2013 was a great year for Canadian cinema and come January, TIFF will celebrate the best of Canadian film with the Annual Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival.

TIFF Enemy

Story by Sheetal Maya Nanda | Above still from Enemy


TIFF kicked off its celebration of the best in Canadian film at an industry event in Toronto recently, where they unveiled their list of the top ten best Canadian features and ten best Canadian shorts of 2013. Established in 2001, Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival takes place from January 3 to 12, 2014, and celebrates excellence in Canadian cinema and raises global awareness of Canadian achievements in film.

“Canadian movies are global movies now, and TIFF’s Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival is the best opportunity to see our country’s creativity on the big screen,” said Toronto International Film Festival Artistic Director Cameron Bailey.

The list of ten features includes two documentaries, one animated film, five features from Quebec and two films with major Hollywood star power. A few of my predictions of must-see films at TIFF 2013 even made it onto the list!

TIFF Paradise Falls film

A still from Paradise Falls

The 10-day festival will also feature a few special events. On January 5, Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve (Incendies, Prisoners) and actor Jake Gyllenhaal will discuss both their Hollywood studio film Prisoners and the independent Canadian movie, Enemy (a Top Ten pick) with Cameron Bailey. On the last day of the festival, Bailey will have a conversation with filmmaker John Greyson, who will discuss the 50 days he was held in a Cairo prison earlier this fall and what it means to make political films.

Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival feature film selections for 2013, selected by a national panel of seven filmmakers and industry professionals are:

  1. Asphalt Watches (Shayne Ehman & Seth Scriver)
  2. Enemy (Denis Villeneuve) – Watch the trailer
  3. The F Word (Michael Dowse)
  4. Gabrielle (Louise Archambault) – Watch the trailer
  5. Rhymes for Young Ghouls (Jeff Barnaby)
  6. Sarah Prefers to Run (Chloe Robichaud)
  7. Tom at the Farm (Xavier Dolan)
  8. Vic & Flo Saw A Bear (Denis Cote)
  9. Watermark (Jennifer Baichwal & Edward Burtynsky)
  10. When Jews Were Funny (Alan Zweig)


Still not sure what to watch? Here are my top three picks for Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival:

The F Word TIFF

The F Word: Watch Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe), a med school dropout and a hopeless romantic, fall in love with Chantry (Zoe Kazan) and then discover the dirtiest word in romance…’friends.’

TIFF Gabrielle Film

Gabrielle: A young woman with Williams syndrome and an exceptional musical gift is hopelessly in love with her boyfriend Martin, but because they are “different,” their loved ones are fearful of their relationship. While Gabrielle does everything she can to gain her independence, she must still confront other people’s prejudices as well as her own limitations in the hopes of experiencing a love far from the ordinary. This film is Canada’s official entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2014 Academy Awards. Watch the trailer.

TIFF Rhymes for Young Ghouls

Rhymes for Young Ghouls: Kids on the Red Crow reservation are doomed. If they can’t pay the “truancy tax” at their residential school, they face beatings and abuse. At 15, Alia takes over her father’s drug business while he’s in prison and becomes the weed princess of Red Crow. After being robbed and thrown into the school’s dungeon, she decides to fight back. You won’t want to miss this anticipated debut feature from Jeff Barnaby.


The 13th annual Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival runs from January 3 to 12, 2014 at TIFF Bell Lightbox. The star-studded festival will feature public screenings of the selected winners, accompanied by introductions and Q&A sessions with filmmakers. Tickets are only $10 per film. For more information on all the festival and how to purchase tickets visit tiff.net/topten.


Story: Sheetal Maya Nanda  |  Photographs: TIFF