Toronto 2019: Canadian Features lineup announced

There's Something in the Water. Courtesy of TIFF.

The 2019 Toronto International Film Festival announced the second wave of titles this morning, shining a light on TIFF’s Canadian features and shorts.

The Canadian feature slate includes seven first features, 13 works by returning TIFF alumni, and almost 50% films directed by women.

“We are deeply impressed by the high quality of the work done by Canadian directors this year — particularly from filmmakers who were making their first and second features,” said Steve Gravestock, Senior Programmer, TIFF. “Within that group, there was an extremely strong contingent of female filmmakers working everywhere from Newfoundland to British Columbia and addressing a genuinely diverse spectrum of subjects, from mother–daughter relationships to the refugee experience, female friendships to youth in crisis.”

“As part of the new wave of programmers at TIFF, I’m thrilled to help usher in the next generation of prominent voices in Canadian cinema — particularly with films that speak to the larger global issues at hand,” said TIFF programmer Ravi Srinivasan. “I am also proud to help introduce several new filmmakers to the main stage, knowing that their works will screen alongside those of Canadian legends like Alanis Obomsawin and Atom Egoyan. This is truly an exciting year for TIFF and Canadian cinema, and I’m grateful to be a part of it.”


American Woman, Semi Chellas | Canada, Canadian Premiere
Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band, Daniel Roher | Canada, World Premiere
The Song of Names, François Girard | Canada, World Premiere


Clifton Hill, Albert Shin | Canada, World Premiere
Guest of Honour, Atom Egoyan | Canada, North American Premiere


David Foster: Off the Record, Barry Avrich | Canada, World Premiere
One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk, Zacharias Kunuk | Canada, North American Premiere


Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger; Alanis Obomsawin | Canada, World Premiere


Coppers, Alan Zweig | Canada, World Premiere
This Is Not a Movie, Yung Chang | Canada, World Premiere
There’s Something in the Water, Ellen Page, Ian Daniel | Canada, World Premiere


Black Conflux, Nicole Dorsey | Canada, World Premiere
Easy Land, Sanja Zivkovic | Canada, World Premiere
Kuessipan, Myriam Verreault | Canada, World Premiere
Murmur, Heather Young | Canada, World Premiere
Raf, Harry Cepka | Canada, World Premiere
The Rest of Us, Aisling Chin-Yee | Canada, World Premiere

Felicity Huffman and Anastasia Phillips in Amy Jo Johnson's Tammy's Always Dying.
Felicity Huffman and Anastasia Phillips in Amy Jo Johnson’s Tammy’s Always Dying. Courtesy of TIFF.


And the Birds Rained Down (Il pleuvait des oiseaux), Louise Archambault | Canada, World Premiere
Antigone, Sophie Deraspe | Canada, World Premiere
The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open; Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Kathleen Hepburn | Canada, North American Premiere
Castle in the Ground, Joey Klein | Canada, World Premiere
The Last Porno Show, Kire Paputts | Canada, World Premiere
Tammy’s Always Dying, Amy Jo Johnson | Canada, World Premiere
White Lie; Calvin Thomas, Yonah Lewis | Canada, World Premiere


Blood Quantum, Jeff Barnaby | Canada, World Premiere (Opening Midnight Madness Film)
The Twentieth Century, Matthew Rankin | Canada, World Premiere

Toronto also announced the Canadian shorts playing in the Short Cuts program.  This 20-film lineup includes 56% female-directed films.

Meanwhile, Kacey Rohl, Mikhaïl Ahooja, Nahéma Ricci, and Shamier Anderson were announced this morning as the 2019 Canadian TIFF Rising Stars.

The six finalists for Telefilm Canada’s PITCH THIS! competition were also announced.  Basketball fans should take note of one title in particular: Worst Team Ever.  The documentary is being pitched by filmmakers Kathleen Jayme, Michael Grand, and James Brown.  While the Toronto Raptors won this year’s NBA Championship, the Vancouver Grizzlies ” just might have been the worst professional sports franchise in history” according to the synopsis.

Another film being pitched includes Rodrigo Barriuso and Kyah Green’s Epochal.  The two filmmakers are seeking to explore what happens to a transgender woman living with Alzheimer’s at a transphobic nursing home while mentally regressing to a time before her transition.  This film sounds like it could certainly be interesting.  It is one thing to transition but the whole Alzheimer’s part adds on an entirely different layer.

The 2019 Toronto International Film Festival runs September 5-15, 2019.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.