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MUST-WATCH 10: The films you can't miss at TIFF!

Last Updated Sep 9, 2021 at 3:39 pm EDT

A young Alanis Morrisette prepares for a career has as a huge musician in Jagged. TIFF

In this special edition of the MUST-WATCH Top 10, we’re taking a look at several of the films playing at the 46th Toronto International Film Festival this year. The best part about all of these films is that they’re available to watch at home! TIFF is offering digital screenings, as well as in-person screenings this year, meaning it’s never been easier to catch some of the world’s best films at the world’s biggest film festival! Tickets go on sale on September 6th!

Kicking Blood

Starting off with a Canadian vampire film shot in Sudbury!

Kicking Blood is the latest film from Blaine Thurier, a Canadian musician who was part of indie supergroup the New Pornographers. He’s directed several films including Low Self-Esteem Girl, A Gun To The Head, and Teen Lust. This film stars Alanna Bale (from Cardinal) and Luke Bilyk (from Black Conflux). Bale plays a centuries old vampire who’s working at a library. She spends her nights hunting prey with her vampire friends, but is beginning to grow tired of her eternal blood-sucking life. Bilyk plays a suicidal alcoholic who’s determined to kick his addiction. Together, they might be able to overcome their demons.

The film’s digital screenings are Saturday September 11th at 9pm, and Tuesday September 14th at 3pm!



Next, a documentary about a Canadian icon of alternative music!

Jagged takes a look at the life, legacy, and long-lasting career of Alanis Morrisette! Starting with her first couple of dance-pop albums which were successful in Canada, the film then moves to her international success with Jagged Little Pill, before leading to her status as an alt-rock giant. It also focuses on her later life with as the success of her Broadway musical, also called Jagged Little Pill. The film showcases a candid look into her struggles in the often unforgiving music industry, as well as interviews from some of her biggest celebrity admirers. This film is directed by Alison Klayman, who previously directed the acclaimed documentaries Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry and the Brink.

This film has two digital screenings, Wednesday September 15th at 5pm, and Saturday September 18th at 3pm!

Night Raiders

Next up, a powerful portrait of a potential future shaped by Canada’s colonial past.

Night Raiders is the first feature by Canadian filmmaker Danis Goulet. She’s made several acclaimed short films, and is ready to burst out on the scene with this intense film. The film stars Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (from Blood Quantum, which played at TIFF two years ago) and Brooklyn Letexier-Hart (from Burden of Truth) as a Cree mother and daughter respectively living in a world changed by a destructive war. An oppressive regime has come into power, and they’re taking children and sending them to State Academies, a.k.a. residential schools. The daughter is taken, and the mother joins up with a group of Cree vigilantes. She’ll do absolutely anything to get her daughter back. With hundreds of bodies found at residential schools over the past few months, this is a timely film sure to increase your awareness of how traumatic life has been for Indigenous people in Canada for centuries.

Digital screenings for this film take place on Saturday September 11th at 1pm, and Friday September 17th at 9pm.


Coming up next is an incredibly intense thriller about an ordinary mother dealing with a horrifying situation.

Lakewood is the latest film directed by Australian filmmaker Philip Noyce, the director behind several acclaimed features like Clear and Present Danger and the Bone Collector. Lakewood sees him teaming up with fellow Aussie Naomi Watts, who’s famous for her roles in Mulholland Drive, Eastern Promises, and the Impossible. Watts plays a mother who experiences one of the most frightening things a parent could ever experience. She finds out her son’s school is under attack by an active shooter. The film unfolds in real time as she heads through the forest, doing whatever she can to save the life of her child.

You can watch this film digitally on Monday September 13th at 7pm, or Thursday September 16th at 3pm!


Celebrating Alanis

Lastly, a large retrospective looking back at the gigantic career of Alanis Obomsawin!

Alanis Obomsawin is a famous Indigenous filmmaker who grew up in Quebec as part of the Abenaki nation. She’s made numerous documentaries over her long life, including her most famous film Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance which chronicled the Oka crisis. The 89 year old filmmaker will be honoured with 6 different programs throughout the festival, each featuring multiple films of hers. They’re respectively called Lighting the Fire 1 and 2, Portraits 1 and 2, and Dignity of Children 1 and 2. TIFF will also host the premiere her newest short film, Honour to Senator Murray Sinclair. This documentary showcases the speech former Senator Sinclair, who served as the head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, gave when he accepted the WFM-Canada World Peace Award.

All programs have numerous digital and theatrical screenings, you can find more info for those on TIFF’s website!



9. Dear Evan Hansen

8. Farha

7. Scarborough

6. Titane

5. Celebrating Alanis

4. Lakewood

3. Kicking Blood

2. Night Raiders

1. Jagged

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