Light Up the Nation: Canada on Screen


Through Canada on Screen, TIFF preserves, restores, and projects our shared heritage in celebration of our sesquicentennial. It’s been a busy season of live performances, free screenings (many with special guests), and the restoration of Ontario Place’s famed Cinesphere.

North of Superior at the Cinesphere

Canada’s 150 Definitive Works

On April 19, we launched the Canada on Screen Digital Catalogue ( www.tiffcanadaonscreen.com ), a resource for all Canadians to learn about the 150 moving-image works from our country’s history. The Canada on Screen list includes Canada’s significant contributions to the cinematic landscape in nine categories: animation, commercials, music videos, shorts, features, moving image installations, experimental films and video, documentaries, and television shows. Over 1,100 images and archival artefacts were scanned for inclusion in the catalogue, which also features original essay content from industry leaders. Screenings were held in Toronto and cities across Canada in coordination with partner organizations.

Engaging Canadian Youth

As part of Canada on Screen, TIFF expanded its youth internship and volunteer programmes to add 24 youth internship and co-op placements and 150 youth volunteer opportunities, with a focus on engaging those from under-served and Indigenous communities.

In addition to these opportunities, Canada on Screen expanded TIFF’s programs for young creators. The TIFF Kids and Next Wave Jump Cuts Youth Filmmaking Competitions were designed to enhance and build an appreciation for Canadian film, advocate for the use of film as a teaching tool, and encourage an appreciation of diversity. Both programmes were expanded nationally this year, allowing youth from across the country to put their works forward. Finalists were flown across Canada to see their films screened at TIFF Bell Lightbox and to take part in awards ceremonies.

North of Superior at the Cinesphere

Canada on Screen at TIFF '17

We brought the iconic Cinesphere back to life for the 2017 Festival and reunited it with the legendary Canadian film North of Superior (1971), an epic travelogue in 70mm that shows off the grandeur of both the IMAX® format and Ontario’s vibrant landscapes. The Cinesphere was the world’s first permanent IMAX® cinema and North of Superior’s director, Graeme Ferguson, was the co-inventor of IMAX®, making this series of free screenings the perfect union of Canadian talent, technology, and vision.

As with our 2167 programming, TIFF knows the importance of projecting into the future even as we preserve the past. To complement the nostalgia of North of Superior, we featured live performances by Indigenous artists (Digging Roots Grey Gritt, Manifest Destiny's Child, Melody McKiver) as well as a powwow dance performance (Leslie McCue, Lindy Kinoshameg, Lisa Cromarty, Waawaate Fobister), all MC’d by Rosary Spence, in a mesmerizing celebration of our living connection to the land onsite at Ontario Place.

North of Superior at the Cinesphere

Back in our home venue at TIFF Bell Lightbox, our free Cinematheque programming spotlighted three groundbreaking films from the Canadian canon: Clement Virgo’s Rude (1995), a nuanced portrayal of Black Canadian life with a particular spotlight on Toronto; Peter Mettler’s Picture of Light (1994), a meditation on the art of filmmaking through the lens of Canada’s famous, but elusive, aurora borealis; and Patricia Rozema’s fantastical meditation on art in I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing (1987). All three were newly restored for this special Festival programme.

Our celebration of Canada on Screen has continued into the fall, with a myriad of free screenings and special guests like Jody Shapiro, My Winnipeg's (2007) producer and director of photography, who introduced a screening of the film on October 28. With the 17th Annual Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival right around the corner (January 12–21), it’s been an exciting time for Canadian film — and we're here to tell the world all about it.

North of Superior at the Cinesphere

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