The Toronto International Film Festival‘s Canadian lineup is a mix of veterans and newcomers with works ranging from thrillers and comedies to romances and musicals. The Canada Goose Award for Best Canadian Feature Film will be given to one of the filmmakers, with the City of Toronto Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film going to a debut helmer. Among the familiar names in the mix are wunderkind Xavier Dolan whose Mommy won the Grand Jury Prize in Cannes this year; and Oscar winner Denys Arcand with An Eye For Beauty. Dolan is also doing double duty as an actor in Charles Binamé’s The Elephant Song with Bruce Greenwood and Catherine Keener. Click over for the full list of Canadian titles.
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 bigscreen 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.
Mommy 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 Des pres, 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
Preggoland 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
Monsoon 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.
Backcountry 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
Corbo 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
Guidance 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
CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA Félix and Meira Maxime Giroux, Canada,
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
Heartbeat 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.
The following short films will screen as part of the Wavelengths programme.
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.