At the 31st Palm Springs International Film Festival, (which took place in January), Canada shone bright in 14 films — including Canadian music docs, acclaimed coproductions, Canada’s Oscar choice, an award winner and an honourable mention! 

Our eighth annual Talent Fund fundraiser added to our presence Palm Springs. After a premiere screening of Sanja Zivkovic’s Easy Land (also screening at the fest) guests celebrated emerging Canadian filmmakers, which the Talent Fund program supports.


Discover the 14 Canadian films and coproductions that made waves at PSIFF: 



Awards Buzz – Best International Feature Film Submissions 

The PSIFF has a jury prize section devoted to films submitted to the Oscars’ International Feature Film category. Canada was wellrepresented with three films, including a Canadian flick that took home a special mention! 

Sophie Deraspe’s Antigone 

  • Canada’s submission to the 2020 Oscars scored in Palm Springs: earning the FIPRESCI Prize for International Screenplay Special Mention.  
  • Antigone also won the Best Canadian Feature Film prize at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it had its world premiere. (Psst… revisit our spotlight on this film, here). 

Gary Keane and Andrew McConnell’s Gaza (Ireland-Canada coproduction) 

  • After making its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, this documentary was Ireland’s Oscar submission for Best International Feature Film. 

Elia Suleiman’s It Must be Heaven (C’est ça le paradis?), a France-Qatar-Germany-Canada-Palestine-Turkey coproduction 

  • Won a special mention and the FIPRESCI prize for Best Film in Competition at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. 
New Voices New Visions 

Heather Young’s Murmur  

  • Making its U.S. premiere at PSIFF, this Talent to Watch project marks the debut feature from this Halifax filmmaker.  
  • Murmur scooped up a FIPRESCI Prize for the Discovery Programme at TIFF, the Emerging Artist Award at the Calgary International Film Festival, and the Emerging Canadian Director Award at the Vancouver International Film Festival. At the FIN Atlantic International Film Festival, this Canadian favourite took home Best Atlantic Screenwriting, Best Atlantic Director, and Best Atlantic Feature!  
True Stories 

Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaiche’s Advocate(Israel-Canada-Switzerland coproduction) 

  • Another win! This documentary about Lea Tsemel, a Jewish-Israeli lawyer who defends Palestinians and political prisoners, snagged the PIFF’s GoE Bridging the Borders Award. 
  • After premiering at Sundance, it took home a jury prize for Best Documentary at the Hong Kong International Film Festival, among many others!  

Barry Avrich’s David Foster: Off the Record 

  • Making its U.S. debut was this doc about famed Canadian producer and musician David Foster, which had its world premiere at TIFF. 

Daniel Roher’s Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band 

  • This doc about Canadian musician Robbie Robertson was the opening film of TIFF. 

Yung Chang’s This Is Not a Movie(Canada-Germany coproduction) 

  • This documentary about foreign correspondent Robert Fisk screened at TIFF.       
World Cinema Now  

Jean-Philippe Duval’s 14 Days, 12 Nights (14 jours, 12 nuits) 

  • This story of a woman (played by Anne Dorval) who travels to her late adopted daughter’s home country, Vietnam, to find the child’s birth mother, had its U.S. premiere at PSIFF. 

Louise Archambault’s And the Birds Rained Down (Il pleuvait des oiseaux) 

  • After making its world premiere at TIFF, this feature screened at the VIFF, Festival de cinéma de la Ville de Québec, and San SebastiáInternational Film Festival, to name a few. Its U.S. debut was in Palm Springs. 

Sanja Zivkovic’s Easy Land  

  • This Talent to Watch project played at TIFF and made its international premiere at PSIFF.  

Daniel Grou’s Mafia Inc.  

  •  This tale of tailors and the mafia had its North American premiere at the fest!  

Aisling Chin-Yee’s The Rest of Us 

  • Heather Graham and Jodi Balfour star in this story of loss that screened at TIFF and made its U.S. debut at PSIFF. 

François Girard’s The Song of Names  (Canada-Hungary coproduction)  

  • This drama starring Clive Owen and Tim Roth premiered at TIFF and was the closing film of Spain’s San SebastiáFilm Festival.  

That’s a wrap for Palm Springs! Stay tuned for all your updates on Canada’s festival presence in 2020!