Canadian Film Fest (CFF) presented by Super Channel, the indie-spirited festival dedicated to celebrating Canadian filmmakers, today announced its lineup for the 2024 edition. New this year, CFF is extending the Festival to six days and expanding its shorts programming by screening six dedicated Homegrown Shorts programs, including a spotlight on Toronto filmmakers. CFF will return to Cineplex’s Scotiabank Theatre in Toronto, showcasing 11 features and 45 shorts and will take place March 18 - 23, 2024. Tickets go on sale March 4 and can be purchased at

CFF will transport cinefiles across Canada with feature films from Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia. The Festival will kick off with Ian Harnarine’s Doubles, about a Trinidadian street vendor who travels to Toronto to decide if he will help save his estranged father from dying. The film is adapted from Ian’s acclaimed short Doubles with Slight Pepper, which won Best Canadian Short Film at TIFF 2011 and Best Live Action Short Drama at the 2012 CSAs. Other festival highlights include Audrey Cummings’ Western Place of Bones starring Heather Graham and Tom Hopper about a bank robbery gone wrong in 1876; Anna Fahr’s compelling Valley of Exile, about two sisters seeking refuge in Lebanon after fleeing their home during the Syrian civil war; Winnipeg director Sean Garrity’s moving film The Burning Season chronicling an affair unfolding backwards in a reverse narrative; and the deeply personal documentary WaaPake (Tomorrow) where director Dr. Jules Arita Koostachin shares the impact and suffering of residential school Survivors.


Capsule Reviews of Selected Films 

THE BURNING SEASON (Canada 2023) ***

Directed by Sean Garrity


Seasoned (sorry, had to use the word) Winnipeg director Sean Garrity returns with another adult relationship drama in a tale told backwards, except for the opening scene in which two youths watch a hiring shack promising each other to tell no one about it.  The film ends with a prologue that returns to this scene.  The film then begins with Chapter 7 in which Alena and Tom meet at JB and Poppy’s wedding only to have JB’s and Alena’s affair exposed.  The film then moves back chapter by chapter to Chapter 1 and then the prologue to tell director Garrity’s story.  The tactic works in the way a mystery unravels with the reasons behind each chapter revealed.  Actor Jonas Chernick has played in many other of Garrity’s films including their breakthrough film INERTIA which won the Best Canadian Feature at TIFF in 2001.  Garrity’s THE BURNING SEASON, as in his other films, is an adult drama that feels close to home, never forced and thoroughly entertaining.  The film has been chosen as the Closing Night Film of CFF.


DOUBLES (Canada 2023) ***

Directed by Ian Harnarine


Chosen as the Opening Night Gala for the Canadian Film Fest, DOUBLES (the title deriving from a popular Trinidadian dish) is a heartwarming film about a son’s struggle to keep his family afloat and his dream of owning a restaurant alive.  The dream is a decent one but still one that has to be worked diligently on.  When the story starts, Dhani (Sanjiv Boodhu) is serving food as a street vendor with his mother while his father lives in Toronto, apparently according to Dhani, had abandoned them.  Dhani needs the land deed of the land signed over to him and his mother so that they can have a better life and so travels to Toronto, only to find the father in ill health and unwilling to sell the land, it being passed down generations.  That is much as the story, a familiar one goes.  The Trinidadian cuisine, simple but looking delicious is on full display here as the Trinidadian customs and practices.  Dhani speaks English with a Trinidadian accent. made light so that North American audiences can follow.


LOOK AT ME (Canada 2023) ***

Directed by Taylor Olson


The film begins with a warning that the film includes strobing images, internalized fatphobia and an insecure male protagonist who many might find disturbing.  LOOK AT ME, the quote taken from the phrase made famous by actor Sir Lawrence Olivier is a fictional autobiography of Taylor Olson written and directed by Olson based on his play.  This is not his first feature and the sophomore effort shows.  He directed BONE CAGE in 2020  and one of his actors in BONE CAGE appears as Simon, Taylor’s male fling in this film.  Taylor is bi-sexual.  Taylor is a self-destructive actor who has an eating disorder matched only by his destructive nature in relationships.  Not a bad film, quite original in delivery but yet a difficult watch owing to its disturbing nature.  One does hope that things will turn outwell for Taylor for all his efforts but the film shows him his own worst enemy,


PLACE OF BONES (Canada 2023) ****

Directed by Audrey Cummings


PLACE OF BONES begins with the feel and atmosphere of a classic western.  An image of a grave is seen with a cross lying over it,  Nearby is the homestead of what is assumed to be the living quarters of the widow and his daughter.  The two women live in a harsh and unfair dangerous environment and have to protect themselves.  Mother and daughter argue as normal mothers and daughters do, but band together when danger lurks.  The first arrives in the form of a wounded man with two gunshots who lies near the grave.  A saddle bag of cash is found beside him.  The setting is 1876. A mother and daughter alone on a remote ranch fight for survival against a gang of ruthless outlaws.  Directed by a woman, this is a rare and excellent, brutal and exciting western complete with a HIGH NOON-styled showdown that looks at the western from a feminine point of view.  Taken with much humour and a pinch of salt, the women folk in the film are demonstrated to be much smarter than their male counterparts.  “Most men will not admit that the trouble they get into is entirely due to their doing,” is what the mother, tells her daughter, at one point.


Directed by Kim Albright

Written by Julia Lederer and directed by Kim Albright, this female-oriented film is a strange one - as strange as the art gallery that the protagonist attends, consisting of paintings with just a black spot or black rectangular shapes. The film is set in an alternate world where hearts are made of objects and suppressing emotions is self-care, a lonely woman rips out her own heart for the man she loves, only to discover that he has run away with it.  People are ruled by LifeZapp, an app controlling every detail: eating, sleeping, and whom they interact with, all except for their emotional well-being.  Hearts are removable objects that reflect our personalities, things we can dig out of our chests to make life less emotional.  I feel like trudging in my gut, she says at one point in the film after attending a self-help session. The film feels the same way, watching it a trudge of confused ideas. One wonders what the message (if there is one) is or where the film is leading. The dialogue is also laced with poetry that hardly makes any sense except maybe for the rhyming.


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