Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Canadian Films announced for 2010 Toronto International Film Festival

Jill Hennessy and Stephen Eric McIntyre in Small Town Murder Songs
At a press conference this afternoon at the Royal York Hotel in downtown Toronto, programmers for the Toronto International Film Festival announced the remaining lineup of Canadian films playing at their 2010 festival. Previously, they had announced Score: A Hockey Musical as their opening night gala film. They announced a few more Canadian films at their Galas and Special Presentations announcement, and some in last week's announcement of documentary and experimental films (experimental only - Canadian docs were announced today). There will be more films announced next week on Tuesday, August 17 before the complete lineup is announced on August 24.

Only one Midnight Madness title was announced today, its opening night film Fubar II, which I had correctly surmised from programmer Colin Geddes Twitter clues. It is the sequel to Michael Dowse's 2002 mockumentary. The remaining Midnight Madness films should be announced next week.

Here is the information on all Canadian films announced today.


The Toronto International Film Festival announces a wealth of Canadian features including highly anticipated new works by acclaimed Canadian filmmakers Denis Villeneuve, Bruce McDonald, Xavier Dolan, Jacob Tierney, Louis Bélanger and William D. MacGillivray, Sturla Gunnarsson, Ingrid Veninger, and Carl Bessai and on screen appearances by Molly Parker, Jay Baruchel, Don McKellar, Scott Speedman, Jill Hennessy, David Suzuki, Martha Plimpton, Peter Stormare, Jennifer Beals, Emily Hampshire, Jean Lapointe, Guylaine Tremblay, Harvey Keitel, Jason Jones, Scott Caan, Tricia Helfer and the late Tracy Wright.

“It’s a testament to the creative minds and incredible talent in this country that we have such a diverse and exciting offering of Canadian films across all programmes in this year’s Festival,” says Steve Gravestock, Programmer, Toronto International Film Festival. “It’s an exciting time for Canadian cinema and we’re proud to bring audiences this line-up of films which includes documentaries profiling some of our beloved national figures, powerful and unsettling dramas, thrillers, comedies, romances and a record number of dysfunctional families.”

New this year, the Festival presents The Canadian Pack, a ticket package selected by TIFF programmers that offers film lovers exposure to Canadian talent with a selection of five new Canadian films for $80.

A Beginners Guide to Endings Jonathan Sobol, Canada
World Premiere
Raucous, charming and very funny, Jonathan Sobol's comedy A Beginners Guide to Endings follows three sons as they deal with their gambler father's somewhat complicated legacy. Featuring the legendary Harvey Keitel, the film also stars Scott Caan, Paolo Costanzo, Wendy Crewson, Tricia Helfer, Jason Jones, and J.K. Simmons.

Previously announced Canadian Galas include: The Bang Bang Club, Steven Silver; Barney's Version, Richard J. Lewis; Casino Jack, George Hickenlooper; Score: A Hockey Musical, Mike McGowan.

Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie Sturla Gunnarsson, Canada
World Premiere
At 75 years old, David Suzuki shows no signs of slowing down. In this captivating documentary portrait, the passionate environmentalist's legacy lecture is entwined with candid interviews in which he reflects on his life and shares deeply personal stories, revealing a side previously unseen.

Good Neighbours
Jacob Tierney, Canada
World Premiere
Director Jacob Tierney (The Trotsky) returns with an innovative and unsettling thriller about some very strange people living in the same apartment building in Montreal's Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighbourhood. The film stars Scott Speedman, Emily Hampshire and Jay Baruchel.

Incendies Denis Villeneuve, Canada
North American Premiere
After their mother Nawal's death, twins Simon and Jeanne embark on a journey to the Middle East that shines a disturbing light on their mother's past and culminates in a shocking revelation. Based on the acclaimed play by Wajdi Mouawad and directed by Genie and Jutra award-winner Denis Villeneuve (Polytechnique).

Les amours imaginaires (Heartbeats) Xavier Dolan, Canada
English Canadian Premiere
Wunderkind filmmaker Xavier Dolan returns with his second feature – a sophisticated comedy about close friends, Francis and Marie, who pursue their mutual obsession with a young man. As they face off in competition, cracks in their friendship begin to appear with both comic and tragic results.

Repeaters Carl Bessai, Canada
World Premiere
Veteran director Carl Bessai returns with a tense thriller that follows three young addicts in a rehabilitation centre. Each day they live the same events over and over – a situation each responds to in radically different ways.

Trigger Bruce McDonald, Canada
World Premiere
Molly Parker and the late Tracy Wright form a highly dysfunctional yet endearing rock duo reuniting a decade after their band called it quits. Directed by Bruce McDonald (Pontypool, The Tracey Fragments, Hard Core Logo, Highway 61), and written by Daniel MacIvor, the film features Sarah Polley, Don McKellar and Callum Keith Rennie.

À l’origine d’un cri Robin Aubert, Canada
World Premiere
Three generations of men from the same family drunkenly careen across the Québécois countryside in an emotionally powerful journey through the past from one of Québec’s most intriguing young filmmakers.

MODRA Ingrid Veninger, Canada
World Premiere
In this authentic portrait of teenaged self-discovery, recently-dumped seventeen-year-old Lina and free spirit Leco travel to visit Lina's extended family in the quirky town of Modra, Slovakia.

A Night for Dying Tigers Terry Miles, Canada
World Premiere
The night before Jack goes to prison for five years, his family gets together at their ancestral home for a farewell dinner. What begins as a civil, if not joyful, reunion quickly devolves into a morally questionable whirlwind of regret, reversals, and revelations. The film stars Jennifer Beals, Gil Bellows, Kathleen Roberston, Lauren Lee Smith, Tygh Runyon and John Pyper-Ferguson.

Route 132 Louis Bélanger, Canada
English Canadian Premiere
A powerful drama directed by acclaimed veteran Louis Bélanger, Route 132 focuses on a man who loses a loved one and embarks on a journey in an attempt to rediscover his roots and come to terms with his grief.

Small Town Murder Songs
Ed Gass-Donnelly, Canada
World Premiere
Ed Gass-Donnelly’s (This Beautiful City) Small Town Murder Songs mixes sexuality, religion and tradition in a Greek tragedy about repression and mistrust. The film stars Peter Stormare, Jill Hennessy, Aaron Poole and Martha Plimpton.

Midnight Madness Opening Night
Fubar II Michael Dowse, Canada
World Premiere
In the sequel to the 2002 cult comedy Fubar, hoser headbangers Terry and Dean are back and hit the road to find wealth, happiness and more beer in the oil fields of Alberta. Special appearance by Tron.


How to Start Your Own Country Jody Shapiro, Canada
World Premiere
Shapiro's documentary about micro-nations, tiny countries seldom recognized by the outside world, mixes comedy and compassion with a serious analysis of the concept of statehood and citizenship.

The Man of a Thousand Songs
William D. MacGillivray, Canada
World Premiere
Veteran East Coast filmmaker William MacGillivray returns to the Festival with this emotional, intimate and tender documentary about the life of fabled Atlantic songwriter Ron Hynes.

Curling Denis Côté, Canada
North American Premiere
Set in a village in Quebec, Denis Côté’s Curling follows inveterate loner Jean-François, a single father, and his isolated 12-year-old daughter Julyvonne. Between his unremarkable jobs, Jean-François devotes an awkward energy to Julyvonne until some unexpected events jeopardize the fragile balance of their relationship.

Trois temps après la mort d'Anna Catherine Martin, Canada
English Canadian Premiere
After vibrant young violinist Anna dies, her mother Françoise leaves Montreal and takes refuge at the country home of her maternal ancestors in Kamouraska. She has given up on life, but an old friend labours to revive her desire to live.

A Married Couple Allan King, Canada
A restruck and restored version of master filmmaker Allan King's classic cinema-verité film, one of the most influential and celebrated Canadian films ever made, A Married Couple records the collapse of a middle class couple's marriage. The film is being restruck inconjunction with Zoe Druick's monograph on the film, co-published by the University of Toronto Press and TIFF.

Zach Braff in High Cost of Living

Toronto - Continuing its tradition of celebrating new and innovative Canadian works, the 35th Toronto International Film Festival announces six films for its seventh edition of Canada First!, a programme that offers audiences compelling stories from the next wave of homegrown film talent. From existential social commentaries to improvised thrillers, this year’s programme is as diverse as Canada itself, launching with sinister small town happenings in Mike Goldbach’s Daydream Nation.

Daydream Nation
Mike Goldbach, BC
World Premiere
In this striking and slyly funny debut by filmmaker Mike Goldbach, a young woman (Kat Dennings) is uprooted to a small town where her classmates seem permanently stoned, an industrial fire burns ceaselessly in the background and a killer preys on the unsuspecting populace. The film also stars Andie MacDowell, Josh Lucas, Reece Thompson and Rachel Blanchard.

Amazon Falls Katrin Bowen, BC
World Premiere
Characters reveal hidden depths as Katrin Bowen’s first feature tells the tale of a struggling actress named Jana. Delving into the high-stakes world of keeping up appearances for which Los Angeles is infamous, Amazon Falls crafts an intense look at dream-chasers living on the margins of Hollywood.

High Cost of Living Deborah Chow, QC
World Premiere
Deborah Chow’s dark drama centres on the burgeoning relationship between an unlikely pair. Nathalie (Isabelle Blais) is expecting her first child and Henry (Zach Braff) is on his way to his next drug deal. Their paths fatefully collide one night in an event that will irrevocably change their lives.

Jaloux Patrick Demers, QC
North American Premiere
In this psychological thriller that was improvised during its 16-day shoot, a couple trying to mend their relationship set off for a weekend in the country. When they encounter a friendly neighbour, they are too absorbed in their marital woes to see that he is not who he appears to be.

Oliver Sherman
Ryan Redford, ON
World Premiere
Tensions arise when Sherman visits the home of Franklin, a fellow soldier who saved his life back in the war. Franklin has long since moved on – to a wife, two children and a reliable job, but the stability he has worked so hard to establish is soon threatened by Sherman’s presence. The film stars Donal Logue, Molly Parker and Garret Dillahunt.

You Are Here Daniel Cockburn, ON
North American Premiere
You Are Here is a smartly-crafted commentary on our modern day existence. Comprised of interconnected mini-narratives, the film’s characters find themselves trapped in bizarre social experiments of their own making. The film features Tracy Wright and Nadia Litz.


An impressive array of 40 films makes up the Short Cuts Canada programme at the 35th Toronto International Film Festival. The diverse lineup showcases the breadth of Canadian short films, with works by both veteran and first-time directors from across the nation.

Above The Knee [Greg Atkins, ON, 12’] Jack’s suit-and-tie career never quite fit. As he summons the courage to dress for the job he wants, he risks changing the way his co-workers and his wife see and treat him.

The Adder’s Bite [Firas Momani,ON, 9’] Designed as a quasi sci-fi choreography, The Adder’s Bite is a haunting rendering of the micro world of parasites.

Animal Control
[Kire Paputts, ON, 16’] Larry is an amateur taxidermist who, as the pick-up man for the local Animal Services, gets all his specimens through work.

The Camera and Christopher Merk
[Brandon Cronenberg, ON, 15’] Quiet Christopher Merk just found a new apartment. Getting to know his neighbours doesn’t require borrowing a cup of sugar; it means picking up the remote.

Champagne [Hans Olson, ON, 19’] Clara’s birthday is just another night shift of window-dressing beds at the local furniture store, until she learns her secret crush James is working his final shift.

The Closer You Get to Canada [John Bolton, BC, 11’] Adapted from Thomas King’s darkly comic story, two old friends trapped in a futuristic American seniors’ residence try to escape to Canada.

[Martin Sokol, ON, 2’] An underperforming chicken is under enormous pressure to produce at work.

File Under Miscellaneous [Jeff Barnaby, QC, 7’] Resigned to assimilate and shed his identity, a spiritually exhausted Mi’kmaq man visits a dystopian clinic.

A Fine Young Man [Kevan Funk, BC, 13’] Pete – with his perfect job, perfect home and perfect wife – seems to epitomize the American Dream. But is his life really so spotless?

Les fleurs de l’âge [Vincent Biron, QC, 18’] Selling ice cream, smoking pot, falling in love, dealing with family: it’s just another summer day for a regular group of school kids.

Green Crayons [Kazik Radwanski, ON, 10’] Director Kazik Radwanski narrows his lens on Xavier and Liam, two second-grade boys who are moulded by their actions and moralistic educators.

The High Level Bridge [Trevor Anderson, AB, 5’] Edmonton’s High Level Bridge has a morbid notoriety; it’s a frequent spot for suicides. Anderson pays homage to the people and events surrounding an odd landmark.

Home: Life Advice [Aaron Phelan, ON, 2’] A young woman works at a retirement home where an elderly man makes scathing comments about her appearance.

How To Rid Your Lover Of A Negative Emotion Caused By You! [Nadia Litz, ON, 15’] Like any other couple, Sadie and Dennis have problems. Will Sadie’s trust issues remain insurmountable, or will she finally decide to open up?

Interregnum [Nick Fox-Gieg, ON, 7’] As a Nazi-occupied France has a population under threat, one man’s attempt to thwart a corrupted system shapes a dramatic sequence of events.

The Legend Of Beaver Dam
[Jerome Sable, QC, 12’] This musical horror comedy follows an unlikely hero – nerdy Danny Zigwitz – at a summer camp listening to fireside stories.

Lipsett Diaries [Theodore Ushev, QC, 14’] Deconstructing a visionary in experimental film, this animated documentary presents the incredible creativity and emotional tumult that defined filmmaker Arthur Lipsett’s life.

Living History [Isaac Cravit, ON, 7’] Living History follows a father and his teenaged son as they make their way to the annual reenactment of the Upper Canada Rebellion.

Love. Marriage. Miscarriage. [Darragh McDonald, ON, 10’] In the wake of a miscarriage, Magda finds herself at a family gathering, caught between denial and acceptance.

Manèges [Sophie Goyette, QC, 5’] Trying to avoid some big decisions, Nadège spends a restless night at an arcade and go-kart track.

Marius Borodine [Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais, QC, 15’] A mockumentary about inventor Marius Borodine who is on the brink of completing his master creation when something goes terribly awry.

La Métropolitaine
[Dan Popa, QC, 25’] At once an essay and an epic story where we never get to really meet the protagonist, La Métropolitaine conveys with grandeur that love can be everywhere and nowhere.

Mokhtar [Halima Ouardiri, QC, 15’] Based on the eponymous folktale, Mokhtar recounts the tale of a young boy in a remote Moroccan village as he adopts a fallen owl.

Negativipeg [Matthew Rankin, MB, 16’] In part three of the Burton Cycle, Rory Lepine gives a personal account of his fateful 1985 encounter with The Guess Who’s legendary lead singer, Burton Cummings, at a 7-Eleven in Winnipeg.

The Old Ways
[Michael Vass, ON, 13’] When a judge sentences a child to the death penalty, the court mitigates a public relations crisis with an elaborate and dubious scheme.

On The Way To The Sea [Tao Gu, QC, 19’] On May 12, 2008, the largest earthquake in China’s history devastated the Wenchuan region. Director Tao Gu visits his parents’ home to capture the physical and emotional aftermath.

Open Window
[Cam Woykin, ON, 9’] A backyard birthday party is consumed with tension when an abusive relationship between the birthday boy’s parents is revealed.

Poudre [Ky Nam Le Duc, QC, 21’] Two young men, who have recently returned from military missions, struggle to reintegrate with civilian life while coping with the impact of their respective experiences.

Le Projet Sapporo [Marie-Josee Saint-Pierre, QC, 5’] This homage to acclaimed calligrapher Gazanbou Higuchi utilizes rotoscope animation to illustrate the craft of Japanese shodo.

Sad Bear [Liz Van Allen Cairns, Joe LoBianco, BC, 10’] Sad Bear collects people’s saddest objects to help them process past regrets. People are generally amenable to this, except for Steve, who can’t let go of his prized possession.

Les Softies [Emmanuel Shirinian, Russell Bennett, ON, 10’] Chooch and Ponch are hit men. While waiting to knock off a mark, they ponder what life might have in store if they quit their day jobs and pursued their unrealized potential.

Sophie Lavoie [Anne Émond, QC, 9’] Anne Émond delivers a stripped-down study of a young woman participating in a patient interview during her doctor’s appointment.

La tranchée [Claude Cloutier, QC, 7’] Trench warfare is brought to harrowing life as Claude Cloutier creates a high-stakes world of physical and psychological dangers, by animating archival images with India ink.

Tsunami, Horses and Civilization [Carla Susanto, ON, 4’] A tsunami approaches a city where the human residents are incapable of saving themselves from imminent disaster.

Turkey [Sara St. Onge, ON, 6’] Ally is doing her best to accommodate her husband, two stepdaughters and her husband’s ex-wife for a Thanksgiving dinner, but even she has her limit.

Vapor [Kaveh Nabatian, QC, 11’] In this stunning portrait of a shattered psyche, a Mexican man begins to understand his life when he confronts his own deep-seated phobias.

Wapawekka [Danis Goulet, ON, 16’] Josh and his father visit their family cottage for the last time. They are leaving their traditional Cree territory, but Josh has already adopted an urban lifestyle and finds it hard to relate to his heritage.

Warchild [Caroline Monnet, MB, 6’] On a solitary portage between the barren wilderness and a desolate city, a young man reflects on his troubled past and hopeful future.

Woman Waiting [Antoine Bourges, BC, 15’] A middle-aged woman searches for a place to live in Vancouver. The system should be there to assist her, but amidst all the red tape of applications and waiting periods, she longs for human help.

Yesno [Brian D. Johnson, ON, 7’] Adapting esteemed poet Dennis Lee’s recent collection of poetry, film-critic-cum-filmmaker Brian Johnson creates a vivid visual language to lift Lee’s words off the page.


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