From Roncesvalles Avenue to Regent Park, cultural events warm up even as temperatures drop.
Federal election stunts and the Blue Jays kept us entertained in October but, as the days get shorter, memories of Nuit Blanche and summer weekends full of festivals fade along with the sunlight. Luckily for anyone getting sick of Netflix, November has a lineup of lesser-known festivals that offer unexpected reasons to get outside.
Ekran Polish Film Festival (November 11-15)
If you thought Polish culture was all about pierogi, now is your chance to head to Roncesvalles for films rather than food. The festival aims to make directors from the country of Kieślowski as well known as delicacies like kielbasa. Cinephiles will want to check out Potop Redivius, a re-released version of a communist-era historical drama that clocks in a full two hours shorter than the 1974 original. For everyone else, the festival also features contemporary comedies, dramas and shorts.
Coup de Coeur Francophone (November 5-24)
Montreal’s Coeur de Pirate may have released her first bilingual album in August, but Coup du Coeur Francophone is your chance to check the pulse of artists who perform primarily in French. The Toronto stop of this national showcase celebrates hyphenated identities and hybrid art forms with Franco-Ontarian blues-rock by Mastik, tales from storyteller-songwriter Fred Pellerin and multilingual wordplay by slam poets Yao and Shawn Jobin.
Regent Park Film Festival (November 18-22)
The Regent Park Film Festival had a devoted fan base long before Daniels Spectrum opened its doors and gave the festival a shiny new home. Now in its 13th year, the festival offers free screenings and childcare alongside workshops and talk-backs with directors, activists and artists. Saturday morning’s breakfast screening is an annual favourite but new this year are partnerships with Black Lives Matters Toronto and Inside Out LGBTQ Film Festival to bring Canadian documentaries out of the NFB vault and international films back to Toronto after TIFF.