TIFF 2012: Canadian Film Highlights

Will Perkins
Wide Screen
August 9, 2012

Although there will be plenty of glitzy red carpet premieres and celeb-packed soirees at this year's Toronto International Film Festival, there will also be some real homegrown gems. As one of the biggest film festivals in the world, TIFF is an important showcase for the latest and greatest in Canadian cinema, offering Canuck filmmakers a truly international audience for their work.

A few Canadian titles had already been announced — including Ruba Nadda's "Inescapable" and Deepa Mehta's "Midnight's Children" - but on Wednesday, the festival's organizers announced the remaining Canadian films and filmmakers that will be a part of the 2012 fest. The remaining lineup includes movies from festival veterans and up-and-comers alike. Here are just a few of the highlights.

"Laurence Anyways" — Quebec actor/director Xavier Dolan is no stranger to film festivals. The young filmmaker made waves and won awards at Cannes in 2009 and 2010 with his films "I Killed My Mother" and "Heartbeats." He returned to Cannes in May with his latest movie, "Laurence Anyways," where it competed in the Un Certain Regard section of the legendary fest. The lengthy drama about a relationship that becomes complicated by a sex change operation will have its Toronto premiere at TIFF 2012. The film stars Quebec's Suzanne Clément ("I Killed My Mother"), and French actors Melvil Poupaud ("Speed Racer") and Nathalie Baye ("Catch Me If You Can").

"Antiviral" — This twisted tale of celebrity obsession taken to unnatural extremes is just what the doctor ordered. "Antiviral" is the first feature film from young director Brandon Cronenberg, son of famed Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg. The film debuted to positive reviews in Cannes earlier this year and was announced as part of TIFF's Special Presentations lineup. Starring Caleb Landry Jones ("X-Men: First Class") and Malcolm McDowell ("A Clockwork Orange"), "Antiviral" also co-stars a slew of homegrown talent, including Canadian character actor Nicholas Campbell ("Goon") and Toronto natives Sarah Gadon ("Cosmopolis") and Douglas Smith ("Big Love").

"Stories We Tell" — No stranger to the Toronto Film Fest, actor-turned-director Sarah Polley ("Take This Waltz") will premiere her first documentary, "Stories We Tell," at the 2012 festival. Polley directs and also plays the role of investigator, interviewing a family of raconteurs about the same events and getting completely different versions of the story. "Stories We Tell" sounds like it's going to be a little more fun that Polley's last few films, which dealt with heavy subject matter like Alzheimer's disease and infidelity.

"Rebelle" — Set in a nameless African country, "Rebelle" — the latest film from Quebec's Kim Nguyen ("Truffe") — follows Komona (Rachel Mwanza), a pregnant child soldier telling the story of her life to her unborn child. The movie's somewhat harsh subject matter made it the talk of Berlinale (Germany's premiere film fest), and won its young lead, Mwanza, the prestigious Silver Bear award for best actress.

You can see the full Canadian lineup on the Toronto International Film Festival's official site here.

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