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Young audiences will delve into current and relatable topics through a slate of films, and participate in a variety of film-related events, at the sixth annual TIFF Next Wave Film Festival, running from February 17 to 19, 2017.

This year’s film highlights include Golden Globe–nominated Divines (2016) from debut director Houda Benyamina, a suspenseful, kinetic film about a pair of young women determined to make their own way in a world that seems set against them; Miles Joris-Peyrafitte’s As You Are (2016), the retelling of a friendship between three teenagers through a construction of different memories; and Before I Fall (2017), from indie darling Ry Russo-Young, which is a filmic journey that follows a young woman discovering the best version of herself as she learns to accept the finality of death.

Other highlights include award-winning director Chloé Leriche’s debut feature Before the Streets (2016), which provides a meditative glance into Indigenous processes of connection, redemption and healing; and as part of Canada on Screen/Canada à l’écran, TIFF’s year-long program in celebration of Canada 150, a free screening of Xavier Dolan’s Mommy (2014), an emotional film about the perils of a strained, unstable mother-son relationship.


1:54 Yan England, Canada, 2016, French with English subtitles Toronto Premiere
Tim, a shy sixteen-year-old athlete, is both brilliant and talented. But the pressure he undergoes pushes him to the edge, where human limits reach the point of no return.

2 Fists Up Spike Lee, USA, 2016, English
When University of Missouri football players threatened to boycott their game with Brigham Young University in November 2015,
unless PresidentTim Wolfe resigned, they made news far beyond the sports pages and Columbia, Missouri. But that was only one
chapter in a tale that began long before that — a tale that director Spike Lee unspools in this Lil’ Joints documentary for ESPN Films.
Saturday, February 18 at 2 pm

All This Panic Jenny Gage, USA, 2016, English Canadian Premiere
An indelible look at growing up, husband and wife filmmaking team Jenny Gage and Tom Betterton chronicle sisters Ginger and Dusty and their group of friends over the course of three years, as they grow from teenagers to young adults in Brooklyn. The girls are disarmingly eloquent and incredibly candid as they go through the most confusing, painful, and exciting times of their lives. This is an extraordinary and intimate piece of work about what it mean to come of age today.

As You Are Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, USA, 2016, English Toronto Premiere
Jack is a high school student who lives with his single mother, Karen. Considered a social outcast and loner, Jack is friendless until Karen’s new boyfriend Tom moves in and brings his son Mark into their lives. The two outsiders quickly bond and form a tight friendship and, after a chance encounter at a diner, bring fellow student Sarah into their group. The three teens become each other’s saving grace until changing relationships and emerging secrets force them to look at themselves and see how far they are willing to go live the lives they choose.

Barakah Meets Barakah (Barakah yoqabil Barakah) Mahmoud Sabbagh, Saudi Arabia, 2016, Arabic with English subtitles
Toronto International Film Festival 2016
Saudi Arabia’s first rom-com features comedian and social-media superstar Hisham Fageeh as a mild-mannered civil servant who runs up against his society’s strict mores when he sets out to romance the outspoken daughter of a wealthy couple.

Before I Fall Ry Russo-Young, USA, 2016, English
February 12 is just another day in Sam’s charmed life until it turns out to be her last. Stuck reliving her last day over one inexplicable week, Sam untangles the mystery around her death and discovers everything she’s in danger of losing.

Before the Streets (Avant les rues) Chloé Leriche, Canada, 2016, Atikamekw with English subtitles
Indigenous teenager, Shawnouk, gets caught up in a crime and fearing the justice system, flees into the forest. He decides to return to his Atikamekw village in Québec, where he embarks on a healing journey to reconnect with his traditional rituals and find himself again.

California (Califórnia) Marina Person, Brazil, 2015, Portuguese with English subtitles North American Premiere
The year is 1984. Estela is going through a troubled adolescence. Sex, love and friendship all seem dreadfully complicated. Estela’s uncle Carlos is her hero and visiting him in California is her biggest dream. But everything falls apart when he unexpectedly returns to Brazil: thin, feeble and ill. Amid crises and self-discoveries, Estela will have to face a new reality, which will unquestionably change the way she sees the world.

Divines Houda Benyamina, France/Qatar, 2016, French with English subtitles
Toronto International Film Festival 2016
Girlhood meets Scarface in Houda Benyamina’s Cannes prize–winning debut feature, about two young women who become embroiled in the criminal world of the Parisian banlieues.

Girl Asleep Rosemary Myers, Australia, 2016, English Toronto Premiere
In this vibrant portrayal of Australian adolescence, Greta Driscoll’s bubble of obscure loserdom is burst when her parents throw her a
surprise 15th birthday party and invite the whole school! Perfectly content being a wallflower, suddenly Greta’s flung far from her comfort zone into a distant, parallel place — a strange world that’s a little frightening and a lot weird, but only there can she find herself.

Japanese Girls Never Die Daigo Matsui, Japan, 2016, Japanese with English subtitles North American Premiere
Cryptic graffiti, borrowed from a missing person’s poster, begins to appear all over town. A mysterious group of high school girls starts attacking men at random. Haruko Azumi is an unhappy office clerk who lives with her parents. Storylines converge in Daigo Matsui’s edgy, experimental drama.

Mommy Xavier Dolan, Canada, 2014, French with English subtitles
FREE: Canada on Screen/GRATUIT: Canada à l’écran
A feisty, widowed single mom finds herself burdened with the full-time custody of her explosive 15-year-old ADHD son. As they try to make ends meet and struggle with their unpredictable ménage, the peculiar, new girl across the street, Kyla, benevolently offers her help. Together, they find a new sense of balance, and hope is regained.

The Young Offenders Peter Foott, Ireland, 2016, English Toronto Premiere
Inspired by the true story of Ireland’s biggest cocaine seizure in 2007, The Young Offenders is a comedy road movie about best
friends Conor and Jock, two inner-city teenagers from Cork who dress the same, act the same, and even have the same bum-fluff mustaches. When a drug-trafficking boat capsizes off the coast of West Cork and 61 bales of cocaine are seized, word gets out that there is a bale missing. The boys steal two bikes and go on a road trip hoping to find the missing bale, which they can sell so as to escape their troubled home lives.


Amélie Jean-Pierre Jeunet, France/Germany, 2001
A painfully shy waitress working at a tiny Paris cafe, Amélie makes a surprising discovery and sees her life drastically changed for the better. From then on, Amélie dedicates herself to helping others find happiness in the most delightfully unexpected ways. But will she have the courage to do for herself what she has done for others?

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Stephen Chbosky, USA, 2011
In this witty and affecting coming-of-age story (adapted by writer-director Stephen Chbosky from his own novel), a shy teenager with a dark family secret is coaxed out of his shell by a sympathetic teacher and two wild, carefree new friends.

Dope Rick Famuyiwa, USA, 2014
Malcolm is carefully surviving life in a tough neighborhood in Los Angeles while juggling college applications, academic interviews, and the SAT. A chance invitation to an underground party leads him into an adventure that could allow him to go from being a geek, to being dope, to ultimately being himself.

Harold and Maude Hal Ashby, USA, 1971
A suicidal young man gets a new lease on life when he falls for an 80-year-old woman.

The 400 Blows François Truffaut, France, 1959
François Truffaut’s autobiographical first feature, chronicling the misadventures of his 12-year-old delinquent hero Antoine Doinel, was an international sensation and a clarion call for the emerging French New Wave.


Battle of the Scores
Opening Night (Friday, February 17) kicks off once again with the popular Battle of the Scores, a high-profile showcase for young musical talent. Six high-school bands perform their original soundtrack for a short film scene from P.R.O.M Produced Replica of Man, written and directed by TIFF Next Wave Committee alumna Julia Galle. Prizes will be awarded by the audience and a panel of professional judges from the Toronto music and film community, including actress Natasha Negovanlis (Carmilla), actress and creator Vanessa Matsui (Ghost BFF), drummer Duncan Hood (Jaunt, Charlotte Day Wilson), and filmmaker and music video director RT!. The grand jury prize winner receives studio time with Oak Recording Studios, plus a spot in the soundtrack for Vanessa Matsui’s upcoming series, Ghost BFF.

Young Creators Co-Lab
New this year, TIFF introduces Young Creators Co-Lab (February 17), a full day of programming tailored exclusively for youth interested in exploring the world of film and filmmaking. Highlights include the panels Women of the Web: Taking Space in the Digital Sphere, featuring actress and creator Vanessa Matsui (Ghost BFF), photographer and filmmaker Rakhi Mutta (Anarkali), and producer Stephanie Ouaknine (Carmilla), who will discuss the opportunities for women in the digital world and the challenges faced within the film industry; and Making the Change, featuring film-maker Charles Officer and journalist Desmond Cole, which will examine the issue of (the lack of) diversity and (mis) representation in the media. The Co-Lab will also feature How We Talk, an interactive workshop for aspiring filmmakers that focuses on crafting authentic relationships and dialogue in your stories, with a focus on directing and writing. More information on the Young Creators Co-Lab lineup and guests will be revealed in the coming weeks on

Freaks and GeeksMovie Marathon
The festival presents a special Freaks and Geeks Movie Marathon on Saturday, February 18 with back-to-back timeless, yet quirky and delightful classics: Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amélie (2001), Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2011), Rick Famuyiwa’s Dope (2014), Hal Ashby’s Harold and Maude (1971), and François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows (1959).

TIFF Next Wave 24-Hour Film Challenge
Starting the weekend before the festival, the highly anticipated TIFF Next Wave 24-Hour Film Challenge, which welcomes teams of youth aged 14 through 18 to make an original short film in 24 hours, takes place from Saturday, February 11 at 10 a.m. to Sunday, February 12 at 10 a.m., with the final films screening on Sunday, February 19 during the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival. The TIFF Next Wave 24-Hour Film Challenge jury includes directors Thyrone Tommy (Avalanche), Haya Waseem (Shahzad), and Alicia Harris (Love Stinks). The winning team receives $500 and up to five TIFF Memberships, courtesy of TIFF.

Until March 17, TIFF Next Wave is accepting submissions from youth across the country for the Jump Cuts Young Filmmakers Showcase (taking place in May), which presents short films created for young people by young people.

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