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TIFF showcases movies filmed in countries all over the world, from America and Australia to Belgium and Brazil. But it is the Toronto International Film Festival, after all, which means that every year, TIFF’s organizers make a conscious effort to screen and highlight films that were shot right here in the Great White North. There are dozens of great Canadian films you can see at TIFF this year, but here are a few of our favourites.
mother! takes place pretty much entirely inside a house, so it technically could have been filmed anywhere. But Montreal is also one of Canada’s oldest cities, a perfect match for a film that borrows heavily from centuries-old stories and fables. As you may have heard by now, mother! is about a wife and husband (Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem) who start welcoming strangers into their private, quiet home and completely obliterate the tranquility that once was in the process.
Though the characters in Kodachrome are trying to make their way to Kansas, director Mark Raso decided to film the family dramedy in Toronto. Kodachrome is about a photographer named Ben (Ed Harris) who tries to mend the strained relationship he has with his son (Saturday Night Live’s Jason Sudeikis) during a quest to develop Ben’s photos in the world’s last operational Kodachrome lab.
With racial tensions rising all over the world, Black Cop focuses its lens on an East Coast city. Shot in Halifax, the film follows Cory Bowles (Trailer Park Boys), a police officer who tries to use his power as an authority figure to do to white people what white people have repeatedly done to him.
Canadian director Molly McGlynn works out of Toronto, so why not film in Toronto, too? In Mary Goes Round, an emotionally stunted woman (Aya Cash) gets arrested for drunk driving and moves back to her hometown, where she has to navigate the complicated relationships she has with her sick father and half-sister.
In Never Steady, Never Still, director Kathleen Hepburn tells the story of a woman named Judy and explores the complex ways in which Parkinson’s disease can affect the lives of patients as well as their families. Even though Judy’s son, Jamie, works in the Alberta oil fields, Never Steady, Never Still was actually filmed in B.C.
In Molly’s Game, poker “princess” Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) hosts underground poker games for the Hollywood elite. But director Aaron Sorkin chose to film his high-octane drama not in California, but in good ‘ol Toronto. Who knew Toronto could pass for so many different places?
Mina Shum’s ode to “Asian moms everywhere” was filmed right in the heart of Vancity, where Shum actually grew up—though the trailer doesn’t make Vancouver look nearly as rainy as people say it is. Meditation Park follows Maria, a Chinese woman whose world turns upside down when she realizes that her seemingly perfect husband may be having an affair.
Both 2015’s Crimson Peak and 2013’s Pacific Rim were filmed primarily at Pinewood Studios in Toronto, so it’s no surprise that Guillermo Del Toro returned to Toronto yet again to film TIFF 2017’s The Shape of Water. The Shape of Water is about a laboratory janitor (Blue Jasmine’s Sally Hawkins) who discovers an otherworldly creature during one of her shifts and eventually decides to go out of her way to save the creature’s life.