Norman Jewison at the Canadian Film Centre's annual BBQ
Yesterday brought the annual event of the Canadian Film Centre's September barbecue. The CFC BBQ has become an annual highlight during the Toronto International Film Festival and it provides a yearly convivial gathering for peers in the Canadian Film industry. The event, held at the CFC's heritage site of Windfields Estates (which folks might recognize as Cobblepot manor in Batman Returns), carried a warm atmosphere to mark the strong presence of Canadian films at this year's festival.

CFC founder Norman Jewison proudly noted for the crowd that 24 features at this year's Toronto International Film Festival display the skills of CFC talents. Among the CFC alumni films are all three of the Canadian films screening as Gala Presentations: The Grand Seduction, directed by Don McKellar (CFC class of ’92); The Art of the Steal, produced by Nicholas Tabarrok (2010 Telefilm Canada Features Comedy Lab); and The Right Kind of Wrong, written by Megan Martin (CFC class of ’99). The CFC also had three CFC productions in the 2013 festival: the short films We Wanted More by director Stephen Dunn (review here) and Anatomy of Assistance by director Cory Bowles (review here), and the feature Rhymes for Young Ghouls by Jeff Barnaby, which is surely a contender for the festival’s prize for best Canadian first feature. (Check beck soon for a review.)

The event also brought good news of the ever-growing global reach of the CFC, which is essential as the Canadian film industry continues to grow through benefits like international co-production. The CFC also received good news from the Ontario government, as Michael Chan, Ontario’s Minister for Tourism, Culture, and Sport announced at the BBQ the funding support of nine million dollars across three years to mark the CFC’s twenty-fifth anniversary. No doubt this assistance will ensure the presence of more CFC films at future festivals.

The CFC barbecue also provided a nice day to get out in the sun after Saturday’s soggy burst of lien-ups in the rain. Talent in attendance at the BBQ included Ambassador Ken Taylor (Our Man in Tehran), Gordon Pinsent (The Grand Seduction), Meg Tilly (The Big Chill), Cara Gee (Empire of Dirt), Lauren Lee Smith (Cinemanovels) and Igor Pugdog (from last year’s TIFF Short Life Doesn’t Frighten Me, which just won this year’s CBC Short Film Faceoff.  

Fuel for stargazing and chatting about films was provided by various Toronto eateries. The highlight dish was the duck mac n cheese by Paintbox Bistro, which topped my lunch menu of gelato, Lollicakes, and Mill St. Overall, the Canadian Film Centre’s BBQ was a fun and lively highlight at this year’s festival and a great celebration of what a strong year it’s been for Canadian film.