Canadian films headed to the Toronto International Film Festival this year include a survival tale from Patricia Rozema starring Ellen Page, a political satire from Philippe Falardeau, a horror film from Bruce McDonald, and a reimagining of jazz trumpeter Chet Baker's life, starring Ethan Hawke.
On Tuesday, festival organizers announced this year's Canuck lineup, also touting a Laos-set thriller starring Rossif Sutherland, two surreal visions from auteur Guy Maddin, shorts from directors Don McKellar and Barry Avrich, and several outings from prominent journalists.
High-profile titles include Rozema's Into the Forest, starring Page and Evan Rachel Wood as sisters left to fend for themselves; Falardeau's political feature My Internship in Canada; McDonald's Halloween-set Hellions; and Robert Budreau's '60s-era Born to be Blue, about Baker.
Sutherland stars in Jamie M. Dagg's River, while Maddin co-directs The Forbidden Room and Bring Me The Head of Tim Horton, a behind-the-scenes look at Paul Gross's new film, Hyena Road, which will also screen at the festival.
Journalists behind the lens
Meanwhile, former CBC personality and doc maker Avi Lewis hits the festival with This Changes Everything, inspired by the bestseller written by his partner Naomi Klein; longtime Maclean's film writer Brian D. Johnson directs the documentary Al Purdy Was Here, about the celebrated poet; Toronto Star investigative journalist Michelle Shephard co-directs Guantanamo's Child: Omar Khadr; and former Postmedia film critic Katherine Monk explores the glass ceiling in electronic dance music in Rock the Box.
The films join other Canadian features announced last week from Atom Egoyan, Gross and Deepa Mehta.
Other titles revealed Tuesday include:
- Ville-Marie, directed by Guy Edoin, which traces four lives at a hospital: an actress who hopes to reconcile with her son, a paramedic haunted by his past, and a nurse trying to keep an emergency room running.
- Ninth Floor, directed by Mina Shum, about the Sir George Williams Riot of 1969.
- Closet Monster, directed by Stephen Dunn, which follows a young man unsure of his sexuality and haunted by the memory of a tragic gay bashing he witnessed as a child.
- Fire Song, directed by Adam Garnet Jones, about a young man who moves back to a remote aboriginal community when his sister commits suicide.
- How Heavy This Hammer, directed by Kazik Radwanski, about a 47-year-old father of two who is consumed by a crude computer game as his marriage collapses.
- Our Loved Ones, directed by Anne Émond, about a family rocked by a death in the basement of their home.
Homegrown films compete for the best Canadian feature prize and best Canadian first feature prize.
Festival organizers also announced this year's rising stars, a program meant to shine the spotlight on emerging actors: Deragh Campbell, Stephan James, Aliocha Schneider and Karelle Tremblay are featured.
The Toronto International Film Festival runs Sept. 10 to 20.