The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) returns on September 9th and we’re once again celebrating Ontario! We are excited to see many produced-in-Ontario films featured at TIFF’s in-person and virtual festival experience this year. Join us on Twitter this year as we celebrate #TheStrengthOfOurScreens in Ontario at #TIFF21!
Michael McGowan’s moving adaptation of Miriam Toews’ beloved novel All My Puny Sorrows is propelled by nuanced direction, an affecting script, and a truly stellar, fearless cast. The story revolves around the women of the Von Riesen clan: writer Yoli (Alison Pill), who’s tormented by self-doubt and is going through a tough, protracted divorce; her sister Elf (Sarah Gadon), a well-known concert pianist whose bouts with depression threaten to consume her; their steadfast mother Lottie (Mare Winningham); their no-nonsense aunt Tina (Mimi Kuzyk); and Yoli’s precocious daughter Nora (Amybeth McNulty).
This stunning animated drama brings to life the remarkable true story of Charlotte Salomon, an enigmatic young German Jewish painter who created a sprawling masterpiece in the face of both private turmoil and sweeping global cataclysm. Featuring the voice of Keira Knightley as Charlotte, this is a heartbreaking tale of overcoming family hardship during a horrific time. With stunning artistry, Canadian directors Eric Warin and Tahir Rana bring justice to their subject’s work and deliver a powerful story of determination.
Starring in and directing their own razor-sharp script, the Toronto team of Khadijah Roberts-Abdullah and Araya Mengesha play twins trying to navigate their own, and each other’s, complex responses to both the lockdown and the fight for racial justice during the long hot summer of 2020.
Fusing the grittiness of George Romero’s Martin with the sly theatricality of Stuart Gordon’s early films (Re-Animator, From Beyond), Blaine Thurier’s Kicking Blood reimagines vampire mythology by transplanting it to the bohemian world Thurier has satirized since he began making films. Instead of the usual desiccated, tormented aristocrats with impossibly innocent victims, Thurier’s undead are hipster scavengers and swingers, their victims luckless hangers-on and drunks.
Produced by New Real Films.
Amy Carr (Naomi Watts) is out for what should have been a restorative morning run when a friend calls with terrifying news: the local high school attended by Noah, her teenage son, has been besieged by an active shooter. Deep within a network of forest paths surrounding her home, miles from town and nearly overwhelmed by panic, Amy refuses to succumb to hopelessness. With her smartphone as her sole means of intervention, she will draw upon every resource she can think of to ensure that her son survives the attack.
Co-produced by Stratagem.
The feature debut from Toronto’s Thyrone Tommy (Mariner, TIFF ’16) charts the stormy romance between two very different contemporary jazz musicians.
Boasting a fine cast and a sharp script by Marni Van Dyk and Tommy, and buoyed by Nick Haight’s smart cinematography — which evokes classic Blue Note album covers — Learn To Swim is a stellar debut that, like the music it champions, is sophisticated and evocative, equal parts melancholy and exultation.
Mi’kmaw filmmaker and actor Tim Myles pays a deeply moving yet often humorous tribute to his mother and his heritage, in this semi-autobiographical story of a young man fleeing his late mother’s wake as he attempts to come to terms with his new reality.
Danis Goulet’s singular thriller draws on Canada’s ugly colonial legacy for a propulsive piece of genre cinema set in a dystopian postwar future.
After a destructive war across North America, a military occupation seizes control of society. One of their core tactics: taking children from their families and putting them into State Academies, or forced-education camps. Niska (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers) is a Cree mother desperate to protect her daughter Waseese (Brooklyn Letexier-Hart). But events force mother and daughter to separate, leading Niska to join a group of Cree vigilantes to get her daughter back.
Co-produced by Paul Barkin.
A refreshing comedy about a young gender-fluid caregiver, whose life plans are disrupted when tragedy strikes the family they help to maintain. There are periods in one’s life that feel more stable than others, or at least they seem that way in reflection. For many, the last two years have been full of instability and transition. In the new series Sort Of, creators Fab Filippo and Bilal Baig embrace different forms of transition, exploring the themes of gender, love, sexuality, family, career, and landscape.
In a town plagued by disaster, one man has the job of breaking the worst news to its citizens, in director Bent Hamer’s wryly amusing absurdist drama.
Since his first feature, Eggs (which won the FIPRESCI prize at TIFF in 1995), Bent Hamer has specialized in tales of loneliness and isolation, his ostensibly sombre subject matter offset by his remarkable facility for deadpan, absurdist humour and a muted yet profound optimism. His latest,The Middle Man, has the added benefit of a stellar international and Canadian cast including Aksel Hennie, Nicolas Bro, Sheila McCarthy, Rossif Sutherland, and Kenneth Welsh — plus Don McKellar and Paul Gross, who deliver morbidly funny performances.
Co-produced by The Film Farm.
The director of Benjamin, Benny, Ben, winner of the IMDbPro Short Cuts Award for Best Canadian Film in 2020, Paul Shkordoff returns with a riveting drama about a health-care worker doing whatever she can to find a measure of relief amid unprecedented challenges.
Link and his brother flee their abusive father and embark on a journey where Link discovers his sexuality and rediscovers his Mi’kmaw heritage.
Two-spirit Mi’kmaw teenager Link (Phillip Lewitski) is just discovering — and asserting — his sexuality when his already volatile home life goes off the rails. His abusive father Arvin explodes after the cops bust Link and his half-brother Travis (Avery Winters-Anthony) for stealing scrap metal. When he finds out that his supposedly dead mother Sarah may be alive, Link sets fire to Arvin’s truck and flees with Travis. Sparks fly in a chance encounter with teen drifter Pasmay (Joshua Odjick), who shares Link’s Indigenous roots and offers to help find Sarah — but will Link’s (well-founded) mistrust of people ruin his potential new relationship and the group’s mission?
(Images and capsule descriptions courtesy of TIFF.)