TIFF: Six Canadian Films From the 2019 Film Festival To Watch Now

By Ross Vernon Dias

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Photo Credits: All images courtesy of TIFF

Many Canadian films debuted at the festival this year. Here are our the six we recommend you watch, stream and buy as soon as possible.

As much as the Toronto International Film Festival is about debuting the world’s best in film, it is also an active platform where Canadian films receive an international spotlight. Arguably the biggest stage for Canadian film, TIFF was all about celebrating local production and stories this year. Here, our top six recommendations for must-see Canadian films following their debut at the festival.

Coppers, Alan Zweig

Coppers is a look at the raw, behind-the-scenes lives of police officers. In an exclusive interview with Bay Street Bull, director Alan Zweig said “I would be embarrassed to admit how many things I learned from making the film, and the only way I could have found out and known them was from interviewing people,” referencing often overlooked daily duties of being a cop, like dealing with dead bodies and gruesome accidents.

Tammy’s Always Dying, Amy Jo Johnson

Featuring Felicity Huffman as the titular Tammy, an alcoholic woman diagnosed with stage four cancer, this film portrays the struggles of her daughter, played by Canadian actress Anastasia Phillips, as she deals with her mother’s diagnosis. With darker themes of suicide, terminal illness and depression, Tammy’s Always Dying is a portrait of the endless cycle of struggles facing multi-generational small-town Ontarians.

Antigone, Sophie Deraspe

Taking home the inaugural Canada Goose Award for Best Feature Film, Antigone also features TIFF Rising Star MikhaÏl Ahooja, and Catherine St-Laurent. An adaptation of the classic Greek tragedy, acclaimed filmmaker Quebecois Sophie Deraspe’s film reimagines the story about a woman’s quest for justice. The film brings themes from the 2500-year old drama to a contemporary Canadian society in Montreal exploring the burden of sacrifice.

The Twentieth Century, Matthew Rankin

Winner of the City of Toronto Canadian First Feature Film Award, The Twentieth Century debuted at Midnight Maddness at this year’s festival. Stylistically, the film adopts antiquated analogue techniques to create an imagined biopic of former Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King.

Black Conflux, Nicole Dorsey

Writer and director Nicole Dorsey’s debut feature is a meditative exploration of girlhood, toxic masculinity and isolation set in 1980s Newfoundland seen through the worlds of two residents of a sleepy costal town. The Hollywood Reporter calls it “a haunting, humane twist on thriller conventions.” A stunning film, Black Conflux is a well-shot, interesting and complicated portrayal of these characters playing out their insecurities, fears, joy and pain. The soundtrack is ominous and the visuals are fantastic, perfectly complimenting the subtle, excellent work from Canadian actors Ella Ballentine and Ryan McDonald.

And the Birds Rained Down, Louise Archambault

Three hermits who have chosen to live away from over-crowded modern civilization in this film from Quebecois director Louise Archambault are now faced with the challenges of their aging and encroaching nature.  Their idyllic existence is thrown for a loop when a photographic researcher arrives looking for survivors of a decades-old fire, of which one of the resident’s actions have assumed heroic status.

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