TIFF movie chat

Late filmmaker and conservationist Rob Stewart’s first film, Sharkwater, exposed the devastating effects of shark finning. His latest film, Sharkwater Extinction, was finished with the cooperation of his family and colleagues following his tragic death by drowning in 2017. The TIFF world premier film aims to further the conversation started by the Stewart’s first documentary, showcasing the international shark fin industry and, according to the website, the “political corruption” that allows it to hunt sharks to the “edge of extinction.”

I've Heard the Mermaids Singing director Patricia Rozema returns to TIFF with Mouthpiece, an adaptation of an award winning two-woman play by Amy Nostbakken and Norah Sadava. In this highly original look at how the main character, Cassandra Haywood (Nostbakken and Sadava play two sides of the same woman), tries to express grief of her mother’s death, Rozema utilizes drama, musical numbers and wild humour.

After shooting Handmaid’s Tale in Ontario, Mad Men star Elisabeth Moss returns to Toronto with the film Her Smell. She plays Becky Something, a self-destructive punk rock singer whose wild lifestyle alienates everyone around her, band mates and audience included. As her band’s success slowly slips away she watches as other bands, including The Akergirls, (featuring Carla Delevingne as their singer) and a former friend become megastars. A redemptive rock and roll story, Her Smell explores one woman’s trip to the edge and back.

Specializing in genre films, Midnight Madness is TIFF tip of the hat to horror and subversive art. Among the ten films, which are “guaranteed to either terrorize or mesmerize,” is In Fabric, a ghost story starring Oscar nominee Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Gwendoline Christie. Described as a “haunting phantasmagoria,” it follows the unfortunate consequences that arise after department store customers come into contact with a cursed dress.

Ben is Back happens over the course of twenty-four hours over the Christmas holidays. Lucas Hedges is the title character, a prodigal son who returns home to parent’s (Julia Roberts and Courtney B. Vance) suburban place on Christmas Eve. He brings with him some troubles that test his mother’s love as she does what she can to keep him and her family safe. Star Lucas Hedges and Kathryn Newton were both at TIFF last year, co-starring in two films, Lady Bird and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.