TIFF unveils Canadian film lineup

A host of established Canadian filmmakers will bring new work to September's Toronto International Film Festival.
Trailer Park Boys director Mike Clattenburg takes a more serious turn with his dark war comedy Afghan Luke, among the Canadian films being screened at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. (TIFF)

Bruce McDonald, Guy Maddin, and Jean-Marc Vallée are just three of the established Canadian filmmakers bringing new work to the Toronto International Film Festival.

Organizers of the September event announced details of the homegrown program on Tuesday, unveiling a list packed with names familiar to Canadian movie fans.

"This year's Canadian slate boasts veteran directors working at their peak and numerous homegrown stars returning to work in Canada, not only in front of the screen but behind it as well," said Steve Gravestock, TIFF's associate director of Canadian programming.

Bruce McDonald's critically acclaimed punk mockumentary Hard Core Logo has inspired a sequel, Hard Core Logo II. (TIFF)

TIFF will strike a new print of McDonald's critically acclaimed Hard Core Logo and screen it as the 2011 Open Vault feature. At the same time, the Toronto-based director will screen Hard Core Logo II, the anticipated sequel to his 1996 punk rock mockumentary.

Winnipeg auteur Maddin will premiere Keyhole, a "gangsters-meet-ghosts sonata" starring Jason Patric and regular collaborator Isabella Rossellini, while award-winning Quebec filmmaker Vallée returns to TIFF with his love story Café de Flore, starring French actress Vanessa Paradis.

"[The Canadian section is] getting to be more of a glitzy, in the right way, glitzy hybrid of art and showbiz and myth-making," Maddin said Tuesday at a TIFF press conference.

"It's a myth-making machine now, it's fantastic. And the Canadian film section has been caught up in the machinery I think, finally. I often wondered what it would take for Canadian film to be considered part of the myth-making machinery of Hollywood and I think TIFF's been doing its bit."

Eric Peterson and John Gray bring their celebrated stage classic Billy Bishop Goes to War to the silver screen with a film adaptation directed by Barbara Willis-Sweete.

Though best known for TV's Trailer Park Boys, director Mike Clattenburg takes a more serious turn with the dark war comedy Afghan Luke.

Eric Peterson and John Gray bring their celebrated stage classic Billy Bishop Goes to War to the silver screen with a film adaptation directed by Barbara Willis-Sweete. (TIFF)

A pair of hockey-themed films are among TIFF's offerings: Michael Dowse's Goon, about an enforcer who inspires his struggling team, and Breakaway, a cross-cultural sports comedy set in Toronto's Indo-Canadian community that stars Russell Peters and Rob Lowe.

Other Canadian entries include:

  • Starbuck, featuring Quebec star Patrick Huard as an immature man who discovers he's the biological father of more than 500 children.
  • Sisters & Brothers, the final installment in Carl Bessai's improvised comedy trilogy about relationships (it was preceded by Mothers & Daughters and Fathers & Sons).
  • Pink Ribbons, Inc., veteran Quebec filmmaker Léa Pool's documentary examining the massive marketing power behind the annual breast cancer fundraising campaign.
  • Quebec writer-director Philippe Falardeau's primary school-set immigrant drama Monsieur Lazhar.
  • The Moth Diaries, Mary Harron's teen vampire suspense thriller set in an all-girls boarding school, based on the Rachel Klein novel.
  • Bank robber tale Edwin Boyd, starring Scott Speedman and Kevin Durand.
  • Stalker thriller 388 Arletta Avenue, featuring Nick Stahl and Mia Kirshner.
  • I'm Yours, a romantic comedy starring Rossif Sutherland and Karine Vanasse.
  • Surviving Progress, which compiles the insights of a wide range of experts (including Jane Goodall, Stephen Hawking, David Suzuki and Margaret Atwood) on humanity's progress, joins the Real to Reel documentary lineup
Based on the Rachel Klein novel, Mary Harron's The Moth Diaries is a teen vampire suspense thriller set in an all-girls' boarding school. (TIFF)

The latest Canadian entries join previously announced galas Take This Waltz, by Sarah Polley, and A Dangerous Method, directed by David Cronenberg.

The festival also announced 43 films slated for its Short Cuts Canada program, added two titles to its Vanguard line-up (Doppelganger Paul and i am a good person/i am a bad person) and unveiled a seven-film list for its Canada First slate. The latter program, which highlights new filmmakers, opens with the Quebec film Wetlands by Guy Édoin.

"It's really an honour for me to be participating at this film festival because [it] has been there for me from my beginning as a filmmaker. All my short films have been screened here, so it's just coming back home," Édoin said.

The Toronto International Film Festival runs Sept. 8-18.

With files from The Canadian Press