rugged expanse of Connemara. Their happy existence is upended when Abbey finds out that she is pregnant and Dermot refuses to consider fatherhood.


Asphalt Watches
Seth Scriver and Shayne Ehman, Canada, World Premiere
Asphalt Watches is a true story. It is a feature-length animation based on a real-life hitchhiking trip taken by the two directors, Shayne Ehman and Seth Scriver in the year 2000. The film details the hilarious and amazing journey of Bucktooth Cloud and Skeleton Hat as they travel eastward across Canada.

Bruce LaBruce, CanadaNorth American Premiere
The always provocative Bruce LaBruce is back with a new romantic comedy (of sorts). 18-year-old Lake has a sweet activist girlfriend, but one day discovers he has an unusual attraction for the elderly. Fate conspires to land him a summer job at a nursing home where  he develops a tender relationship with Mr. Peabody. Discovering that the patients are being over-medicated to make them easier to manage, Lake decides to wean him off his medication and help him escape, resulting in a humorous and heartfelt road trip that strengthens their bond.


Triptych (Triptyque)
Robert Lepage and Pedro Pires, Canada, World Premiere
Triptych is a contemporary urban saga that tells the story of Michelle, a schizophrenic bookseller; Marie, a singer and actress; and  Thomas, a German neurologist. These three lives become the primary locus of personal identity and emotion, with their many manifestations, variations, and implications, through each character’s inner development and burning desire for self-expression.


A Grand Canal
Johnny Ma, 19’, World Premiere
A Greek tragedy told in a Chinese pop song. Tragic events of a boat captain trying to collect a debt to save his fleet of boats, as remembered by his 10-year-old son.

A Time is a Terrible Thing to Waste
Leslie Supnet, 3’, Toronto Premiere
An animated squirrel ponders the essence of time.

An Extraordinary Person (Une Personne extraordinaire)
Monia Chokri, 30’, North American Premiere
A 30-year-old scholar, intelligent and beautiful yet socially crippled, is forced to attend a bachelorette party where her quest for authenticity leads to an unavoidable confrontation with old acquaintances.

Anatomy of Assistance
Cory Bowles, 13’, World Premiere
15-year-old Talia is defiant, refuses the system and thinks she’s got it all figured out. When she challenges the assistance envelope given to her by her school, she’s suddenly thrust into a daisy chain of errors that lead her to face a larger system: growing up.

Beasts in the Real World
Sol Friedman, 8’, World Premiere
An experimental mixed-media short that explores the tenuous connections between a naturalist, a rare land mammal, and a pair of sushi chefs

Cassandra Cronenberg, 8’, World Premiere
Cassandra Cronenberg’s experimental short is a convention-busting portrait of human transactions —love, sex, money, art —that takes place over one beautiful, intoxicating night. As Candy wanders through it all, the audience is immersed in a visual poem in which an ocean of light is found in the dark.

The Chaperone 3D
Fraser Munden and Neil Rathbone, 11’, World Premiere
The Chaperone tells the true story of a lone teacher who fought off an entire motorcycle gang while chaperoning a middle school dance  in 1970s Montreal. This film recreates the scene using hand-drawn animation, miniature sets, puppets, live action Kung Fu and explosions all done in stereoscopic 3D.

Maciek Szczerbowski and Chris Lavis, 12’, North American Premiere
Blending animation, live action, and stereoscopic 3D, Cochemare is an immersive, tactile, and sensory experience. As the viewer journeys from the mystical Forest of Storms to the orbiting International Space Station, the film forces the audience to confront notions of voyeurism, femininity, and the separation of body  and mind.

CRIME: Joe Loya -The Beirut Bandit
Alix Lambert and Sam Chou, 2’, World Premiere
In his 20s, Loya achieved notoriety as the smooth-talking Beirut Bandit, who robbed dozens of Southern California banks. When the police caught up with him in 1989, they discovered a Mexican-American from East Los Angeles who had once been a promising student. Imprisoned for seven years, he grew more violent until two years of solitary confinement prompted a remarkable self- transformation.

Daybreak (Éclat du jour)
Ian Lagarde, 11’, World Premiere
In a wealthy Montreal suburb, Xavier and his friends are dealingwith pre-teen boredom. They hang out at the park, ride their bikes, and mess with each other; it's yet another suburban summer afternoon. But beneath the smiles lies a growing tension, a certain violence which leads the group to a collective release of unexpected intensity; a ritualistic initiation into adolescence.

Der Untermensch
Kays Mejri, 9’, World Premiere
Der Untermensch depicts the treatment of homosexuals in concentration camps during the Second World War, through aesthetic  contemporary movement. The dancer portrays the work, growth and rebirth of those incarcerated souls by embodying a gay Aryan during the Nazi reign.

Chris Goldade, 12’, World Premiere
A World War II paratrooper lands in enemy territory —and right onto a modern-day suburban driveway —where he is confronted by an unemployed freeloader who’s still living in his parent’s house. This dark comedy with an original premise and deadpan performances makes the perils of war uncomfortably funny.

The End of Pinky
Claire Blanchet, 8’, World Premiere
The End of Pinky revolves around three fallen angels seeking companionship and humanity in the shadows of the red-light district, in a mythic, magically realized Montreal. The film’s hand-drawn pencil and pastel animation, rendered in stereoscopic 3D, conjures a seedy world whose sepia-toned palette evokes cheap whiskey and nicotine stains.

Jasmin Mozaffari, 15’, World Premiere
Lou and Chantal are two shit-disturbers from a town whose only remaining attraction is truck-stop prostitution. Their dreams of escaping are shattered when Lou's savings are stolen by her mom's alcoholic boyfriend. With nowhere left to go and nothing left to  lose, Lou heads into the night, with a bottle of whiskey in hand and no regrets.

Wayne Robinson, 13’, World Premiere
Sigmund is a docile and obedient worker who is given an opportunity of a lifetime when his manager, Mr. Wolfman, assigns him the task of completing a dossier on their company's profit margin. Upon sitting down to start working however, Sigmund is confronted with  his worst nightmare: naked people.

Gloria Victoria
Theodore Ushev, 7’, North American Premiere
Gloria Victoria, the third film in a trilogy on the relationship between art and power, unfolds on the still-smouldering rubble of a furious 20thcentury. From the Russian front to the Chinese Revolution, from Dresden to Guernica, giant black birds circle above mass graves while vampires and reapers move forward to the sounds of an exalting bolero from Shostakovich’s
Leningrad Symphony.

Bruce Alcock, 10’, World Premiere
When Chuck’s wife spontaneously invites her co-workers home for dinner, the last-minute gathering seems to have all the makings of a disaster—but it leads instead to a quiet epiphany about embracing the chaos of life’s rich pageantry. Impromptu reminds the audience of the redemptive power of food, wine, music and love, as seen through the eyes of a modern man.

In Guns We Trust
Nicolas Lévesque, 12’, North American Premiere
In Kennesaw, a small American town in the state of Georgia, a good citizen is an armed citizen. By law, since 1982, each head of household must own at least one working firearm with ammunition.

Ryan Flowers, 25’, World Premiere
Stricken, but not struck down, by a slew of mental illnesses, Jimmy Leung's drive to become an action movie star becomes something of a reality as he and director Ryan Flowers train to become healthy and stable, and make a movie together.

Lay Over
Jordan Hayes,13’, World Premiere
A girl meets a boy on an eight-hour layover.

Gregory Smith, 8’, World Premiere
Officer Daniel O'Shea must go to extraordinary lengths to get a confession.

Walter Woodman and Patrick Cederberg, 17’, World Premiere
In a story that plays out entirely on a teenager's computer screen, Noah follows its eponymous protagonist as his relationship takes a  rapid turn for the worse.

Nous Avions
Stéphane Moukarzel, 18’, World Premiere
Montreal, 1999. Like every Sunday, a modest Pakistani immigrant family picnics in a deadend next to the airport, closely watching planes land. On this special day where the Legendary Concord is expected —a rare treat in town—17-year-old Akram, the eldest son of three kids, who is in his teenage crisis, creates a family commotion when he
decides to take off to live his own life.

Numbers & Friends
Alexander Carson, 7’, World Premiere
In his search for happiness in North America, a European man discovers the pleasures of fantasy baseball. Using his new appreciation for sports as a metaphor to re-imagine his life choices, he begins to find new meaning in the world around him.

Jeremy Lalonde, 9’, World Premiere
A young man comes out to his family. But is he coming out of the closet, or out of the coffin?

Paradise Falls
Fantavious Fritz, 17’, World Premiere
Two adventurous youths explore a haunted mansion and fall in love with its ghost, deep in the heart of suburban hell.

Devan Scott, 13’, World Premiere
After being sent to heaven as the result of the biblical Armageddon, Cain Tibbons meets Saint Peter, whom he must persuade to help him rescue his brother from hell. However, Cain's story might not be all it seems.

Marie Clements, 8’, World Premiere
Robbe, a German tourist, is partaking on a life-long dream of visiting the west coast of Canada. His fantasy of the great Indian culture is one thing, but to be a part of it requires Robbe to undergo a dangerous riteof passage:a journey of self-evaluation.

Portrait as a Random Act of Violence
Randall Okita, 4’, Toronto Premiere
Portrait as a Random Act of Violence is a piece that incorporates performance and sculpture to examine themes of harm, protest, and destructive and restorative transformations.

Relax, I’m From the Future
Luke Higginson, 5’, World Premiere
Percy Sullivan's suicide attempt gets interrupted by a man claiming to be from the future.

Remember Me (Mémorable moi)
Jean-Francois Asselin, 15’, Canadian Premiere
Mathieu seeks any (and every) way to attract attention to himself.

Trevor Cornish, 11’, World Premiere
Roland, an employee at Crafty’s Art and Supply, must deal with an irrational man who needs to use the washroom and is  confused  by the store’s strict employee-only washroom policy. A full bladder and some company red tape has Roland’s day take a dire turn.

Sam’s Formalwear
Yael Staav, 15’, World Premiere
Sam Parish, once the high-school prom king, is now the former king of formalwear and ex-husband to his then-prom queen. On the eve of his daughter's prom, Sam grasps at an opportunity to feel like the king once more, oblivious to the consequences.

Eva Cvijanovic, 3’, World Premiere
Seasick is a meditative exploration of one's love of the sea to the soundtrack of traditional Croatian music.

The Sparkling River
Felix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphaël, 18’, World Premiere
A group of Chinese travellers have appeared on an alpaca farm, seemingly by accident. Ayoung woman who is among them tries to connect with the farm's proprietor. The Sparkling Riveruses 3D-stereoscopy to lure the viewer into a contemplative and dreamlike state. The film explores enduring themes of memory, migration and place.

Subconscious Password
Chris Landreth, 11’, Canadian Premiere
Subconscious Password uses a common social gaffe—forgetting somebody’s name—as the starting point for a mind bending romp through the unconscious. Inspired by the classic  American TV game show Password, the film features a wealth of animated celebrity guests who try to prompt Charles to remember the name.

We Wanted More
Stephen Dunn, 15’, World Premiere
A psychological thriller about a singer who loses her voice on the precipice of her first world tour, We Wanted Moreis a hypnotic fever dream about the sacrifices a young artist makes for her career.

Kevan Funk, 19’, World Premiere
A middle-aged worksite safety inspector defiantly maintains a tireless occupational routine, traversing across Canada's lonely northern landscape from one expansive industrial operation to the next. As the cracks in his crumbling personal life become more and more apparent, he slips deeper into willful ignorance and denial, providing a striking parallel to the altered physical landscape and exploitative industry that surrounds him.

Young Wonder
James Wilkes, 6’, World Premiere
Armed with only the sword of Evil’s Bane, automatic weapons and a bazooka, 8-year-old Sebastian and his 11-year-old brother Chris battle their way through a legion of pop culture menaces en route to getting snacks. Young Wondercombines kinetic and visually stunning storytelling with sincere observations on the nature of boys and play.

The Toronto International Film Festival runs Sept. 5-15, 2013.

Please visit www.tiff.net for more information.