Toronto International Film Festival announces Canadian features plus rising star honorees


The rising tide of titles continued Wednesday as the Toronto International Film Festival released a fresh batch of program announcements ahead of this year’s event, which runs from Sept. 6 to 16.

Leading the way are 19 titles in the Canadian Features section, including nine films directed by women, six debut features and three world premieres that showcase indigenous talent. Those are Gwaai Edenshaw and Helen Haig-Brown’s “Edge of the Knife,” the first feature-length film made in the endangered language of Haida; Darlene Naponse’s “Falls Around Her,” starring renowned Métis actor Tantoo Cardinal; and Miranda de Pencier’s “The Grizzlies,” a creative collaboration between De Pencier and Inuit producers Alethea Arnaquq-Baril and Stacey Aglok MacDonald.

“We’re especially proud to present such a diverse group of films,” said TIFF senior programmer Steve Gravestock in a statement. “Ranging from science fiction to fantasy, myth to documentary and romance to a dystopic vision of our neighbours to the south, this year’s Canadian films come from every region in the country, stretching from east to west and north to south.”


A number of documentaries are among the Canadian films, including Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier, and Edward Burtynsky’s documentary “Anthropocene”; Ron Mann’s “Carmine Street Guitars” and Thom Fitzgerald’s “Splinters.” The final work by the late filmmaker and conservationist Rob Stewart, “Sharkwater Extinction,” will have its world premiere as a special event.

The festival also revealed the 2018 TIFF Rising Stars — a showcase for up-and-coming Canadian actors: Devery Jacobs, Lamar Johnson, Michaela Kurimsky and Jess Salgueiro. Three of them are appearing in films already announced for TIFF, with Salguerio in Patricia Rozema’s “Mouthpiece”; Johnson in George Tillman Jr.’s “The Hate U Give” and Kurimsky in Jasmin Mozaffari’s “Firecrackers.”

Alumni from the rising stars section include Tatiana Maslany, Connor Jessup, Sarah Gadon and Ellen Wong.

The titles of 24 Canadian short films were announced, including the North American premiere of Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson and Galen Johnson’s “Accidence.”

The festival also unveiled the finalists for their “Pitch This!” program, in which six teams of emerging filmmakers each have six minutes to pitch a feature film idea to an audience of experts and jury of film professionals. And the 22 emerging directors for the TIFF Filmmaker Lab, which provides inspiration and mentorship. This year’s filmmaker lab governors are producer Cassian Elwes, director Julie Dash, director William Oldroyd and producer Elizabeth Karlsen.


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