An impressive and diverse homegrown slate.
Anyone fretting about the Toronto International Film Festival’s conspicuous radio silence over Sarah Polley’s newest work, already announced for Venice, needn’t worry any longer. The Toronto-based director’s third full-length picture, Stories We Tell, will have its North American premiere as part of the Special Presentations programme at this year’s festival. Polley’s first documentary, a genre-bender about a family of storytellers, was just one of the many titles announced at the festival’s press conference dedicated to all things Canuck.
Joining Polley’s latest in the feature selection are a host of other expected films. Among the most anticipated is Xavier Dolan’s Laurence Anyways, the wunderkind 23-year-old director’s third film (and his second to debut internationally in Cannes’ respected sidebar programme, Un Certain Regard). Among other household names, those partial to Québécois cinema will be happy to see the return of Manon Briand with Liverpool, which she teased today as a portrait of “social media love in a 2.0 society.” While David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis has already seen a wide release in these parts, body horror fans can look forward to his son Brandon’s first feature, Antiviral, which also took its first bow at Cannes in a rare father-son showing.
While those titles are nothing to sneeze at, we’re especially looking forward to Tower, the debut feature of Ryerson graduate Kazik Radwanski, whose short films (Out in That Deep Blue Sea, Green Crayons) have screened at Locarno and Berlin and received good notices from the Genies and TIFF’s own Canada’s Top Ten List, among others. Along with Dan Montgomery, Radwanski is a co-founder of MDFF (Medium Density Fibreboard Films), a micro-budget production company that emphasizes maintaining an uncompromising, independent spirit.
The festival also unveiled a number of short films by both established and emerging talents as part of its Short Cuts Canada programme. Among the more familiar names is Nurse.Fighter.Boy director Charles Officer, who returns with 100 Musicians, set in Kensington Market. Trailer Park Boys devotees crushed by the less-than-stellar Afghan Luke can take solace in creator Mike Clattenburg’s newest effort, Crackin’ Down Hard, about a fateful encounter with a pimp in the middle of the desert.
Beyond its film offerings, TIFF announced its industry programming for the festival, including Talent Lab, a development tutorial guided by luminaries like documentarian Jennifer Baichwal. Following last year’s inaugural edition, which featured Antiviral costar Sarah Gadon, the fest also released its Rising Stars lineup, which highlights up-and-coming Canadian actors. Featured this year will be Charlie Carrick, Connor Jessup, Charlotte Sullivan, and Tatiana Maslany (who can be seen in Kate Melville’s Picture Day at the festival).