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Canadian Content, Preserving Classics & Rising Stars at TIFF 2017

Canada will have a strong presence at the 42nd Toronto International Film Festival with nine of the 26 titles being feature film directorial debuts.  Among the cinematic debuts are teenage drama AVA by Sadaf Foroughi, the surreal All You Can Eat Buddha by Ian Lagarde, the psychological thriller A Worthy Companion by Jason Sanchez, satirical Black Cop by Cory Bowles, and family drama Never Steady, Never Still by Kathleen Hepburn.  “It is exciting to see a new wave of Canadian first-time feature directors play with genres and take risks,” stated TIFF Senior Programmer Steve Gravestock in a press release. “This year’s lineup has a truly international feel to it, too, with a number of features shot all over the globe – something that also speaks to the boldness of many of the filmmakers included in the slate.”

World Premieres include Alias Grace by Mary Harron and starring Sarah Gadon, Anna Paquin and Paul Gross as well as the basketball documentary The Carter Effect by Sean Menard.  The Canadian contingent will be competing for the Canada Goose Award for Best Canadian Feature along with the City of Toronto Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film.  Jury members for the Canadian awards consist of Mark Adams, Artistic Director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival; Canadian documentarian and Hillman Prize winner Min Sook Lee (Migrant Dreams); and artist, filmmaker and Black Women Film! Canada founder Ella Cooper.

Not to be overshadowed are 29 Canadian short films that comprises of black and white animated comedy An Imagined Conversation: Kanye West & Stephen Hawking by Sol Friedman, sci-fi immigration thriller The Drop In by Naledi Jackson, actress Molly Parker’s directorial debut Bird, and drama Stay, I Don’t Want to Be Alone by Gabriel Savignac.  The cinematic efforts will be eligible for the IWC Short Cuts Award for Best Canadian Short Film and Best Film.

Restorations of Rude (1995) by Clement Virgo, I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing (1987) by Patricia Rozema, and Picture of Light (1994) by Peter Mettler will be part of the Cinematheque programme.  “At TIFF we’re proud to continue our commitment to the preservation and restoration of Canada’s filmic history,” remarked Jesse Wente, Head, TIFF Cinematheque. “These groundbreaking works from the 1980s and 1990s demonstrate our country’s long history of celebrating directors who push boundaries with their personal visions. We look forward to bringing them back to audiences via these beautiful digital restorations.”

Rising stars will also be present with 2017 edition including Daniel Doheny, Mary Galloway, Théodore Pellerin and Ellen Wong.  Three of the four have projects at TIFF with Doheny staring in the comedy Public Schooled with Judy Greer and Russell Peters while Galloway and Pellerin perform together in the family drama Never Steady, Never Still.  “This diverse group of actors embodies the extraordinary charisma, motivation and dedication our emerging Canadian talent has to offer,” stated TIFF Artistic Director Cameron Bailey. “We are honored to be able to provide these artists with the opportunity to showcase their talent to world through our Rising Stars programme.”

The 42nd Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 7 to 17, 2017 and for more information visit

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