A number of announcements were made from organizers of the Toronto International Film Festival on Wednesday, including the slate of Canadian features and short films at this year’s festival.
This year’s TIFF lineup of 26 Canadian features boasts one of the highest numbers of feature directorial debuts ever, with more than 30 per cent of the titles featuring a first-time feature director, while seven out of nine are TIFF alumni.
This year’s Canadian slate includes Alanis Obomsawin’s “Our People Will Be Healed”; Alan Zweig’s “There is a House Here”; Simon Lavoie’s “The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches” (“La petite fille qui aimait trop les allumettes”); Mina Shum’s “Meditation Park”; Robin Aubert’s “Les Affamés”; Ingrid Veninger’s “Porcupine Lake”; Pat Mills’ “Don’t Talk to Irene”; Oscar nominee Kim Nguyen’s “Eye on Juliet”; Adam MacDonald’s “Pyewacket”; Denis Côté’s “Ta peau si lisse” (“A Skin So Soft”); and Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier’s previously announced “Long Time Running”.
In addition, TIFF revealed the 29 short films that will be debuted at the festival, including Sol Friedman’s “An Imagined Conversation: Kanye West & Stephen Hawking”, described as “a hilarious black-and-white animation right out of a parallel universe”; Caroline Monnet’s “Creatura Dada”, Monnet’s first project since becoming the first Canadian filmmaker selected for the prestigious Cannes Cinéfondation Residence program; Naledi Jackson’s “The Drop In”, a “Toronto-set sci-fi immigration thriller that takes place entirely in a hair salon”; and Molly Parker’s “Bird”, the directorial debut from the star of such TV series as “Deadwood” and “House of Cards”.
Also announced on Wednesday were this year’s TIFF selections for its Cinematheque program, restoring landmarks of Canadian cinema, with this year’s highlights including new digital restorations of Clement Virgo’s “Rude” (1995). Patricia Rozema’s Cannes Prix de la jeunesse-winning “I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing” (1987) and Peter Mettler’s “Picture of Light” (1994).
Other announcements included this year’s participants in the TIFF Rising Stars program: actors Daniel Doheny, Mary Galloway, Théodore Pellerin and Ellen Wong.
In addition, this year’s Len Blum Resident will be director Anne Émond, while the 2017 finalists in TIFF’s “Pitch This!” program have also been revealed, with six teams of emerging filmmakers given six minutes each to pitch their feature-film idea to a live audience of industry experts and a jury of development and production professionals, with the winning team awarded $15,000.
TIFF 2017 runs from September 7 to 17.