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article imageFilm festival features Canada’s 10 best in cinema

By Sarah Gopaul     Jan 5, 2015 in Entertainment
The 14th annual Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival showcases the country’s best in cinema, including this year’s Oscar submission.
A new year often means fresh beginnings, but also a look back at the accomplishments of the previous year. At TIFF Bell Lightbox, that entails the screening of the top 10 Canadian features, shorts and student films from 2014. The annual Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival quickly became a staple of great film in the country with many looking forward to catching homegrown offerings they may have missed at festivals or during limited releases.
For 10 days starting Jan. 2, the Toronto cinema is hosting screenings, introductions and Q&A sessions with filmmakers — including Sturla Gunnarsson, Harold Crooks, Maxime Giroux, David Cronenberg, Andrew Huculiak, Marie-Hélène Cousineau and Stéphane Lafleur— as well as two special onstage events: “In Conversation With... Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis,” which includes a sneak peek at This Changes Everything, the upcoming documentary inspired by Klein’s new book; and “In Conversation With... Keanu Reeves,” which will close the festival with an intimate discussion about the actor’s iconic career.
“The Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival slate spotlights the work of both veteran and emerging filmmakers,” said Steve Gravestock, Senior Programmer, TIFF. “We are truly proud to connect Canadian talent with an enthusiastic and savvy audience, bringing the community together in celebration of the Canadian film industry’s achievements in 2014, which by any standards has been a watershed year.”
The festival also travels across the country with stops in major cities, including Vancouver’s The Cinematheque (January 8 to 18), Edmonton’s Metro Cinema (January 22 to February 2), Calgary’s Globe Cinema in association with the Calgary International Film Festival (February 20 to 26), Winnipeg Film Group’s Cinematheque (March 6 to 19), and Montreal’s PHI Centre (dates TBA). Additionally, Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director for the Toronto International Film Festival, will sit down with Sandra Oh at TIFF's first “In Conversation With…” event in Vancouver.
“Canadian movies and Canadian talent have proven themselves among the best in the world,” said Bailey. “Now it’s our chance to get together and celebrate our best. Thirty impressive new films, plus one of-a-kind onstage conversations add up to a great way to warm up the winter.”
As far as the top 10 lists go, two of the feature spots are unsurprisingly claimed by a couple of the country's most talked about pictures: David Cronenberg's Maps to the Stars featuring Julianne Moore and Robert Pattinson, and Xavier Dolan's Mommy, which was the national submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film this year. The following is complete list of feature selections in alphabetical order.
Corbo, Mathieu Denis
Montréal, 1966. Jean Corbo, an idealistic 16-year-old of Québécois and Italian descent, befriends two far-left political activists and joins the FLQ (Front de libération du Québec), an underground movement determined to spark a socialist revolution. Jean thus begins an inextricable march toward his destiny. Starring Anthony Therrien, Antoine L'Écuyer, Karelle Tremblay and Tony Nardi.
Félix et Meira (Felix & Meira), Maxime Giroux
Félix is an eccentric and penniless French Canadian whose wealthy father is dying. Meira is a married Hasidic woman with a family, searching for something new. They were not meant to meet, let alone fall in love. Starring Hadas Yaron and Martin Dubreuil.
In Her Place, Albert Shin
A mysterious woman from a big city arrives at a rural farm in South Korea, where she’s taken in by an old woman and her odd teenage daughter. The three women remain in isolation and, as they begin to fall into a new rhythm of life together, work to fill a void within their lives. But soon enough, their arrangement becomes more than what they bargained for. Starring Yoon Da-kyung, Ahn Jihye and Kil Hae-yeon.
Maps to the Stars, David Cronenberg
With this tale of a secret-filled Hollywood family on the verge of implosion, director David Cronenberg forges both a wicked social satire and a very human ghost story from today’s celebrity-obsessed culture. Maps to the Stars tours the seductive allure and the tender, darkly comic underbelly of contemporary success. Starring Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Olivia Williams, Sarah Gadon, John Cusack and Robert Pattinson.
Mommy, Xavier Dolan
A feisty, widowed single mother finds herself burdened with the full-time custody of her explosive, ADHD-afflicted 15-year-old son. As they struggle to make ends meet, a peculiar new girl from across the street benevolently offers her help. Together, they find a new sense of balance and a chance to regain hope. Starring Anne Dorval, Suzanne Clément, and Antoine-Olivier Pilon.
Monsoon, Sturla Gunnarsson
Part road movie, part spectacle, part drama, Monsoon is Sturla Gunnarsson’s meditation on chaos, creation and faith, set in the land of believers. The subject is the monsoon, the incomparably vast weather system that permeates and unifies the varied culture of India, shaping the conditions of existence for its billion inhabitants.
The Price We Pay, Harold Crooks
Director Harold Crooks (Surviving Progress) blows the lid off the dirty world of corporate malfeasance with this incendiary documentary about the dark history and dire present-day reality of big-business tax avoidance, which has seen multinationals depriving governments of trillions of dollars in tax revenues by harbouring profits in offshore havens.
Sol, Marie-Hélène Cousineau and Susan Avingaq
When Solomon Uyarasuk, a young Inuk man filled with talent and promise, is found dead while in RCMP custody, the police claim suicide but the community suspects murder. Sol is a riveting and emotional documentary that explores the underlying issues of youth suicide in Canada’s North while investigating the truth behind Solomon’s tragic death.
Tu dors Nicole, Stéphane Lafleur
Twenty-two-year-old Nicole is adrift after college graduation, working a dead-end job, making the most of the family home while her parents are away, and enjoying peaceful evenings with her best friend, Véronique. When Nicole’s older brother shows up with his band to record an album, their summer takes an unexpected turn and the girls’ friendship is put to the test. Amidst a rising heat wave, Nicole’s insomnia — and romantic misadventures — mount each day. Starring Julianne Côté, Juliette Gosselin, and Marc-André Grondin.
Violent, Andrew Huculiak
A catastrophic event sparks a young Norwegian woman’s memories of the five people who loved her most, in the visually stunning feature debut of West Coast musician and filmmaker Andrew Huculiak. Starring Dagny Backer Johnsen.
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