The 2019 Toronto International Film Festival has plenty of Canadian content to offer up this year, and some big names — including Ellen Page and Alanis Obomsawin — are showcasing their movies.
On Tuesday morning, TIFF unveiled the 26 Canadian features that make up part of the festival’s 2019 lineup. The slate offers a wide range of perspectives and themes, from youth struggling with the pressures of adulthood to seniors fighting for their independence in virtually every region in the country.
The Canadian selection includes seven first features and 13 works by returning TIFF alumni. Almost 50 per cent of the Canadian films in TIFF’s 2019 lineup are directed by women.
“We are deeply impressed by the high quality of the work done by Canadian directors this year, particularly from filmmakers who were making their first and second features,” said Steve Gravestock, senior programmer of festival programming with TIFF.
“Within that group, there was an extremely strong contingent of female filmmakers working everywhere from Newfoundland to British Columbia and addressing a genuinely diverse spectrum of subjects, from mother-daughter relationships to the refugee experience, female friendships to youth in crisis.”
TIFF programmer Ravi Srinivasan also weighed in on the upcoming festival’s Canadian films.
“As part of the new wave of programmers at TIFF, I’m thrilled to help usher in the next generation of prominent voices in Canadian cinema, particularly with films that speak to the larger global issues at hand,” Srinivasan said.
“I am also proud to help introduce several new filmmakers to the main stage knowing that their works will screen alongside those of Canadian legends like Alanis Obomsawin and Atom Egoyan. This is truly an exciting year for TIFF and Canadian cinema, and I’m grateful to be a part of it.”
Here are some of the standout Canadian movie offerings at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.
A political activist (Hong Chau) helps take care of a group of America’s most wanted fugitives, including a well-known, recently radicalized heiress in this fictionalized reimagining of the Patty Hearst affair.
Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band
Directed by Daniel Roher (Ghosts of Our Forest) and executive-produced by Martin Scorsese, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, this feature documentary follows Robbie Robertson from his early life in Toronto and on the Six Nations of the Grand River reserve in southern Ontario to the creation of legendary roots-rock group The Band.
Guest of Honour
A father (David Thewlis) and daughter (Laysla De Oliveira) attempt to work through their complicated relationship, secret histories and personal demons in Atom Egoyan’s latest exploration of unresolved personal trauma and its unintended consequences.
David Foster: Off the Record
A revealing and personal profile of Grammy Award-winning composer and producer David Foster with interviews from the artists who know the music legend best, including Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand, Lionel Richie, Quincy Jones and Michael Bublé.
Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger
In her latest film, celebrated Abenaki director Alanis Obomsawin tells the story of Jordan River Anderson and how, as a result of his short life, almost a quarter of a million Indigenous children today have health care equal to that enjoyed by the rest of Canadians.
This Is Not a Movie
For more than 40 years, journalist Robert Fisk has reported on some of the most violent and divisive conflicts in the world. Yung Chang’s This Is Not a Movie captures Fisk in action — feet on the ground, notebook in hand — as he travels into landscapes devastated by war, ferreting out the facts and firing reports back home to reach an audience of millions.
There’s Something in the Water
Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Oscar and Emmy award-nominated actor-director Ellen Page engages in deeply personal and political dialogue with women at the forefront of some of Nova Scotia’s most urgent environmental crises.
Exploring the topic of environmental racism, Page uses her platform to bring attention to the Indigenous and African Nova Scotian communities that are disproportionately impacted by the Canadian government’s current and historical decisions to honour the needs of large corporations over local communities.
The 44th Toronto International Film Festival runs Sept. 5-15, 2019. For full ticket information and a list of all movies playing, please visit the official TIFF site.