The top 10 films in Canada for 2011
Since 2001, TIFF has celebrated our national cinema by honouring the ten best Canadian features and short films of the year, and then screening them for Toronto cinephiles under the elegant banner known as Canada's Top Ten. This year - the event's tenth edition - appears to be a strong one, with big names like Cronenberg, Maddin, and Vallée predictably landing on the winners list. All of the Top Ten films will screen at the TIFF Bell Lightbox between January 5 and 15, typically with the directors in attendance.
Unsurprisingly, there is an overwhelming presence of films that played in TIFF last September (16 of the total 20 films), suggesting either a discerning festival programming staff, or evidence that the festival's spotlight actually helps quite a bit in boosting award chances. Here is the list of winning films:
Canada's Top Ten feature film selections for 2011 (in alphabetical order):
Canada's Top Ten short film selections for 2011 (in alphabetical order):
Despite the fact that the films by Cronenberg, Polley, and Maddin are a bit below par in relation to their best work, I'm thrilled to be able to take another look at them outside of the festival rush and before they hit their regular theatrical runs. Philippe Falardeau's Monsieur Lazhar will be a particular highlight of this year's event since it is Canada's submission for the Best Foreign Language Oscar. (last year's submission Incendies sold out its Top Ten screening in the Lightbox's largest theatre in no time)
Typical of awards lists, there are a number of titles that are conspicuously absent. The best Canadian film I saw at TIFF, for instance, was Amy George by first-time filmmakers Yonah Lewis and Calvin Thomas. Also worthy was the debut feature from Daniel Cockburn, You Are Here, which opened this summer at the Bell Lightbox, but was perhaps ineligible because it premiered in 2010 (but then it didn't show up in last year's Top Ten, either). Furthermore, a strong Canadian showing in TIFF's avant-garde sidebar Wavelengths once again goes unrepresented.
Pricing for the Canada's Top Ten programming is as follows: 10 feature films (evening) plus panel discussion for $90; 10 feature films (day) plus panel discussion for $65; two shorts programmes for $18; single tickets (film, shorts programme or panel) are $12. Doors open 30 minutes prior to the screening. Member pricing is available.
Tickets go on sale to TIFF members on December 7, and then to the general public on December 14. They can be bought online at tiff.net, by phone at 416-599-TIFF or 1-888-599-8433, and in person at the TIFF Bell Lightbox Box Office at 350 King St. West.
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