TIFF Showcases New Talent with Canadian Line-up

Wet Bum. Photo courtesy of TIFF.
As expected, this year’s Toronto International Film Festival looks to be a year of discovery on the Canadian front. TIFF’s announcement today of the Canadian features and shorts that will screen at the 2014 festival offers an impressive range of new talents alongside seasoned vets of Canadiana. New filmmakers get the spotlight this year, though, since 2014’s Canadian line-up includes a whopping eleven first features in the Discovery programme alone. That’s an impressive rise from last year’s tally of three Canuck Discovery films. Most promising in the list are Bang Bang Baby, the feature debut of Jeffrey St. Jules, whose masterful short Let the Daylight Into the Swamp was a TIFF 2012 highlight; Backcountry, a grizzly thriller in the vein of Open Water; Big Muddy starring Nadia Litz and Stephen McHattie; the FLQ drama Corbo; and Wet Bum, whose lead actress Julia Sarah Stone is one of this year’s TIFF Rising Stars. The other rising stars hoping to be discovered by the international scope of TIFF are Sophie Desmarais (Sarah Prefers to Run), Alexandre Landry (Gabrielle) and Shannon Kook (Dark Places). Discovering new voices is what a festival is all about, so it’s very exciting to wonder which of these up-and-comers could be the next be thing in Canadian film.

2009’s big festival discovery, Xavier Dolan, is back in Toronto as expected with his Canuck Oscar hopeful Mommy, which seems all the more likely to make a bid given its premiere status and some of the omissions on this list. (More on that later this week.) Dolan also appears in the World Premiere The Elephant Song alongside Bruce McDonald and Catherine Keener. This psychological drama sounds like one of the better Canuck bets for the fest. Other notable dramatic entries from Canadian filmmakers include Ruba Nadda’s October Gale starring her Cairo Time collaborator Patricia Clarkson.

Curiously absent, however, is the September release Dr. Cabbie, which might have used the fest as a launching pad for its September 19th release . Also absent Carl Bessai’s riotous Canuxploitation flick Bad City, which I saw earlier this summer and really enjoyed, plus Bruce McDonald’s Hellions and, sadly, Rafael Ouellet’s Gurov and Anna. They’re two of the upcoming Canadian films I’m most looking forward to seeing, but they might not yet be ready.
Trick or Treaty? Photo courtesy of TIFF.

Making their way to the Canadian front at TIFF, though, are four documentary features that all sound worthy of a ticket. (These films move to the front of my list for coverage this year, as I’ll be working with POV again.) The three TIFF Docs include new works by Sturla Gunnarsson (David Suzuki: Force of Nature) and Harold Crooks (The Corporation), plus Amer Shomali and Paul Cowan’s stop-motion doc The Wanted 18, which sounds very interesting. Finally, the Canuck docs include a new entry from master doc-maker Alanis Obomsawin, who returns to the festival with Trick or Treaty? after last year’s strong (and People’s Choice runner-up for documentary) Hi-ho Mistahey!. TIFF gives Obomsawin an upgrade by putting her film in the Masters programme where she belongs. (Well done!)
The Underground. Photo courtesy of TIFF.

The goodness of today’s TIFF announcement extends to the six programs of Short Cuts Canada, which also includes a mix of newbies and oldies. SCC again looks to be an eclectic and diverse bunch and is always the best place to look for exciting Canadian talent. (Just look at St. Jules.) SCC covers docs as well with a bunch of non-fics including Barry Avrich’s Red Alert, which screens with Wet Bum. Other notable SCC entries include a collaboration between André Turpin and Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette (Inch’Allah) and Michelle Latimer’s The Underground,  adapted from Rawi Hage’s novel Cockroach, which might be the Canadian flick I’m most interested to see at the festival this year.

The long and the short of it is that this year’s TIFF looks to be pretty darn good for eager beavers!

The Canadian films added to the TIFF line-up are:


An Eye for Beauty (Le règne de la beauté)
Denys Arcand, Canada Toronto Premiere
Luc, a talented young architect, lives a peaceful life with his wife Stephanie in the stunning area of Charlevoix. He has a beautiful house, a pretty wife, dines often with friends, plays golf and tennis, and goes hunting — leading a perfect life, one might say. One day,  he accepts to be a member of an architectural jury in Toronto. There, he meets Lindsay, a mysterious woman who will turn his life  upside down. Starring Éric Bruneau, Mélanie Thierry, Melanie Merkosky and Marie-Josée Croze.

The Elephant Song
 Charles Binamé, Canada World Premiere
Xavier Dolan, Bruce Greenwood and Catherine Keener star in this big-screen adaptation of the play by Nicolas Billon about a psychiatrist who is drawn into a complex mind game when he questions a disturbed patient about the disappearance of a colleague.

Xavier Dolan, Canada Toronto Premiere
In a fictional Canada, where a new law allows distressed parents to abandon troubled children to the hospital system, Die Despres, a feisty widow, tries to cope with Steve, her wild yet charming ADHD son. While they both try to make ends meet and live under the same roof, Kyla, their mysterious neighbour, offers her help. As Kyla’s heartwarming presence becomes increasingly intense, questions emerge about her own mysterious life, and the way her destiny may ultimately be linked to that of Steve and Die. Starring Anne Dorval, Suzanne Clement and Antoine Olivier Pilon.

October Gale
Ruba Nadda, Canada World Premiere
Helen, a doctor mourning the sudden passing of her beloved husband, has retreated to their beautiful island cabin to put his things in order. Unable and unwilling to return to her job and normal life in the city, she stays alone at the remote cabin. When a small boat washes up on her shore carrying a mysterious man — unconscious and bleeding from a gunshot wound — Helen pulls him in and saves him, leaving her alone with this unknown and potentially dangerous stranger. Starring Patricia Clarkson, Scott Speedman and Tim Roth.

Jacob Tierney, Canada World Premiere
When 35-year-old Ruth ruins a baby shower with her juvenile antics, her old high school cronies — who are all mothers now — promptly de-friend her. Later, when she is mistakenly thought to be with child she is inexplicably welcomed back into the group. Although she initially tries to come clean, the many perks of pregnancy are far too seductive to ignore. Preggoland is a comedy about our societal obsession with babies and the lengths people will go to be part of a club. Starring Sonja Bennett.


Sturla Gunnarsson, Canada World Premiere
Part road movie, part spectacle, part drama, Monsoon is Sturla Gunnarsson's meditation on chaos, creation and faith, set in the land of believers. The subject is the monsoon, the incomparably vast weather system that permeates and unifies the varied culture of India, shaping the conditions of existence for its billion inhabitants.

The Price We Pay (La Face cachée de l’impôt)
 Harold Crooks, Canada World Premiere
Director Harold Crooks (The Corporation, Surviving Progress) blows the lid off the dirty world of corporate malfeasance with this incendiary documentary about the dark history and dire present-day reality of big-business tax avoidance, which has seen multinationals depriving governments of trillions of dollars in tax revenues by harbouring profits in offshore havens.

The Wanted 18
Amer Shomali and Paul Cowan, Canada/Palestine/France World Premiere
Through stop-motion animation, drawings and interviews, this film reveals how 18 cows in the village of Beit Sahour became an inspiration and symbol of resistance during the first Palestinian Intifada. As the Israeli army searches for the illegal bovines, the story veers from comedy to drama to tragedy — with a large dose of the absurd.


Adam MacDonald, Canada World Premiere
Based on a true story, Backcountry follows an urban couple who go camping in the wilderness and get hopelessly lost. Without food or water, they struggle to find their way back. When they enter a predatory bear's territory, their trip turns into a horrific tale of tragedy, will, and survival. Starring Missy Peregrym and Jeff Roop.

Bang Bang Baby
Jeffrey St. Jules, Canada World Premiere
A small-town teenager in the 1960s believes her dreams of becoming a famous singer will come true when her rock-star idol gets stranded in town. But a leak in a nearby chemical plant that is believed to be causing mass mutations threatens to turn her dream into a nightmare. Starring Jane Levy, Justin Chatwin, Peter Stormare and David Reale.

Big Muddy
Jefferson Moneo, Canada World Premiere
Martha Barlow has a dark personal history she’d rather not remember and more skeletons in her closet than she’d care to admit. After her teenage son Andy becomes involved with seedy characters, Martha must face her violent past in order to secure her son’s future. To do so, she must ward off a crazed racehorse owner, reconcile with her estranged family, and reunite with Andy’s dangerous and long forgotten father. Big Muddy is an outlaw tale played out as a modern-day murder ballad. Starring Nadia Litz, Justin Kelly, Stephen McHattie and Rossif Sutherland.

Mathieu Denis, Canada World Premiere
Montréal, 1966. Jean Corbo, an idealistic 16-year-old of Québécois and Italian descent, befriends two far-left political activists and joins the FLQ (Liberation Front of Québec), an underground movement determined to spark a socialist revolution. Jean thus begins an inextricable march toward his destiny. Starring Anthony Therrien, Antoine L'Écuyer, Karelle Tremblay and Tony Nardi.

Pat Mills, Canada World Premiere
A closeted former child actor, an out-of-work alcoholic, fakes his résumé and gets a job as a high-school guidance counsellor, where he thrives while giving bad advice. Starring Pat Mills, Zahra Bentham, Alex Ozerov and Tracey Hoyt.

In Her Place
Albert Shin, Canada/South Korea World Premiere
A mysterious woman from a big city arrives at a rural farm in South Korea, where she’s taken in by an old woman and her odd teenage daughter. The three women remain in isolation and, as they begin to fall into a new rhythm of life together, work to fill a void within their lives. But soon enough, their arrangement becomes more than what they bargained for. Starring Yoon Da Kyung, Ahn Ji Hye and Kil Hae Yeon.

Songs She Wrote About People She Knows
 Kris Elgstrand, Canada World Premiere
Carol, an emotionally repressed woman, loses friends and alienates people when she begins singing songs she wrote about people she knows. But she unexpectedly inspires her boss, to whom she dedicated the song Asshole Dave, to resurrect his dreams of becoming a rock star. As Dave flounders, Carol continues to hone her creative voice. Starring Arabella Bushnell, Brad Dryborough and Ross Smith.

The Valley Below
Kyle Thomas, Canada World Premiere
The Valley Below is a multi-narrative drama that chronicles the life of a small town in the badlands of Alberta over the course of one year. The story is told in four chapters, each focusing on a different set of characters, including a pregnant teenager, a hard-drinking musician, a reclusive taxidermist, and an ambitious police officer. The film's intertwining stories combine to render a rich portrait of rural life in central Alberta. Starring Stephen Bogaert, Kris Demeanor, Alejandro Rae and Lori Ravensborg.

We Were Wolves
Jordan Canning, Canada World Premiere
Two estranged brothers return to the family cottage after the death of their father. Over the course of three days they must learn to let go of the man they thought they knew, and accept responsibility for the men they have become. Starring Peter Mooney, Steve Cochrane and Lynda Boyd.

Wet Bum
Lindsay Mackay, Canada World Premiere
It’s the start of the spring term in a small northern town, heralding swimming lessons, hanging out with best friends, new classes and new possibilities. But this year, things are different for 14-year-old Sam. While her friends are moving on, focusing on boys, experimenting with drugs, Sam is too uncomfortable to even take off her bathing suit in front of the other girls. After landing herself into trouble, she is forced to work as a cleaner at the retirement home run by her mother. Sam finds unexpected and unlikely friendships with two of the retirement home’s residents who end up teaching Sam a few things about growing up — and growing old. Starring 2014 TIFF Rising Star Julia Sarah Stone, Kenneth Welsh, Leah Pinsent and Craig Arnold.


Félix and Meira
 Maxime Giroux, Canada World Premiere
Félix is an eccentric and penniless French Canadian whose wealthy father is dying. Meira is a married Hasidic woman with a family, searching for something new. They were not meant to meet, let alone fall in love. Félix and Meira tells the miraculous love story between two strangers from two distinct communities, who attempt to love each other despite what separates them. Starring Hadas Yaron and Martin Dubreuil.

 Andrea Dorfman, Canada World Premiere
Justine hasn’t played her guitar since a spell of stage fright caused her to faint and fall on her head. Now, forced to give up her lifelong dream of becoming a musician and to avoid the big risks that would give her fulfillment, Justine is stuck. She lives in the unchanged house of her dead grandmother, works at an unfulfilling office job, and continues to sleep with her ex-boyfriend, Ben. When Ben suddenly puts an end to their late night trysts, Justine is inspired to play and write music again. Starring Tanya Davis, Stewart Legere, Stephanie Clattenburg and Jackie Torrens.

Love in the Time of Civil War (L'amour au temps de la guerre civile)
Rodrigue Jean, Canada World Premiere
Alex is a young addict who sells his body in Montréal’s Centre-Sud district. He’s flanked by Bruno, Simon, Jeanne, Éric and Velma, all of them caught in the same spiral of compulsion. Hostage to society’s market logic, they are the fallen angels of a dark and violent time. Yet their beauty somehow survives, rebellious amid the ruins. From one fix to the next, desire becomes a life raft, as their bodies, exultant, seek to avenge the humiliation to which they are condemned. Orphans of a wild tribe, they live and love like restless vagrants in the shadows of society’s comfort and indifference. Starring 2014 TIFF Rising Star Alexandre Landry, Jean-Simon Leduc and Simon Lefebvre.

Teen Lust
 Blaine Thurier, Canada World Premiere
An awkward high school student strives to lose his virginity before his parents and their satanic cult can sacrifice him to the devil. Starring Jesse Carere, Daryl Sabara, Kristin Bauer van Straten, Cary Elwes and Jon Dore.

Tu dors Nicole
Stéphane Lafleur, Canada Toronto Premiere
Making the most of the family home while her parents are away, 22-year-old Nicole is enjoying a peaceful summer with her best friend, Véronique. When Nicole’s older brother shows up with his band to record an album, their vacation takes an unexpected turn and the girls’ friendship is put to the test. Amidst a rising heat wave, Nicole’s insomnia — and romantic misadventures — mount each day. Tu dors Nicole takes a humorous look at the beginning of adulthood and all its possibilities. Starring Julianne Côté, Juliette Gosselin, and Marc-Andre Grondin.


The Editor
Matthew Kennedy and Adam Brooks, Canada World Premiere
From members of Winnipeg’s infamous Astron-6 collective comes a loving homage and absurdist send-up of the Italian giallo genre. Rey Ciso was once the greatest editor the world had ever seen — but since a horrific accident left him with four wooden fingers on his right hand, he’s had to resort to cutting pulp films and trash pictures. When the lead actors from the film he’s been editing turn up murdered at the studio, Rey is fingered as the number one suspect. The bodies continue to pile up as Rey struggles to prove his innocence and uncover the sinister truth lurking behind the scenes. Starring Matthew Kennedy, Adam Brooks, Conor Sweeney, Udo Kier and Paz de le Huerta.


Trick or Treaty?
Alanis Obomsawin, Canada World Premiere
The new documentary from Alanis Obomsawin follows the journey of Indigenous people in their quest for justice as they seek to establish dialogue with the Canadian government. By tracing the history of their ancestors since the signing of Treaty No. 9, they are raising people's awareness about the issues that concern them and finally putting an end to inertia.


Speaking Parts
Atom Egoyan, Canada
Lance is a film extra looking for his first speaking role. When Clara, an idealistic television writer, checks into the hotel where Lance works, he seduces her into casting him in her current film. Meanwhile, Lance’s co-worker Lisa prowls video stores, obsessively viewing and re-viewing the movies in which Lance appears as an extra. Haunting images and obsessive sexualities merge, as these three people become fatally entangled in a web of psycho-sexual desire. This digital restoration was supervised by Atom Egoyan at Deluxe Toronto.

Crime Wave
John Paizs, Canada
Winnipeg director John Paizs’ 1985 classic brilliantly apes the look of ’50s educational films and trashy crime movies in its story of a teenage girl who develops an odd obsession with a frustrated would-be screenwriter. Courtesy of eOne and Library and Archives Canada.


brouillard - passage #14
Alexandre Larose, Canada World Premiere
A path that extends from a family’s backyard into Lac Saint-Charles in Québec City, condensed into multiple layers.

The Innocents
Jean-Paul Kelly, Canada World Premiere
The Innocents features an image stream, an interview with Truman Capote’s desire, and shapes that correspond to the former through the instructions of the latter.

Red Capriccio
 Blake Williams, Canada World Premiere
An anaglyph found-footage film thematically inspired by the capriccio paintings of Giovanni Paolo Panini, Thomas Cole, and Charles Robert Cockerell — which depicted fantastical and dilapidated architectural landscapes — and structured in the style of Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky’s capriccio compositions — brimming with playful staccatos and glissandos, and prone to sudden tonal shifts.

Lunar Almanac
Malena Szlam, Canada/Chile Toronto Premiere
Moving through landscapes and inhabiting landscapes, the moon is on a journey through magnetic spheres, influencing the subtle energies on Earth. The moon becomes “moons” as it oscillates within its own margins of size and shape. Through single-frame and long-exposure superimpositions, the film assembles in series of short sequences shot in 16mm Ektachrome and hand-processed. The unaltered, in-camera edit segments shot on various nights gather over 4000 stills of multi-layered field views of the moon.


Anna and the Tower
Lynne Marsh, Canada World Premiere Internationally renowned Canadian artist Lynne Marsh presents Anna and the Tower, a 3-channel video installation with sound co-commissioned by TIFF and the Goethe-Institut Toronto that conflates documentary and performance. Filmed in an under-utilized airport outside of Berlin that was once a Soviet airbase, the work conveys both a sense of latency and expectation, and a desire to will events into being. Presented at, and in collaboration with, Scrap Metal Gallery, 11 Dublin Street, Unit E. Runs daily September 4 to 14.


 An Apartment
Sarah Galea-Davis, 17’ World Premiere
An Apartment is an intimate character study of Paul, a man who finds himself in mid-life struggling to restart his career in a modern job market with no room for a man of 55 trying to start over. After a long bout of unemployment, Paul is forced to move in with his brother, sacrificing personal space in hopes he will be back on his feet soon. But as his last job prospect dries up, Paul learns that the life he is trying to get back is gone.

Around Is Around
 Norman McLaren, 8’ North American Premiere
Newly restored, McLaren’s 1951 short is the first stereoscopic animated film ever made. McLaren creates a visionary 3D effect with a cathode-ray oscilloscope, and the result is an elegant, mesmerizing pattern of spherical shapes evolving in space.
The Barnhouse (La Grange)
Caroline Mailloux, 19’ North American Premiere
A sweltering August in a remote community. Authorities and neighbours from the area search for an eight-year-old boy who has gone missing. Near the old family barnhouse, Jacinthe finds her son Kevin escaping into his imaginary world. The secret he will reveal to her about the disappearance will change their lives forever.

Kevan Funk, 12’ World Premiere
A meditative and mysterious dramatic film, Bison explores the violent legacy of colonialism in a contemporary context. The film is anchored by thematic concerns around implicit cultural culpability, systemic issues of failure surrounding the contemporary and historical relationship with First Nations peoples, and notions of responsibility in an individual and societal context.

Broken Face (Sale Gueule)
Alain Fournier, 16’ World Premiere
Loik, a disfigured sailor, is posted to a remote lighthouse with Morlaix, a tyrannical head keeper. But soon the two men find themselves besieged by a strange storm.

Burnt Grass
Ray Wong, 11’ World Premiere
Burnt Grass is a dramatic short film about a young couple who discover a strange phenomenon in their backyard that duplicates organic life. After one of them copies themselves, their relationship takes unnatural and bizarre turns as loyalties shift, creating a new spin on the love triangle.

 Dana Gingras, 11’ World Premiere
Chainreaction employs a pop sensibility that creates a tactile and mobile atmosphere, deconstructing the sublimely disquieting forces of desire, isolation, emotional and physical dislocation, manifested between layers of image, gesture and sound.

Chamber Drama
Jeffrey Zablotny, 11’ World Premiere
Megan, a stubborn teenage girl with hypersensitive hearing, attempts to prove herself to her supervisor on the last day of her internship in an acoustics laboratory.

Denis Poulin and Martine Époque, 11’ World Premiere
The mesmerizing dance of light particles in this film serves as both its subject and raw material. Using motion-capture techniques to manipulate the light particles, the filmmakers evoke ecological themes in their visual reinterpretation of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. As the very first note is played by acclaimed twin sister pianists TwinMuse, the light particles form a cloud that morphs into a dancer performing a swirling digital choreography.

Day 40
Sol Friedman, 6’ World Premiere
In this animated retelling of the Noah’s Ark story, various unholy activities fill the great ship, as the animals discover the darker side of their nature.

Del Ciego Desert
François Leduc, 12’ North American Premiere
At Del Ciego desert, two gunfighters plagued with heavy squint and very bad eyesight duel in order to avenge the massacre of their families.

A Delusion of Grandeur (Une idée de grandeur)
Vincent Biron, 14’ World Premiere
Louis, defeated mayor of his small town’s latest election, has to bid farewell to his seat after 20 years of loyalty. Following his defeat, he goes through a rough patch that leaves him confused about his future. As events seem to conspire to remind him of the bitter taste of his failure, he finds unlikely solace at his neighbour’s house.

The Encounter (La Rencontre)
 Frieda Luk, 9’ World Premiere
A man becomes obsessed with a woman he assaulted, when he unexpectedly happens to see her one day.

Tony Elliott, 15’ World Premiere
A scientist initiates her brain-dead partner’s secret experiment to find out what happened to him. But what she experiences is a mind-bending reality that threatens both of their lives.

Jordan Tannahill, 9’ World Premiere
Austin must extricate his father’s body from an abandoned factory after his father is electrocuted while thieving copper.

Fire (Fuoco)
Raha Shirazi, 12’ World Premiere
As dawn turns to dusk, village men set off in search of fire. A celebration of traditions and myths, this is a story embedded in the Iranian culture, and directly connected to the representation of fire in the Zoroastrian religion and Persian literature.

Connor Gaston, 11’ World Premiere
A mystic autistic man heals his broken family without saying a word.

Martin Edralin, 15’ North American Premiere
This film is a daring portrait of a middle-aged disabled man yearning for an intimate connection in his solitary life. Billy roams the city in pursuit of intimacy, but his disability proves to be a barrier to his emotional and sexual needs. With no other options, he looks to his caregiver for relief.

 Amanda Strong, 9’ World Premiere
After years of suppressing her inner child, an elderly woman named Indigo struggles to connect with her childhood with the help of a grandmother spider, and faces the many layers of herself, and life, to revitalize her spirit before death. Hand-crafted stop-motion figures animate this fantastical tale based on native mythology.

 Santiago Menghini, 10’ World Premiere
In the aftermath of a deadly haunting in a small suburban home, a sinister omnipresent entity presence causes havoc in the private lives of a young boy, an unsuspecting teen and absent-minded inspector.

Kajutaijuq: The Spirit That Comes
Scott Brachmayer, 15’ World Premiere
Isolated in the harsh wilderness of the Arctic, a hunter follows the teachings of survival passed on to him by his grandfather. In an environment governed by the spirits of the land, a taboo is broken and he is forced to face the consequences.

Last Night
Arlen Konopaki, 6’ World Premiere
A shocking accusation pits two roommates against each other.

Yassmina Karajah, 13’ World Premiere
After his recent move to Canada, Omar faces the sudden death of his child. Upon hearing the news in Lebanon, his mother urges him to perform a religious pre-burial ritual on the body of his son. He struggles to fulfill her wishes.

Elizabeth Lazebnik, 16’ World Premiere
A sick man struggles to retain some kind of control of his body and the world around him.

Luk'Luk'I : Mother
Wayne Wapeemukwa, 19’ World Premiere
A full-time mother/part-time sex-worker goes missing in Vancouver’s downtown eastside during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Me and My Moulton
Torill Kove, 13’ North American Premiere
One summer in mid-’60s Norway, a seven-year-old girl asks her parents if she and her sisters can have a bicycle. Me and My Moulton provides a glimpse of its young protagonist’s thoughts as she struggles with her sense that her family is a little out of sync with what she perceives as normal. A witty animation by Torill Kove, creator of the Academy Award-winning short, The Danish Poet.

 Fluorescent Hill, 6’ North American Premiere
This animated work references vintage nature films and explores the migratory pattern of a herd of made-up wild creatures.

Mynarski Death Plummet (Mynarski chute mortelle)
Matthew Rankin, 8’ World Premiere
A handmade historical micro-epic based on the final minutes in the life of Winnipeg’s doomed World War II hero, Andrew Mynarski, who died 70 years ago when his bomber jet is raked with enemy fire. A heritage minute on acid, mixing aviation agitprop with classical and avant-garde animation techniques, Mynarski Death Plummet is a psychedelic photo-chemical cinépoem on the theme of self-sacrifice, immortality and jellyfish.

O Canada
Evelyn Lambart, 3’ North American Premiere
Commemorating the centenary of Norman McLaren’s birth, this 1951 animated adaptation of the country’s national anthem takes audiences on a 3D trip across Canada from coast to coast. It features the “travelling zoom” invented by the animation legend in 1937 — a technique later adapted to create the famous star gate sequence in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

On Cement (Sur le ciment)
Robin Aubert, 14’ World Premiere
Using spray paint, a young boy leaves his cell number on city walls until an old lady writes down the number and decide to call.

Red Alert
Barry Avrich, 9’ World Premiere
A young auburn-headed girl panics when she finds out that redheads may become extinct in just a century, in this charming comic short documentary from veteran filmmaker Barry Avrich. This short film will screen preceding the Canadian feature, Wet Bum.

Running Season
Grayson Moore, 20’ World Premiere
An Ontario man attempts to sell his father’s house on Prince Edward Island just as severed feet have been turning up on the island’s shores. Shortly after arriving, he learns that the most recent foot was discovered close to the property he’s trying to sell.

Alexander Farah, 14’ World Premiere
Nadim's parents struggle to understand the carefree and westernized lifestyle of their daughter Sahar. With tension high and tolerance low, the household remains at a standstill, waiting for her to come home.

The Sands (Plage de sable)
Marie-Ève Juste, 20’ World Premiere
A group of friends retreat to a cottage for a weekend in the woods, where tensions rise after the presence of a newcomer — the much younger boyfriend of one of the group — elicits unthinking acts of deprecation.

Sleeping Giant (Géant Endormi)
Andrew Cividino, 16’ North American Premiere
Fourteen-year-old Adam is spending the summer in a small beach community on the north shore of Lake Superior. His dull summer routine shatters when he meets local boys Foster and Rizzo, two smart alecks who fill their long days with adventures and reckless stunting. When Adam learns he is competing with Foster for the affection of his crush, Taylor, he is drawn into a dark and unfamiliar world which leads the boys to the top of the infamous Todd’s Cliff.

 Slater Jewell-Kemker, 16’ World Premiere
Lost in an isolated forest with her abusive boyfriend, Sadie finds a sinister way to get the love she’s always wanted.

Take Me (Prends-moi)
André Turpin and Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, 10’ World Premiere
A nurse working in a center for the disabled is confronted with his principles when he's asked to accomplish a particular task.

A Tomb with a View
 Ryan J. Noth, 7’ World Premiere
The evolution of vertical life in the sky is now ushering in new buildings like Pepe Altustut’s Memorial Necrópole Ecumênica, in Santos, Brazil, where all the inhabitants are dead. For Pepe, Memorial was a practical response to a lack of space, but it has transformed into a safe place for his own passage to an afterlife.

The Underground
Michelle Latimer, 13’ World Premiere
Araz, an Iranian refugee, experiences North American life by imagining himself as a cockroach, the only living creature that will survive after humanity perishes in the apocalypse. Inspired by the bestselling novel written by Rawi Hage, The Underground is a visceral portrayal of one man’s struggle to fit into Western culture as he battles past demons. In a struggle to overcome poverty and isolation, Araz turns inward in hopes of experiencing the life that eludes him.

The Weatherman and the Shadowboxer
Randall Okita, 10’ World Premiere
A short story about two brothers who go to extremes in the different ways they live their lives — looking forward and looking back. When crisis hits, their bonds pull them back together, for better or worse.

What Doesn’t Kill You
Rob Grant, 12’ World Premiere
After dying in a horrific car crash, two bullied teens reappear completely healed and must decide the fate of their paralyzed friend.

Zero Recognition
Ben Lewis, 9’ World Premiere
This short film takes a satirical look at the disparity between fame and recognisability. Lauren Collins (Degrassi, Kroll Show) stars as Demi, a young actress who’s grown up in the dim glare of the Hollywood (North) spotlight. When she decides to brave the world of Internet dating, she quickly finds her ego and her sanity unravelling.

Please visit www.tiff.net for more information.
TIFF runs Sept. 4-14 2014.

What Canadian films are you excited to see at #TIFF14?