Toronto International Film Festival: Emile Hirsch’s ‘Freaks,’ More Canadian Films Join Lineup

On Wednesday morning, The Toronto International Film Festival unveiled its Canadian film lineup, including world premieres for the latest films by Maxime Giroux, Zach Lipovsky, Adam Stein and Thom Fitzgerald.

Additionally, the festival will host world premieres for the Will Sasso-led The Grizzlies, directed by Miranda de Pencier; The Great Darkened Days, starring Sarah Gadon and American Crime Story: Versace breakout Cody Fern, and helmed by Giroux; and Freaks, a science-fiction drama from writer-directors Lipovsky and Stein that features Emile Hirsch and two-time Oscar nominee Bruce Dern.


Toronto also booked first looks for Thom Fitzgerald’s Splinters, featuring Bitten star Sofia Banzhaf; the French-language drama The Fireflies are Gone, by director Sebastien Pilote; and Jasmin Mozaffari’s Firecrackers, which stars Mary Kills People actress Karena Evans. There will be a Toronto premiere for Oscar winner Denys Arcand’s The Fall of the American Empire, a follow-up to his 1986 Oscar nominee The Decline Of The American Empire, which has already been picked up by Sony Pictures Classics.

Other world premieres include Bruce Sweeney’s Kingsway, starring Gabrielle Rose and Camille Sullivan; the Haida-language drama Edge of the Knife, by directors Gwaai Edenshaw and Helen Haig-Brown; Darlene Naponse’s Falls Around Her, starring Tantoo Cardinal; and Akash Sherman’s Clara.

On the Canadian documentary front, Toronto will Anthropocene showcase, by directors Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky; Ron Mann’s Carmine Street Guitars, set for a North American bow in Toronto after debuting at Venice; Igor Drljaca’s The Stone Speakers; and Barry Avrich’s Prosecuting Evil: The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz.

There’s also a special screening for Sharkwater Extinction, the final project by the late director Rob Stewart, who died last year off the Florida Keys after he went missing during a scuba dive. Stewart is best known for his 2006 documentary Sharkwater, which debuted at the Toronto Film Festival and explored global shark hunting and its impact on the ocean ecosystem.

Also booked into Toronto is Accidence, a short film by Guy Maddin, Galen Johnson and Evan Johnson, as well as Alison Snowden and David Fine’s Animal Behavior, which marks the Academy Award–winning duo’s first short film collaboration with the National Film Board of Canada in 20 years.

Early last week, TIFF unveiled plans to screen films by other Canadian directors, including Kim Nguyen’s thriller The Hummingbird Project, featuring Salma Hayek, Alexander Skarsgard and Jesse Eisenberg; Patricia Rozema’s Mouthpiece and Keith Behrman’s Giant Little Ones, which stars Maria Bello and Kyle MacLachlan.

The Toronto Film Festival, which will make additional lineup announcements in the coming weeks, is set to run from Sept. 6-16.

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