Toronto International Film Festival Group Names "Canada's Top Ten"
by Brian Brooks
Canadians Guy Maddin, and Arsinie Khanjian were present Tuesday evening for the announcement of "Canada's Top Ten," an annual event raising awareness of Canadian cinema established in 2001 by the Toronto International Film Festival Group, the organization behind the annual film festival of the same name, and other programs. An independent 10-member jury comprised of filmmakers, academics, journalists, programmers and "industry professionals" chooses the ten films. The films screen with introductions and Q&As by the filmmakers, and two panel discussions featuring the top ten directors and their partners from January 28 - February 5 in Toronto, followed by events held in Vancouver and the nation's capital, Ottawa.
"What strikes me most about Canada's Top Ten this year is the number of emerging filmmakers represented," commented Piers Handling, director and CEO of the Toronto International Film Festival Group in a statement. "The spectrum and scope of films on the list shows a new energy and continued vibrance within the Canadian film industry. Our established filmmakers on the list display an impressive range and cinematic vision in their work." Screenings and panel discussions are open to the public at Cinematheque Ontario, and tickets go on sale December 15.
For more information please visit www.topten.ca.
Canada's Top Ten 2004 (information provided by the Toronto International Film Festival Group):
"Childstar" (Director: Don McKellar; Producers: Niv Fichman, Daniel Iron, Jennifer Jonas)
A comedic and bittersweet tale about American sitcom icon Taylor Brandon Burns (Mark Rendall), who is shipped off to Canada for a film shoot, and an experimental filmmaker (Don McKellar), hired as the 12-year-old's driver. Highlights of awards and/or selections: Atlantic Film Festival; Toronto International Film Festival; Vancouver International Film Festival.
"Elles Itaient Cinq" (Director: Ghyslaine Ctti; Producers: Maxime Rimillard, Richard Lalonde)
The chance sighting of a man who resembles someone from her past sends 32-year-old Manon (Jacinthe Lagul) into a tailspin, forcing her to confront long-buried memories. Highlights of awards and/or selections: Best Artistic Contribution (Ghyslaine Ctti) and Most Popular Canadian Film, Montreal World Film Festival.
"I, Claudia" (Director: Chris Abraham; Producers: Julia Sereny, Jennifer Kawaja)
Based on Toronto actor and playwright Kristen Thomson's play of the same name, the film stars Thomson as Claudia, an "official pre-teen" dealing with her father's remarriage. Highlights of awards and/or selections: Toronto International Film Festival.
"It's All Gone Pete Tong" (Director: Michael Dowse; Producers: Elizabeth Yake, Allan Niblo, James Richardson)
A comedic biopic that follows the tragic life of the legendary and flamboyant DJ Frankie Wilde (Paul Kaye), who disappears from the music scene following a battle with a hearing disorder. Highlights of awards and/or selections: Toronto-City Award for Best Canadian Feature Film, Toronto International Film Festival.
"La Peau Blanche" (Director/Producer: Daniel Roby)
Based on the novel by Joel Champetier. Thierry (Marc Paquet) falls in love with Claire (Marianne Farley), a woman with extremely pale skin, and soon realizes how little he knows about her and her mysterious blood ties. Highlights of awards and/or selections: Citytv Award for Best Canadian First Feature, Toronto International Film Festival.
"Ryan" (Director: Chris Landreth; Producers: Steve Hoban, Mark Smith, Marcy Page)
A compelling short animated documentary, about an exchange between two unique animators, Chris Landreth and Ryan Larkin. Highlights of awards and/or selections: Winner of over 26 awards, including Canal + Award for Best Short Film, International Critic's Week, Festival de Cannes; Best Canadian Short, Worldwide Short Film Festival.
"Saint Ralph" (Director: Michael McGowan; Producers: Seaton McLean, Andrea Mann, Michael Souther, Teza Lawrence)
Hoping to create a miracle that will bring his mother back to health, Ralph outruns everyone's expectations except his own in his deluded quest to win the 1954 Boston Marathon. Highlights of awards and/or selections: Opening Night, Canada First!, Toronto International Film Festival.
"Scaredsacred" (Director: Velcrow Ripper; Producers: Cari Green, Harry Sutherland, Tracey Friesen)
This film documents the journey from the toxic wasteland of Bhopal to the smoking pit of the Twin Towers, from the chaos of Afghanistan to the minefields of Cambodia, in search of those exceptional survivors who have managed to grow in the aftermath of adversity. Highlights of awards and/or selections: Special Jury Citation, Toronto International Film Festival; Runner-up for Most Popular Canadian Film, Vancouver International Film Festival; Best Documentary Award, Whistler Film Festival.
"Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Romio Dallaire" (Director/Producer: Peter Raymont)
Based on Lieutenant General Dallaire's book, this documentary depicts Dallaire's journey back to Rwanda in April 2004, 10 years after the genocide that he witnessed as the Canadian commander of a UN peacekeeping mission. Highlights of awards and/or selections: Toronto International Film Festival; Runner-up for Most Popular Canadian Film, Vancouver International Film Festival; Sundance Film Festival.
"What Remains of Us" (Directors: Franhois Privost and Hugo Latulippe; Producers: Franhois Privost and Yves Bisaillon)
This bold documentary follows Kalsang Dolma, a young Tibetan refugee in Quebec as she returns to her native land carrying a video message by the Dalai Lama. Highlights of awards and/or selections: Best Canadian Feature and People's Choice Award for Best Feature, Atlantic Film Festival; Festival de Cannes; co-winner for Most Popular Canadian Film Prize, Vancouver International Film Festival.