December 2, 2014 8:14 am
Updated: December 2, 2014 8:55 am

Cronenberg, Dolan films among those at Canada’s Top 10 Film Festival

David Cronenberg, pictured in September 2013.

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TORONTO – Xavier Dolan’s acclaimed drama Mommy, David Cronenberg’s Hollywood satire Maps to the Stars and Sturla Gunnarsson’s epic India-shot documentary Monsoon are among the flicks that will screen during TIFF’s annual Canada’s Top 10 Film Festival.

The cross-country fest celebrating homegrown cinema will also feature on-stage conversations with Keanu Reeves in Toronto and Sandra Oh in Vancouver, TIFF announced at a gala on Monday.

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“These are our filmmakers. They live among us,” said artistic director Cameron Bailey in an interview after the event. “This is our creativity up on screen. These filmmakers reflect what we live and so that’s why we celebrate them.”

The 10-day festival — which features screenings, Q&A’s with filmmakers and special events — runs from Jan. 2 to 11 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto before making stops in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg and Montreal.

For the first time, audiences will be able to vote to crown the Canada’s Top 10 Film Festival People’s Choice Winner.

Also landing on the Top 10 list this year are Maxime Giroux’s unusual romance Felix et Meira, Albert Shin’s female-centric Korean saga In Her Place and Stephane Lafleur’s often humourous portrait of an aimless young woman Tu dors Nicole.

Lafleur said he was hopeful the selection of his film would help it reach a wider audience. Tu dors Nicole first garnered buzz at the Cannes Film Festival’s Director’s Fortnight earlier this year.

“For a film from Quebec in French, it’s really hard to reach the rest of Canada,” he said. “I just came back from Paris. The film will be released there. It seems easier for us to release our film in Europe than in the rest of Canada, which is a pity. So I’m just glad that it will make the tour and hopefully people will come to see it.”

Mathieu Denis’ 1960s-set FLQ origins tale Corbo and 24-year-old Andrew Huculiak’s Violent, a Norwegian-shot drama that recently won the award for best Canadian film at the Vancouver International Film Festival, also made the list.

Rounding out the Top 10 are Harold Crooks’ corporate tax evasion expose The Price We Pay and Marie-Helene Cousineau and Susan Avingaq’s tribute to late Inuk performer Solomon Tapatsiaq Uyarasuk Sol, bringing the total number of documentaries to three.

“You can imagine what a daunting challenge it was to make a cinematic experience out of taxation, so this selection kind of grounds our efforts,” said Crooks with a laugh. “And the idea of being included in a line-up of Xavier Dolan, (David) Cronenberg, Stephane Lafleur, is really a terrific reward.”

The movies were selected by a panel of seven filmmakers and industry professionals and are meant to represent the best of Canadian cinema in 2014.

Canada’s Top 10 short films were selected by a separate panel of industry experts and include Sol Friedman’s Noah’s Ark retelling Day 40, Slater Jewell-Kemker’s psychological thriller Still and Randall Okita’s blend of live action and animation The Weatherman and the Shadowboxer.

In addition to screenings of the chosen Canuck flicks, several special events will take place during the fest.

Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein and filmmaker Avi Lewis will grace the Lightbox stage Jan. 10 for a conversation and sneak peek at This Changes Everything, the upcoming documentary based on Klein’s new book.

Reeves, the Toronto-raised star of cult classic films including The Matrix and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, will close the Toronto fest Jan. 11 with an “intimate discussion about his iconic career,” according to TIFF.

In Vancouver, Oh of Grey’s Anatomy fame will appear on stage for a special conversation Jan. 18 at The Cinematheque.

New to the fest this year is Student Shorts, formerly the Student Film Showcase, which will spotlight the top short films from colleges and universities across the country.

An archival screening of Not a Love Story: A Film About Pornography, Bonnie Sherr Klein’s 1981 landmark second wave feminist documentary, will screen Jan. 9 at the Lightbox for free.

The fest will run at Vancouver’s The Cinematheque from Jan. 8 to 18, Edmonton’s Metro Cinema from Jan. 22 to Feb. 2, Calgary’s Globe Cinema from Feb. 20 to 26 and Winnipeg Film Group’s Cinematheque from March 6 to 19.

Montreal’s PHI Centre will also host the festival with dates to be announced.

© 2014 The Canadian Press

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