For going on seventeen years now the TIFF Canada’s Top Ten which is currently running here in downtown Toronto and going until Jan 21st; not only here but in Montreal as well before it tours across the country, it has been a stalwart event for those who love and want to champion Canadian cinema. However with its launch this year, things just felt a little different especially in the wake of the increasing difficulties of curating a program like this, if only because of the overwhelming glut of content out on the marketplace.
As I’ve been covering it in one way or another for at least half of the series actual life, this is the first year where the selections have actually been, I don’t want to say questionable but at least not entirely expected from the bulk of the cinematic community.
Films like Alanis Obomaswin’s Our People Will Be Healed or Charles Officer’s poignant Unnamed Versus are obvious no brainer choices but there’s also a little bit of awkwardness and obscurity going throughout the list at the same time. Efforts like Adventures In Public School while fun felt a little too cookie cutter while something like Cory Bowles biting and sharp Black Cop gets left out and while Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World delighted audiences you’d figure that the conversation of a Canadian Music doc would begin and end with the Tragically Hip’s last hurrah in Long Time Running and it begs the question. Have we finally gotten to a point in our Canadian cinema that we can actually debate and have meaningful conversations about film in Canada without it feeling like movies are getting in just out of pity or because they’re the ones that are supposed to get in?
It’s been a strong year for Canadian cinema, not necessarily in box office, revenue or any of the other standard measuring sticks, but we as a nation are producing quality independent cinema on an every growing scale and in the current media landscape where content is overwhelmingly king, we are getting noticed. Thanks to a variety of different streaming options which are now increasingly more common place, there’s just more on the market place. Granted it makes it hard to discern between the good and the bad, the cream; one way or another will always to rise to the top of our very vibrant industry. It allows for the skilled curators at TIFF to find those films that NEED help getting to an audience rather than the ones that it feels like are going to be selected anyway.
Things already well reviewed here at In The Seats like Luk’ Luki and Never Steady, Never Still get another chance to win over audiences while things like Robin Aubert’s Les Affames show how quality genre pics deserve an audience in the rest of Canada even if they are in French. We’ll be highlighting titles like Ava & The Little Girl Who Was Fond of Matches later in the week here at In The Seats and allowing for those Canadian films that you may have missed the chance in the spotlight that they so richly deserve.
TIFF Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival runs until Jan 21st at locations in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal before touring across the country. After 17 years we are now fostering a film industry with genuine choice and unique voices out there that need to be heard. Go out and get some tickets.