Documentaries from Canadian filmmakers Alanis Obomsawin, Sean Menard and Matt Embry are set to bow at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
More than 50 Canadian features and shorts have been added to this year’s TIFF lineup, including 26 titles that will make up the festival’s Canadian features slate.
According to a release, this year’s Canadian lineup boasts one of the highest numbers of feature directorial debuts ever, as well as one of the highest number of films from Western Canada in recent years.
“We are thrilled to have a lineup with such a rich diversity of voices and perspectives,” said Magali Simard, programmer and theatrical senior manager, TIFF, in a statement. “Not only are different regions of the country represented, but so are multiple age groups, backgrounds, languages and filmmaking styles. This lineup showcases the incredible wealth of talent currently at work in Canada.”
While over 30% of the titles have a first-time feature director, seven of nine are TIFF alumni.
Festival veteran Alanis Obomsawin will have world premiere at the festival with Our People Will Be Healed, a documentary that provides a glimpse of what action-driven decolonization looks like in Norway House, one of Manitoba’s largest First Nation communities.
Other docs announced as part of the Canadian feature slate include The Carter Effect (pictured) (Sean Menard), Living Proof (Matt Embry), There is a House Here (Alan Zweig) and Ta Peau Si Lisse (Denis Cote).
TIFF also announced the crop of films slated for the 2017 TIFF Cinematheque program, which celebrates Canada’s 150th by revisiting and restoring landmark Canadian films. This all-Canadian lineup includes the debuts of three new digital restorations done under the supervision of the films’ directors, one being Peter Mettler’s poetic essay film Picture of Light, which documents an expedition to Churchill, Manitoba to capture the Aurora Borealis.
Also featured as part of the Cinematheque lineup are screenings of Graeme Ferguson’s North of Superior, at Cinesphere, the world’s first permanent IMAX cinema, presented in partnership with Ontario Place. North of Superior was the first film commissioned for and screened at Cinesphere at its 1971 grand opening, helping to put the IMAX format on the map.
The Toronto International Film Festival takes place from Sept. 7 -17. A list of the documentaries featured as part of the Canadian feature slate and short films slate are listed below, with descriptions provided by TIFF. A full list of the films announced as part of the Canadian feature slate and short film slate can be found here and here.
CANADIAN FEATURE SLATE
Our People Will Be Healed, Alanis Obomsawin, Canada
Legendary documentary filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin provides a glimpse of what action-driven decolonization looks like in Norway House, one of Manitoba’s largest First Nation communities.
The Carter Effect, Sean Menard, Canada/USA
In his latest documentary, Sean Menard gives viewers an unprecedented look at Vince Carter: the six-foot-six, eight-time NBA All-Star from Daytona Beach who made waves in the Canadian basketball scene when he was transferred to the Raptors in 1998.
Living Proof, Matt Embry, Canada
Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, documentarian Matt Embry takes viewers on a transnational journey — from Italy to Canada, and from the lab to the home — in order to examine the politics of the condition.
There is a House Here, Alan Zweig, Canada
Spanning years of correspondence and three separate trips to Iqaluit, Alan Zweig’s latest documentary navigates issues of culture and identity with his pen-pal and semi-reluctant guide, Tatanniq Idlout, a.k.a. Inuk rock singer Lucie Idlout.
Black Kite Tarique Qayumi, Canada/Afghanistan
Against oppression, change, and seismic political shifts, a father and his daughter find solace in the seemingly clandestine act of kite flying, in the latest by Afghani filmmaker Tarique Qayumi.
Ta peau si lisse (A Skin so Soft) Denis Cote, Canada/Switzerland
North American Premiere
Denis Côté examines the lives, limits, and livelihoods of six high-level bodybuilders as they prepare for future competitions, follow extreme diets, and attempt to achieve physical perfection.
Long Time Running (previously announced), Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier, Canada
Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier capture the emotional and powerful 2016 final tour by Canadian rock icons The Tragically Hip.
CANADIAN SHORT FILM SLATE
Nuuca, Michelle Latimer, Canada
In this evocative meditation, a disturbing link is made between the resource extraction industries’ exploitation of the land and violence inflicted on Indigenous women and girls. Or, as one young woman testifies, “Just as the land is being used, these women are being used.”
Palmerston Blvd. Dan Browne, Canada
Intimate and elegant, Dan Browne’s Palmerston Blvd. depicts the world within and outside a bay window, captured over the course of a year, where seasons sweep by with the speed of a day or a setting sun.
Turtles Are Always Home (Sokun Al Sulhufat), Rawane Nassif, Canada/Lebanon/Qatar
Rawane Nassif uses the Qanat Quartier of Doha, Qatar — with its faux-Venetian canals and façades — as a starting point for an abstract reflection on the concepts of place, authenticity, and home.