Tiff 2017 Adds More Programs: “Alias Grace” Series to Make World Premiere

Alias Grace”: Jan Thijs/Netflix

The Toronto International Film Festival announced even more programs for its 2017 edition today. In addition to the Canadian and Cinematheque film lineups, Tiff unveiled the finalists for Telefilm Canada Pitch This! in which filmmaking teams will have the chance to pitch their film idea to a panel of industry experts. The fest also announced that Montreal filmmaker Anne Émond (“Our Loved Ones,” “Nuit #1”) has been selected as the 2017 Len Blum Resident.

One of our most anticipated TV projects of the year, Netflix’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel “Alias Grace,” will make its world premiere in Tiff’s Canadian slate, a collection of works from Canadian filmmakers. “Alias Grace” is a six-part miniseries about Grace Marks (Sarah Gadon), a real-life Irish immigrant and servant in 1840s Upper Canada who was accused — and convicted — of murdering her employer and his housekeeper. The series is written and produced by Sarah Polley (“Stories We Tell,” “Away from Her”) and directed by Mary Harron (“American Psycho,” “I Shot Andy Warhol”).

In honor of Canada’s 150th birthday, this year’s Cinematheque event will celebrate Canadian filmmakers by “revisiting and restoring landmarks of Canada’s cinematic history.” Cinematheque will feature a screening of the digitally-restored “I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing,” written and directed by Patricia Rozema (“Into the Forest”). The 1987 comedic drama follows a photographer (Sheila McCarthy) who discovers that a gallery owner and talented painter (Paule Baillargeon) is actually passing off her lover’s (Ann-Marie MacDonald) artwork as her own.

The Len Blum Residency will see Émond live and work at Tiff Bell Lightbox for two months. She will also receive mentorship from Blum himself, the veteran screenwriter of films like “Stripes” and “Meatballs.” Émond has directed four features and several shorts. Her most recent film, “Nelly,” made its world debut at Tiff 2016. It is a biopic about Canadian novelist Nelly Arcan.

Tiff will be held September 7–17, 2017. Check out the women-directed and co-directed films in the Canadian, Cinematheque, and Pitch This! slates below. Lists and synopses adapted from Tiff.



“Our People Will Be Healed”

Alanis Obomsawin, Canada World Premiere



Sadaf Foroughi, Iran/Canada/Qatar World Premiere

Mary Goes Round

Molly McGlynn, Canada World Premiere

“Never Steady, Never Still”

Kathleen Hepburn, Canada World Premiere

Contemporary World Cinema

Meditation Park

Mina Shum, Canada World Premiere

Porcupine Lake

Ingrid Veninger, Canada World Premiere


Alias Grace

Mary Harron, Canada/USA World Premiere


“I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing”

Patricia Rozema, Canada, 1987

Pitch This!

“12 Days,” Jennifer Mesich, Tracey Deer

Inspired by the remarkable true story of an Indigenous woman who overcame the odds to survive 12 days in the Canadian wilderness. Attacked by a trusted friend, she suffered a broken jaw and was left to die. She persevered and lived to tell the tale.

“Boring Girls,” Coral Aiken, Hannah Cheesman

A deadly coming-of-age story about two teenage girls, Rachel and Fern, who become rising stars in the death metal scene. After experiencing an assault, they decide to embark on a bloody quest for revenge, more gruesome than any of their lyrics.

“Fall from the Sky,” Dan Montgomery, Deragh Campbell, Kaz Radwanski

Lucy, a 30-year-old woman with symptoms of schizophrenia, works as a teacher at a Toronto daycare centre. She begins to experience episodes at work, and struggles to navigate her employment, students, co-workers and personal relationships.

Imposter,” Adam Goldhammer, Evan Landry, Katie McMillan

Lamia Eaton, a teenager isolated on a remote maple farm, investigates her mother’s uncharacteristic and increasingly eerie behavior. As she begins to unearth an evil presence infecting the farm, Lamia is no longer able to trust anyone, including herself.

“Nadia, Butterfly,” Dominique Dussault, Pascal Plante

“Nadia, Butterfly” reveals the backstage world of the Olympic Games through the eyes of Nadia, a 20-year-old butterfly swimmer. Doubt-ridden about her post-Olympic future after winning bronze for Team Canada at the relay, her very last professional event, Nadia loses herself into lustful nights of excesses, punctuated by episodes of deep questioning.

Tiff 2017 Adds More Programs: “Alias Grace” Series to Make World Premiere was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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