“I think there’s something particularly Canadian about feeling ambivalent about achievement. Aside from hockey, we aren’t very good at celebrating.”
So says Steve Gravestock, TIFF’s associate director of Canadian programming, when asked about the necessity of his organization’s annual Canada’s Top 10 program.
Now in its 10th year, the series — which culls together a list of standout Canadian features and shorts as selected by a jury of writers, directors and other cinematic luminaries — makes its move to TIFF Bell Lightbox from Jan. 20 to Feb. 1.
It’s a diverse list, encompassing big-tickets like Barney’s Version (the only feature not slated to screen at Lightbox) and independent features such as Modra, the second feature by director Ingrid Veninger.
“I think that [the diversity] speaks to the wealth of material available to choose from,” says Gravestock, who also emphasizes that two of the films on the features list — Lixin Fan’s moving, China-shot documentary Last Train Home and Vincenzo Natali’s gooey thriller Splice — weren’t included in last fall’s Toronto International Film Festival selection.
Although he’s hesitant to play favourites among the films on offer, Gravestock will say that Splice — a well-reviewed box-office failure that ranks among the most expensive Canadian films ever produced — might benefit from a second look.