Production still from Richie Mehta's Amal.

Festival Flash: Canadian Films

Canadian cinema often gets a bad rap, especially within Canada itself. After all, we live in the country that brought the world Meatballs III. Yet, for every Ginger Snaps Back we release, our nation also comes out with notable films such as Exotica and Les Invasions Barbares.

The Toronto International Film Festival has always been an important locale for this country's filmmakers to showcase their newest and best work, and this year is no different. There's enough Canadian talent in this year's festival to wash the taste of Johnny Mnemonic out of our nation's collective memory.

All the big shots of the Canadian film industry are back this year with their newest creations. Included in this list are Denys Arcand's The Age of Ignorance, David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises, and and Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg. Clement Virgo's Poor Boy's Game, a tale of revenge and retribution set in a racially divided Halifax, features some stunning performances by Danny Glover and Rossif Sutherland.

Paolo Barzman's Emotional Arithmetic assembles an all-star cast and I highly recommend it, despite the fact that it is amazingly emotionally intense.. And while I'm not a fan of local industry darling Jeremy Podeswa, his recent film Fugitive Pieces will be presented as the opening gala of this year's festival.

A fantastic way to catch some of the best local talent — and one of the best ways to discover Canada's most promising future filmmakers — is by watching the films in the Canada First! programme at the festival. The programme will be opened by Young People Fucking, a movie that blends sex and humor in a fresh and fast-paced way that never gets boring.

Local Toronto-area director Richie Mehta, who was interviewed by Andrea Nene on moviesTO this past week, will be presenting Amal, based on his acclaimed short film of the same name. Amal not only assembles some of the best acting talent from India, but is shot on location in New Delhi and features some vibrant and colorful cinematography which, coupled with a particularly poignant score, is sure to impress.

There are tons of other great Canadian films appearing at the festival, so be sure to get your copy of the complete film list and check out blogTO's continuing coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival for our picks and tips for this year's festival.

(Image: Production still from Richie Mehta's Amal.)

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