BLOG: Movies I would love to watch at TIFF 2017

Are you ready for TIFF 2017?



Ever since I moved to Toronto, I have been going to Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) almost religiously, increasing the number of movies I watched every year. In 2012, during my time in college, it was only 1 movie, “Laurence Anyways by the Quebec director Xavier Dolan. In 2013, I watched 5 movies and experienced rush lines for the first time, lining up to see “The Fifth Estate” (which flopped but I still liked it), and then first disappointment as I missed out on the ticket for “August: Osage County”, and so on. In 2015, I beat my own record and watched 8 movies during the festival - for some of those movies I spent up to 4 hours in rush lines! It was intense! (You can read about my past experiences under Cinema tag.)

Unfortunately, last year I went on vacation right at the time of TIFF (which is beginning of September). I was very disappointed but seeing my family was more important. Unfortunately, this year I also going away.


So, to keep myself somewhat up-to-date with what is going on at the festival, I made a list of movies that would have been my initial list of movies to keep an eye out for. Obviously, it is not possible to watch so many during the festival (and still keep your full-time job), but it is always good to have 1-2 options to choose from for every day, as you never know if you are going to get a ticket or not.


I took the information about the movies from TIFF website, so please refer there for the schedule which will be available on August 22 at



A Fantastic Woman

Una Mujer Fantástica

Directed by Sebastián Lelio

Country: Chile

Duration: 103 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Special Presentations


Chilean director Sebastián Lelio follows his 2013 Festival hit Gloria with this drama about a young transgender woman struggling with both her own grief and societal prejudice after the death of her middle-aged lover.


Alias Grace

Directed by Mary Harron

Country: Canada, USA

Duration: 90 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Primetime


A layered historical drama based on of Margaret Atwood’s Giller Prize–winning novel about a poor Irish servant accused and convicted of murder, from director Mary Harron and screenwriter Sarah Polley.

Black Cop

Directed by Cory Bowles

Country: Canada

Duration: 91 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Discovery


A black police officer (Ronnie Rowe Jr.) seeks revenge after being egregiously profiled and assaulted by his colleagues, in this searing political satire by actor-director Cory Bowles (Trailer Park Boys).



Directed by Andy Serkis

Country: United Kingdom

Duration: 117 minutes

Year: 2016

TIFF 2017 Program: Gala Presentations

Actor Andy Serkis makes his directorial debut with the inspiring true love story of Robin and Diana Cavendish (Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy), an adventurous couple who refuse to give up in the face of a devastating disease.


Call Me By Your Name

Directed by Luca Guadagnino

Country: Italy, France

Duration: 132 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Special Presentations

The latest from Italian auteur Luca Guadagnino ( I Am Love, A Bigger Splash) explores the tender, tentative relationship that blooms over the course of one summer between a 17-year-old boy on the cusp of adulthood (Timothée Chalamet) and his father's research assistant (Armie Hammer).

Dark River

Directed by Clio Barnard

Country: United Kingdom

Duration: 89 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Platform

Ruth Wilson stars in British filmmaker Clio Barnard’s atmospheric and layered drama about the old wounds and bitter new grievances that come to light when a woman returns home to settle the tenancy of her family’s Yorkshire farm.


Darkest Hour

Directed by Joe Wright

Country: United Kingdom

Duration: 114 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Gala Presentations

Gary Oldman steps into the imposing persona of Winston Churchill in Joe Wright’s (Pride and Prejudice, Atonement) period drama set in the early years of the Second World War, when Churchill’s rousing leadership inspired a nation.



Directed by Sebastián Lelio

Country: United Kingdom

Duration: 114 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Special Presentations

Sebastián Lelio (A Fantastic Woman, Gloria) directs Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams in this adaptation of Naomi Alderman’s novel about a woman who returns home to her orthodox Jewish community in London and rekindles a romance with her cousin’s wife.



Directed by Lisa Langseth

Country: Sweden, Germany

Duration: 104 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program:Platform

Swedish filmmaker Lisa Langseth directs her Hotell star Alicia Vikander and Eva Green (Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children) in this story of two estranged sisters attempting a difficult and ominous reconciliation, with supporting performances from Charles Dance, Charlotte Rampling, Mark Stanley, and Adrian Lester.


For Nonna Anna

Directed by Luis De Filippis

Country: Canada

Duration: 13 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Short Cuts

In this raw and graceful testimony of intersectional womanhood, a trans girl has to care for her Italian grandmother. She assumes that her Nonna disapproves of her — but instead discovers a tender bond in their shared vulnerability.



Directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven

Country: France, Belgium

Duration: 92 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Gala Presentations

In the English-language debut from writer-director Deniz Gamze Ergüven (Mustang), a recluse (Daniel Craig) helps a woman (Halle Berry) and her multiple children when riots erupt in Los Angeles following the 1992 acquittal of the policemen charged with assaulting Rodney King.


Mary Shelley

Directed by Haifaa Al Mansour

Country: Ireland, United Kingdom, Luxembourg, USA

Duration: 120 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Gala Presentations

Elle Fanning stars in this scintillating biopic of the Frankenstein author, chronicling her tempestuous marriage to dissolute poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and the fateful night at a Swiss chateau that inspired her most famous creation.



Directed by Marc-Antoine Lemire

Country: Canada

Duration: 23 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Short Cuts 

Alexe, a trans woman, and Carl, her gay best friend, disrupt the boundaries of their friendship when they decide to have sex for the first time — and raw emotional truths collide with illusions of breezy detachment at a time of transition.


Professor Marston & the Wonder Women

Directed by Angela Robinson

Country: USA

Duration: 108 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Special Presentations

Luke Evans (High-Rise, Beauty and the Beast), Rebecca Hall (Christine), and Bella Heathcote (Fifty Shades Darker) star in this biopic of William Moulton Marston, the American psychologist who put his progressive ideals about female liberation into practice by creating the DC superhero Wonder Woman and living in an "extended relationship" with his wife and another woman.



Directed by Wim Wenders

Country:France, Germany, Spain

Duration: 112 minutes

Year: 2016

TIFF 2017 Program: Special Presentations

The new film from the great Wim Wenders (Pina) is a globe-trotting romance about a water engineer (James McAvoy) and a deep-sea researcher (Oscar winner Alicia Vikander) striving to reconnect although separated by oceans, continents, and civil war.


The Current War

Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

Country: USA

Duration: 107 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Special Presentations

Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) directs Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult, Tom Holland, and Katherine Waterston in this account of the race for marketable electricity in the United States between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse.


The Death of Stalin

Directed by Armando Iannucci

Country: France, United Kingdom, Belgium

Duration: 107 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Platform

Armando Iannucci (Veep) directs Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Buscemi, and Andrea Riseborough in this acerbic send-up of the Soviet Supremo and his band of scheming bootlicks.


The Upside

Directed by Neil Burger

Country: USA

Duration: 120 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Gala Presentations

Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart star in this remake of the French hit The Intouchables, a dramatic buddy comedy about the unlikely friendship between a rich quadriplegic and his working-class caregiver.



Directed by Joachim Trier

Country: Norway, Sweden, France, Denmark

Duration: 116 minutes

Year: 2017

TIFF 2017 Program: Special Presentations

Recently moved to Oslo to attend school, a young woman falls in love and discovers that she possesses terrifying powers, in this supernatural thriller from acclaimed director Joachim Trier (Louder Than Bombs).


What Will People Say

Hva vil folk si

Directed by Iram Haq

Norway, Germany, Sweden106 minutes2017STCColourNorwegian, UrduWorld Premiere

TIFF 2017 Program: Platform

Nisha’s double life — obedient to her traditional Pakistani upbringing at home, typical Norwegian teenager to her friends — comes crashing down when her concerned parents kidnap her and send her to Pakistan, in Iram Haq’s personal, empathetic story of family, community, and culture.

Let me know what you would like to see this year!

TIFF 2015: Intro & My Plans

TIFF 2015 is almost here and I want to share with you what I am planning to see. This year is going to be fantastic. There are a lot of great movies and a lot of celebrities coming, and most importantly TIFF is celebrating 40th Anniversary! Woohoo!

Same as last year I purchased a tickets package - My Choice Premium Pack of 6 tickets. Which means that I get 6 tickets for gala and special presentations (which involve red carpet and often cast Q&As). This is my favourite type of screenings as they usually bring the top movies as galas and special presentations.

I admit that the choice was tough. There are amazing movies that are coming, but I had to narrow the choice down to six. To be honest, my list has at least 20 movies, but seeing as the festival runs only between 10-20 September, I won't be able to see all I want.

You can have a look at the full list of TIFF movies here -

My priority list of movies that I would like to see is:

  • The Martian
  • The Danish Girl
  • Black Mass
  • Freeheld
  • Legend
  • Stonewall
  • London Road

The top three movies are my top choices, but sadly I didn't tickets for them. What happens after you buy a tickets pack is that you are given a certain time window (a date and a time) to select tickets. How soon you are able to do that depends on the level of your membership (priority is given, obviously, to sponsors), so my window was September 3, almost a week after the selection was open. I wasn't really surprised that those tickets got sold out as those are quite highly anticipated movies. I did get 4 tickets out of 6, which means that I will get the two remaining ones as vouchers.

Individual Tickets go on sale to general public on September 6 at 9am. I will try to buy what galas and other screenings that I want, and whatever I don't get - I will rush. I successfully rushed a lot of movies the last two years, so it should be ok. And the schedule looks quite good.

Weekday Date Time Movie Location Ticket
Thursday 10-Sep 21:30 LONDON ROAD Elgin Theatre
Friday 11-Sep 21:30 THE MARTIAN Roy Thomson Hall
Saturday 12-Sep 15:30 ABOUT RAY Princess of Wales Yes
Saturday 12-Sep 18:15 THE DANISH GIRL Princess of Wales
Saturday 12-Sep 21:30 LEGEND Roy Thomson Hall
Sunday 13-Sep 11:00 LEGEND Elgin Theatre
Sunday 13-Sep 12:00 THE DANISH GIRL Roy Thomson Hall
Sunday 13-Sep 15:45 EQUALS Princess of Wales Yes
Sunday 13-Sep 21:30 FREEHELD Roy Thomson Hall
Monday 14-Sep 21:00 BLACK MASS Elgin Theatre
Tuesday 15-Sep 19:15 Downriver Scotiabank Theatre
Wednesday 16-Sep 19:15 Heroes Reborn Scotiabank Theatre
Thursday 17-Sep 21:30 DISORDER Roy Thomson Hall Yes
Friday 18-Sep 21:30 STONEWALL Roy Thomson Hall Yes
Saturday 19-Sep 12:30 Desde Alla Scotiabank Theatre
Saturday 19-Sep 15:15 THE DANISH GIRL Princess of Wales
Saturday 19-Sep 21:15 LEGEND Princess of Wales
Sunday 20-Sep 18:00 LONDON ROAD The Bloor Hot Docs

Some of the movies' screenings overlap, so I won't see them all, but still I am excited. I won't be able to see The Danish Girl on the first day, which is a bummer, but I hope to catch it later. I am still not sure if I should watch Heroes Reborn as they are coming quite soon on cable, plus it is not the first screening, so I might end up skipping that.

For now this is my schedule and what I plan to do. Some days will be quite intense, but thankfully those fall onto weekend. (Some movies show up more than once in my schedule but it is only for my reference. I plan to see each movie only once.)

Whatever I don't get to see at TIFF, will either hit movie theatres later this year or will be screened at TIFF Lightbox after the festival.

I am supper pumped. Are you?

TIFF 2013 - Kill Your Darlings

Originally written: SEPTEMBER 10, 2013 Kill Your Darlings Movie Poster

"Kill Your Darlings" is a 2013 American biographical drama film written by Austin Bunn and directed by John Krokidas. The story is about the college days of some of the earliest members of the Beat Generation (Lucien Carr, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and Jack Kerouac), their interactions, and the killing in Riverside Park in Manhattan, New York City.

My luck was back today as I got to see Kill Your Darlings with Daniel Radcliffe. The start time was at 6.30om at Roy Thompson Hall. Seeing as yesterday the rush line was enormous for August: Osage County I didn’t really have much hope.

I arrived at the venue at 4.50pm and was surprised to see that the line was tiny. There were about 30-35 people ahead of me. It must have been the heat. Today was a crazy weather - almost +35C and high humidity. I doubted that I would be able to stay in the heat for so long to get a ticket.

Surprisingly, it was not that bad and I did have an umbrella with me. I met a nice teenaged boy from Ukraine with whom we talked about the movies and life and Canada.

The line started to slowly move around 6.25pm. At 6.50pm we were almost at the front of the line, and the movie was rolling credits. We were among the last 8 people to be admitted! I was lucky again!

We missed a couple of minutes of the movie though. It was also the venue with the tightest security I have seen at TIFF. We were directed all the way to the box office and then to the mezzanine with an insane amount of staff at each step, directing us where to stand and walk in one line. That was pretty strange after being left to our own devices at other venues the moment we got inside. Maybe it was so, because of some other events going at the venue (like a drinks/buffet for the sponsors at the terrace - but maybe it was unrelated).

I loved the movie. It was brilliantly shot and very emotional. The way some memories scenes unfolded through back motions and a bit surreal (in terms of very contemporary sounding music - contemporary for our age, that is) was mesmerizing. Daniel was amazing. I forgot that he used to play Harry Potter and was a British actor. All I saw was Allen Ginsberg.

I loved the emotions and how every character had his own demons to fight. How they wanted to make changes and were experimenting with everything, trying to define the norm. It was all about booze, smoke/drugs, sex and writing. They surely had fun.

I would love to see it again.

Also, not really recommended for anyone under 18, as there were quite a lot of racy themes.

There were no Q&As at the end, although the whole cast was sitting in the audience! The beam was light was directed at them after the credits started to roll and they all stood up. (Daniel is so adorably short!) I would have loved to have Q&As with them, but seeing as they were sitting at the balcony and not below, it was obvious that there would be none.

I think it is pretty cool that they stayed to watch the movie though. I honestly didn’t stay till the end of the credits, so I am not sure if anything happened afterwards.

That is the last time I was rushing the ticket this year. I am going to see three more movies (Blind Detective, Cold Eyes and Violette) but I have the tickets for all of them.

Stay tuned!


TIFF 2013 - Dom Hemingway

Originally written: SEPTEMBER 9, 2013


"Dom Hemingway" is a 2013 British-American black comedy–crime drama film directed and written by Richard Shepard.

I bought the ticket for Dom Hemingway knowing almost zero about the movie. Only thing I knew was that Jude Law was in it. And that was enough for me.

The venue was Princess of Wales and I was lucky to buy the ticket beforehand. I arrived there around 9.25pm (the movie started at 10pm). The line for ticket holders was UNBELIEVABLE. I mean it was my first time going for a movie with a ticket, but rush line compared to that is tiny.

We were told that people at the rush line probably won’t get any tickets. I wondered at that because I managed to get to see The Fifth Estate and 12 Years A Slave that were more high profile (in the regard of the buzz) and tickets for Dom Hemingway were available no prob…

The line started to move around 9.35pm. It was moving pretty fast, which is a good thing, since I was almost at the end of line (almost 2 blocks away from the theatre, so I had no idea what was going on at the red carpet, but I knew that Jude Law would be there). Seeing as I was almost at the end of the line, I got my place at the balcony. But it was OK.

The movie was presented by the producer, Richard Sheppard, and the whole cast. After the movie there were Q&As for about 15-20 mins. Everyone was joking and Jude Law was very funny and charming.

I can’t say I liked the movie a lot. It is an odd black comedy type of movie about an ex-con Dom Hemingway, who comes out of jail aster spending 12 years there. He tries to get back his money, his life, get in touch with his estranged daughter. There is a lot of swearing, vulgar jokes and randomness. The movie is funny, but if it weren’t for Jude Law, I would have never gone to watch that. Just not my thing. But Jude is really good, really believable and funny.

I liked Q&As. One of the things that I remember was when somebody asked how Jude prepared for the role and he said that he did nothing, ate lasagna for dinner, ice cream, whiskey, and was being lazy.

There is a bit of nudity in the movie. We got the view of naked Jude several time. Nothing obscene, but definitely not for kids :)

Another funny thing was when Madalina Ghenea said that Jude pushed her into the pool (during the pool scene) but she doesn’t really know how to swim, but she survived. She was very beautiful and wore a red dress, very similar to the one she wore in the movie.

Richard E. Grant was also in the movie and he was hilarious as a sidekick/partner to Dom.

Definitely a nice movie, but I wouldn’t put it one the must watch list, unless you are a hardcore Jude Law fan, because that man’s acting is great.

TIFF 2013 - 12 Years A Slave

Originally written: SEPTEMBER 6, 2013


"12 Years A Slave" kicked off today at 6pm (in fact it started almost an hour later) at Princess of Wales theatre. I got there around 5pm in the hopes of if not getting a ticket, but at least seeing Benedict Cumberbatch.

I was in the line. The weather was nice and much warmer compared to yesterday. The line was on John street, so once again I had no view of the red carpet. And the fans’ screams were deafened by some techno music playing at the venue right behind us.

The line was not moving by 6pm. I was told that there were about 110 people before me. The chances of getting in were estimated as 50/50.

By 6.30pm the line was moving pretty fast, I got my token (as well as two lovely ladies ahead of me) and we were told that Brad Pitt was inside, as well as Benedict (I was watching twitter and live feeds meanwhile, so I was aware of it), and we might actually see them.

Then we queued briefly before the entrance. The lovely TIFF lady in blue dress said that we were all very lucky, because the whole line was getting in! And there were about 50 people after me! Wow!

We rushed inside, got our tickets, and were walking up the stairs to the balcony, as we heard some fan screams outside. One of the girls ahead of me rushed to the window and moaned that it was Benedict. I didn’t see him outside the window and I was on my way up. :(


The film has started by the time I got into my seat, but I didn’t miss anything. It was around 7pm, I believe.

12 Years A Slave is a very powerful movie based on true story. The acting of every single one of the cast members was flawless. I am absolutely sure that this movie will be nominated for best actor, best actress and best movie and probably director as well.

It is a very moving story, quite graphic (not overly so though) sometimes. I kept my eyes covered at some violent parts (e.g., slaves were abused) - couldn’t really watch it. It was really vivid. Couple of funny parts. The audience reacted quite strongly to beatings and emotional moments. The funniest reaction was probably when Brad Pitt’s character said that he was not “from these lands” but from Canada. People clapped.

By the end of the movie a couple of ladies were sniffling behind me. I can totally understand it, because it was a very, very emotional scene.

The end of the movie was met by huge wave of applause. Then we applauded again after the credits. When the producer came into the stage there was a standing ovation. Then rest of the cast came out (except for Ben) and got their round of applause.

No idea why they call it Q&A though if there were only 2-3 quite boring and predictable questions and only a couple of people talked. Brad Pitt was there. I admit of not being his hugest fan (or any fan at all) and I was pretty far at the balcony, so I could barely see him. The only thing that I remember him saying is that if it was his last movie, he is fine with it, meaning that it is a great movie. (Sorry don’t really remember his exact words.) And the producer said they were not actors but artists. Which is really true.

Benedict was quite lovely in his role of Mister Ford. Period drama suit him. Thank goodness, he is one of the good guys. Somehow I was not really surprised, although I found it funny: Benedict and Brad - good guys, Michael Fassbender - a bad guy. No surprise here, eh? ;)

I am amazed at my luck of getting tickets to two very anticipated and hot premieres. I am a bit sad that I didn’t see Benedict. He didn’t stay for Q&A afterwards and he would not be in Toronto for August: Osage County premiere on Monday.

Probably that was my only chance to see the man (since he is not coming to Toronto for Crimson Peak shooting next year - but the fact that it is Hiddleston who steps into his shoes is quite extraordinary) but I am still more happy about getting in to see the movie.

Although next time I might do the opposite - stalk red carpet and watch movies later after world premiere. Because each gala ticket at TIFF costs $45. Ouch.

Tomorrow I plan to rush for Only Lovers Left Alive. Hopefully will get in with no problem, since it is not a gala. I have a ticket for gala opening for Don Hemingway on Sunday (although I am honestly not sure I want to see it). I will attempt to get a rush ticket for August: Osage County on Monday and Kill Your Darlings on Tuesday. I have a gala ticket for Cold Eyes next Friday and Violette (which is not a premiere) next Saturday.

Hopefully I will get to see all those too! Stay tuned! :D