‘Blackberry,’ ‘Seven Veils’ among TIFF’s picks for top Canadian films of 2023

Alex Nino Gheciu, The Canadian Press
‘Blackberry,’ ‘Seven Veils’ among TIFF’s picks for top Canadian films of 2023

TORONTO — A chaotic comedy about a generation-defining smartphone and a drama about a tortured opera director are among the Toronto International Film Festival’s picks for best Canadian films of the year.

TIFF’s annual Canada’s Top Ten list includes Matt Johnson’s “BlackBerry,” the Toronto director’s rollicking account of the meteoric rise and disastrous demise of the once-ubiquitous gadget. 

Also making the cut is Toronto auteur Atom Egoyan’s opera drama “Seven Veils,” about a young director who stages a production of “Salome” while confronting her personal demons. 

Seven films are debut features, including Edmonton-born Cree director Cody Lightning’s mockumentary comedy “Hey, Viktor!” and Nova Scotia-bred Fawzia Mirza’s queer coming-of-age film “The Queen of My Dreams.”

Another first-time filmmaker on the list is Quebec’s Ariane Louis-Seize, whose francophone comedy-drama “Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person,” about a sensitive vampire, won the director prize at this year’s Venice Days.

TIFF says this year’s list was determined by its Canadian programming team, in consultation with programmers from film festivals across the country.

The selected films will play at TIFF Bell Lightbox from Jan. 25 to 28 and several will screen across Canada as part of TIFF’s Film Circuit program, which brings films to rural, remote and underserved communities.

Other features that made the list are: “Kanaval” directed by Henri Pardo, “Seagrass” by Meredith Hama-Brown, “Solo” by Sophie Dupuis, “Someone Lives Here” by Zack Russell and “Tautuktavuk (What We See)” by Carol Kunnuk and Lucy Tulugarjuk.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 6, 2023.

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