Monday, December 1, 2014

Canada’s Top Ten Films announced

Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival presents screenings, filmmaker Q&As, free events, and onstage discussions with celebrated Canadians Keanu Reeves, Naomi Klein, Avi Lewis and Sandra Oh

TIFF toasted the nation’s cinematic trailblazers tonight, announcing the top 10 feature, short film and student film selections for the 14th annual Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival. Established by TIFF in 2001, the Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival celebrates and promotes contemporary Canadian cinema and raises awareness of Canadian achievements in film. The 10-day festival runs January 2 to 11, 2015 at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto and presents public screenings of the selected films accompanied by introductions and Q&A sessions with filmmakers, as well as special events and free engagements. On January 10, the festival welcomes Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein and filmmaker Avi Lewis for an onstage conversation and a sneak peek at This Changes Everything, the upcoming documentary inspired by Klein’s new book. The one and only Keanu Reeves will close the festival, taking the stage on January 11 for an intimate discussion about his iconic career. The festival’s tour across Canada includes stops in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg and Montreal; Vancouver’s The Cinematheque will host a special onstage conversation with star of the big and small screen Sandra Oh.

New this year, the festival has incorporated Student Shorts, formerly the Student Film Showcase, to spotlight the top student shorts from colleges and universities across the country. An archival screening of a Canadian classic, Not a Love Story: A Film About Pornography, also joins the lineup. And for the first time, audiences can vote to crown the Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival People’s Choice Award winner. These announcements were made at an industry event in Toronto tonight hosted by Canadian gem Teri Hart.

“Canadian movies and Canadian talent have proven themselves among the best in the world,” said Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director, Toronto International Film Festival. “Now it’s our chance to get together and celebrate our best. Thirty impressive new films, plus one-of-a-kind onstage conversations add up to a great way to warm up the winter.”

“The Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival slate spotlights the work of both veteran and emerging filmmakers,” said Steve Gravestock, Senior Programmer, TIFF. “We are truly proud to connect Canadian talent with an enthusiastic and savvy audience, bringing the community together in celebration of the Canadian film industry’s achievements in 2014, which by any standards has been a watershed year.”

Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival features for 2014, in alphabetical order. Synopses below.
Corbo, Mathieu Denis (Christal Films)
Félix et Meira (Felix & Meira), Maxime Giroux (FunFilm Distribution)
In Her Place, Albert Shin (A71 Entertainment Inc.)
Maps to the Stars, David Cronenberg (Entertainment One Films)
Mommy, Xavier Dolan (Entertainment One Films)
Monsoon, Sturla Gunnarsson (KinoSmith)
The Price We Pay, Harold Crooks (Filmoption International)
Sol, Marie-Hélène Cousineau and Susan Avingaq (Vtape)
Tu dors Nicole, Stéphane Lafleur (Entertainment One Films)
Violent, Andrew Huculiak

Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival shorts for 2014, in alphabetical order. Synopses below.
Bihttoš (Rebel), Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers
Bison, Kevan Funk
La Coupe (The Cut), Geneviève Dulude-De Celles (3.14*Collectif)
Cutaway, Kazik Radwanski (La Distributrice de films)
Day 40, Sol Friedman
Kajutaijuq: The Spirit That Comes, Scott Brachmayer
Mynarski chute mortelle (Mynarski Death Plummet), Matthew Rankin (La Distributrice de films)
Sleeping Giant, Andrew Cividino
Still, Slater Jewell-Kemker (Canadian Film Centre)
The Weatherman and the Shadowboxer, Randall Lloyd Okita (National Film Board of Canada)

Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival student shorts for 2014, in alphabetical order. Synopses below.
Backroads, Candy Fox (University of Regina)
Dinner Time, Alexander Mainwaring (Langara College)
Elpis, Akreta Saim (York University)
Fallow, Breanna Cheek (Emily Carr School of Art and Design)
La dernière danse sur la Main (Last Dance on the Main), Aristofanis Soulikias (Concordia University)
Lifers, Joel Salaysay (Simon Fraser University)
Light, Yassmina Karajah (University of British Columbia)
Never Stop Cycling, Colin Lepper (Sheridan College)
Running Season, Grayson Moore (Ryerson University)
Tomonster, Pui Ka Wong (Sheridan College)

Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival 2014 features panel
A national panel of seven filmmakers and industry professionals selected the best in Canadian features.
Jason Anderson ─ film critic (Toronto Star, Cinema Scope)
Jason Gorber ─ film critic (, CTV News Channel)
Joey Klein ─ actor (The Animal Project, The Husband, American Gangster)
Brenda Longfellow ─ filmmaker and associate professor in the department of film at York University
Matt MacKinnon ─ former senior programming coordinator of TIFF Film Circuit
Terry Miles ─ filmmaker (Cinemanovels, A Night for Dying Tigers, When Life Was Good)
Chloé Robichaud ─ filmmaker (Sarah préfère la course, Chef de meute)

Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival 2014 shorts panel
A national panel of five filmmakers and industry professionals selected the best in Canadian shorts.
Nobu Adilman ─ actor (Trailer Park Boys), show creator/co-host (Food Jammers)
Dave Barber ─ programmer for the Winnipeg Film Group’s Cinematheque
Sonya Di Rienzo ─ development executive at Whizbang Films
Élaine Hébert ─ producer at micro_scope
Karen Walton ─ writer (Ginger Snaps, Orphan Black, Queer as Folk)

The Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival student shorts were selected by Magali Simard (Film Programmes Manager, TIFF) and Alex Rogalski (Short Cuts Canada Programmer, TIFF).

The Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival shorts panel will select the student shorts winners for Best Film (Live Action) and Best Film (Animation).The filmmakers will be awarded with prize packages following the screening in January, courtesy of William F. White International Inc., Technicolor Canada Inc., and the Directors Guild of Canada.

In Conversation With... Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis — Saturday, January 10 at 3 p.m.
With No Logo and The Shock Doctrine, Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein launched big ideas into the world, ideas with the power to shake governments, corporations, and conventional thinking. Her bestselling books have been translated into over 25 languages. Avi Lewis has charted a powerful course through culture and politics as a broadcaster and documentary filmmaker. His work at the CBC and Al Jazeera, and on Citytv’s The New Music, brought sharp context and analysis into the popular arena.

Klein and Lewis have often visualized their ideas on screen, collaborating with each other and also with filmmakers as distinguished as Alfonso Cuarón and Michael Winterbottom. For this special onstage conversation, moderated by Cameron Bailey, the couple looks back at their documentary film collaborations on The Take and The Shock Doctrine and offer a first glimpse of Lewis’s new film, This Changes Everything, inspired by Klein's recently published book.

In Conversation With... Keanu Reeves — Sunday, January 11 at 3 p.m.
Canadian actor and filmmaker Keanu Reeves joins Cameron Bailey on stage for a career-spanning survey of his iconic roles and passion for the art and technology of cinema.

Canada Cocktail Party — Wednesday, January 7 beginning at 7 p.m.
Celebrate the Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival and the 20th anniversary of Film Circuit — TIFF's successful film outreach programme that brings the best of Canadian and international films and artists to communities across the country. The event features a musical performance by We Are the City, as well as an installation by Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival alumni Shayne Ehman and Seth Scriver (Asphalt Watches).

TIFF Industry Day Thursday, January 8
TIFF Industry presents Industry Day, a series of panels and sessions on current issues in the Canadian film industry. The sessions are open to filmmakers, writers, producers, distributors, and film students who wish to learn more about both the creative and business side of the Canadian film industry. Topics include The Next Generation of Canadian Filmmakers, The Rise of Cinematic Television and The Changing Digital Distribution Landscape in Canada. Guests include writers/directors Mathieu Denis (Corbo), Adrienne Mitchell (Durham County, Bomb Girls), Kari Skogland (Fifty Dead Men Walking, The Borgias, Sons of Liberty) and Clement Virgo (Lie with Me, Poor Boy’s Game, The Book of Negroes). To attend Industry Day at the Canada's Top Ten Film Festival, visit

Canadian Open Vault: Not a Love Story: A Film About Pornography Friday, January 9 at 2:30 p.m. | FREE
In conjunction with the release of Rebecca Sullivan’s monograph (co-published by TIFF and University of Toronto Press), the Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival presents one of the most controversial films of the 1980s, Bonnie Sherr Klein's landmark second-wave feminist documentary, Not a Love Story: A Film About Pornography.

The Canadian Open Vault programme presents free screenings of Canadian classics every season at TIFF Bell Lightbox, as part of TIFF’s efforts to make the country’s rich cinematic heritage more accessible to audiences.

Higher Learning presents The Rules of Engagement: Documentary Filmmaking in CanadaFriday, January 9 at noon | FREE
This free Higher Learning panel features different perspectives from Canada's Top Ten Film Festival guests — directors Bonnie Sherr Klein (Not a Love Story: A Film About Pornography), Harold Crooks (The Price We Pay), Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (Bihttoš), and student filmmaker Candy Fox (Backroads) — on documentary filmmaking in Canada. The panel will be moderated by University of Calgary scholar Rebecca Sullivan, author of a new monograph on Klein’s film. Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis at the box office two hours prior to the event start time.

The Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival travels across the country with stops in major cities across the country, including Vancouver’s The Cinematheque (January 8 to 18), Edmonton’s Metro Cinema (January 22 to February 2), Calgary’s Globe Cinema in association with the Calgary International Film Festival (February 20 to 26), Winnipeg Film Group’s Cinematheque (March 6 to 19), and Montreal’s PHI Centre (dates TBA).

In Conversation With... Sandra Oh — Sunday, January 18 at Vancouver’s The Cinematheque
Sandra Oh is a marvel. From an Ottawa childhood, to her studies at Canada's National Theatre School in Montreal, to her award-winning work on the long-running TV drama Grey's Anatomy, Oh has carved a place at the heart of pop culture. Along the way, she has acted in groundbreaking independent films on both sides of the border, including Mina Shum’s Double Happiness and Alexander Payne’s Sideways. Cameron Bailey will sit down with Sandra Oh at TIFF's very first In Conversation With… event in Vancouver. They’ll discuss her work in film and television, and will be joined by Vancouver filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming to talk about her collaboration with Oh on the upcoming animated feature film Window Horses.

Tickets and ticket packages for Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival events at TIFF Bell Lightbox go on sale December 3 for TIFF Members and December 10 for the public. Purchase tickets online at, by phone from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET at 416.599.TIFF and 1.888.599.8433, or in person at the TIFF Bell Lightbox box office from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET. Pricing as follows: standard screening ticket is $10 (feature film or shorts programmes); purchase a six-pack for $50 and get six tickets for the price of five; tickets for In Conversation With... Keanu Reeves and In Conversation With…Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis are $20 each; tickets to the Canada Cocktail Party are $15 for TIFF Members and $20 for public (19+ ID required). Canadian Open Vault and Higher Learning events are free. TIFF prefers Visa.

In order to be eligible for the Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival, the film (short or feature) must be directed by a Canadian citizen or resident and have been released theatrically or played a major film festival in Canada in 2014.

Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival features synopses
Corbo, Mathieu Denis
Montréal, 1966. Jean Corbo, an idealistic 16-year-old of Québécois and Italian descent, befriends two far-left political activists and joins the FLQ (Front de libération du 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.

Félix et Meira (Felix & Meira), Maxime Giroux
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. Felix & 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.

In Her Place, Albert Shin
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.

Maps to the Stars, David Cronenberg
With this tale of a secret-filled Hollywood family on the verge of implosion, director David Cronenberg forges both a wicked social satire and a very human ghost story from today’s celebrity-obsessed culture. Maps to the Stars tours the seductive allure and the tender, darkly comic underbelly of contemporary success. Starring Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Olivia Williams, Sarah Gadon, John Cusack and Robert Pattinson.

Mommy, Xavier Dolan
A feisty, widowed single mother finds herself burdened with the full-time custody of her explosive, ADHD-afflicted 15-year-old son. As they struggle to make ends meet, a peculiar new girl from across the street benevolently offers her help. Together, they find a new sense of balance and a chance to regain hope. Starring Anne Dorval, Suzanne Clément, and Antoine-Olivier Pilon.

Monsoon, Sturla Gunnarsson
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, Harold Crooks
Director Harold Crooks (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.

Sol, Marie-Hélène Cousineau and Susan Avingaq
When Solomon Uyarasuk, a young Inuk man filled with talent and promise, is found dead while in RCMP custody, the police claim suicide but the community suspects murder. Sol is a riveting and emotional documentary that explores the underlying issues of youth suicide in Canada’s North while investigating the truth behind Solomon’s tragic death.

Tu dors Nicole, Stéphane Lafleur
Twenty-two-year-old Nicole is adrift after college graduation, working a dead-end job, making the most of the family home while her parents are away, enjoying a peaceful evenings with her best friend, Véronique. When Nicole’s older brother shows up with his band to record an album, their summer 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-André Grondin.

Violent, Andrew Huculiak
A catastrophic event sparks a young Norwegian woman’s memories of the five people who loved her most, in the visually stunning feature debut of West Coast musician and filmmaker Andrew Huculiak. Starring Dagny Backer Johnsen.

Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival shorts synopses
Bihttoš (Rebel), Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers
Bihttoš is an unconventional documentary that explores the complex relationship between a father and daughter. Through animation, re-enactments, and archival photos, writer/director Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers delves into the dissolution of her parents’ mythic love story and how it has coloured her perception of love in her adult life.

Bison, Kevan Funk
A meditative and mysterious drama, Bison explores the violent legacy of colonialism in a contemporary context. The film is anchored by thematic concerns around implicit cultural culpability, systemic issues of failure surrounding the contemporary and historical relationship with First Nations peoples, and notions of responsibility in an individual and societal context.

La Coupe (The Cut), Geneviève Dulude-De Celles
A charming domestic moment between a father and his young daughter is disrupted by a phone call. Made with heartbreaking sensitivity, The Cut is a poetic exploration of family and isolation.

Cutaway, Kazik Radwanski
Cutaway portrays a phase in the life of a young man as he works as a labourer, pursues relationships with women, and comes to terms with a life-changing event. Told through close details of hands and objects, this film intimately portrays uncertainty and loss.

Day 40, Sol Friedman
In this animated retelling of the Noah’s Ark story, various unholy activities fill the great ship as the animals discover the darker side of their nature.

Kajutaijuq: The Spirit That Comes, Scott Brachmayer
Isolated in the harsh wilderness of the Arctic, a hunter follows the teachings of survival passed on to him by his grandfather. In an environment governed by the spirits of the land, a taboo is broken and he is forced to face the consequences.

Mynarski chute mortelle (Mynarski Death Plummet), Matthew Rankin
A handmade historical micro-epic based on the final moments of doomed Winnipeg World War II hero, Andrew Mynarski, who died 70 years ago when his bomber was hit by enemy fire. Mixing aviation agitprop with classical and avant-garde animation techniques, Mynarski Death Plummet is a psychedelic photo-chemical cinépoem on the theme of self-sacrifice, immortality and jellyfish.

Sleeping Giant, Andrew Cividino
Fourteen-year-old Adam is spending the summer in a small beach community on the north shore of Lake Superior. His dull summer routine shatters when he meets local boys Foster and Rizzo, two smart alecks who fill their long days with adventures and reckless stunting. When Adam learns he is competing with Foster for the affection of his crush, Taylor, he is drawn into a dark and unfamiliar world which leads the boys to the top of the infamous Todd’s Cliff.

Still, Slater Jewell-Kemker
In this psychedelic thriller with a sci-fi twist, a young couple takes a walk through a wintry forest — where it soon becomes clear that their relationship is based on dangerously unbalanced power dynamics.

The Weatherman and the Shadowboxer, Randall Lloyd Okita
A short story about two brothers who go to extremes in the different ways they live their lives — looking forward and looking back. When crisis hits, their bonds pull them back together, for better or worse.

Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival student shorts synopses
Backroads, Candy Fox
This powerful documentary testimonial by Camillia Stonechild, who relates her upbringing on a Saskatchewan reserve, sheds light on the strength of survivors of family abuse.

Dinner Time, Alexander Mainwaring
A bloodthirsty wolf-man is challenged by a not-so-innocent Little Red Riding Hood, in this subversive and creative twist on the famous tale.

Elpis, Akreta Saim
Prior to her death during childbirth, Akreta Saim’s cousin Ruby wrote a series of letters to her unborn child. Elpis is an experimental, moving adaptation of a mother’s words of hope.

Fallow, Breanna Cheek
The slow-moving life in a pastoral village is exquisitely rendered in these animated tableaux by director Breanna Cheek, who finds beauty in the ordinary, from local homesteads to a diner, to an isolated laundromat.

La dernière danse sur la Main (Last Dance on the Main), Aristofanis Soulikias
This animated short documents the demolition of a row of historic Red-Light District buildings on Montreal’s Saint-Laurent Boulevard, and the response by the colourful citizens who fought back.

Lifers, Joel Salaysay
A young dishwasher observes his eclectic co-workers in a busy kitchen as he contemplates future career options. Director Joel Salaysay serves up an entertaining and honest slice of culinary life.

Light, Yassmina Karajah
Devastated by the death of his newborn son, a Lebanese man living in an adoptive country is challenged by his mother’s request that he perform Islamic pre-burial rituals in the hospital.

Never Stop Cycling, Colin Lepper
In this brilliant, Tim Burton–inspired stop-motion animation, a creature in search of a vital organ must journey from his dreary apartment to a strange, exotic world.

Running Season, Grayson Moore
Anxious to sell his late father’s seaside house on Prince Edward Island after severed feet in running shoes start washing up on the shoreline and devaluing the property, Arthur must contend with the vultures circling to snap it up.

Tomonster, Pui Ka Wong
When an alien lands in a tomato field, he quickly discovers that idyllic farmland can be dangerous ground to an intruder. Tomonster is a stunning CGI animation that is riotous fun.

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About TIFF
TIFF is a charitable cultural organization whose mission is to transform the way people see the world through film. An international leader in film culture, TIFF projects include the annual Toronto International Film Festival in September; TIFF Bell Lightbox, which features five cinemas, major exhibitions, and learning and entertainment facilities; and innovative national distribution program Film Circuit. The organization generates an annual economic impact of $189 million CAD. TIFF Bell Lightbox is generously supported by contributors including Founding Sponsor Bell, the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada, the City of Toronto, the Reitman family (Ivan Reitman, Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels), The Daniels Corporation and RBC. For more information, visit

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