6 films to watch ahead of the Canadian Screen Awards

The best in Canadian film to add to your must-watch list.
Six movies up for the 2017 Canadian Screen Awards (from top left): Weirdos, Operation Avalanche, It's Only the End of the World, Hello Destroyer, The Other Half, Searchers. (All YouTube)

The Oscars may have already wrapped up but Canada's not done celebrating the year in film just yet. This Sunday marks the annual Canadian Screen Awards, honouring the best in Canadian film from the past year.

French-Canadian director Xavier Dolan leads this year's CSAs with nine nominations for his film It's Only the End of the World (Juste la fin du monde) and on the television side, CBC comedies Schitt's Creek and Kim's Convenience have also nabbed a few nominations.

To gear up for this Sunday's festivities, we've compiled a handy list of films you should check out (permitting their availability in theatres and online) ahead of the show. If you can't find screenings, though, we highly recommend you move these following movies to the top of your must-watch list immediately. That's right: step aside, La La Land.

Operation Avalanche

Shot in the same unpredictable, documentary style as director Matt Johnson's other projects (The Dirties, Nirvana the Band the Show), Operation Avalanche is a masterclass in guerilla-style filmmaking. The film follows two CIA agents infiltrating NASA to find a mole, which leads them to helping out with the 1969 alleged fake moon-landing.


In Searchers, filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk reimagines the Western narrative. Based on John Wayne's 1956 film called The Searchers, Kunuk's version employs an all-Inuit cast, speaking in Inuktituk. For more, revisit his interview with q.


Bruce McDonald's latest film is beautifully shot in black and white and, just like his previous films, boasts an incredible soundtrack. Weirdos is about two Nova Scotian teens, Kit and Alice, who go on a hitchhiking journey to visit Kit's mother. It's an inventive take on the coming-of-age story.

Hello Destroyer

In Kevan Funk's debut feature, he tackles the intense world of hockey. Actor Jared Abrahamson (2016's TIFF Rising Star) plays a shy enforcer faced with the cutthroat nature on ice and in the locker room. It's the darker, more ferocious companion to the hilarious Goon franchise; perhaps the most perfectly Canadian double bill. 

It's Only the End of the World

French Canadian filmmaker extraordinaire Xavier Dolan returns with his follow-up to 2014's breakout Mommy. It's Only the End of the World taps French stars Nathalie Baye, Vincent Cassel and Marion Cotillard in a story about a terminally ill writer who returns home to deliver the news of his sickness to his family. The film has gotten mixed reviews, but Dolan can be a rather polarizing — but never boring —  figure in film.

The Other Half

Real-life couple Tatiana Maslany and Tom Cullen star in this film about a bipolar woman and a grief-stricken man struggling to live a life together. With plenty of chemistry off-screen, they use The Other Half as a dynamic canvas to translate their chemistry onscreen. 

For the full list of nominees, head over to the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television website.

— Melody Lau, q digital staff


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