1 – Guillaume de Fontenay’s Sympathy for the Devil (Sympathie pour le diable)
Set in 1992 Sarajevo wartime, this France-Canada coproduction is the first feature from this Montreal filmmaker.
The drama cleaned up at France’s St-Jean-De-Luz International Film Festival, winning Grand Prix, Audience Prize, Young Jury Prize, and Best Actor Award (for Niels Schneider playing war correspondent Paul Marchand — the late journalist who authored the book that inspired this film). Schneider also snagged Best Actor at Belgium’s Waterloo Historical Film Festival, where the film won Audience Prize, Critics Prize, and Best Actress for Ella Rumpf.
2 – Kathleen Hepburn and Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers’s The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open
Inspired by a true experience of Tailfeathers, two Indigenous women from different backgrounds meet on the street after an assault.
From its debut at the Berlin International Film Festival, to New York Times accolades and a deal with Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY for U.S and international sales, this Canada-Norway coproduction’s awards include honourable mention for Best Canadian Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival and three Canadian Screen Awards (including Achievement in Direction). It’s also been available on Netflix in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and New Zealand! Read more in our spotlight article!
3 – François Girard’s The Song of Names
Clive Owen and Tim Roth star in this Canada-Hungary coproduction about a young violinist who goes missing during the second World War, and his friend tries to find him years later.
With U.S. rights acquired by Sony Pictures Classics and praises by The Los Angeles Times, the drama premiered at TIFF, closed the San Sebastian International Film Festival, and won seven Canadian Screen Awards — notably, two for its Canadian composer Howard Shore (who won a trio of Academy Awards for music for Lord of the Rings.) Fun fact: Girard’s first violin feature, 1998’s The Red Violin, earned the Oscar for Best Music, Original Score, for composer John Corigliano.
4 – Philippe Lacôte’s Night of the Kings (La nuit des rois)
This Ivory Coast-France-Canada-Senegal coproduction is sweeping the worldwide circuit, recently competing in the Busan International Film Festival! Set in an Ivory Coast prison, the feature premiered at the Venice International Film Festival before snagging an Amplify Voices Award at TIFF; Best Artistic Achievement Award at Greece’s Thessaloniki Film Festival; and two Silver Hugos (Best Cinematography and Best Sound) at the Chicago International Film Festival. (P.S. It’s also the Ivory Coast’s Academy Awards submission for Best International Feature Film!)
5 – Zeresenay Berhane Mehari’s Sweetness in the Belly
Based on Canadian writer Camilla Gibb’s novel and starring Dakota Fanning, this Ireland-Canada coproduction by Ethiopian filmmaker Zeresenay Berhane Mehari premiered at TIFF. (Pssst: Canadian scribe Laura Phillips scooped up a WCG screenwriting award for her adaptation!)
The story follows Lilly, a woman who helps unite refugee families while seeking a man she loves, inspired by Lilly’s youth as an orphan. This film received funding through Canada’s prestigious membership in Eurimages!
6 – Brandon Cronenberg’s Possessor
With distribution deals in the U.S. (Neon), U.K. (Signature Entertainment), and Canada (Elevation Pictures), audiences are devouring this terrifying sci-fi thriller from Toronto filmmaker Brandon Cronenberg.
This Canada-U.K. coproduction about mind control assassins premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and took home Best Feature Film and Best Director awards at the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia. Intrigued? Check out our spotlight story!
7 – Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaïche’s Advocate
This documentary about Lea Tsemel, a Jewish-Israeli lawyer who defends Palestinians and political prisoners, is an Israel-Canada-Switzerland coproduction that premiered at Sundance.
With award-winning Canadian Paul Cadieux as one of its co-producers, this doc won big at the Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival, Kraków Film Festival, Hong Kong International Film Festival, Palm Springs International Film Festival, and Docaviv International Documentary Film Festival. (P.S.: The film was shortlisted for an Academy Award in the Best Documentary Feature category!)
8 – Azazel Jacobs’s French Exit
For its world premiere, this Canada-Ireland coproduction was the closing film of this year’s New York Film Festival. Written by Canadian Patrick deWitt, who adapted his book into the screenplay, the story follows Michelle Pfeiffer from New York to Paris, as a socialite running out of money, along with her cat and son.
9 – Philippe Falardeau’s My Salinger Year
Starring Sigourney Weaver and Margaret Qualley, this Canada-Ireland coproduction had its world premiere as the opening film of the Berlinale, and has a U.S. distribution deal with IFC Films! Directed by Oscar-nominated Canadian Philippe Falardeau, the tale is set in 1990s New York; a young writer gets a job at the literary agency of famed real-life author J.D. Salinger.
10 – Sean Durkin’s The Nest
This U.K.-Canada coproduction premiered at Sundance, where Canadian filmmaker Sean Durkin previously won a 2011 directing prize for Martha Marcy May Marlene.
Starring Jude Law and Carrie Coon, The Nest is about an ambitious man who moves his family from the U.S. to England during the 1980s. (IFC Films has the U.S. distribution rights, and FilmNation Entertainment has international rights.)