TIFF unveils Canada sesquicentennial celebration

Canada on Screen will present free screenings, special events and a list of 150 essential national works. (Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner pictured.)

To celebrate Canada’s upcoming 150th anniversary in 2017, the Toronto International Film Festival has partnered to produce Canada on Screen, a free year-long program that will present moving-image installations, events, and screenings across the country.

TIFF, along with Library and Archives Canada, the Cinémathèque québécoise, and The Cinematheque in Vancouver, will present the program beginning in January of next year. As an official Canada 150 Signature Project, the federal government will contribute $1.3 million in funding to the initiative.

In addition to the free programming, TIFF has also unveiled a list of what it deems to be 150 essential Canadian works, including animation, commercials, music videos, shorts, features, moving image installations, experimental films and video, documentaries, and television shows. The full list includes 22 television shows (such as Degrassi Junior High and SCTV), 40 features (such as David Cronenberg’s Videodrome and Dead Ringers, as well as Lea Pool’s La Femme de l’hôtel) and 22 documentaries (including Guy Maddin’s My Winnipeg and Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell). See the full list here.

Canada on Screen will kick off in January with an expanded Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival, which will include an additional 10 spots for titles from the essentials list.

TIFF will also add 72 screenings to its 2017 programming schedule from the list, including a free screening of Zacharias Kunuk’s Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001) that will feature a live orchestral performance as well as Inuit throat singers.

TIFF also announced its national screening outreach program, Film Circuit, will partner with REEL Canada’s National Canadian Film Day 150 on April 19 of next year to present 150 free screenings of Canadian titles at various Film Circuit locations across the country.

In its Cinematheque program, the 2017 festival will feature eight titles from the list, including a 4K restoration of Clement Virgo’s Rude (1995), as well as Peter Mettler’s Picture of Light (1994), Patricia Rozema’s I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing (1987), and Guy Maddin’s Archangel (1990).

Today’s programming announcements are in addition to TIFF’s previously announced partnership with imagineNATIVE, Pinnguag and the Initiative for Indigenous Features for 2167, a VR project that will asks six Indigenous filmmakers and artists to look 150 years into the future. That project will be presented in June and October of next year at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Image: Film Reference Library