Events / TIFF 2016

TIFF 2016: Kelly's Top Canadian Picks

13 September 2016 / by Kelly Lewars (author)
Still from Toronto director Stella McGee's film, Jean of the Joneses.  (photo: Courtesy TIFF)
Still from Toronto director Stella McGee's film, Jean of the Joneses. / (photo: Courtesy TIFF)

CJRU correspondent Kelly Lewars brings you tips on the Canadian must-sees at TIFF this year.



Two Lovers and a Bear  

With Kim Nguyen’s first fiction film Two Lovers and a Bear comes stark, vivid visuals and indie darlings Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) and Dane DeHaan (The Amazing Spider-Man 2). With Oscar honour for Nguyen’s last film Rebelle paired with the dramatic talents of Maslany and DeHaan, Two Lovers and a Bear promises to pack a punch. The two actors star as Lucy and Roman, two damaged people lost in the isolation of the arctic and their love, but the isolation can’t protect either from the past or inner demons. Nguyen captures the chaos that unfolds as their past and damage catches up to them.

Why do I think it should be seen? I am especially looking forward to seeing how Nguyen explores the impact and value of the environment, seeing DeHaan’s intense energy again, and seeing Maslany in a world beyond Orphan Black. Oh, and the bear? He talks. He’s voiced by Gordon Pinsent (Away From Her).


Anatomy of Violence  

Still from Deepa Mehta's Anatomy of Violence

Still from Deepa Mehta's Anatomy of Violence

TIFF categorizes Deep Mehta’s new film Anatomy of Violence as one of the two films under "Masters” as it premieres to the world. The news of a woman gang-raped by six men on a New Delhi bus broke into international headlines back in 2012. She, along with her friend, was beaten and thrown onto the street. Her injuries were so severe, she was hospitalized for two weeks before she died. Eleven actors collaborated on Metha’s fictional dramatization, exploring the lives of the rapists.

Why? No matter what the film actually ends up as, I believe this film will be controversial for focusing on those who brutalized rather than those who were brutalized. Mehta’s films have always championed civil rights so this new movie seems to be a departure and will be one that will provoke discussion.


Mostly Sunny  


Dilip Mehta is given credit for peeking behind the curtain of former adult actress, Sunny Leone in this documentary Mostly Sunny. Born in Sarnia to strict Sikh parents, Mehta explores Leone’s upbringing and her rise in fame as she mainstreamed into becoming not only a reality star, but a Bollywood actress.

Why?  I was instantly smitten with how melodramatic this story will be and the draw here is that it sounds more like an unreal piece of fiction. No trailer is out yet for this project, but the pictures that are accessible have me intrigued. Deepa Mehta also has a writing credit for this work.


To feed your sci-fi love, be sure to check out ARQ, from Orphan Black creator Tony Elliott. Local favourite Robbie Amell  (The Flash, The Duff) and Rachael Taylor (Jessica Jones) star in this Netflix movie in a future where resources are scarce and corporations fight sovereign nations over the last of the world’s energy supply. Renton and Hannah are stuck in a time loop that coincides with a home invasion as the ARQ, an experimental energy technology, is targeted.

Why? I am interested to see if Amell and Taylor can lead a film. I’ve only seen each of them in supporting roles so I WANT to be impressed at this opportunity to star. I’d also like to see and get excited about a work from Elliot’s mind and whether it lives in the same universe of Orphan Black or is a completely new phenomenon that still entertains.


Jean of the Joneses   


This debut feature from Stella Meghie is described as an “acerbic coming-of-age tale”. Starring Taylour Paige (Hit the Floor) and homegrown sweetheart Gloria Reuben (Reasonable Doubt), the film starts with a member of the Jones family member dying. It’s the exchange between paramedic and rambunctious Jean that begins a courtship and the film’s story.

Why? Reuben and Paige are not the only actresses I’m excited to see in this film. Veterans of the industry like Sherri Shepherd (The View) and Michelle Hurst (Orange is the New Black) share the spotlight with emerging talents like Shailyn Pierre-Dixon (Suicide Squad) and Mamoudou Athie (The Get Down). In addition, it sounds like a world I’m quite familiar with so I envision a Jamaican Gilmore Girls, as bad as that analogy is. Find out more about Meghie in this small clip from Telefilm Canada and look out for any of the three upcoming projects she’s involved with.


The author

Kelly Lewars

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