Despite all the less-than-stellar changes made to TIFF this year, the festival continues to excel in giving a voice to Canadian filmmakers and video artists. Representatives of TIFF, once again, gathered in the Fairmont Royal York hotel to announce Canadian films which will play at the festival this year and then – presumably – disappear into Canadian cinemas, where a few of them will compete with the latest Oscar bait and Hollywood slop.
The huge announcement included films being released into the categories of Contemporary World Cinema, Wavelengths, Discovery and Short Cuts, plus a pair of works in the Masters and Primetime categories to go with the films already announced in other programs. The Masters program welcomes a Canadian who truly fits that title, seeing the return of Alanis Obomsawin with her latest doc, Our People Will Be Healed, while Primetime sees the latest work of unsung cinematic genius Mary Harron, with the Margaret Atwood adaptation, Alias Grace. The CWC and Discovery programs give a glimpse into the near future of Canadian cinema, while Wavelengths and Short Cuts seem to be more indicative of the future of local cinema with several familiar names being announced.
This year’s Cinematheque program also has an interesting quality: all of the films shown will be Canadian films from the Canada on Screen list commissioned as part of Canada 150. Among these films are Patricia Rozema’s I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing, Clement Virgo’s Rude, Peter Mettler’s Picture of Light and Graeme Ferguson’s North of Superior, a film which is causing the reopening of Ontario Place’s Cinesphere (!).
There will be more announcements of TIFF films coming soon, including at least a few more Canadian films to fill up the cinematheque program, which will leave everyone to wonder why Xavier Dolan’s latest was not announced.
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Shahbaz Khayambashi: @Shakhayam