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August 13, 2012

Canada unspools talent at TIFF

August 8th, 2012 - Toronto Sun

Hollywood owns most of the space in world cinemas. But Canadian films can boast about taking up a big chunk of the annual Toronto International Film Festival. The fest announced its diverse Canadian lineup Wednesday, including two features that made their mark at Cannes.

The Cannes filmfest survivors are Antiviral, the debut sci-fi feature from Brandon Cronenberg, son of veteran filmmaker David Cronenberg, and Laurence Anyways, the transgendered love story from Quebec wunderkind Xavier Dolan, who dares to be different. Both will play in the Special Presentations program at TIFF 2012, which runs Sept. 6-16.

Also added as Special Presentations are: Anais Barbeau-Lavalette’s Inch’Allah, the story of a young Canadian obstetrician’s adventures in Palestine; Manon Briand’s Liverpool, an enormously promising thriller-drama from Quebec; Kim Nguyen’s Rebelle, a searing story of a girl who becomes a child soldier in sub-Saharan Africa; Michael McGowan’s Still, starring James Cromwell in a true story about a New Brunswick man who insists on illegally building a house for his ailing wife; and Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell, a doc about a family’s secrets and lies.

Four Canadian features will play in the Discovery section. They include Nova Scotia filmmaker Jason Buxton’s Blackbird, a timely story about an alienated teenager whose online threat ignites a firestorm of fear. Also in Discovery is Kate Melville’s Picture Day, the cheeky story of a teen rebel. Melville, who grew up in Toronto and conjured her fictional characters out of her own high school experience, said Wednesday: “I’m just over the moon to have my very first film premiere at Toronto.” The other Discovery entries from Canada are: Igor Drljaca’s Krivina and Kazik Radwanski’s Tower.

Six Canadian features will screen in Contemporary World Cinema: Rafael Ouellet’s Camion, Bruce Sweeney’s The Crimes of Mike Recket, Sudz Sutherland’s Home Again, Sean Garrity’s My Awkward Sexual Adventure and Anita Doron’s The Lesser Blessed.

One homegrown film goes into Vanguard — I Declare War from co-directors Jason Lapeyre and Robert Wilson. Bernard Emond’s Tout ce que tu Possedes (All That You Possess) joins Peter Mettler’s The End of Time in the Masters program.

TIFF Docs is bursting with Canadian content. Diver, explorer and environmentalist Rob Stewart (of Sharkwater fame) returns with Revolution. The doc chronicles his attempts to make significant change in a cynical world. Revolution joins Jamie Kastner’s The Secret Disco Revolution, Barry Avrich’s Show Stopper: The Theatrical Life of Garth Drabinsky and Simon Ennis’ Lunarcy! in the TIFF Docs line-up.

Three other Canadian features were announced earlier: Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children and Rubba Nadda’s Inescapable, both as Galas, and Denis Cote’s Bestiaire, in Wavelengths.

Canadian shorts are always keenly anticipated at TIFF, both as tiny perfect expressions of their own and as clues to which filmmakers will break out in future. Among those with titles among the 44 chosen — out of 700 entries — are familiar names such as Charles Officer, Deco Dawson and Mike Clattenburg. The 44 films originate in Ontario, B.C., Quebec, Nova Scotia and Manitoba.

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