Stories about youth, queer culture, romance dominate Canadian TIFF lineup
Stories of youth and queer culture are being elevated in the Canadian lineup at this year's Toronto International Film Festival and some filmmakers say the uplifting themes come at a much-needed time.
Gail Maurice, director of "Rosie," the story of an Indigenous orphan raised by her Francophone aunt and two friends who refuse to be restricted by gender, said she believes a vibrant generation is emerging from a "dark and uncertain" period.
"We need hope, we need to show our power and our resilience to survive," she said after a press event at Toronto's TIFF Bell Lightbox.
"We've had this quiet time to reflect and be with ourselves. We're finally saying, 'I'm telling the story I want to tell."'
Maurice's comedy-drama was one of numerous films in the full Canadian TIFF program unveiled on Wednesday that explored queerness or Indigeneity. Hers took on both subjects, with a cast and crew of largely female and LGBTQ people.
Luis De Filippis, writer and director of transgender coming-of-age film "Something You Said Last Night," said Canadian moviemaking is in the midst of a pivotal movement for queer filmmakers.
It's also a significant moment personally for De Filippis, who 10 years ago was working at the TIFF movie house as an usher.
"I think we're just muscling our way to the front," De Filippis said.
"The girls are like, 'We're here, and we're sick of other people telling our stories incorrectly.' It feels correct. It feels like this is a moment. There's a new wave happening."
Kelly Boutsalis, associate programmer of Canadian features at TIFF, said she saw a surge of coming-of-age tales submitted for consideration at this year's festival, including "I Like Movies," which takes place in a video store circa 2003.
"It got to the point of, we cannot make this 'all teenagers, all the time' at TIFF," she said.
"The interesting thing coming out of COVID is a lot of people focusing on that time."
She added: "People are telling their own stories and they're telling (them) authentically. It would feel remiss if we didn't have those stories at the festival because they're everywhere, they're relatable and we need to have them."
"Brother" director Clement Virgo said returning to TIFF with his first feature film in more than a decade, a tale set in Toronto's hip-hop scene, carried a new-found perspective.
"My first film 'Rude' played at TIFF in 1995 and it feels like it's come full circle," he said.
"As a younger filmmaker, you take it for granted. But as a filmmaker who's been making film for over 20 years now ... I feel a lot of gratitude, I feel honoured."
Some Canadian artists are offering slivers of their own lives through documentary films -- Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq tells her story in "Ever Deadly," co-directed by Chelsea McMullan, while "Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On" is about the life of the legendary Cree artist and activist.
Among other documentaries on deck are Babak Payami's "752 Is Not A Number" about the 2020 shoot-down of a Ukrainian plane in Tehran that killed 176 passengers, many of whom were Canadian, and "Black Ice," which examines anti-Black racism in hockey and is executive produced by LeBron James and Drake.
Producer Vinay Virmani said five years ago when he was first approached about "Black Ice" it raised "so many questions about why we don't know this Black hockey history."
The documentary will "ask a lot of questions about this game we pride ourselves in, but we know culturally there are so many things wrong with," he added.
TIFF's closing night selection, "Daliland" comes from Ontario-raised director Mary Harron. The film stars Ben Kingsley as Salvador Dali, with embattled actor Ezra Miller playing the surrealist artist in his younger years. Miller was not named in TIFF's announcement, which coincided with the star being charged with felony burglary in Vermont earlier this week.
As in-person events return, many of the movies seem primed for the theatrical experience, including "The Swearing Jar," a musical from Lindsay McKay who appeared at the festival in 2014 with her debut feature "Wet Bum."
"We did our final mix of the film in a theatre, and because it has a musical element, hearing it in that space is so important," she said.
"It's an experience you want to hear loud ... to have it in a big room with a large audience is that much more exciting."
TIFF also plans to give several small-screen projects the big-screen treatment.
Episodes from the final season of Ontario-shot "The Handmaid's Tale" will mark their debut while Tegan and Sara's autobiography gets reinterpreted into the series "High School," co-directed by Clea DuVall and filmed in the twin sisters' Calgary hometown.
"Lido TV," a CBC variety show from Colombian-Canadian musician and artist Lido Pimienta, will also premiere as part of TIFF's prime-time program.
Other Canadian films announced include "Stellar" from Darlene Naponse, an Anishinaabe filmmaker who won TIFF's Air Canada Audience Choice Award in 2018 for "Falls Around Her." The film stars Elle-Ma╠üija╠ü Tailfeathers and Braeden Clarke as star-crossed lovers who share a cosmic encounter at a bar in northern Ontario.
Edmonton-born filmmaker Graham Foy's "The Maiden" is about a trio of teenagers whose summer fun takes a turn for the surreal, and Toronto-raised director Nisha Pahuja's documentary, "To Kill a Tiger," is about a farmer in India fighting for justice in the gang rape of his 13-year-old daughter.
Katherine Jerkovic, who won the Best Canadian First Feature Award at TIFF in 2018 for "Roads in February," is back with "Coyote," about a cook-turned-cleaner in Montreal whose hopes of returning to the kitchen are dashed when he's asked to look after his grandson.
Also on Wednesday, the federal government announced it's investing $10 million to support TIFF's comeback as an in-person cinematic attraction.
The funding will help TIFF reclaim some of its pre-pandemic lustre and lost revenues after COVID-19 forced the festival to go digital, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said in a statement.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 10, 2022.
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Offices in Canada still haven't returned to their pre-pandemic occupancy rates, and now a growing number of underused buildings are being converted into apartments and condominiums. CTVNews.ca takes a look at this trend.
W5 INVESTIGATES | Fewer firefighters mean slower response times, jeopardizing lives
Saturday at 7 p.m.: a CTV W5 investigation reveals that a critical shortage of volunteer firefighters in this country is having a potentially deadly impact, especially in rural Canada.
As of this morning, travellers to Canada do not need to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 -- and wearing a mask on planes and trains is now optional, though it is still recommended.
Federal workers are increasingly cynical, skeptical and disillusioned about the idea of reporting wrongdoing in the public service, says a recent survey.
Mendicino says Alberta's resistance to federal gun buyback plan is 'reckless' and 'a political stunt'
Federal Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino is calling Alberta Justice Minister and Solicitor General Tyler Shandro's plan to direct RCMP in the province not to enforce confiscations of prohibited firearms 'reckless,' and is amounting it to 'a political stunt' that won't hold up.
Rescuers searched for survivors among the ruins of Florida's flooded homes from Hurricane Ian while authorities in South Carolina waited for daylight to assess damage from its strike there as the remnants of one of the strongest and costliest hurricanes to ever hit the U.S. continued to push north.
Canada is headed for a 'severe' and 'almost inevitable' recession in early 2023, according to the head of economics at Macquarie Group, which states Canada will face an approximately three per cent contraction in gross domestic product and a five per cent rise in its unemployment rate during the predicted recession.
Ceremonies, marches and other gatherings are taking place across the country Friday as communities mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The federal statutory holiday was established last year to remember children who died while being forced to attend residential schools, as well as those who survived, and the families and communities still affected by lasting trauma.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed treaties Friday to illegally annex more occupied Ukrainian territory in a sharp escalation of his war. Ukraine's president countered with a surprise application to join the NATO military alliance.
As the Quebec election campaign enters its final weekend the main party leaders are fanning out across the province.
The body of a man was found lifeless in a garbage can on Doctor Penfield Ave. in Montreal on Friday evening, and police confirmed that they are investigating the 27th homicide of 2022 in Montreal.
Five investigators from the independent Quebec police watchdog (BEI) will try to shed light on the death of a 39-year-old woman who died Friday after being placed in detention in Nunavik.
'I met with residential school survivors for inspiration': Indigenous murals unveiled in downtown London, Ont.
A panel of seven Indigenous murals was unveiled in downtown London, Ont. on Truth and Reconciliation Day.
Veronica Ninham wipes away tears as she listens to speakers talk about the pain of relatives who attended residential schools.
Ontario’s minimum wage has gone up. Here's what you need to know.
Kitchener’s first Artist-in-Residence plans to share stories of underrepresented voices through portraits
The City of Kitchener announced, earlier this month, that Bangishimo Johnston would be the 2022 Artist-in-Residence.
A growing garden in Breslau, aimed at nurturing relationships and reconciliation, is now ready for harvest.
Songs of determination and steps of solidarity filled the streets of downtown Kitchener Friday morning, marking the second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Communities across northern Ontario are marking National Day for Truth and Reconciliation – also known as Orange Shirt Day – with ceremonies and events recognizing the impact of the Canadian Indian residential school system.
It was an emotional day on Nipissing First Nation as a survivor shared her deeply personal experience attending a northern Ontario residential school on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Ontario's ninth Indigenous university officially opened in Sault Ste. Marie across from a former residential school on National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
Ottawa police have announced sexual assault charges against former Canadian senator Don Meredith in connection with alleged incidents that date back to 2013 and 2014.
Ottawa police say there will be a "significant and sustained" police presence in Sandy Hill and Old Ottawa South today, keeping an eye on Panda Game festivities.
Highway 417 is closed between Metcalfe Street and Carling/Kirkwood avenues until 6 a.m. on Tuesday for the replacement of the Rochester Street bridge.
Windsor police say they “strongly discourage” everyone from attending a possible unsanctioned homecoming street party.
Students and staff across Windsor and Essex County commemorated the second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Friday.
Essex County OPP have launched an investigation into the death of a woman in Leamington.
For the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, CTVNews.ca spoke to several Indigenous leaders about feelings around the day more than a year since the suspected gravesites made world news, and in the weeks following Queen Elizabeth II death that took over the news cycle during a month when decolonization is meant to be top of mind.
The home of a former Barrie, Ont. family living in Port aux Basques, Newfoundland, was destroyed as Hurricane Fiona hit the coast last week.
Toronto city councillor Michael Thompson has been charged with sexual assault, his lawyer has told CP24.
Employees who have suffered wage losses due to the destruction of post-tropical storm Fiona on Prince Edward Island are set to benefit from a new program by the provincial government.
‘The truth hurts but it also heals’: Halifax recognizes the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Drums and singing could be heard at the Grand Parade in Halifax as many gathered in orange to honour residential school survivors and those who never returned home.
Major clean-up efforts continue in Cape Breton on Friday as many on the island remain in the dark.
Indigenous community members and their allies gathered in Morley, Alta., on Friday to recognize the intergenerational traumas of Canada’s residential school system.
The nerves were high for Tsuaki Marule as she sang O Canada in front of thousands of fans at the Toronto Blue Jays game on Friday.
Calgarians gathered to remember, educate and listen on Friday for the country's second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Former students of Assiniboia Residential School were honoured Friday at the unveiling of a commemorative monument and gathering place on Academy Road.
A memorial sculpture honouring those lost and affected by the residential school system is giving Winnipeggers a new gathering place for truth and reconciliation.
Emergency crews were on the scene of a multi-vehicle collision at the corner of Portage Avenue and the Perimeter Highway Friday.
'It's still a lot of hurting': Survivors of former North Vancouver residential school return to the site
Survivors of a former North Vancouver residential school were among hundreds who gathered at the site for a pilgrimage Friday.
The Musqueam Indian Band has gifted a replacement name for Trutch Street to the City of Vancouver, more than a decade after members first called for a change.
The City of White Rock marked the second ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Friday by raising the flag of the Semiahmoo First Nation at city hall.
A prominent member of Edmonton's soccer community was one of two victims in Wednesday's fatal crash in Mill Woods.
The province unveiled images of a new permanent statue to be placed on Alberta legislature grounds that will honour residential school survivors and the children that never made it home.
A meteorite with special significance is being returned to Indigenous people after more than 100 years.