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Top Picks from TIFF

In the weeks leading up to the Calgary International Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) brings glitz, glamour and just the right amount of avant-garde cinema to the streets of the Ontario capital. As one of the premiere festivals in the world, many films that grace our screens have made stopovers at TIFF along the way - this year there are 30 of them! It's hard to deny that the buzz generated from a strong presence in the east can propel a film to plenty of attention later on. Here's a sample of some of the most interesting, engaging, beautifully shot, and just plain inspiring entries that are common to both festivals this month.

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THE HUMMINGBIRD PROJECT

Ever heard the saying "easier said than done"? That sums up this film pretty well, in which two cousins (Jesse Eisenberg and Alexander Skarsgård) hatch a plan to build a thousand-mile, fibre optic cable from Kansas to New York in order to get a microscopic edge in the cutthroat world of stock trading. In the process, they push each other, and everyone around them, far beyond the breaking point. Get your tickets for Sept 21 or Sept 23 here.

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FLORIANOPOLIS DREAM

 An Argentinian family makes the long trek from Buenos Aires to the beaches of Florianopolis, Brazil, meeting the charming and welcoming Marco once they arrive. Unable to resist the blazing Brazilian sun and the freedom from responsibility, with Marco's help, each of the family members finds their own version of independence. A multiple award winner! Get tickets to either screening here.

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THE GUILTY

In Gustav Möller's crime drama, a Danish police officer confined to his home station receives a frantic call from a kidnapped woman. Unable to leave the station, he must draw on all his wits, resourcefulness, and ingenuity to solve a crime that he is not anywhere near. Do thrillers get any better than this? Get tickets to the Sept 25 or Sept 30 screenings.

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CLARA

It's impossible not to wonder, when looking up at the stars in the night sky, whether something else is looking back at us as well. In this Canadian-made masterpiece of cinematography, Patrick J. Adams (SUITS) plays an astronomer, obsessed with the cosmos and what may lie within it. His research assistant, Clara (Troian Bellisario, SUITS) helps him look at the same old sky in a brand new way - what will they find out there, in the vastness of the universe? Get tickets to the Sept 26 or 28 screening.

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THE WILD PEAR TREE

THE WILD PEAR TREE, Nuri Bilge Ceylan's follow-up to his Palme d’Or-winning WINTER SLEEP (Calgary Film selection in 2014), is a beautiful tour de force that seamlessly packs in topics ranging from romance, literature, religion, philosophy, and politics, all sprinkled with a touch of humour. The end result is a breathtaking universal story about finding one’s identity while highlighting how an individual is shaped by familial relationships and the environment around them. Get tickets to the Sept 22 screening.

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MOUTHPIECE

Calgary Film alumna Patrica Rozema returns to the festival with this adaptation of the play of the same name - and starring the original writers and performers: when Cassandra learns of her mother's sudden death, she has 48 hours to write a eulogy. Along the way, she struggles to place the source of her deep and immovable resentment toward her mother, causing her own internal conflicts to come to the surface. Get tickets to the Sept 22 or Sept 28 screening.

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THE GREAT DARKENED DAYS

Philippe, a wannabe French-Canadian actor, finds himself in the American southwest as the world around him grows more and more absurd: between a raging war, strange acquaintances, a national leader full of blowhard rhetoric and a collapsing society, his journey back to Canada is jeopardized at every turn. Get tickets to the Sept 21 or Sept 23 screening.

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TRANSIT

Georg, a German refugee with his sights set on freedom in Mexico, lands in Marseille during his escape, stealing identity documents from a dead writer. Before he can embark on the rest of his journey, the dead man's wife shows up - drawing Georg into a world he did not anticipate, and forcing him to make a life-changing decision. It is a modern day CASABLANCA based on Anna Seghers’ novel set in 1942 during the German invasion of France with a thoughtful contemporary twist. Get tickets to the Sept 23 or Sept 29 screening.

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SHARKWATER EXTINCTION

Director Rob Stewart was dedicated to sharing his love and admiration for a misunderstood animal - he ultimately lost his life in order to save another species. Criss-crossing the oceans, the film is a thrilling exposé of a multi-billion dollar industry tied to black markets and criminal activity. This inspiring posthumous follow-up to the award-winning SHARKWATER is a passionate plea about the dire need to address our relationship with nature, and change our consumer habits before it’s too late. Get tickets to the Sept 21 or Sept 27 screening

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THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT

Director Lars Von Trier's unique brand of filmmaking comes to Calgary this year, with his latest story of a serial killer (Matt Dillon) who, despite knowing he is dangerously close to being caught, cannot help himself from continuing his grotesque obsession with murder. As the authorities close in, his view of - and interactions with - the world outside himself grow increasingly twisted, leading to bigger and bigger risks. The first screening on Saturday, Sept 22 is nearly sold out, so we've added a second, on Sept 29! Pick up tickets here.

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THROUGH BLACK SPRUCE

The disappearance of a young Cree woman named Suzanne Bird triggers events in two worlds: the remote northern Ontario town she fled years ago, and the big city where she became a successful model. Up north, her uncle Will clashes with a local drug dealer who’s looking for Suzanne, and believes Will knows her whereabouts. Meanwhile, her fiercely independent twin sister Annie travels to Toronto to retrace her sibling’s footsteps… and finds herself drawn into the seductively glamorous life Suzanne left behind. Get tickets to the Sept 27 or Sept 28 screening.
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These are less than a third of the excellent crossover films that hit both the east and west sides of Canada this month. You can find the rest in our film guide, but rest assured - every other selection in there is bound to be a great choice, no matter where it's been or where it's going next! Tickets on sale now for all films.

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