Festival News – Early 2024
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher
(January 23, 2024 – Toronto, ON) The new year is only 23 days old and there are signs this new year might be a good one for Canadian film and filmmakers. Today also brought news of the nominations for the 2024 Academy Awards and good news for Canadians there as well.
To Kill a Tiger is on the short list of 5 feature documentaries up for an Oscar®. So is Ryan Gosling, nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category for his work in Barbie, and the late Robbie Robertson’s score for Killers of the Flower Moon has been nominated as well. Also getting a nod from Oscar® is Celine Song for Best Original Screenplay for Past Lives. In the best Live Action Short category, Invincible, from Québec writer and director Vincent René-Lortie has been nominated.
To Kill a Tiger’s director, Nisha Pahuja said, “”I am beyond thrilled that To Kill a Tiger has been nominated for an Academy Award. This is an extraordinary honour for the creative team behind this eight-year journey, and it’s a testament to the tireless group of women working outside the normal ecosystem to ensure this story is seen and does what it needs to in the world.” This brings the NFB’s nominations count to 78, more than any other film organization based outside of Hollywood.
The 96th Academy Awards will be held on March 10.
Three Canadian films (that we know of) have been selected to screen at the 2024 Berlinale. Carol Nguyen’s new film Nanitic had its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) last September. This is her first short fiction film, and it will screen in official competition in the Generation Kplus section of the festival, which runs from February 16 to 26, 2024.
The feature, Who Do I Belong To (pictured above), has also been selected to screen in Official Competition at the 74th Berlinale. It’s the first feature film written and directed by Meryam Joobeur, following a string of successful short films, including 2018’s Oscar®-nominated short Brotherhood. Who Do I Belong To focuses on Aicha, who lives in the isolated north of Tunisia with her husband and youngest son. The family lives in anguish after the departure of the eldest sons Mehdi and Amine to the violent embrace of war. When Mehdi unexpectedly returns home with a mysterious pregnant wife, a darkness emerges, threatening to consume the entire village. Aicha is caught between her maternal love and her desire for the truth.
Screening in its World Premiere and in the Encounters lineup is Kazik Radwanski’s Matt and Mara (pictured above). Starring Matt Johnson as Matt, and Deragh Campbell as Mara, playing a university professor in a troubled marriage who unexpectedly reconnects with Matt, a man from her past.
Closer to home, the Victoria Film Festival, celebrating its 30th year, opens February 2 and is proudly touting an impressive lineup including 28 Canadian films. Some titles: Backspot, The Floating Man, The Great Salish Heist, Suze, Sweetland, Close To You and many others. Click here for all the information.
From the extreme west coast to St. John’s, Jenn Brown, Executive Director of the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival will be in Berlin as the festival partners with “Power for Change,” which is a global forum for women film organizations at Berlinale 2024. On February 16, Gail Maurice will talk about “Post-Heroic Storytelling: Moving Beyond the Male Gaze and reimagining the Female Gaze.” This is a pubic event being held at the Embassy of Canada.
Even closer to home, The 12th annual Toronto Black Film Festival will pay tribute to the trailblazing, award-winning actress Pam Grier on the 50th anniversary of the iconic Blaxploitation classic film Foxy Brown. This special screening will be at the Isabel Bader Theatre on February 15, 2024, 7:30pm.
Award-winning Cree filmmaker Tasha Hubbard is taking her new film to the Big Sky Film Festival in Montana. Singing Back the Buffalo, “follows Indigenous visionaries and communities who are rematriating the buffalo to the heart of the North American plains they once defined, signalling a turning point for Indigenous nations, the ecosystem, and all our collective survival.” Singing Back the Buffalo will have its World Premiere on February 24.
Also see: February 2024 film festivals.
Ralph Lucas is a former broadcast executive and award-winning director in high-end corporate video production. The founder and publisher of Northernstars.ca, online since 1998, he began writing about film and reviewing movies while in radio in Montreal in the mid-1970s.