Indigenous films, French zombie flick on TIFF’s annual list of top Canadian movies

TORONTO — The Toronto International Film Festival’s list of the top 10 Canadian movies of 2017 is a wide-ranging slate that reflects the diversity of filmmaking in this country, say organizers.

There’s the Quebec-set, French-language zombie flick “Les Affames” by Robin Aubert, which won the best Canadian feature film award at TIFF in September.

Also on the list, unveiled Wednesday, are a couple of Indigenous documentaries: “Our People Will Be Healed” by Alanis Obomsawin and “Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World” by Catherine Bainbridge.

Other titles include “Allure,” a psychological thriller starring Evan Rachel Wood and directed by sibling photographers Carlos Sanchez and Jason Sanchez.

In “Luk’Luk’I,” five Vancouverites live on the fringes of society during the 2010 Winter Olympics. The drama/documentary hybrid by Wayne Wapeemukwa, who is of Metis heritage, won TIFF’s best Canadian first feature film award and the Directors Guild of Canada’s 2017 Discovery Award.

“These are stories that really run the gamut, from a genre film like ‘Les Affames’ … that trades in what we know about the conventions of the zombie horror film but has a lot to say about Quebec culture as well,” says Cameron Bailey, the festival’s artistic director.

“Then on the other hand you’ve got films like ‘Luk’Luk’I’ and ‘Rumble,’ and I think especially ‘Our People Will Be Healed’ that really speak to what I think is the most urgent story that Canadians are telling right now, which is the story of the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.”

TIFF’s annual highlighting of homegrown movies is part of its Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival, which includes 10 days of screenings and events in Toronto and a cross-country tour.

The festival kicks off Jan. 12, 2018 in Toronto with the comedy “Adventures in Public School” by Kyle Rideout.

Other movies include Sadaf Foroughi’s Tehran-set drama “Ava,” and Simon Lavoie’s “The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches,” about children who have to fend for themselves after their father’s death in rural Quebec in the 1930s.

The list also includes “Never Steady, Never Still” by Kathleen Hepburn, about a mother battling Parkinson’s disease, and Charles Officer’s documentary ”Unarmed Verses,” about residents facing eviction from a low-income housing block in Toronto.

The festival will also see talent participating in onstage discussions, including Obomsawin and Wood, and will include screenings of 10 Canadian short films and 10 short films by Canadian film students.

The Toronto-based event will be followed by a tour to Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Regina, Saskatoon, Vancouver and Winnipeg.

“I think it’s such a necessary festival,” says Maxim Roy, who stars in “Allure.”

“People can’t see Canadian films a lot in Canada, unfortunately. So a festival like this is definitely necessary and just a great opportunity for people to discover the immense talent that we have as directors and performers and writers.”

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