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Canada's Best is Coming to TIFF '16

The Canadian lineup at this year's Festival features politics, bold storytelling and lots of drama

by
Aug 3, 2016

TIFF has announced its lineup of Canadian films for 2016, and it features powerful storytelling and bold politics, with world premieres from the likes of Deepa Mehta, Alanis Obomsawin, Bruce McDonald, and Brigitte Berman; new films from Kevan Funk, Anne Émond, Chloé Robichaud, Jamie Kastner, and Vincent Biron; and the latest from Xavier Dolan, Nathan Morlando, Kim Nguyen, Ann Marie Fleming, and Johnny Ma.

If you're looking to be moved (and possibly unsettled), check out these Canadian dramas: Two Lovers and a Bear, Kim Nguyen's latest, stars Tatiana Maslany and Dane DeHaan. In Below Her Mouth from April Mullen, two women share a powerful and immediate connection that inevitably derails both of their lives. And It's Only the End of the World is the latest from Xavier Dolan, and tells the story of a writer returning to his hometown after 12 years away.

The animated feature Window Horses (The Poetic Persian Epiphaney of Rosie Ming is directed by Ann Marie Fleming and features the voices of Sandra Oh, Don McKellar, Nancy Kwan, and Shohreh Aghdashloo. The film is filled with poems and histories created by a variety of artists and animators, who set out to blend a vast myriad of differences between cultures, philosophies, arts, and time frames.

Documentary selections include Giants of Africa, in which Masai Ujiri, the first and only African-born president of a North American major league sports franchise, runs yearly summer basketball development camps in various African countries and shares the amazing physical and emotional journey of the young men who attend them; Black Code, about how the internet is being controlled and manipulated by governments in a bid to control their citizens; And Mostly Sunny, about Sunny Leone: growing up in small-town Sarnia as the daughter of strict Sikh parents, no one anticipated Leone's transformation into an adult film star, or her next step from there to becoming a huge reality TV star in India and successful Bollywood actress.

Also world premiering is Tony Elliott's ARQ. The film is set in a dystopian future where corporations battle against sovereign nations for control of the last of the world's energy supplies. Renton and Hannah find themselves reliving a deadly home invasion again and again as intruders try to procure the ARQ, an experimental energy technology that could end the wars.

X Quinientos from director Juan Andrés Arango, tells three separate but powerful stories of three teenagers who must come to terms with their new reality when they are forced to migrate to different parts of the Americas after the loss of someone they loved. Kevan Funk's latest is Hello Destroyer, a film about a young junior hockey player's life is shattered by an in-game act of violence. Mean Dreams from Nathan Morlando is a tense coming-of-age thriller about a 15-year-old boy who steals a bag of drug money to run off with the girl he loves. And Weirdos is Bruce McDonald's new film. It's 1976, and 15-year-old Kit is running away from home. With girlfriend Alice, Kit hitchhikes through the maritime landscape towards a new home with his mother, Laura. Along the way, Kit and Alice’s relationship is tested as Kit approaches a realization that will change his life forever.

We're also showing the world premiere of nirvanna the band the show, the new show from Matt Johnson and Jay McCarrol. Two lifelong best friends and roommates are planning the greatest musical act in the history of the modern world. If only they could book their first gig.

And a long-thought-lost classic of Canadian cinema is making its triumphant return this year at TIFF: A Cool Sound from Hell, a striking record of hipster Toronto in the 1950s, Sidney J. Furie's second feature, follows a bored young man who kicks his middle-class destiny to the curb and plunges into the Hogtown netherworld of jazz, sex, and narcotics.

That's just a small selection of this year's Canadian features. We're also showing 37 brilliant short films by Canadian directors. For the full list of Canadian features, check out the press release. And here are the details of our shorts and our Rising Stars for 2016.

Check out all the Festival films we've announced so far (including our Galas and Special Presentations), and get excited about another great year for Canadian film.