Canada Now: Online film festival launches on Curzon Home Cinema
Staff Reporter | On 13, Jun 2020Reading time: 6 mins
Canada Now is returning as an online film festival this summer, with films streaming on Curzon Home Cinema this summer.
Celebrating the best of new Canadian cinema, the festival from Telefilm Canada is entering its fourth year. With cinemas closed across the country, it has reimagined the event as a digital festival, with six feature films distributed exclusively on Curzon’s streaming platform, alongside a selection of live online interviews with the filmmakers.
The festival, which kicked off last weekend with Atom Egoyan’s Guest of Honour, starring David Thewlis, continues with five UK Premieres and includes a special live interview with journalist Robert Fisk and director Yung Chang for the critically acclaimed documentary This Is Not a Movie. That takes place on 15th June, accompanying its release on Friday 12th June.
Christa Dickenson, Executive Director of Telefilm Canada, says: “Helping Canadian films find audiences everywhere is central to Telefilm’s mandate. We are determined to pursue our goal despite the difficult circumstances we are living through. The stories being told in these six films will resonate with audiences in the UK, as they have with audiences across the globe, and that making them available digitally will continue to make cinema culture available to people even as screens are closed.”
Filmmaker Atom Egoyan says: “After our wonderful screening at the London Film Festival last year, I’m thrilled that David Thewlis’s brilliant performance will find a larger audience in the UK.”
Here’s the full festival line-up:
Guest of Honor – Out now
Internationally-acclaimed veteran filmmaker Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, Adoration, Remember) returns with a complex, absorbing family drama about a father-daughter relationship wrestling with past traumas that inform present circumstances. Jim Davis (David Thewlis) is a health inspector in Hamilton, making sure restaurants are up to health code standards. His daughter, Veronica (Laysla De Oliveira), a high school music teacher, has been recently incarcerated for inappropriate behaviour with students. Jim is convinced that she is innocent, but his efforts to reduce her sentence are blocked by Veronica’s mysterious refusal to cooperate. In the midst of trying to understand his daughter’s attitude, Jim channels his energy and frustration into his work, with some unsettling results and, as always in Egoyan, some startling revelations.
This Is Not a Movie – Out now
This fascinating, intimate portrait of British political correspondent Robert Fisk may be about a single journalist, but it’s also an intelligent and valuable documentary about how – now more than ever – credible, reliable journalism in general is crucial to understanding our tumultuous world. Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Yung Chang (Up The Yangtze) follows Fisk’s storied and often dangerous career, from his early coverage of the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland to the various, ongoing, and intense Middle East conflicts from the Israeli-Palestinian tensions to recent events in Syria. Despite what could be described as decades of disillusioning world events, many of which he has covered up close, Robert Fisk remains passionate and committed to journalism, and is an articulate commentator on how knowledge and awareness is produced in what can often be very and sometimes dangerously biased media.
Anne at 13,000ft – 26th June
In just two features — TIFF selections Tower (2012) and How Heavy This Hammer (2015) — Kazik Radwanski has emerged as one of the most distinctive young voices in Canadian cinema, with his refreshingly unadorned yet empathic portraits of alienated individuals struggling to keep it together. His latest and best film to date, Anne at 13,000 ft centres on a precarious period in the life of its eponymous Anne, played by Deragh Campbell.
One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk – 3rd July
Set in 1961 on Canada’s far northern Baffin Island, Zacharias Kunuk’s (Atanarjuat) latest drama is a quietly riveting tale drawn from the historical reality of the attempted forced relocation and cultural assimilation of Canada’s Inuit Indigenous peoples. One Day revolves around Noah Piugattuk and his nomadic Inuit band who live and hunt as their ancestors have done for millennia in the vast snowy landscapes. During one hunting trip, proceedings are interrupted by the unexpected arrival of an Inuit translator and a white government employee, known as ‘Boss.’ Dispatched by the Government of Canada, Boss wants to convince Noah and his band to move to a settlement far from their traditional lands. Their intense conversation, translated with varying (and amusing) degrees of accuracy, is both dramatic and illuminating about the processes of, and strategies of resistance to, the forces of colonisation.
And the Birds Rained Down – 17th July
In this meditative drama about time and friendship, award-winning director Louise Archambault (Familia, Gabrielle) weaves together the stories of three aging hermits who have left their former lives and gone ‘off the grid’ into the Quebec landscape. Living in a remote forest near a lake, Tom, Charlie, and Ted pass the time by tending to their neighbour’s cannabis crop, swimming, singing, and reminiscing. Their peaceful pastoral existence is soon shattered by a sudden death of one in their group, and by the arrival of two women: a young photographer who wants to know more about the troubled pasts of these hermits, and an elderly woman who spent most of her life institutionalised and is now looking for solace in nature. Meanwhile, wildfires are threatening the region and encroaching on what was their idyllic life away from the modern world. Within its quiet, intimate personal dramas, And The Birds Rained Down delivers a poetic, elegiac study of intertwined lives and destinies, where love can happen at any age. It also features a star-studded ensemble cast of legendary Quebec actors, including Remy Girard, Gilbert Sicotte, Louise Portal, and Andrée Lachapelle.
White Lie – 31st July
Twenty-something university student Katie Arneson (Kacey Rohl) is struggling to balance life and school. Estranged from her father and damaged by the death of her mother, Katie is trying to cope with not only financial stresses in her life, but also a recent cancer diagnosis. To deal with both, she starts an online funding campaign to pay her way through school and for the ongoing cancer treatments. Trouble is, Katie’s cancer story is fake; she’s made it up as a personal fundraising scheme. While initially convincing, cracks soon begin to appear in her story. Pressure mounts when her girlfriend, her father, university officials, as well as nurses and doctors, start asking Katie for proof of her condition. Her increasingly desperate strategies to maintain the fiction will lead her into dangerous territory. A fascinating, tautly constructed psychological drama, White Lie is a searching examination of millennial identity and morality in the age of social media.