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Room

Director Lenny Abrahamson
Year 2015
Run Time 118min
Genre Drama
Winner of the Best Actress Oscar for Brie Larson and nominated for four Academy Awards in total, this adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s best-selling novel follows a young mother and her son as they make an escape after years of captivity.

A Canadian-Irish co-production, Lenny Abrahamson’s moving, enchanting film is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser that won’t leave a dry eye in the house. Room is a movie with massive heart, anchored by incredible performances by Larson and gifted Canadian child actor Jacob Tremblay.

Room also won nine Canadian Screen Awards and the Toronto International Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award.

Director

Lenny Abrahamson

Writer

Emma Donoghue

Cast

Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Sean Bridgers, Joan Allen, Tom McCamus

Producers

David Gross, Ed Guiney

Genre

Drama

Interests

Family Relationships, Literary Adaptation

Original Language

English

Canadian Distributor

Elevation Pictures

The Sweet Hereafter

Director Atom Egoyan
Year 1997
Run Time 111min
Genre Drama
A lawyer (Holm), pursued by concerns of losing a daughter to drugs, comes to a Canadian town where 20 children have died in a school bus accident. He wants the parents to sue to make those at fault pay. Told partly in flashbacks that dramatize the days leading up to the accident, this heart-wrenching story follows the lawyer from family to family as he coaxes each to join the lawsuit.

As momentum for the case builds, he finds himself squaring off against the lone survivor of the accident (Polley), battling against the power of long-held family secrets. Based on the bestselling novel by Russell Banks, this shattering film won eight Genie Awards and garnered two Oscar nominations for Egoyan.

“Cuts to the bone and stays there long after its end credits have finished rolling.” — Michael Dequina, TheMovieReport.com

Director

Atom Egoyan

Egoyan received the Governor General’s award in 2015 for Lifetime Artistic Achievement. He was the first-ever Canadian director to earn two Oscar nominations (for The Sweet Hereafter). His award-winning films include Exotica, Ararat and The Captive. His most recent film, Guest of Honour, premiered at TIFF 2019.

Writer

Atom Egoyan

Cast

Ian Holm, Sarah Polley, Bruce Greenwood, Arsinée Khanjian, Tom McCamus

Producers

Atom Egoyan, Camelia Frieberg, Robert Lantos, Andras Hamori

Genre

Drama

Interests

Classics, Family Relationships, Literary Adaptation, Strong Female Leads

Original Language

English

Language Version

EN CC

Canadian Distributor

eOne

Rebelle (War Witch)

Director Kim Nguyen
Year 2012
Run Time 90min
Genre Drama
African rebels kidnap Komona (Mwanza) and force her to become a child soldier, but a miraculous event makes them fear that she has supernatural powers. Wonderfully played by Rachel Mwanza, whose performance is nothing short of a revelation, Komona’s trials and tribulations are compelling from start to finish. The topic of child soldiers is of course fraught with painful realities, but this story of a young “war witch” is an absolute tour-de-force of magic realism.

Montreal’s Kim Nguyen — who won several directing awards for his thoughtful work — travels a long way from Canada to tell this important tale.

A poignant and impossible love story filled with wonder, the film was nominated for an Oscar and won 10 Canadian Screen Awards.

Director

Kim Nguyen

Writer

Kim Nguyen

Cast

Rachel Mwanza, Alain Lino Mic Eli Bastien, Serge Kanyinda

Producers

Pierre Even, Marie-Claude Poulin

Genre

Drama

Interests

Asian Filmmaker, BIPOC Stories, Global Experiences, Social Justice & Politics

Original Language

French

Language Version

EN Subtitles

Canadian Distributor

Mongrel Media

  • Own Voice

Water

Director Deepa Mehta
Year 2005
Run Time 114min
Genre Drama
Set in India during the rise of Mahatma Gandhi, Water recounts the story of Chuyia (Kariyawasam), a child bride. When her husband dies suddenly, Chuyia is forced to live in an ashram for Hindu widows, essentially cut off from society.

Fortunately, she finds friends in the beautiful Kilyani (Ray) and in the forward-thinking Narayan (Abraham). With their help, Chuyia attempts to escape the confines of her existence. Boasting lush visuals, Water could easily be a bleak story of deprivation and loss, but in Mehta’s gentle hands, it becomes one charged with hope and optimism.

Water was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Director

Deepa Mehta

Mehta gained acclaim for her trilogy, Fire, Earth and the Oscar-nominated Water. Her adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children was nominated for eight CSAs. She has also directed Bollywood/Hollywood, Beeba Boys, Anatomy of Violence, and many others. Her most recent film Funny Boy has also won multiple awards, including the CSA for best direction. Most recently, she directed an episode of the series Yellowjackets. She has numerous projects in development as a writer, director and producer. 

Writer

Deepa Mehta

Cast

Sarala Kariyawasam, Lisa Ray, John Abraham, Seema Biswas

Producers

David Hamilton, Mark Burton, Ajay Virmani, Doug Mankoff

Genre

Drama

Interests

Asian Filmmaker, BIPOC Stories, Discrimination, Female Filmmaker, Global Experiences, History, Social Justice & Politics, Strong Female Leads

Original Language

Other Language

Language Versions

EN Subtitles, FR Dub

Canadian Distributor

Mongrel Media

  • Own Voice

Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner

Director Zacharias Kunuk (Inuk)
Year 2001
Run Time 172min
Genre Drama
Based on an ancient Inuit legend, Atanarjuat is an epic tale of love, betrayal and revenge. The beautiful Atuat (Ivalu) has been promised to the short-fused Oki (Arnatsiaq), the son of the tribe’s leader. However, she loves the good-natured Atanarjuat (Ungalaaq), a fast runner and excellent hunter. When Atanarjuat is forced to battle the jealous Oki for Atuat’s hand, the events that follow determine not only his fate, but that of his people. Atanarjuat won 20 awards, including eight Genies and the Caméra d’Or at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.

“I am not surprised that The Fast Runner has been a box office hit in its opening engagements. It is unlike anything most audiences will have ever seen, and yet it tells a universal story.”
— Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Director

Zacharias Kunuk (Inuk)

In 2015, Atanarjuat was selected as TIFF’s number one Canadian film of all time. Kunuk has directed shorts such as Exile and Home and features such as Maliglutit, which was nominated for two CSAs. He recently directed the series Hunting With My Ancestors and executive produced SGaawaay K'uuna (Edge of the Knife). His latest feature, One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk, premiered at TIFF 2019. Most recently, he directed the short The Shaman’s Apprentice, which won the CSA for Best Animated Short among other awards at festivals worldwide.

Writer

Paul Apak Angilirq (Inuk)

Cast

Peter-Henry Arnatsiaq (Inuk), Lucy Tulugarjuk (Inuk), Natar Ungalaaq (Inuk), Sylvia Ivalu (Inuk)

Producers

Paul Apak Angilirq (Inuk), Norman Cohn, Zacharias Kunuk (Inuk), Germaine Ying Gee Wong

Genre

Drama

Interests

BIPOC Stories, Classics, Family Relationships, Indigenous Filmmaker

Original Language

Inuktitut

Language Versions

EN Subtitles, FR Subtitles

Canadian Distributor

Vtape

Away From Her

Director Sarah Polley
Year 2006
Run Time 110min
Genre Drama, Romance
Based on Alice Munro’s short story “The Bear Came Over the Mountain,” this moving film tells the story of Fiona (Christie) and Grant (Pinsent), a couple who have been married for over 40 years. As Fiona’s “forgetfulness” grows worse, the couple are forced to come to terms with the fact that it is actually Alzheimer’s, and she is placed in a new nursing home.

At the end of the difficult 30-day “no visitor” policy, Grant comes to visit Fiona, except there are some wrinkles: Fiona remembers little of the life they shared, and has found a new partner in the home. Beginning a journey that will test the bond they’ve shared for decades, Grant must draw upon his deep love for Fiona in order to adjust to this reality, and help ensure her continued happiness and support.

An enduring love story with a powerful message about friendship, generosity and devotion, Away From Her was nominated for two Oscars and won over 39 other awards. It won seven Genies, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay, among others.

Director

Sarah Polley

Polley won a screenwriting Oscar nomination for Away From Her, and directed Take This Waltz and Stories We Tell. She wrote and produced Alias Grace, a miniseries based on Margaret Atwood’s novel, which premiered at TIFF 2017. In 2022 she published the essay collection Run Toward the Danger. Her most recent feature, an adaptation of Miriam Toews’ Women Talking, premiered at TIFF 2022.

Writer

Sarah Polley

Cast

Julie Christie, Gordon Pinsent, Olympia Dukakis, Michael Murphy, Kristen Thomson

Producers

Daniel Iron, Simone Urdl, Doug Mankoff, Atom Egoyan, Jennifer Weiss

Genres

Drama, Romance

Interests

ESL, Family Relationships, Female Filmmaker, Literary Adaptation, Strong Female Leads

Original Language

English

Language Version

FR Dub

Canadian Distributor

Mongrel Media

Les invasions barbares (The Barbarian Invasions)

Director Denys Arcand
Year 2003
Run Time 99min
Genre Comedy
In this follow-up film to The Decline of the American Empire, Denys Arcand continues the story of Remy (Girard) a womanizing professor who is now terminally ill with cancer. It’s been 17 years, and Remy is divorced, estranged from his son and his friends, and in search of redemption and forgiveness. As Remy reunites with old friends and loved ones to reminisce about their younger days, the conversations are as gloriously all-encompassing in their scope as they were in Arcand’s previous film.

An illuminating bittersweet-comedy that won Canada’s first Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. The film also won the award for Best Screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival and nearly 50 other awards.

Director

Denys Arcand

Writer

Denys Arcand

Cast

Rémy Girard, Dorothée Berryman, Stéphane Rousseau, Marie-Josée Croze

Producers

Daniel Louis, Denise Robert

Genre

Comedy

Interests

Arts and Culture, Social Justice & Politics

Original Language

French

Language Versions

EN Dub, EN Subtitles

Canadian Distributor

eOne

Monsieur Lazhar

Director Philippe Falardeau
Year 2011
Run Time 94min
Genre Drama
Bachir Lazhar (Fellag) is an Algerian immigrant who is hired at a Montreal elementary school to replace a teacher who has died unexpectedly and tragically.

Coming from a completely different culture, Monsieur Lazhar must go through a steep learning curve as he comes up against a stubborn class of quirky 11- and 12-year-olds and the school’s rigid administrative standards. And while the school goes through the long process of grieving and healing, it is gradually suspected that Monsieur Lazhar is not entirely who he has claimed to be. This is a touching story of loss and an emotionally powerful exploration of how adults help children cope with intractable issues of life and death for which none of us is truly equipped.

The film was short-listed for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

Director

Philippe Falardeau

Quebecois director and screenwriter Falardeau has won more than 32 international awards for his films, which include Monsieur Lazhar, La moitié gauche du frigo, C'est pas moi, je le jure!, The Good Lie, the political satire Guibord s'en va-t-en guerre, and the recent My Salinger Year as well as the TV show Le temps des framboises

Writer

Philippe Falardeau

Cast

Mohamed Fellag, Sophie Nélisse, Émilien Néron, Danielle Proulx, Bridgette Poupart

Producers

Luc Déry, Kim McCraw

Genre

Drama

Interests

BIPOC Stories, Newcomer Stories

Original Language

French

Language Versions

EN Subtitles, FR CC

Canadian Distributor

eOne

The Red Violin

Director François Girard
Year 1998
Run Time 131min
Genre Drama
Girard and McKellar’s The Red Violin tells the tale of a very special instrument — a perfectly crafted 17th-century violin finished with a mysterious red glaze. The final masterpiece of a virtuoso craftsman, the violin sits in a Montreal auction house waiting to be sold.

As the auction proceeds, the violin’s history is revealed through four interconnected tales spanning 300 years. And as it passes through the hands of musicians in Italy, Vienna, London and Shanghai, the violin fills its owners’ lives with romance, adventure, intrigue and tragedy. At the centre of the story is the instrument’s dark secret, which is revealed only at the film’s suspenseful finale.

“In a time of timid projects and easy formulas, The Red Violin has the kind of sweep and vision that we identify with elegant features from decades ago.” — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Director

François Girard

Girard won a Grammy for Secret World Live, a Peter Gabriel concert film. Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould won four Genie Awards, including Best Picture. The Red Violin won eight Genies and an Oscar for Best Original Score.  His recent films include Boychoir, starring Dustin Hoffman, and Hochelaga terre des âmes, which was nominated for eight CSAs, winning four. His latest, The Song of Names, premiered at TIFF 2019.

Writers

Don McKellar, François Girard

Cast

Samuel L. Jackson, Jason Flemyng, Colm Feore, Greta Sacchi, Sylvia Chang

Producer

Niv Fichman

Genre

Drama

Interests

Arts and Culture, History

Original Language

English

Language Version

FR Subtitles

  • Own Voice

Juste la fin du monde (It’s Only the End of the World)

Director Xavier Dolan
Year 2016
Run Time 97min
Genre Drama
Louis (Ulliel) is a writer returning home to a family that's not quite ready to put differences aside and accept him. With everyone still reliving the resentment caused by the circumstances of his departure, he’s also trying to find the right time to reveal the real reason for his return, that he’s been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Winner of the Grand Prize at Cannes, Xavier Dolan's It’s Only the End of the World is a magnificent drama about home and family featuring an all-star cast delivering incredible performances.

“a brilliant, stylised and hallucinatory evocation of family dysfunction” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Director

Xavier Dolan

Writers

Xavier Dolan, Jean-Luc Lagarce

Cast

Gaspard Ulliel, Vincent Cassel, Marion Cotillard

Producers

Sylvain Corbeil, Xavier Dolan

Genre

Drama

Interests

Family Relationships, LGBTQ2S+

Original Language

French

Language Version

EN CC

Canadian Distributor

eOne