TIFF is toasting the end of Canada’s sesquicentennial with its list of 2017’s best Canadian films for the 17th Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival. The stellar lineup champions emerging directors, including Sadaf Foroughi for her award-winning, Tehran-set drama Ava; Wayne Wapeemukwa’s City of Toronto Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film at TIFF, Luk’Luk’I; Kathleen Hepburn’s heartbreaking Never Steady, Never Still; Simon Lavoie’s striking The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond Of Matches; Kyle Rideout’s charming comedy Adventures in Public School; and, in another example Canada’s genre chops, Les Affamés, Robin Aubert’s unique take on the zombie allegory, which won the Canada Goose Award for Best Canadian Feature Film at TIFF. Social issues are also dealt with directly in Charles Officer’s lyrical documentary Unarmed Verses, winner of Hot Docs’ Best Canadian Feature Documentary prize, and Catherine Bainbridge’s electrifying crowd-pleaser RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World.
The festival’s popular In Conversation With… series will feature intimate onstage discussions with remarkable talent, including master filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin, who is also part of this year’s lineup with her latest feature, Our People Will Be Healed, a luminous, hopeful ode to the power of action-driven decolonization. The revered filmmaker, musician, and revolutionary artist has been a tireless advocate for Indigenous resistance and she continues to reinvigorate Canada’s Indigenous identities while advocating for truth and reconciliation in her latest feature. In Conversation With… Alanis Obomsawin is co-presented by The Directors Guild of Canada.
In addition, award-winning actor Evan Rachel Wood will discuss her career and role in the psychological thriller Allure, the highly anticipated feature debut from Montreal-based photographers Carlos and Jason Sanchez. Wood began her career as a child in the 1990s and went on to give acclaimed performances in Thirteen (2003) and The Wrestler (2008), before reaching new heights with HBO’s hit series Westworld (2016– ). She is a leading voice in the drive to create lasting change in the film industry, and her brilliant work in such Canadian independent features as Patricia Rozema’s Into the Forest (Canada’s Top Ten 2015) and this year’s Canada’s Top Ten selection Allure has cemented her status as one of the most versatile and adventurous actors working today.
The festival also offers audiences two special screenings: Phillip Borsos’ 1990 political saga Bethune: The Making of a Hero — starring Donald Sutherland as beloved Canadian hero Dr. Norman Bethune — as well as a Canadian Open Vault free screening of Daniel Cockburn’s TFCA Jay Scott Prize winner You Are Here (2010).
Filmgoers in Toronto will once again vote to crown the People’s Choice Award winner.
The Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival is complemented by the 2018 TIFF Industry Forum, a full day of programming on Friday, January 12 tailored exclusively for film professionals. The Forum opens with a special edition of Breakfast at TIFF that explores
programming ethics. In light of recent harassment allegations against prominent industry creatives, panellists will debate whether the art can ever truly be separated from the artist. Another session will celebrate the outstanding work of break-out feature directors and examine how the industry can best support them as they develop their second and third features. The Forum closes with a live onstage recording of the award-winning podcast TIFF Long Take, featuring Canadian film and television director Jeremy Podeswa. He is best known for directing the films The Five Senses (1999) and Fugitive Pieces (2007), and for his Emmy-nominated work on the HBO series Game of Thrones.
Established in 2001, the festival is one of the largest and longest-running showcases of Canadian film. From January 12 to 21, 2018 at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto, the 10-day event boasts a rich offering of public screenings, Q&A sessions and a special Industry Forum, followed by a nationwide tour stopping in Vancouver, Montreal, Regina, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa and Saskatoon.
The festival will tour select films to major cities across the country including stops at Vancouver’s The Cinematheque (January 12 to 21), Montreal’s PHI Centre (January 12 to 21), Winnipeg Film Group’s Cinematheque (January 12 to February 24), Edmonton’s Metro Cinema (January 26 to February 4), Ottawa’s National Gallery of Canada (March 15 to 17), Regina’s RPL Film Theatre (April 12 to 15) and Saskatoon’s PAVED Arts in collaboration with the Roxy Theatre (dates TBC).
Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival features
Adventures in Public School, Kyle Rideout* .Opening Night Film.
Allure Carlos Sanchez, Jason Sanchez
Ava Sadaf Foroughi
Les Affamés Robin Aubert
The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches Simon Lavoie
Luk’Luk’I Wayne Wapeemukwa
Never Steady, Never Still Kathleen Hepburn
Our People Will Be Healed Alanis Obomsawin
RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World Catherine Bainbridge
Unarmed Verses Charles Officer
Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival shorts
The Argument (with annotations) Daniel Cockburn
The Botanist Maude Plante-Husaruk, Maxime Lacoste-Lebuis
The Crying Conch Vincent Toi
The Drop In Naledi Jackson
Flood Amanda Strong
Milk Heather Young
Pre-Drink Marc-Antoine Lemire
Rupture Yassmina Karajah
The Tesla World Light Matthew Rankin
Threads Torill Kove
Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival student shorts
Away Home Jana Stackhouse (Ryerson)
Blindsided Flytrap Productions (Sheridan College)
Hold My Hand Alexandre Lefebvre (Cinéma à l’Université du Québec à Montréal)
If You Fall Tisha Deb Pillai (Emily Carr University of Art + Design: Animation)
Leila Aziz Zoromba (Concordia University)
Meddy Ted Sakowsky (York University)
Mustard Seed Lina Roessler (York University)
Nana Ali Kellner (Sheridan College)
Quarters FIG House (Sheridan College)
Waiting for Lou Katerine Martineau (Concordia University)