FIRST LOOK 2021: 10 Canadian films about to shine!

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If you’re a distributor, agent, festival programmer or sales agent in the U.S. market, don’t miss your chance to catch an exclusive preview of 10 specially-selected Canadian films currently in post-production, and to virtually meet the passionate talent and inspiring creative teams behind them.

Kicking off with an exciting online event on May 13, 2021 at 1 P.M. EST, FIRST LOOK 2021 is a virtual international export and sales initiative organized by Telefilm Canada and the Trade Commissioner Service of the Consulates General of Canada in New York and Los Angeles. The initiative continues through May 19, and includes pitches by participants, film clips, and one-on-one meetings.

At the online kick-off event, you’ll enjoy a live conversation from our 10 creative teams moderated by The Gotham Film & Media Institute (formerly IFP), who will also facilitate introductions for one-on-one meetings. Finally, our 10 FIRST LOOK films are top-notch productions with strong export potential in the U.S., and are all eligible for Telefilm’s Export Assistance Program.

Here’s a sneak peek at these 10 FIRST LOOK 2021 projects:

1. Agam Darshi’s Donkeyhead

Known for acting in films such as Deepa Mehta’s Funny Boy, this Los Angeles-based Canadian filmmaker wrote, directed, and stars in this story about an isolated thirtysomething writer taking care of her ill father, till the surprise arrival of her siblings shakes things up.

2. Jonathan Keijser’s Peace by Chocolate   

Based on the true story and chocolate-making business of a Nova Scotia-based family who settled in Canada as Syrian refugees, this feature focuses on the son character, his family legacy and goals to be a physician. (Supported by Telefilm’s Talent to Watch program.)

3. Caroline Cox’s Food for the Rest of Us    

The debut feature documentary by this Northwest Territories-based filmmaker puts a face on farming by sharing four activist tales of North American farmers whose work aspires to create a society more connected to the ground and to food growth, in the context of capitalism.

4. Denver Jackson’s Esluna: The Crown of Babylon          

Following the 2018 series Elsuna: The First Monolith, this action-adventure is set in a retro-futuristic world. After her mentor is abducted by a renegade monk, a relic hunter and her crew must find the Crown of Babylon, an ancient artifact rumoured to have the power to bring back the dead.

5. Lena Macdonald’s Betrayal

This documentary follows a whistleblower’s quest for justice and his fearless takedown of an infamous dictator. This political thriller is all about diamonds, weapons, international terrorism, and espionage told through a harrowing story about family, love, violence and betrayal.

6. Elizabeth Lazebnik’s Be Still                    

Struggling through loss led to the subject of this film creating a brand-new art form. Supported by Telefilm’s Talent to Watch program, this project by Latvian-born Canadian filmmaker Elizabeth Lazebnik is about surrealist photographer Hannah Maynard, who died in 1918.

7. Bretten Hannam’s Wildhood            

Following the filmmaker’s award-winning 2019 short, Wildfire, this feature follows a teenager named Link who runs away with his younger brother find his mi’kmaq mother and reconnect with their culture.

8. Alexandra Sicotte-Levesque’s Greyland  

Set in Youngstown, Ohio, this documentary brings us into the efforts of a single mom and former addict trying to create change in their community, one that’s greatly impacted by many forms of socio-economic dysfunction. (In 2002, Alexandra Sicotte-Levesque co-founded Journalists for Human Rights. )

9. Caroline Monnet’s Bootlegger       

This first feature by this Anishinaabe/French filmmaker and visual artist follows two radically opposed women who must then come face to face to determine the best path to independence in their Indigenous community. In 2017, it snagged a Cannes Cinefondation award for its screenplay (co-written by Monnet and Daniel Watchorn). Best Friend Forever (from Brussels) has picked up international sales rights.

10. Patricia Chica’s Montreal Girls      

Montreal’s underground nightlife is legendary, and this debut feature from award-winning short filmmaker Patricia Chica follows a poet from the Middle East who is in Montreal for med school, and thanks to his partying cousin, meets two local girls and embarks on a relationship that shows him his destiny.

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