All the movies we can't wait to see at TIFF '17

From "The Disaster Artist" to under-the-radar indie fare, the CBC Arts team shares their must-see picks.

From 'The Disaster Artist' to under-the-radar indie fare, our team shares their must-see picks

A Midnight Madness movie about the ultimate midnight movie. Sign us up for The Disaster Artist. (Elevation Pictures)

TIFF '17 is almost here, and because there's no way you're reading all 339 entries of this year's program guide before Thursday, we're here to help. Which features are the CBC Arts team dying to see? They're all on this list — from buzzworthy titles to under-the-radar fare. See you at the movies!

The Disaster Artist

It's the story of The Room — a movie that needs no introduction for anyone who's ever been baffled by its dialogue and forever scarred by its sex scenes. Since its debut in 2003, it's become a midnight-movie staple. (Fun Cancon fact: James Franco launched this passion project after catching a riotous screening in Vancouver!) Franco directs and stars in The Disaster Artist, playing Tommy Wiseau — The Room's own multi-hyphenate talent, and a character so inscrutable he's stranger than any Hollywood fiction. 14 years later and it's still a mystery how he self-financed the thing, nevermind whether it was, indeed, intended to be the "black comedy" it's now billed as. The Disaster Artist probably won't answer any of those questions, but comedy nerds will be on board for the cast alone: Seth Rogen, Hannibal Burress and Nathan Fielder are among the stars. And early notices are stellar: after its preview screening at SXSW in March, it earned a standing O and extra-early awards buzz for Franco. You're tearing me apart, TIFF! There are always way too many references to choose from. But I'd trade all of my tickets plus a barbecue chicken for a seat at this Midnight Madness premiere.

—Leah Collins, senior writer

Call Me By Your Name

At the end of this rainy summer, Call Me By Your Name is the scorching Italian summer love story that we all need. It's been a while since I've been this excited to see a film! I loved André Aciman's book that the film is based on, and I can't wait to see how A Bigger Splash director Luca Guadagnino brings the coming-of-age story to the big screen.

—Mercedes Grundy, associate producer

I Love You, Daddy

Shot in secret, I Love You Daddy is like a surprise gift to Louis CK fans. (Courtesy of TIFF)

Here's a moment that sticks with me from Louie, Louis C.K.'s much-missed, brilliant oddball of a sitcom: Louie and his tweenage daughter Jane are desperately searching for Jane's older sister Lilly, who's gone missing somewhere in New York. They're standing on a corner calling out her name, when out of nowhere Jane bursts forth in fluent Slovenian — "Zelo me skrbi! Kje si? Kje si?" — leaving her dad both awed and bewildered. Where the heck did that come from? That's pretty much how I feel every time Louis C.K. comes out with something. A new standup special for five bucks a pop? Sure! An old school multi-cam sitcom released through your own website that stars Alan Alda as an irascible, octogenarian bully who tends bar at a dive in Brooklyn? Why not? Likewise with I Love You, Daddy, a surprise feature from C.K., which premieres at TIFF. Filmed in secret and featuring a murderer's row of a cast — Chloë Grace Moretz, John Malkovich, Rose Byrne, Helen Hunt, Edie Falco — all on 35mm film in black and white? Yes please.

—Andrew D'Cruz, executive producer

Black Cop

Directed by Halifax filmmaker Cory Bowles, this is a political satire that explores the relationship between the Canadian public, specifically visible minorities, and law enforcement. As Magali Simard writes on the TIFF website, the film asks one very important question: "Why [do] some Canadians continue to be treated with suspicion, fear and violence by authorities who have sworn to serve and protect?" The result is an in-depth and critical look at the psychological impact of racial profiling. I chose this film because its relatable theme resonates with today's political climate. Black Cop allows us to confront and analyze a controversial issue, while revealing some truths about police culture and race relations. Any body of work that serves as a "mirror" for important social issues is always worth watching and reflecting on.

—Kiah Welsh, associate producer

Soldiers. Story from Ferentari (Soldatii. Poveste din Ferentari)

It's really more what TIFF film I don't want to see given the endless parade of options, many of them pre-approved from previous festivals. But my favourite part of TIFF is discovering something great no one seems to be talking about, and in that regard, this year my eye is on the world premiere of a Romanian love story called Soldiers. Story from Ferentari. I realize that hardly sounds like the title of a love story, but TIFF touts Ivana Mladenovic's film as a "contemporary gay Romeo and Juliet" set in Bucharest's impoverished Roma ghetto. During a year — and a TIFF — with an extraordinary output of LGBTQ filmmaking, Soldiers seems to bring something entirely new to the table, at least on paper: a window into the rarely (if ever) observed intersection of queer and Roma identities.

—Peter Knegt, digital producer

I am not a Witch

Still from I Am not a Witch. The magic realist drama is the first feature from Zambian director Rungano Nyoni. (Courtesy of TIFF)

If Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale had a Zambian sister, I am not a Witch would be it. Rungano Nyoni's debut feature film follows a nine-year-old orphan who is sent to a dystopian witch camp (not to be confused with any super nice witch camps) when she's suspected of witchcraft. Sadly, patriarchal control is also alive and well in the real world, so as those in Gilead say, I'm looking forward to seeing this film tear it down "under his eye."

—Lucius Dechausay, video producer


Midnight Madness has always been my favourite program of the festival. It was where I discovered Ong Bak: Muay Thai Warrior and Ju-On The Grudge. This year, the movie I want to see is from music video director Joseph Kahn (he did Britney Spears's "Toxic," people!) — a satire on battle rapping penned by Toronto rapper Kid Twist and produced by Eminem. White rapper, Korean director, black art form...sign me up.

—Romeo Candido, senior producer


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