There’s no denying that the Toronto International Film Festival is one of the biggest and most important movie events in the world, but there are dozens of cities and towns across Canada that boast film festivals of their own. From east to west, here are some intriguing film festivals that we think are worth travelling to see:
FIN ATLANTIC INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
(SEPT. 12-19, 2019 – HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA)
You probably don’t see a lot of Canadian films in a year, but chances are you see even fewer from Atlantic Canada. Correct that with a visit to Halifax this summer to binge on an amazing collection of feature films, documentaries and shorts produced by creative and talented artists from Atlantic Canada.
(JULY 11 – AUGUST 1, 2019 – MONTREAL, QUEBEC)
What started as a festival celebrating Chinese kung fu movies and Japanese monster spectaculars, has transformed to become an important industry event for producers of Asian genre films and other cult cinema. The schedule is always packed with surprises and the enthusiastic audiences are part of the experience.
(NOVEMBER 7-17, 2019 – MONTREAL, QUEBEC)
Despite an abundance of French-language films available to watch in Montreal, few English-speaking Montrealers seek them out. Maidy Teitelbaum thought that was a shame so she created Cinemania to bring them an amazing selection of English-subtitled French movies, not just from Quebec, but from across la francophonie. As an added bonus, many of the movies are screened in Montreal’s majestic Imperial Cinema.
OTTAWA INTERNATIONAL ANIMATION FESTIVAL
(SEPTEMBER 25-29 – OTTAWA, ONTARIO)
If you think cartoons are just for kids, you haven’t been watching Adult Swim on Cartoon Network or Teletoon at Night, both of which give a taste of some of the brilliant animated television shows that are aimed at grown-ups. Since 1976, OIAF has been welcoming animators from around the world and screening animated shorts and features that push the envelope of the medium.
(APRIL 25-MAY 5, 2019 – TORONTO, ONTARIO)
Toronto’s other great film festival is Hot Docs, and unlike the Hollywood fare that dominates TIFF, this festival shines a light on incredible documentaries that elicit strong emotions from audiences because they know they are watching something real. Many of the festival winners go on to be nominated for the documentary categories of the Academy Awards.
CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FILM FESTIVAL
(FEBRUARY 7-9, 2019 – WINNIPEG, MANITOBA)
Plenty of jokes are made about winter in Winnipeg, so it’s only fitting that the city is home to a film festival every February that features nothing but comedies. The festival recently underwent a name change after a long-time sponsor dropped out, but they keep coming back, vowing to be funnier than the year before. It’s the perfect festival for people who don’t like crying during movies, unless it’s crying from laughter.
DREAMSPEAKERS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
(APRIL 27-MAY 1, 2019 – EDMONTON, ALBERTA)
Aboriginal filmmakers from Canada and around the world come to Edmonton to share their stories with Canadian audiences thanks to the efforts of the Dreamspeakers Festival Society a non-profit organization that aims to supports Aboriginal creators and educate the public about aboriginal culture, art and heritage.
WHISTLER FILM FESTIVAL
(DECEMBER 4-8, 2019 – WHISTLER, BRITISH COLUMBIA)
Billed as Canada’s coolest film festival, this five-day gathering in the beautiful mountain resort town of Whistler is an important event for Canadian movie-makers who come together each year to exhibit their latest creations and meet at the “Whistler Summit” to discuss the state of Canadian cinema. For movie fans, it’s a chance to see some fantastic Canadian movies that are crowded out of the local movie theatre by a constant stream of Hollywood blockbusters.