Born to Be Blue


When July turns to August, the TIFF announcements start coming hard and fast. Seems like just yesterday that the first batch was unveiled, and now here we are with the home team represented in the announcement of The Canadian Perspective that will play throughout TIFF’s various programmes.

Canadian film tends to be a bit more understated,  and sometimes a harder sell abroad. However, in recent years a lot of filmmakers who began as homegrown auteurs went on to make the jump to big things in Hollywood (specifically Denis Villeneuve and Jean-Marc Vallee). Likewise, it’s often amazing to see the visuals filmmakers can capture around my home country and even my hometown. Toronto alone has been able to look like a dingy hell hole in ENEMY, but likewise a candy-coloured delight in THE F WORD (both previous TIFF selections)

So what’s on tap this year?

  • Bruce McDonald gets creepy again for the first time since PONTYPOOL with the Halloween night frightfest HELLIONS
  • A documentary about the poetry of Al Purdy featuring interviews with Margaret Atwood, Bruce Cockburn, Michael Ondaatje, and Sarah Harmer.
  • A post-apocalyptic survival story named INTO THE FOREST, starring Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood
  • and a Chet Baker biopic starring Ethan Hawke as the legendary trumpet player.

…and that’s not including previous selections already announced directed by Deepa Mehta, Atom Egoyan, and others.

The complete list of films announced Wednesday is below, and info on buying tickets can be found at the bottom of the post.

Make sure you check out some of the Canadian selections at TIFF (eh?).
Robert Budreau, Canada/United Kingdom World Premiere

Born to be Blue is a reimagining of jazz trumpeter Chet Baker’s life in the 1960s. When Chet is cast to star in a film about himself, a romance heats up with his female co-star, the enigmatic Jane. But his comeback bid is derailed when his past returns to haunt him and it appears he may never play music again. Starring Ethan Hawke and Carmen Ejogo.

Patricia Rozema, Canada World Premiere

In a not-too-distant future, sisters Nell and Eva find themselves shuttered in their home. Surrounded by nothing but miles of dense forest, the sisters must fend for themselves using the supplies and food reserves they have before turning to the forest to discover what it will provide. They are faced with a world where rumour is the only guide, trust is a scarce commodity, gas is king and loneliness is excruciating. And yet somehow miraculously, love still grows. Starring Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood.

Guy Édoin, Canada World Premiere

An actress shooting a movie hopes to reconcile with her son. A paramedic haunted by his past tries to stay the course, while a caring nurse keeps an eye on him from afar as she tries, at the same time, to keep an emergency room running. It is at the Ville-Marie Hospital that these four lives will take an unexpected turn. Starring Monica Bellucci, Patrick Hivon, Pascale Bussières and 2015 TIFF Rising Star Aliocha Schneider.

Brian D. Johnson, Canada World Premiere

Al Purdy was Canada’s unofficial poet laureate, though he admits he didn’t write a good poem until he was 40. He found his voice in an A-Frame cabin he built in Ontario’s Prince Edward County. Canada’s leading musicians and artists from Bruce Cockburn and Sarah Harmer to Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje come together to tell his story and celebrate his poetry.

Patrick Reed and Michelle Shephard, Canada World Premiere

Omar Khadr: child soldier or unrepentant terrorist? The 28-year-old Canadian has been a polarizing figure since he was 15. In 2002, Khadr was captured by American forces in Afghanistan and charged with war crimes, including murder. After spending half his life behind bars, including a decade at Guantanamo, Khadr is released. This is his story, in his own words.

Mina Shum, Canada World Premiere

It started quietly when six Caribbean students, strangers in a cold new land, began to suspect their professor of racism. It ended in the most explosive student uprising Canada had even known. Over four decades later, Ninth Floor reopens the file on the infamous Sir George Williams Riot: a watershed moment in Canadian race relations and one of the most contested episodes in the nation’s history. Director Mina Shum (Double Happiness) locates the protagonists in clandestine locations throughout Trinidad and Montreal — the wintry city where it all went down. In a cinematic gesture of reckoning and redemption, she listens as they set the record straight.

Avi Lewis, Canada/USA World Premiere

Seven powerful portraits of community resistance around the world lead to one big question: what if confronting the climate crisis is the best chance we’ll ever get to build a better world? Inspired by Naomi Klein’s international bestseller and directed by her partner Avi Lewis, This Changes Everything is an affecting and hopeful call to action.

Geneviève Dulude-De Celles, Canada World Premiere

Welcome to F.L. portrays a community of teenagers navigating their environment, identity and other questions of youth within their high-school world in a small town in Quebec. Learning to define themselves inside and outside school boundaries as they transition into the challenges of adulthood, they expose refreshing points of view filled with humour, philosophy and courage.

Stephen Dunn, Canada World Premiere

Oscar Madly hovers on the brink of adulthood — destabilized by his dysfunctional parents, unsure of his sexuality, and haunted by horrific images of a tragic gay bashing he witnessed as a child. A talking hamster, imagination and the prospect of love help him confront his surreal demons and discover himself. Starring 2015 TIFF Rising Star Aliocha Schneider and 2014 Rising Star Connor

Adam Garnet Jones, Canada World Premiere

When a teenage girl commits suicide in a remote Northern Ontario Aboriginal community, it’s up to her brother Shane to take care of their family. Shane was supposed to move to the city for university in the fall, and has been trying to convince his secret boyfriend to
come with him, but now everything is uncertain. Torn between his responsibilities at home and the promise of freedom calling him to the city, circumstances take a turn for the worse and Shane has to choose between his family and his future.

Kire Paputts, Canada World Premiere

Part gritty coming-of-age story, part episodic road film filled with magic realism, The Rainbow Kid follows Eugene, a young man with Down syndrome as he embarks on a life-changing adventure to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Jamie M. Dagg, Canada/Laos World Premiere

In the south of Laos, an American volunteer doctor becomes a fugitive after he intervenes in the sexual assault of a young woman. When the assailant’s body is pulled from the Mekong River, things quickly spiral out of control. Starring Rossif Sutherland.

Andrew Cividino, Canada North American Premiere

Spending his summer vacation on rugged Lake Superior, teenager Adam befriends Riley and Nate, smart aleck cousins who pass their ample free time with pranks, vandalism and reckless cliff jumping. The revelation of a hurtful secret sets in motion a series of irreversible events that test the bonds of friendship and change the boys forever.

Kazik Radwanski, Canada World Premiere

Erwin, a 47-year-old father of two, spends his time idly procrastinating between work and family, and is seemingly more engaged by playing a crude Viking computer game. His listless energy is contrasted on weekends by throwing himself into ‘old boys’ rugby matches. As Erwin’s marriage with his wife becomes increasingly compromised, something stirs inside him… or maybe something has
stopped stirring.

Philippe Falardeau, Canada North American Premiere

Guibord is an independent Member of Parliament representing a vast county in Northern Quebec who unwillingly finds himself in the awkward position of determining whether Canada will go to war. Accompanied by his wife, daughter and Souverain (Sovereign) Pascal, an idealistic intern from Haiti, Guibord travels across his district in order to consult his constituents and face his own conscience. This film is a sharp political satire in which politicians, citizens and lobbyists go head-to-head tearing democracy to shreds.

Anne Émond, Canada North American Premiere

The story begins in 1978 in a small town on the Lower St. Lawrence, where the Leblanc family is rocked by the tragic death of Guy, found dead in the basement of the family home. For many years, the real cause of his death is hidden from certain members of the family, his son David among them. David starts his own family with his wife Marie and lovingly raises his children, Laurence and Frédéric, but deep down he still carries with him a kind of unhappiness. Our Loved Ones is a film of filial love, family secrets, redemption and inherited fate. Featuring 2015 TIFF Rising Star Karelle Tremblay.

Igor Drljaca, Canada North American Premiere

Jasmin, once a successful actor in former Yugoslavia, now lives in Toronto with his second wife and young son. While juggling a construction job and a busy audition schedule, he dreams of re-launching an old televised stage show that made him famous in his homeland. When he is cast in a role that triggers recollections of the civil war, he is forced to reconcile his current reality with memories of his past success. From the team behind Krivina and In Her Place.

André Turpin, Canada World Premiere

Thirteen-year-old Simone is trying to feel emotion again as a trauma survivor. Twenty-five-year-old Simone is a solitary woman trying to control panic attacks. Sixty-year-old Simone is an accomplished physician who gives a conference on the nature of time. The new film from celebrated director and cinematographer André Turpin intertwines the lives of three women in an intoxicating cinematic puzzle.

Bruce McDonald, Canada Canadian Premiere

Strange trick-or-treaters plague conflicted teenager Dora Vogel at her isolated home on Halloween. Under siege by forces she can’t understand, Dora must defend both body and soul from relentless hellions, dead set on possessing something Dora will not give them. Set in a visually haunting landscape, Hellions redefines the boundaries of horror with its potent brew of Halloween iconography, teenage angst and desperate survival. Starring Chloe Rose.

Mark Sawers, Canada North American Premiere

Sixty years ago, women began reproducing asexually, and now are no longer able to give birth to male babies. This deadpan mockumentary follows 37-year -old Andrew Myers — the youngest man alive —who is at the centre of a battle to save men from extinction. No Men Beyond This Point asks what would happen if only women ran the world.

Passes are already on sale, and individual tickets will be available to the public on September 6th. All info can be found at TIFF’s website.