Setting the Stage: Canadian Pride for Toronto Film Festival

by Christopher Heard

TIFF 2005 Poster

TIFF 2005 Poster

Two down and one to go — the Toronto International Film Festival held it’s second press conference at the spot that has become traditional for second press conferences, the Metropolitan Hotel in downtown Toronto. Also following with tradition, this second press conference is dedicated to announcing all things Canadian about the festival — Canadian features, Canadian documentaries and Canadian filmmakers making their way to the festival. There were the usual several films announced that star Callum Keith Rennie — this festival being one of the few places you can actually see this guy’s work.

And I do not say that with even a hint of facetiousness — I am actually delighted that that is the case because I have always thought that Rennie is one of the best actors we have in this country and the closest thing to a James Dean-like actor we have ever produced. Specifically here look for his film called Ludic from director Sean Garrity in which Rennie plays a disturbed psychotherapy patient. Besides the triumvirate of major Canadian films that will form the lion’s share of big galas — Deepa Mehta‘s Water, David Cronenberg‘s A History of Violence, and Atom Egoyan‘s Where the Truth Lies — it was also announced that the terrific director Clement Virgo is back at the film festival with a sure to be controversial film, due to its sexually explicit nature, called Lie With Me. Also Thom Fitzgerald, another Canadian filmmaker who is always welcome at the Toronto International Film Festival, is back with his latest film called Three Needles that interweaves three stories from three diverse corners of the world.

Another thing that is wonderful about the Toronto International Film Festival and the Canadian aspects of it is the fact that this is one of the few times that people in English Canada can see a wide array of fantastic films from the particularly vibrant French Canadian film industry. One that was announced that I am looking forward to is La Neuvanine from director Bernard Emond — a deeply moving and personal film about how we define faith.

One of the newly created, actually now in its second year, programs is called Canada First — a program that hilights first features from Canadian filmmakers — this year’s edition of Canada First kicks off with Louise Archambeault‘s Familia. There is also an intriguing little film called Fetching Cody that comes from new BC filmmaker David Ray.

The next and final big Toronto International Film Festival Press Conference happens on Tuesday, August 23rd at the large outdoor venue — Nathan Phillip’s Square. It will be at that gathering that the final line-up is announced and the list of festival attendees will be unveiled.

For more on the festival check out our feature spotlight at or head over to the official website at

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