Now until January 26th, Cameron Bailey and team invite you to #seethenorth. They’ve opened the doors to TIFF Bell Lightbox to celebrate Canadian filmmaking, and on January 13th, before the festival launch party and screenings, Kathleen Drumm, TIFF Industry Director, was there to facilitate the discussion about the future of CanCon in a series of industry forums. Panelists covered a range of topics important to Canadian filmmakers – emerging and established alike.
What Ms. Drumm says at the 1 minute mark in the video echoing both Bailey and the panelists in the forums is substantive – audiences appreciate stories about real events, about real people – don’t be afraid to go there.
As for the festival itself, organizers promise this year’s installment includes a selection of classic Canadian titles. TIFF’s celebratory programme is specially curated to pay homage to Canada’s 150th birthday by showcasing the country’s rich cinematic heritage.
#seethenorth Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival schedule.
Three to Watch at Canada’s Top Ten
Nelly Award-winning filmmaker Anne Émond (Nuit #1, Les êtres chers) returns with this creatively imagined biopic of controversial Quebec writer Nelly Arcan (born Isabelle Fortier). Arcan scandalized the French literary world with her semi-autobiographical novel, Putain (Whore), based on her experiences as a sex worker. With the success of the novel came crushing anxieties, all of which found their way into her work. Émond writes the onscreen Nelly as a composite of Arcan’s many personas and her fictional characters, brought to life in an astounding, kaleidoscopic performance by Mylène Mackay. As the film moves from one striking passage of the author’s oeuvre to the next, from elating highs to desperate lows, we are immersed in her lush and punishing world.
Old Stone Johnny Ma’s impressive feature debut takes us on an unnerving trip through China’s social strata. A hard-working cab driver in a bustling Chinese metropolis is plunged into a bureaucratic nightmare when he takes an injured man to the hospital. Ma’s film begins as a carefully observed social-realist drama and turns into a furious, bloody noir that takes us out of the city and onto the dark roads at its outskirts. But even as Old Stone goes into full cinematic overdrive, it does so with an engine that runs on humanism and empathy.
Window Horses (The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming) Sandra Oh, Ellen Page and Don McKellar lend their voices to this warm and witty animated feature by Ann Marie Fleming (The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam), about a young Canadian poet of Chinese and Persian descent, who undergoes a life-changing experience when she attends a poetry festival in Iran. This is an extraordinary tale of art, history, and family. Rosie is living in Vancouver with her overprotective but loving Chinese grandparents and dreaming of an artistic and glamorous life abroad. An invitation to a poetry festival in Shiraz, Iran, rocks her boat, and though she has never travelled on her own, she decides to embark on the trip that will change her life. In Iran, Rosie meets fellow artists who become guides to her own narrative, offering new perspectives on the story of a father she thought had abandoned her. The film seamlessly integrates different animation styles to express diverse experiences; the richness of this world is presented for the audience to marvel at with the same wide-eyed wonder as Rosie.