This is a list of all of GFF’s 2020 Feature Films!  For browsing all of GFF’s 2020 Films, also check out:


 

6 Tons of Steel: Building Bloody Saturday
dir. Erika MacPherson
2019 | Canada | 44 mins
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020

An Indigenous apprentice Ironworker in a city that for a hundred years suppressed the memory of its formative struggles learns his trade building a monument to the streetcar tipped over during the bloody climax of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike. He is joined by a colourful cast of fellow workers; activists; an anarchist; community organizer; a chorus; a labour historian; and a Winnipeg born, Chinese-Metis veteran octogenarian Ironworker with fifty-plus years of labour history. In this affecting documentary, intersecting characters embark on a journey to reveal the enigmatic and evocative strike story as the streetcar monument takes shape.

 

A White, White DayA White, White Day
dir. Hylnur Palmason
2019 | Iceland /Denmark / Sweden | 109 min.
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020

In a remote Icelandic town, an off-duty police chief (a chilling Ingvar Sigurdsson, who received Cannes’ Critics’ Week award for Best Actor for his performance) begins to suspect a local man of having had an affair with his late wife, who died in a tragic accident two years earlier. Gradually his obsession for finding out the truth takes over his life and inevitably begins to endanger himself and his loved ones. Combining classic thriller tropes with a distinctly Nordic arthouse sensibility, the second feature from Hlynur Palmason “engages in storytelling that’s both powerful and fresh throughout, marking him as a talent to watch” (The Hollywood Reporter)

 

All I Can SayAll I can say
dir. Danny Clinch / Taryn Gould / Colleen Hennessy / Shannon Hoon
2019 | United States | 102 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020

Shannon Hoon, lead singer of the rock band Blind Melon, filmed from 1990-95 with a Hi8 camera, recording up until hours before his death at age 28. In the hundreds of hours of footage, Hoon meticulously documented his life – his family, his creative process, his television, his band’s rise to fame and his struggle with addiction. He filmed his daughter’s birth and archived the politics and culture of the 90’s, before the internet changed the world. Created with his own footage, voice and music, this intimate autobiography is a prescient exploration of experience and memory in the age of video. It is also Hoon’s last work, completed 23 years after his death.

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Almost Almost FamousALMOST ALMOST FAMOUS
dir. Barry Lank
2019 | Canada | 84 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020

From the beer joints of Texas the Karaoke bars of Honolulu, Almost Almost Famous explores how three incredibly talented singers became some of the world’s top tribute artists. Ted would be happy to play the young Elvis forever but he’s getting older. Meanwhile Lance’s dream is to break through with his own rockabilly band, The Lovers. Along the way, Jackie Wilson lookalike, Bobby Brooks runs into a story twist that’s almost almost too crazy to be real. Through all of this, road manager, Marty Kramer, has to keep their feet on the ground, the music centre stage, and the crowds clamouring for more. Find out who will break through and who will break down in this documentary from Manitoba documentarian, Barry Lank.

 

Always Amber (Alltid Amber)Always Amber
dir. Lia Hietala / Hannah Reinikainen
2020 | Sweden | 85 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020

“How much should I change myself, because society doesn’t change fast enough?” Just 17 years old but already wise to the social constructs of gender and behaviour, Amber takes the neutral Swedish pronoun “hen” and their own path. Best friends since elementary school, Amber and Sebastian explored their queerness together, dyed each other’s hair every colour possible and became each other’s safe space. With the first blush of romantic love, however, Sebastian falls for Amber’s girlfriend. The love triangle breaks the trust between the once-inseparable pair, leaving Amber to transition alone. But in place of the tantrums and tearful scenes that define classic teen narratives, Always Amber rewrites the coming-of-age story with the inspiring self-confidence of its protagonist. Following Amber for three years, this intimate observation reveals an understanding of selfhood and an acceptance of difference entirely unique to the “their” generation. – Hot Docs

 

AnbessaANBESSA
dir. Mo Scarpelli
2018 | Italy / Ethiopia / United States | 86 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020

From their little house just outside the city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 10-year-old Asalif and his mother look out on rows of newly-built, concrete apartment blocks. From the forest behind their house, they hear the hyenas howl at night. They used to live where the condominiums now stand. Asalif’s mother had a plot of land there, where she grew crops and kept animals. Now, developers already have their eyes on their new home—they’re worse than the hyenas, his mother says.

 

Blood QuantumBlood Quantum
dir. Jeff Barnaby
2019 | Canada | 96 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020
**Available to stream in Manitoba

The term “blood quantum” refers to a colonial blood measurement system that is used to determine an individual’s Indigenous status, and is criticized as a tool of control and erasure of Indigenous peoples. The words take on even more provocative implications as the title of Jeff Barnaby’s sophomore feature, which grimly depicts an apocalyptic scenario where in an isolated Mi’gmaq community discover they are the only humans immune to a zombie plague. As the citizens of surrounding cities flee to the Mi’gmaq reserve in search of refuge from the outbreak, the community must reckon with whether to let the outsiders in — and thus risk not just the extinction of their tribe but of humanity, period.

 

Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, TheThe body Remembers when the world broke open
dir. Kathleen Hepburn / Elle-Maija Tailfeathers
2019 | Canada / Norway | 105 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020

When Áila encounters a young Indigenous woman, barefoot and crying in the rain on the side of a busy street, she soon discovers that this young woman, Rosie, has just escaped a violent assault at the hands of her boyfriend. Áila decides to bring Rosie home with her and over the course of the evening, the two navigate the aftermath of this traumatic event. Inspired by a very real and transformative moment in the co-director Elle-Máijá Tailfeather’s life, THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN weaves an intricately complex, while at the same time very simple, story of a chance encounter between two Indigenous women with drastically different lived experience, navigating the aftermath of domestic abuse.

 

Breaking The SilenceBreaking The Silence
dir. Priscilla Padilla
2020 | Columbia / Bolivia | 83 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020
**Available to stream in Manitoba

Luz, from the Emberá Chamí Indigenous community in Colombia, left her home territory for Bogotá when she discovered she underwent female genital mutilation at birth. The Emberá is one of the few communities in South America that still carries out the practice, a brutal byproduct of colonialism.

Far from her family, Luz struggles to make her way in the relentless city, until she meets Claudia, a fellow Emberá Chamí and activist. Through the strength of their friendship, Claudia decides to travel to Luz’s home to start a dialogue with other Indigenous women and encourage them to make critical and urgent changes to end the practice of female genital mutilation. Through her intimate approaches to filming, director Priscila Padilla has crafted a deeply sensitive and breathtaking film that follows the women in their journey to break ties with colonialism and recover their ancestral wisdom of body–earth connection.

  • Top 10 Audience Choice favourites at Hot Docs 2020`

 

Bulletproof
dir. Todd Chandler
2020 | United States | 85 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020

Bulletproof explores the complexities of violence in schools by looking at the ways in which we try to prevent it. The film travels across the United States, observing the age-old rituals that take place daily in and around American schools: homecoming parades, basketball practice, morning announcements, and math class. Unfolding alongside these scenes are an array of newer traditions: lockdown drills, teacher firearm training, metal detector inspections, and school safety trade shows. Bulletproof weaves together these moments in a cinematic meditation on fear, violence, and the meaning of safety, bringing viewers into intimate proximity with the people self-tasked with protecting the nation’s children while generating revenue along the way, as well as with those most deeply impacted by these heightened security measures: students and teachers.

 

County, The (Héraðið)The County
dir. Grímur Hákonarson
2019 | Iceland  / Denmark / Germany / France | 92
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020
**Available to stream in Canada

The new film from Grímur Hákonarson, director of Rams. Set in a small Icelandic farming community, THE COUNTY tells the story of Inga, a middle-aged dairy farmer who rebels against the all powerful local Cooperative. Inga tries to get other farmers to join her in rising up against the Co-op’s corruption, but encounters great resistance, forcing her to confront the community’s dependence and loyalty to this single, dominant enterprise. Inga must use her resourcefulness and cunning to break free of the Co-op’s grasp and finally live life on her own terms.

 

Dope is DeathDope is Death
dir. Mia Donovan
2020 | Canada | 78
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020
**Available to stream in Manitoba

For over 50 years, alternative medicine practitioners have advocated the use of acupuncture as part of treatment for drug addiction. However, few people know that this practice evolved in large part thanks to the Black Panthers, radical liberation politics and Dr. Mutulu Shakur, Tupac Shakur’s stepfather. Dope is Death turns the clock back to 1970, at the height of the heroin epidemic in the South Bronx, where a group of political radicals—fed up with inaction—occupied New York’s Lincoln Hospital. Under the leadership of Shakur, the Lincoln Detox clinic became the first and only politically run drug treatment program funded by the US government. Inspiring and enraging in equal measure, the story of Lincoln Detox and the civil rights organizations that supported it testifies to the continuous need to explore this period in US history—a time that, until recently, has often been misrepresented. – Hot Docs 2020

 

Dream Journal (2016-2019)
dir. Jon Rafman
2019 | Canada | 94
 min
Watch on GFF Live Stream | Sat, July 25, 11:00 PM CDT

Set in a virtual tech-noir urban space populated by strange hybrids of non-humans and augmented people, part of the expansive, fractured narrative focuses on the continued adventures of Xanax Girl and her search for her companion—a hybrid dog/seal with the head of a boy—who has been abducted. The film, which arose from the artist’s daily practice of animating his dreams using hobbyist 3D software, weaves together deep-web imagery with hardboiled detective story tropes and repressed libidinal fantasies to create a nightmarish vision of an internet addict’s unconscious. The film features an original score by Oneohtrix Point Never and James Ferraro.

 

DrivewaysDRIVEWAYS
dir. Andrew Ahn
2019 | United States | 83
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020

Kathy (Golden Globe® Nominee Hong Chau), a single mother, travels with her shy eight-year-old son Cody (newcomer Lucas Jaye) to Kathy’s late sister’s house which they plan to clean and sell. As Kathy realizes how little she knew about her sister, Cody develops an unlikely friendship with Del (Golden Globe®, Tony® winner and acting legend Brian Dennehy), the Korean War vet and widower who lives next door. Over the course of a summer, and with Del’s encouragement, Cody develops the courage to come out of his shell and, along with his mother, finds a new place to call home.

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Earth is Blue as an Orange, TheThe Earth is blue as an Orange
dir. Iryna Tsilyk
2020 | Ukraine | 74
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020
**Available to stream in Manitoba

Exquisitely shot and bold in its metastorytelling approach, director Iryna Tsilyk’s documentary follows single mother Anna and her four children as they document their lives under siege in Ukraine.

Eldest daughter Mira dreams of becoming a cinematographer. As bombs descend on neighboring homes, the family construct, act in, and edit stylized scenes of dangerous predicaments they’ve lived to tell. Mira’s re-creations ratchet up the drama, using local soldiers, tanks, and even her own grandmother to tell terrifying tales of survival. Meanwhile, Iryna quietly captures their more quotidian moments during their shoots and in between takes—scenes that include Mira’s siblings squabbling over line readings, cozy dinners by the fire, and Anna’s compassionate gaze as she watches Mira apply to film school.

Eventually, the two projects fuse into a single vision that gorgeously encapsulates the extremes of war, both its explosive trauma and its mundane peripheral existence in everyday life. With miraculous insight, The Earth Is Blue as an Orange observes a family—and a filmmaker—cope with war using their cameras, working in tandem to create meaning out of a meaningless conflict.

 

Echo (Bergmál)RUNAR RUNARSSON
dir. Runar Runarsson
2019 | Iceland / France / Switzerland | 79
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020

Iceland, Christmas time. As everyone prepares for the holidays, a peculiar atmosphere falls upon the country revealing emotions of both excitement and concern. In the middle of the countryside, an abandoned farm is burning. In a school, a children’s choir is singing Christmas carols. In a slaughterhouse, chickens are parading along a rail. In a museum, a mother is arguing with her ex-husband on the phone. In a living room, a young girl is making her grandmother try on her new virtual reality headset – Through 56 scenes, Echo draws a portrait, both biting and tender, of modern society.

 

Film About a Father WhoLynne Sachs
dir. Lynne Sachs
2020 | United States | 74
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020
Watch on GFF Live Stream | Fri, July 24, 9:00 PM CDT

Over a period of 35 years between 1984 and 2019, filmmaker Lynne Sachs shot 8 and 16mm film, videotape and digital images of her father, Ira Sachs Sr., a bon vivant and pioneering businessman from Park City, Utah. FILM ABOUT A FATHER WHO is her attempt to understand the web that connects a child to her parent and a sister to her siblings. With a nod to the Cubist renderings of a face, Sachs’ cinematic exploration of her father offers simultaneous, sometimes contradictory, views of one seemingly unknowable man who is publicly the uninhibited center of the frame yet privately ensconced in secrets. In the process, Sachs allows herself and her audience inside to see beyond the surface of the skin, the projected reality. As the startling facts mount, Sachs as a daughter discovers more about her father than she had ever hoped to reveal.

 

Forbidden Reel, The
dir. Ariel Nasr
2020 | Canada | 119
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020
**Available to stream in Manitoba

For most of us, Afghanistan is not synonymous with film culture. Ariel Nasr’s documentary sets out to change that: the Afghanistan in The Forbidden Reel is one with a deep, rich history of cinema, ready for rediscovery. This fascinating testament to a relatively unknown creative wellspring includes the incredible story of the Taliban’s efforts to burn the entirety of the country’s “un-Islamic” film history, stashed in original reels at the archives of Afghan Film, a state-sponsored national film body. Rescued from destruction, today these films are being digitized for preservation and distribution, in part through the help of the National Film Board of Canada. Skilfully weaving together film clips, interviews with Afghan directors and visits to the archives, this complex look at Afghan cinema allows for a better understanding of the country’s troubled past and offers a wish for its creative future.

 

Give Me Liberty
dir. Kirill Mikhanovsky
2019 | United States | 110
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020

Medical transport driver Vic is late, but it’s not his fault. Roads are closed for a protest, and no one else can shuttle his Russian grandfather and émigré friends to a funeral. The new route uproots his scheduled clients, particularly Tracy (Lauren “Lolo” Spencer in a breakout performance), a vibrant young woman with ALS. As the day goes from hectic to off-the-rails, their collective ride becomes a hilarious, compassionate, and intersectional portrait of American dreams and disenchantment.

 

Greatest Country in the World, TheThe Greates Country in the World
dir. Ky Nam Le Duc
2019 | Canada | 112
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020
**Available to stream in Canada

In a province not so distant from ours, now controlled by a far-right government, the borders are closed and immigrants, now under threat, are desperate to get out. A Haitian woman hands over her young son to a thirty-something Quebec man before fleeing. With help from a Vietnamese former refugee, they try to solve the mystery. After Oscillations (FNC 2017), Ky Nam Le Duc here makes further inroads into his quest to diversify our cinematic landscape. A delicately sketched, enigmatic work, chilling in its topicality, where mistrust reigns and love blossoms where you least expect it.

 

Keyboard Fantasies: the Beverly Glenn – Copeland Story
dir. Posy Dixon
2019 | United Kingdom | 90
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020

Born in 1944 in Philadelphia, Glenn-Copeland was never afraid of breaking barriers. Moving to Canada at 17, the young vocalist was the only Black student in his classical music class at McGill University, and openly lived as a lesbian in the early 1960s before coming out as a trans man. Obsessed with sci-fi and living in near isolation in Huntsville, Ontario, Copeland self-released the electronic album Keyboard Fantasies on cassette in 1986. This collection of curious, visionary folk-electronica tracks went largely unnoticed, until a Japanese rare-record collector reissued it three decades later, bringing it to the ears of raving fans. Finally getting the recognition he deserved, the musical genius found himself catapulted to cult status and embarked on his first international tour at age 74. Featuring refreshingly honest interviews with the generous musician, this time-traveling tale will soothe those souls struggling to find their place in the world.

 

Kuessipan
dir. Myriam Verreault
2019 | Canada | 117
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020

Adapted from Naomi Fontaine’s acclaimed novel, Kuessipan is Myriam Verreault’s first narrative feature. In a Quebec Innu community, Mikuan (Sharon Fontaine-Ishpatao) and Shaniss (Yamie Grégoire) struggle to maintain their close friendship when they clash over their diverging ambitions. When Mikuan falls in love with a white boy and starts to consider a life beyond their tiny reserve, her bond with Shaniss and her family is put to the test. A coming-of-age story told with humour, tenderness, and heartbreak, Kuessipan is a poignant exploration of evolving friendship and dreams, and the bonds that will forever root us in our culture. Kuessipan is told through an Indigenous lens yet remains relevant to us all as we discover the power of community — along with the individual strength it takes to follow our own path. – Eva Greyeyes, TIFF

 

L.A. Tea TimeLA TEAT TIME
dir. Sophie Bédard Marcotte
2019 | Canada | 85
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020
**Available to stream in Canada

What do you do as a young filmmaker if you’re not sure what direction to take? You go and ask Miranda July for advice. She seems to do exactly what she wants, and it works out pretty well for her, too: after all, she doesn’t need to translate online hotel reviews to pay the rent, as Sophie Bédard Marcotte does. So she sets off with her camerawoman on a road trip to Los Angeles to have tea with July. Of course, nothing goes as planned.

Their unorthodox journey across the United States results in a lighthearted road movie filled with meditative landscapes, unlikely encounters, animations and a touch of magic. It is a playful quest for a framework in life. A film about friendship, the thirtysomething dilemma and the search for inspiration.

In her third film, Bédard Marcotte incorporates references to her cinematic inspirations, and creates a posthumous starring role for Chantal Akerman. She appears on the pink horizon as an oracle for every filmmaker who, for want of a clear path, is looking for the yellow brick road.

 

Last Autumn, The (Síðasta haustið)
dir. Yrsa Roca Fannberg
2020 | Iceland | 78
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020
**Available to stream in Canada

In a remote part of Iceland, a long line of farmers has kept an ancient sheepherding tradition alive for centuries—year after year, season after season, in one of the most desolate parts of the world, framed by inhospitable terrain and the imposing presence of the Arctic Ocean. However, the world has evolved and the natural bounties and rituals are starting to give way to a more streamlined industrial complex. Farmer Úlfar has one final season left and must accept that his traditional way of life is coming to an end. Through stunning visuals and sombre nostalgia, The Last Autumn captures a beautiful place and time that, even as it fades, will linger in the cold air for centuries longer. – Hot Docs 2020

 

Lingua FrancaLINGUA FRANCA
dir. Isabel Sandoval
2019 | United States / Philippines | 89
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020

Olivia (Isabel Sandoval), an undocumented Filipino transwoman, works as a caregiver to Olga (Lynn Cohen), an elderly Russian woman, in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. When Olivia runs out of options to attain legal status in the US, she becomes romantically involved with Alex (Eamon Farren), Olga’s adult grandson, in the pursuit of a marriage-based green card.

 

maɬni – towards the ocean, towards the shoresky hopinka
dir. Sky Hopinka
2020 | United States | 8o
 min
Watch on GFF Live Stream | Sat, July 25, 11:00 PM CDT

Bodies of water ebb and flow throughout this poetic experimental documentary by filmmaker Sky Hopinka. Honoring connections to nature and the cycles of life, ma?ni separately follows two American First Nation people from the Pacific Northwest as they share their own personal rituals and relationships to life, identity, language, and their homeland while sonically weaving in the origin-of-death myth from the Chinookan people. Meditative and beautifully photographed, Hopinka’s film is a lush exploration of afterlife, rebirth, and the place in-between. – San Francisco Film Festival

 

Mister America
dir. Eric Notarnicola
2019 | United States | 89
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020
**Available to stream in Canada

Mister America follows Tim Heidecker’s delusional attempt to enter the world of politics. After beating a murder charge for selling faulty e-cigarettes at an EDM festival, Tim seeks revenge by running an absurd campaign to unseat the San Bernardino District Attorney. Fueled by ego and ignorance, he tries to surmount a lack of experience, funds and likeability by personally connecting with unsuspecting constituents. It does not go well.

 

Mother-Child (Niña Mamá)
dir. Andrea Testa
2019 | Argentina | 65
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020

In Argentina, every three hours a girl under the age of 15 is forced to give birth. While activists work toward the legalization of safe and free abortion, many young women, often victims of poverty and systemic gender violence, must carry their unwanted pregnancies to term. Shot in the intimacy of a public hospital’s consulting rooms, Andrea Testa’s fly-on-the-wall documentary reveals a few of the stories hidden behind the statistics. Finding the right distance from the teenagers’ faces, which she films in sober black and white, the director observes their interactions with the social workers who try to help them navigate complicated family situations, abusive relationships and the overwhelming realities of young motherhood. Caring and non-judgmental, the staff, who can be heard but not seen, encourage them to imagine a hopeful future despite the fragility of their dreams. – Hot Docs

 

Nolan: Here Nor ThereNolan Here Nor There
dir. Wilfred Dieter
2020 | Canada | 89
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020
Watch on GFF Live Stream | Wed, July 22, 9:00 PM CDT
**Available to stream in Canada

 Nolan: Here Nor There is the coming-of-age tale of Nolan; a young man growing up on a reserve in the throes of a suicide epidemic. His mother, fearing for his life, sends him to live with family in Ft. Qu’Appelle. While in Ft. Qu’Appelle Nolan meets a quirky girl and a residential school survivor who become unwitting supports as he navigates his personal grief and finds his place in history and the treaty relationship

 

Painter and the Thief, The
dir. Benjamin Ree
2020 | Norway | 102
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020
**Available to stream in Manitoba

When two paintings by Czech naturalist Barbora Kysilkova are stolen from an Oslo art gallery, Norwegian authorities quickly identify and arrest the two thieves but find no trace of the paintings. Hoping to learn what happened, Barbora approaches one of the thieves, Karl-Bertil Nordland, at his criminal hearing. She asks if she can paint his portrait and, contrite, he agrees. What follows—over a series of portraits and many years—is an extraordinary story of human connection and friendship.

Using a structure that cleverly shifts perspectives, Norwegian filmmaker Benjamin Ree unfolds the fraught lives and vulnerabilities of two souls who come to recognize themselves in the other—the darkness, wounds, compulsions, and self-destructive behavior. Ree captures the revelatory moment when Bertil, a junkie and petty crook who has done jail time, first sees his portrait and breaks down completely. Throughout the film, our understanding of both people—and even the stolen paintings—changes entirely. In life, certain aspects of human nature defy comprehension, and yet Ree materializes them in a way that is accessible and transcendent.

 

Port Authority
dir. Danielle Lessovitz
2019 | United States / France | 94
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020

On the steps outside New York City’s dizzying central bus station, Port Authority, a girl named Wye vogues with her siblings. Paul, a young drifter, watches her, transfixed by her beauty. After he seeks her out, an intense love soon blossoms. Wye introduces him to the ballroom community, an underground LGBTQ subculture and to her house, a self-selected chosen family. But when Paul realizes Wye is trans, he is forced to confront his feelings for her and the social forces that seek to rupture their bond.

 

Prayer for a Lost Mitten
dir. Jean-François Lesage
2020 | Canada | 79
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020
**Available to stream in Manitoba

Lost and found items collected at the Montreal Metro—glasses, toques, gloves, wallets—patiently await their forgetful owners. A wide cross-section of transit users desperately describe their missing possession and look through bins with a hopeful gaze. Elegantly framing black-and-white images in the depths of dark and snowy winter nights, director Jean-François Lesage assembles a mesmerizing city symphony set against a clarinet-led jazz soundtrack. The familiar hustle of a major metropolis is hushed and the anonymity that keeps us separated melts like a snowflake, as strangers reveal their humanity and joyfully reunite with beloved items. This beautifully observed meditation on the nature of loss and memory brings together an eclectic range of subjects from all walks of life. The intimacy of their recollections and the respect with which they’re treated turns the mundane subject matter and deceptively simple premise into something transcendent. – Hot Docs 2020

 

Premature
dir. Rashaad Ernesto Green
2019 | United States | 89
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020
**Available to stream in Canada

When 17-year-old aspiring writer Ayanna (Zora Howard) meets an infinitely charming music composer named Isaiah, her world is turned upside down. Wise beyond her years, Ayanna maintains a watchful, guarded exterior that is threatened when she falls hard and fast for him. But it’s not all ballads and poetry; tensions erupt when the couple’s relationship has unintended consequences that Ayanna must confront. In a vibrant and rapidly changing Harlem, it’s Ayanna’s experience that anchors this story of Black love and self-discovery. Howard — who co-wrote the film with director Rashaad Ernesto Green — delivers a powerhouse lead performance as Ayanna. Each moment of vulnerability and tenderness in Howard’s performance feels like a gift, jolting energy and authenticity into the story. Her mostly supportive, sometimes shady, friends punctuate the film with humour and emotional resonance, their dialogue standing out for its authenticity in how youth actually speak. Textured, gritty, and quietly gut-wrenching, Premature will burst your heart open in all the best ways. – Ikoro Hugging-Warner, TIFF

 

Resin
dir. Daniel Borgman
2019 | Denmark | 92
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020

Liv, a precocious thirteen-year-old, lives deep in the forest with her simple-minded father Jens and her obese, bedridden mother Maria. Sheltered from the outside world the family survives on what they can find in nature. Here, even the smallest things have a soul, and the greatest meaning can be found in the journey of an ant into the sap of tree roots. What Liv doesn’t know, is that her parents have a dark secret; they have made the outside world believe that she is dead in an attempt to escape society’s norms and demands. Liv’s curiosity however propels her to venture into the world, and suddenly, their reclusive existence is threatened by increasing interference from the outside.

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Ruthless Souls
dir. Madison Thomas
2019 | Canada | 84
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020
**Available to stream in Canada

 

Ruthless Souls follows Jackalope “Jackie” Cambell, a tough as nails Ojibwe artist born and raised in the strange land of Winnipeg, Manitoba. On the one year anniversary of her partner’s tragic death due to complications from gender affirming surgery, she’s back at work, she only drinks and smokes up “on the regular” instead of a “concerning amount daily.” It’s all gotta go up from here, right? Wrong.

Jackie finds out that her best friend Rooney has dumped her long time partner Tay. The problem? Tay is Jackie’s only other friend. The three have been each other’s pillars of supports since they were kids growing up in Winnipeg’s often turbulent North End. Jackie was so sure that she had just experienced the worst year of her life, but the year unfolding in front of her might just give it’s predecessor a run for it’s money. Jackie must now navigate the fallout of Rooney and Tay’s relationship while also trying to wrangle her own spiraling mind, especially when the ghosts of the past seem to be lingering

 

Saint Francessaint frances
dir. Alex Thompson
2019 | United States | 106
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020

Flailing thirty-four-year-old Bridget (Kelly O’Sullivan) finally catches a break when she meets a nice guy and lands a much-needed job nannying six-year-old Frances (played by a scene-stealing Ramona Edith-Williams). But an unwanted pregnancy introduces an unexpected complication. To make matters worse, she clashes with the obstinate Frances and struggles to navigate a growing tension between Frances’s moms. Amidst her tempestuous personal relationships, a reluctant friendship with Frances emerges, and Bridget contends with the inevitable joys and shit-shows of becoming a part of someone else’s family.

 

Softie
dir. Sam Soko
2020 | Canada / Kenya | 96
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020
**Available to stream in Manitoba

Photographer and activist Boniface “Softie” Mwangi prioritizes his family, country and God, but not in that order. Determined to see an end to political corruption and the British-imposed colonial-era tribalism that has divided Kenyans since before the country’s independence, Softie has placed duty to country above all else, to the great frustration of his wife Njeri, mother to their three children. When Softie decides to enter the regional election, telling Njeri only after the decision is made, he raises the stakes and is quickly brought face to face with the consequences. Attempting an honest campaign in a pay-to-play political landscape, Softie is in uncharted territory and is forced to distill his values and morals to their purest form, while grappling with what is truly important. A complex portrait of an honourable man, Softie raises questions about the demands of activism and the intimate costs of social change – Hot Docs

 

Spaceship Earthspaceship earth
dir. Matt Wolf
2020 | United States | 116
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020
**Available to stream in Manitoba

In 1991, eight capable men and women were sealed into Biosphere 2, an airtight terrarium in the Arizona desert containing a miniature replica of Earth’s environment. Funded by a Texas oil tycoon hoping to acquire licensable technologies for space colonization, the mission of Biosphere 2 was to maintain an isolated, sustainable environment for two years. It was a mission that became a dystopian simulation of ecological crisis, after which a corporate consultant took over the venture—and disappeared the data.

The investors designed Biosphere 2 to generate a lot of press, but little was revealed about the people who created it. Using archive material and present-day interviews with surviving Biospherians, director Matt Wolf brings us this spirited documentary that follows the gregarious and visionary countercultural collective over half of a century, as they conducted experiments around the globe leading up to Biosphere 2. If Spaceship Earth is a cautionary tale about the forces that threaten our planet, it is also an inspirational tribute to what a small creative group can achieve.

 

Take Good Care of Each Other: The Fred Penner Story
dir. Aaron Floresco
2019 | Canada | 44
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020

For over 40 years iconic Manitoban children’s performer Fred Penner has been using his engaging music and public speaking skills to help children make sense of the world. Best known for his long running television series “Fred Penner’s Place” and hit song “The Cat Came Back”, he still performs today only now it’s often to children-of-all ages. Through interviews with Fred’s family, friends and career collaborators we gain an unprecedented insight into Fred’s key role in the growth of the children’s performer movement that exploded during the early 1980s. We meet the adult followers of Fred Penner and discover how he has impacted their lives. And we go behind the scenes to spend time with the man himself.

 

Take Me Somewhere Nice
dir. Ena Sendijarevic
2019 | Netherlands / Bosnia and Herzegovina | 91
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020

On the edge of adulthood, Alma leaves her mother’s home in the Netherlands and travels to her native Bosnia to visit the father she’s never met. But from the start nothing goes as planned. Her cousin Emir gives her a frosty reception and mocks her easy life in the West. At the same time, undeniable sexual chemistry leads Alma into a passionate relationship with Emir’s best friend, the troublemaker Denis. As the obstacles mount, Alma stays fearlessly determined to follow her plan and find her father. She just has to figure herself out first.

High on the reckless energy of youth and the rush of adult discovery, the rebellious trio sets off on the adventure together, embarking on an increasingly unpredictable road trip through the scorching Bosnian heartland. Over the course of the journey, Alma will learn to accept and understand herself, embracing all challenges that come her way.

 

Tapewormtapeworm
dir. Milos Mitrovic / Fabian Velasco
2019 | Canada | 78
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020

A tenuously linked group of nobodies trudge through their woeful existence in dreary Winnipeg. A sickly middle-aged man in a failing marriage, a stand-up comedian whose sets are met by utter indifference, a stoner couple who share only trivial exchanges, and a young loner unsympathetic to his caring mother are each living lives lost in translation, detached from their surroundings and the people around them. – VIFF

 

To Live to Singto live to sing
dir. Johnny Ma
2019 | Canada / China / France | 105
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020

On the outskirts of Chengdu, a traditional Sichuan opera troupe faces extinction. With their theatre scheduled for demolition, a wave of progress seems poised to wash them away. Fearful of losing her niece (Gan Guidan) to the opportunities presented by the city, their manager (Zhao Xiaoli) searches for a new theatre. But as she finds herself embroiled in the bureaucracy that comes part and parcel with doing business – or performing art – in China, she notices that the more fantastical elements of their opera have started to manifest in mundane reality. – VIFF

 

To the Ends of the Earthto the ends of the world
dir. Kiyoshi Kurosawa
2019 | Japan / Uzbekistan / Qatar | 120
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020

Yoko (Atsuko Maeda in her third collaboration with Kurosawa) is a cautious, introverted, and determined host of a popular TV travel show. On assignment in Uzbekistan — accompanied by her cynical director, a cameraman, an AD, and a local Japanese speaking guide — she searches for a mythical, fish, samples culinary delicacies, and seeks out other wonders in a land that often appears strange and hostile. But everything goes wrong. She’s unable to find the fish, she almost chokes on half-cooked food, and, frustrated by the failed filming, decides to set aside her host duties and take a stroll on her own. Lost in the streets of a foreign city, she finds herself adrift and alone, confronting her fears and hidden aspirations. – TIFF

 

Twentieth Century, The
dir. Matthew Rankin
2019 | Canada | 90
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020
**Available to stream in Canada

Toronto, 1899. Aspiring young politician Mackenzie King (Dan Beirne) dreams of becoming the Prime Minister of Canada. But his romantic vacillation between a British soldier and a French nurse, exacerbated by a fetishistic obsession, may well bring about his downfall. In his quest for power, King must gratify the expectations of his imperious Mother, the hawkish fantasies of a war-mongering Governor-General, and the utopian idealism of a Que?be?cois mystic before facing one, final test of leadership. Culminating in an epic battle between good and evil, King learns that disappointment may be the defining characteristic of the twentieth century!

 

We Go Way Back
dir. Lynne Shelton
2006 | United States | 80
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020
Watch on GFF Live Stream | Thu, July 23, 9:00 PM CDT

 

A tragic-comic tale with surrealistic tendencies about a lost 23-year-old who is haunted by her disappointed 13-year-old self. On her 23rd birthday, Kate (Amber Hubert) opens a letter that she wrote as a precocious adolescent to her imaginary grown-up self. The letter asks, “Are you happy?” Knowing the answer is “no,” Kate moves in a dreamlike state, passive and indifferent as Jiffy muffins burn and various men take advantage of her. Throughout, we hear 13-year-old Kate’s voice echo in adult Kate’s thoughts. Eventually, the young Kate character (Marguerite Brown) makes an appearance, leading to a moving confrontation.

 

White Lie
dir. Yonah Lewis / Calvin Thomas
2019 | Canada | 96
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020

The latest feature from Calvin Thomas and Yonah Lewis (The Oxbow Cure) centres on Katie (Kacey Rohl), a young woman who has become a literal poster child on her university campus: recently diagnosed with cancer, she’s the focal point of an online funding campaign for both herself and other cancer-related causes. The only problem is, it’s all built on a lie: Katie isn’t sick, and never has been. And as her story slowly begins to unravel, she disastrously decides to double down, unable to give up the real-life fantasy world she’s constructed for herself. – TIFF

 

Wintopiawintopia
dir. Mira Burt-Wintonick
2019 | Canada | 89
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020
**Available to stream in Manitoba

IDFA and Canadian filmmaker Peter Wintonick had a close relationship for decades. He was a hard worker and often far from home, visiting festivals around the world. In 2013, he died after a short illness. His daughter Mira was left behind with a whole lot of questions, and a box full of videotapes that Wintonick shot for his Utopia project. She resolved to investigate what sort of film he envisaged, and to complete it for him.

The result is a fascinating collage of footage from the Utopia collection, home movies from the family archive, scenes from earlier films, and telephone conversations with colleagues and family members. In voice-over, Mira takes us along on her journey. She molds all these elements into a story about the grieving process, a daughter’s attempt to understand the father she lost too soon, and a tribute to a restless and original spirit on a quest to find an ideal world.

 

Wolfhouse, The (La casa lobo)
dir. Jaoquin Cocina / Cristobal Leon
2019 | Chile / Germany | 75
 min
Watch on GFF On Demand | July 22 – 26, 2020
Watch on GFF Live Stream | Fri, July 24, 11:00 PM CDT

Maria, a young woman finds refuge in a house in the south of Chile after escaping from a sect of German religious fanatics. She is welcomed into the home by two pigs, the only inhabitants of the place. Like in a dream, the universe of the house reacts to Maria’s feelings. The animals transform slowly into humans and the house becomes a nightmarish world. Inspired by the actual case of Colonia Dignidad, The Wolf House masquerades as an animated fairy tale produced by the leader of the sect in order to indoctrinate its followers.