Event Category: Festival


A group of teenagers standing in the shade of some trees

Open captioned.

A group of teenagers rob a convenience store in the affluent suburb of Karaj, Iran—not out of need but sheer boredom. They boast about their perfect crime until one of them realizes that the videotape from the security camera is still at the store. They decide that Golsa, a girl from a much more modest family compared to her friends, will take the risk and retrieve the tape. But was she ever given a choice? Or was this predicated by Golsa’s background long before the incident even occurred? Through Golsa’s story, Pooya Badkoobeh scrutinizes the rigorous class divisions of Iranian society.

Screening to be followed by a panel discussion in English & Farsi. 95 minutes. Canadian premiere.

گروهي نوجوان در يكي از مناطق مرفه مسكوني حوالي كرج جهت سرگرمي و تفريخ دست به دزدي در يك بقالي ميزنند. زمانيكه مشغول به فخر فروشى بودند ناگهان متوجه ميشوند كه سرقتشان در دوربين مغازه ثبت شده است. از ميان خود گلسا را كه از رفاه مالي كمتري نسبت به ديگران برخوار بود مسئول بازگشت به مغازه و تصاحب فيلم ميكنند. آيا به أو حق انتخاب داده اند؟ و شايد به جهت وضع مالي خانوادگيش أو را كانديدا ى مناسبي مي بينند. با بازگويي داستان گلسا، پويا بادكوبه به بررسي پيچيدگي هاي مسائل طبقاتي در ايران ميپردازد.

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Pre-Film Reception hosted by Iranian Canadian Resource Centre. To reserve your $20 ticket (includes dessert, art, socializing & film) please contact I2CRC at 416.388.9314 or I2CRC@I2CRC.org. Note: Tickets bought via Eventbrite are for the film only (no pre-film reception)

If You Ask Me

Three people seated on a stage with a black backdrop; the person in the middle is holding a microphone and speaking

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In 2017, Rendezvous with Madness (RWM) and CAMH’s National Youth Action Committee (NYAC) partnered to create ‘If You Ask Me’ (IYAM) – a compilation of short films created by youth from across Canada exploring their own experiences with mental health and/or addiction issues.

This year, NYAC and RWM commissioned 15 of the youth filmmakers to create new IYAM films! Participating in a series of workshops with RWM mentors Nadine Espinoza, Rick Miller and Maria-Saroja Ponnambalam and facilitated by youth mentor Erum Khan, the filmmakers supported each other through the creative process by pushing themselves to share their stories and answer important questions.

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Participating Filmmakers:
Saba Akhtar, Nicole Ascaco, Bryan Bravo, Marina Doulis, Anna Fletcher, Amanda Goncalves, Meshach Harvey, James Knott, Clair Mooney, Hernan Munoz, Dorina Simeoniv, Abi Stushnoff, Bisher Abu Thwabeh and Ruby Urlocker.

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YAVASHAKI (White Chairs)

Two people seated on chairs in a field of varying white chairs, with a black fence and parking lot in the background

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In his fourth feature, renowned Iranian filmmaker Reza Dormishian offers a surreal and visually inventive portrayal of a shared traumatic experience. Dormishian’s protagonists are Mat and Emily – two young people who have both lost their families to the 2011 Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand. Although they never speak to each other, they share a strong bond. They are united by their loss, the tragedy that has never truly ceased. Using stop-motion technique and voiceover narration throughout his film, Dormishian chronicles the love story of two people whose relationship exists only in their minds. This is a love story that redefines the conventions of intimacy and captures the permanence of grief.

There will be a discussion following the screening. 76 minutes. Canadian premiere.

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My Talk with Florence

Photograph of a young Florence Burnier-Bauer

As challenging a film as you are likely to see this year (or any year for that matter); this two-hour portrait of an abuse survivor at the hands of a lauded contemporary artist is sadly more timely than ever given recent overdue falls from grace throughout the arts and entertainment spheres.

“Shoah meets Sálò, debating about the freedom of 1968. A minimalist interview-film, dealing with one of the most disturbing life-stories of the 20th century. Florence Burnier-Bauer fled from the sexual and psychological abuse by her post-war bourgeois home into a vagabond life of crime and freedom. She ended up in the Austrian counterculture community Friedrichshof, led by the infamous Vienna Actionist artist Otto Mühl, where her own children were subsequently taken away and the cycle of violence and mistreatment continued. This is the narrative of a woman who needed 50 years to learn to say no. An oral history of abuse, resistance and survival.” – Austrian Films

Director in attendance thanks to generous support from the Goethe Institut Toronto. Screening to be followed by a panel discussion. 129 minutes. Canadian premiere.

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Xiao Mei

A person sit in a dimly lit space, illuminated by blueish light

“A film about the tormenting presence of absence. A young shop girl named Xiao Mei suddenly vanishes from her usual existence, without explanation or trace. Has she dissolved, or perhaps redeemed herself somehow? Nine people from her immediate surroundings try to fill the empty space left behind by this supposedly insignificant young woman.Film, like no other artistic medium, is able to visualise the effect that subjective perception has on memory. Brilliantly juggling elements of film noir, suspense and whodunnit, director Maren Hwang’s sophisticated film explores the riddle of identity and how we interpret the world and our fellow human beings as well as how what are generally believed to be ‘objective reality’ and ‘truth’ are constructed.” – Berlin International Film Festival, 2018

There will be a discussion following the screening. 95 minutes. North American premiere.

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A person in a gym holding a barbell resting on their shoulders

Jessy and David are two twenty-something lovebirds living carefree in their small apartment. Their harmonious life is shaken when Jessy unexpectedly gets pregnant. Shortly after Jessy shares the news, the couple gets attacked on a train and David feels he “fails” to protect his girlfriend and unborn child. Humiliated and insecure about his manhood, he goes into intensive training and starts injecting highly addictive anabolic steroids. While gaining strength, David starts exhibiting reckless and aggressive behaviour. A modern cautionary tale – Goliath is a lyrical and vehement warning about toxic masculinity.

There will be a discussion following the screening. 85 minutes. Canadian premiere.

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A person stands with a folded flag over their arm, facing a coffin draped in an American flag and carried by six members of the US military

The Indigenous Denetclaw family resides on the isolated Prairie Wolf Indian Reservation. Every morning, the matriarch of the family, Mary Denetclaw, drives her alcoholic son Wesley to the nearest liquor store where he spends his days drinking beer into oblivion. Mary’s eldest son Raymond is now clean and works on a cattle ranch. Their routine suddenly changes when they learn that their youngest brother Floyd, a commander of a unit in Afghanistan, was killed while on active duty. The Denetclaw family sets out on a long struggle to repatriate Floyd’s body as they endure the unjust treatment from the US government.

There will be a discussion following the screening. 111 minutes. North American premiere.

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The Song and The Sorrow

A close up of a person wearing headphones in front of a recording microphone with a pop filter

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Legendary Canadian songwriter, Gene MacLellan is best known for his hits from the 1970s, including “Snowbird,” “Put Your Hand in the Hand” and “The Call.” Juno-award-winning musician, MacLellan gained national attention as one of the most brilliant songwriters in the Canadian music industry but he was never comfortable with being in the spotlight. After struggling with depression, MacLellan took his own life in 1995.

The songwriter’s daughter and musician Catherine MacLellan was only 14 when her father committed suicide. Years after his death, Catherine revisits her father’s past trying to understand his life-long battle with depression. The Song and the Sorrow captures Catherine’s personal struggle to reconcile her family’s tragedy and break the silence surrounding mental illness.

Accompanied by live performances from Catherine MacLellan and Workman Arts’ Bruised Years Choir. Q&A with the director following the screening.

42 minutes. Toronto premiere.

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The Word on the Street Toronto

The Word on the Street Toronto logo - Toronto Book & Magazine Festival

Hundreds of author readings and activities at Canada’s largest free book and magazine festival! The events listed below are all ASL interpreted.

More information about The Word on the Street Toronto

Amazon.ca Bestsellers Stage

10:00 – 10:40: Inkling – Kenneth Oppel & Sydney Smith
2:40 – 3:10: A Noise Downstairs – Linwood Barclay

Great Books Marquee

10:45 – 11:15: Alone Over Lonely
Single Girl Problems – Andrea Bain
Hard to Do – Kelli Korducki

11:15 – 11:45: Family Secrets
The Home for Unwanted Girls – Joanna Goodman
The Very Marrow Of Our Bones – Christine Higdon

4:00 – 4:30: Ayesha At Last – Uzma Jalaluddin

Learning Station

4:15 – 5:00: ASL Storytelling
Ontario Cultural Society of the Deaf and Silent Voice

Indigenous Voices

12:15 – 12:45: Fire Song – Adam Garnet Jones
12:45 – 1:15: Moon Of The Crusted Snow – Waubgeshig Rice

Teen Spirit

11:15 – 12:15 Heartfelt Tales
Here So Far Away – Hadley Dyer
Golden Hour – Chantel Guertin
Bonjour Girl – Isabelle Lafleche
Summer Constellations – Alisha Sevigny

12:15 – 1:15: In Medias Res
The Devil’s Standoff – V.S. McGrath
Siege of Shadows – Sarah Raughley
Monsters – David A. Robertson

Vibrant Voices of Ontario

10:00 – 10:30: Scientific Canadian
18 Miles – Christopher Dewdney
The Spinning Magnet – Alanna Mitchell

1:15 – 1:45: Transmission
Holy Wild – Gwen Benaway
Little Fish – Casey Plett

1:45 – 2:15: City Spaces
No Place to Go – Lezlie Lowe
The Fruitful City – Helena Moncrieff

Children’s Activity Tent

12:15 – 1:00: Almost Epic Squad: Mucus Mayhem, Kevin Sylvester
1:15 – 2:00: Kids Write 4 Kids

TD Children’s Literature Tent

10:20 – 10:40: Dr. Coo And The Pigeon Protest – Sarah Hampson
10:40 – 11:00: Stego-cumulus – Hilary Leung
11:00 – 11:20: Harry And Walter – Kathy Stinson
11:20 – 11:40: Team Steve – Kelly Collier
11:40 – 12:00: Celebrate The TD Grade One Book Giveaway!
With Rebecca Bender

3:20 – 3:40: The Hollow Under The Tree – Cary Fagan

3:40 – 4:20: Dangerous Pursuits
Escape – Linwood Barclay
MiNRS 3 – Kevin Sylvester

4:20 – 4:40: Tournament Trouble – Sylv Chiang
4:40 – 5:00: The Whirlpool – Laurel Croza

The Word on the Street Lethbridge

Black and white photograph of a large crowd of people milling about on a city street

Lethbridge Herald Author Stage
Live captioning and ASL interpretation

11:15 AM: Giselle Courteau – The Duchess Bakeshop Cookbook
12:00 PM: Pauline Dakin – Run, Hide, Repeat
1:00 PM: Joy Fielding – The Bad Daughter
2:00 PM: Angie Abdou – Home Ice: Reflections of a Reluctant Hockey Mom
3:00 PM: Amber Dawn – Sodom Road Exit
4:00 PM: Martin Parnell – The Secret Marathon

Canadian Heritage Author Stage
Live captioning

11:15 AM: Virginia Pésémapéo Bourdeleau – Winter Child
12:00 PM: Fartumo Kusow – Tale of A Boon’s Wife
1:00 PM: Norma Dunning – Annie Muktuk and Other Stories
2:00 PM: Iona Whishaw – A Sorrowful Sanctuary
3:00 PM: Ali Bryan – The Figgs
4:00 PM: David Martin – Tar Swan