Hold on to your popcorn, because Canadian cinema is taking the world by storm! From the chilly shores of Vancouver to the bustling streets of Toronto, the Great White North is producing some of the most exciting and innovative films in the industry. With their distinctive storytelling, captivating performances, and breathtaking visuals, Canadian filmmakers are carving out a unique place in the global film scene.
This blog post is your backstage pass to all the latest buzz on Canadian cinema’s international recognition and success at film festivals around the world. We’ll shine the spotlight on the rising stars and trailblazing filmmakers who are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible on the big screen.
Get ready to discover the hidden gems that are making waves from Cannes to Sundance and everywhere in between. So, grab your favorite blanket, dim the lights, and get ready to be transported to a world of Canadian cinema that’s anything but cold!
Latest Scoop on Film Festivals Happening Across Canada
Lights, camera, action! Get ready for some exciting updates about film festivals happening across Canada. If you’re a movie buff, you’ll be happy to know that the Canadian Film Fest just took place in Toronto from March 27 to April 1. Don’t worry if you missed it, as it was also available virtually across Canada on Super Channel Fuse.
Another great event was the Victoria Film Festival, which took place from February 4 to 13, 2023. If you’re looking for something unique, the Night of Adventure Film Festival just happened on April 30 in Halifax. This festival is dedicated entirely to films made by Atlantic Canadians and celebrates outdoor adventures.
But it’s not just the big cities that are getting all the action – smaller cities like Calgary are hosting their own film festivals too. The Calgary International Film Festival will be held from September 24 to October 4 and is now the largest event of its kind in Alberta and the sixth-largest film festival in Canada.
A Look at Recent Notable Canadian Films
Canada is renowned for its diverse and vibrant culture, as well as for its innovative and rich film industry. Canadian films have gained recognition and accolades on the international stage, impressing audiences at prestigious film festivals and events. Here are some of the highlights that left audiences in awe:
The Canadian cinema scene had an absolute blockbuster year in 2023. Denis Villeneuve’s spectacular sci-fi flick, Dune, left critics and audiences alike gasping for air with its epic storyline and mesmerising visuals. This joint Canadian and US production didn’t just make a splash; it made a tidal wave with a whopping 10 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Cinematography. Dune also nabbed several awards at the Golden Globes, BAFTA, and Critics Choice Awards, just to name a few. Suffice it to say, this sci-fi epic is nothing short of legendary!
The Power of the Dog
The Power of the Dog, directed by Jane Campion and starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst, is a Western psychological drama that’s taking the world by storm. Based on the 1967 novel of the same name by Thomas Savage, this 2021 film premiered at the 78th Venice International Film Festival to a four-minute standing ovation and a Silver Lion for Best Direction for Campion. The accolades didn’t stop there, as The Power of the Dog also won Best Achievement in Directing at the Academy Awards and Best Film at the BAFTA Awards.
Night Raiders, directed by the incomparable Danis Goulet, has been making waves with its gripping story and breathtaking visuals. This sci-fi epic has already racked up several nominations and awards, including a slew of Canadian Screen Awards for Achievement in Make-Up, Sound Mixing, Costume Design, Visual Effects, Original Screenplay, and Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. It was also nominated for Best Motion Picture, Achievement in Casting, Achievement in Direction, Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, and the John Dunning Best First Feature Film Award.
And then there’s Scarborough, a moving drama based on the novel by Catherine Hernandez and directed by the powerhouse duo of Shasha Nakhai and Rich Williamson. The film follows three kids from different backgrounds who attend a literacy program in a low-income neighbourhood, and it’s been garnering praise left and right. While it didn’t snag the People’s Choice Award at TIFF, it did take home three Canadian Screen Awards, including the coveted Best Motion Picture prize. Catherine Hernandez also won Best Adapted Screenplay, cementing Scarborough’s status as a must-see film.
Beans, directed by Tracey Deer, made waves at the 9th Canadian Screen Awards in 2021, taking home the Canadian Screen Award for Best Picture and the John Dunning Best First Feature Film Award. And it’s no surprise as the film delves into a powerful and poignant story about an Indigenous girl coming of age during the 1990 Oka Crisis. It was also nominated for the Prix Iris for Best Screenplay at the 24th Quebec Cinema Awards in 2022.
Babysitter is a 2022 Canadian comedy-drama film that garnered attention for its charming and witty take on modern relationships. Directed by Monia Chokri and adapted from a theatrical play by Catherine Léger, the film was nominated for several awards at the 2023 Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Motion Picture, Best Lead Performance in a Film for Monia Chokri, Best Supporting Performance in a Film for Nadia Tereszkiewicz, Best Adapted Screenplay for Catherine Léger, and Best Visual Effects for Marc Hall. Get ready to laugh, cry, and relate to this unforgettable film.
This 2022 Canadian drama film directed by Clement Virgo and based on the novel by David Chariandy received several nominations at the 2023 Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Motion Picture, Best Director for Clement Virgo, and Best Lead Performance in a Film for Lamar Johnson. It won 12 of its 14 nominations in the film categories, including Best Motion Picture, Achievement in Direction for Clement Virgo, and Performance in a Leading Role for Lamar Johnson.
This 2022 Canadian drama film directed by Charlotte Le Bon received nominations for Best First Feature Film at the César Awards and Best Motion Picture at the Canadian Screen Awards. Charlotte Le Bon was also nominated for Best Director at the Canadian Screen Awards, while Joseph Engel was nominated for Best Lead Performance in a Film.
This 2022 Canadian drama film directed by Anthony Shim won several awards, including the Platform Prize at the Toronto International Film Festival, Best Canadian Film at the Vancouver International Film Festival, and the WIFF Prize in Canadian Film at the Windsor International Film Festival. It was also nominated for several awards at the Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Motion Picture and Best Director for Anthony Shim.
Viking, directed by Stéphane Lafleur, is a hilarious science-fiction comedy that will have you laughing out loud. This Canadian gem has received 13 nominations at the Canadian Screen Awards in 2023, including Achievement in Direction for Stéphane Lafleur and Performance in a Leading Role for Steve Laplante. The movie follows a B-team of volunteers who are tasked with simulating a manned mission to Mars, in order to work out the social issues that the real astronauts will face. With a witty script and lovable characters, Viking is a must-watch for any sci-fi or comedy fan.
From heartwarming dramas to mind-bending sci-fi comedies, Canadian films have been making waves on the global stage with their originality and creativity. But it’s not just about entertainment – Canadian cinema reflects our society and culture, giving us a window into our world and inspiring us with stories that connect us to each other and the world.