Polley, Cronenberg, Mehta films named to Canada's Top Ten

An eclectic slate of movies — including an unconventional romance from Xavier Dolan, Sarah Polley's highly personal documentary debut and an acclaimed child-soldier drama in the running for an Oscar — have earned the title of Canada's top films of 2012.

Films by established names and some lesser knowns crowned year's best

Stories We Tell follows Sarah Polley, seen at right with her director of cinematography, Iris Ng, tracking the story of her parentage. (Ken Woroner/National Film Board of Canada)

An eclectic slate of movies — including an unconventional romance from Xavier Dolan, Sarah Polley's highly personal documentary debut and an acclaimed child-soldier drama in the running for an Oscar — have earned the title of Canada's top films of 2012.

The 12th annual Canada's Top Ten list was unveiled Tuesday evening at a Toronto gala hosted by actors Sarah Gadon and Don McKellar. The event is organized by the Toronto International Film Festival Group.

The 10 feature films crowned for 2012 are mostly by established names such as Polley, David Cronenberg, Deepa Mehta and Peter Mettler. However, several lesser known filmmakers — including Sean Garrity, Nisha Pahuja and Kim Nguyen (whose film is Canada's pick for Academy Award consideration) — also broke through with their latest projects.

The feature films are (in alphabetical order):

"From a hilarious sex quest to an apocalyptic satire, this year's diverse list of documentaries, comedies, dramas and epics serve the country's savvy moviegoers the eclectic cocktail of films they have grown to count on from Canada's Top Ten," TIFF senior programmer Steve Gravestock said in a statement.

The year's Top 10 Canadian short films are (also in alphabetical order):

  • Bydlo, directed by Patrick Bouchard.
  • Chef de meute (Herd Leader), directed by Chloé Robichaud.
  • Crackin' Down Hard, directed by Mike Clattenburg.
  • Kaspar, directed by Diane Obomsawin.
  • Ne crâne pas sois modeste (Keep a Modest Head), directed by Deco Dawson.
  • Lingo, directed by Bahar Noorizadeh.
  • Malody, directed by Phillip Barker.
  • Old Growth, directed by Tess Girard.
  • Reflexions, directed by Martin Thibaudeau.
  • Paparmane (Wintergreen), directed by Joëlle Desjardins Paquette.

"We couldn't be more impressed by the calibre of films the industry has produced this year," said TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey.

The two lists were chosen by a pair of panels comprising filmmakers, journalists and movie industry figures from across the country.

TIFF will screen this year's picks at its Lightbox headquarters in Toronto from Jan. 4-13. Special introductions and Q&A sessions with the filmmakers will accompany the public screenings. Polley will also take part in an onstage discussion with  Bailey.

Selected films will also head out to other Canadian cities in the new year, with screenings slated for Vancouver, Edmonton and Montreal.

Established in 2001, Canada's Top Ten celebrates domestic filmmaking achievements by singling out titles of excellence that debuted at a major film festival or had their theatrical release over the past year. To be eligible, filmmakers must be Canadian citizens, residents or have a history of working on Canadian films.