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TIFF unveils 2019 Canadian feature line-up, new female talent scheme

SCREEN July 31, 2019 | Jeremy Kay

Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) brass announced on Wednesday (July 31) the launch of a talent incubator for female content creators and unveiled the line-up of Canadian features, nearly half of which are directed by women.

Five features from indigenous filmmakers are among the selection of 26 Canadian features. TIFF also announced four Canadian Rising Stars, the annual TIFF Filmmaker Lab participants, finallists for Telefilm Canada’s PITCH THIS! competition, and the roster of Canadian short films.

The Canadian feature selections include seven first features and 13 works by returning TIFF alumni, among them the North American premiere of Atom Egoyan Guest Of Honour (the world premiere is in Venice), as well as world premieres of Heather Young’s Murmur in Discovery about a middle-aged alcoholic cut off from her loved ones, and Joey Klein’s Contemporary World Cinema opioid crisis drama Castle In The Ground (pictured) starring Imogen Poots, Alex Wolff, and Neve Campbell. Also receiving its world premiere is TIFF Docs selection There’s Something In The Water from Ellen Page and her Gaycation co-host Ian Daniel.

The five films by Indigenous filmmakers and film teams are: Abenaki director Alanis Obomsawin’s documentary Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger in Masters; Jeff Barnaby’s Midnight Madness entry Blood Quantum; Myriam Verreault’s Kuessipan in Discover, about life among the Innu people in northeastern Quebec; Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn’s domestic violence drama The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open in Contemporary World Cinema; and Zacharias Kunuk’s One Day In The Life Of Noah Piugattuk in Special Events, about a life-changing encounter on Baffin Island in 1961.

All Canadian feature films are eligible for the Canada Goose Award for Best Canadian Feature Film. The seven Canadian feature directorial debuts are eligible for the City of Toronto Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film.

Previously announced Canadian titles include festival opener Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson And The Band by Daniel Roher, François Girard’s The Song Of Names, Semi Chellas’s American Woman, and Barry Avrich’s David Foster: Off the Record.


American Woman – Canadian Premiere
Dir: Semi Chellas

Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson And The Band – world premiere
Dir: Daniel Roher

The Song Of Names – world premiere
Dir: François Girard


Clifton Hill – world premiere
Dir: Albert Shin

Guest Of Honour – North American premiere
Dir: Atom Egoyan


David Foster: Off the Record – world premiere
Dir: Barry Avrich

One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk – North American premiere
Dir: Zacharias Kunuk


Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger – world premiere
Dir: Alanis Obomsawin


Coppers – world premiere
Dir: Alan Zweig

This Is Not a Movie – world premiere
Dir: Yung Chang

There’s Something In The Water – world premiere
Dirs: Ellen Page, Ian Daniel


Black Conflux – world premiere
Dir: Nicole Dorsey

Easy Land – world premiere
Dir: Sanja Zivkovic

Kuessipan – world premiere
Dir: Myriam Verreault

Murmur – world premiere
Dir: Heather Young

Raf – world premiere
Dir: Harry Cepka

The Rest Of Us – world premiere
Dir: Aisling Chin-Yee


And The Birds Rained Down (Il Pleuvait Des Oiseaux) – world premiere
Dir: Louise Archambault

Antigone – world premiere
Dir: Sophie Deraspe

The Body Remembers When The World Broke Open – North American premiere
Dirs: Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Kathleen Hepburn

Castle In The Ground – world premiere
Dir: Joey Klein

The Last Porno Show – world premiere
Dir: Kire Paputts

Tammy’s Always Dying – world premiere
Dir: Amy Jo Johnson

White Lie – world premiere
Dirs: Calvin Thomas, Yonah Lewis


Blood Quantum – world premiere
Dir: Jeff Barnaby

The Twentieth Century – world premiere
Dir: Matthew Rankin

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