12th edition of TIFF Next Wave Film Festival celebrates the filmmakers of tomorrow

media release

March 15, 2023

12th edition of TIFF Next Wave Film Festival celebrates the filmmakers of tomorrow

Programming lineup announced: Mexican drama Adolfo is the opening night film

TIFF Bell Lightbox welcomes an exciting slate of guests, including Sofía Auza, Sadaf Foroughi, So Yun Um, Sarah Kambe Holland, Charlotte Regan, Vera Santamaria + more

A still from Adolfo

Adolfo (2023)

TORONTO — Back for its 12th edition, the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival invites young audiences and cinephiles for a weekend of bold new films and special events, with free movies for anyone under 25*. Hot off the heels of its Berlin premiere, where it won the Crystal Bear for best film in the Berlinale’s Generation 14plus sidebar, Mexican director Sofía Auza’s unconventional coming-of-age feature debut Adolfo will kick-off the Festival as the Opening Night Film. From April 14–16, audiences hungry for original stories can celebrate rising filmmakers and diverse programming, representing the hope, creativity, and power of the next generation. Additional programming and special guests will be unveiled in the coming weeks. Programmed for youth, by youth, the Next Wave Film Festival offers free Official Selection films for anyone under 25. Tickets are available starting today for TIFF Members and TIFF Under-25 Pass holders, and to the general public on March 17.

This year’s Official Selection shines a spotlight on nine debut and sophomore features ― from Spain, France, Mexico, Iran, United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, USA, and Canada ― that bring an authentic and diverse representation of youth-centric perspectives, without feeding into the “angsty teen” stereotypes. Highlights include: Auza’s North American premiere of Adolfo, which follows two strangers who meet by chance at a bus stop and decide to find a new home for their cactus companion; Pilar Palomero’s Canadian premiere of San Sebastián–winning La Maternal, exploring vulnerability and hardships of teen motherhood and chosen families, featuring many first-time actors; Simon Rieth’s North American premiere of the genre-mixing debut feature Summer Scars, following two brothers bound by a dark secret; So Yun Um’s Canadian premiere of the hybrid documentary-memoir feature debut Liquor Store Dreams, asking personal and resonant questions on reconciliation and generational healing through stories of Korean liquor store owners and their families; Charlotte Regan’s Canadian Premiere of the Sundance-winning hit and feature debut Scrapper, a reconnection story between a precocious girl and her child-like father (Regan was listed as “28 Rising Female Filmmakers to Watch in 2023” by IndieWire); and Zeno Graton’s North American premiere of the debut feature The Lost Boys, exploring questions of masculinity, found family, and freedom when a new detainee enters a youth detention facility.

Some screenings will be followed by in-person Q&As with the directors including: Auza, Um, Holland, and Regan; and more special events to be announced in the following weeks. Select titles will also be available on digital TIFF Bell Lightbox starting April 12.

“Dedicated to increasing access to cinema for young audiences, the Next Wave Committees’ brilliant voices and vision permeate through this year’s festival lineup with powerful stories of love, community, and family, in all its forms,” said Ikoro Huggins-Warner, Senior Coordinator, Youth Impact. “Look no further than the Opening Night Film, Adolfo, a heartwarming journey of unlikely friendship formed over the course of one fateful, fleeting night. Punctuated by bold, refreshing direction, like so many of the incredible films in this year’s selection, Adolfo finds its honesty in overcoming struggles together, and discovering connection and resilience in unexpected places.”

TIFF Bell Lightbox will be transformed into a retro time machine, promising interactive activations at the Opening Night Party with basement slumber party vibes, dance floors, and a clothing swap. Young audiences can revel in the weekend festivities: Battle of the Scores, a live musical showdown where four bands settle the score; Young Creators Co-Lab, presented by the City of Toronto, a full day of connective and engaging industry talks and workshop for emerging filmmakers and creatives; Young Creators Showcase of short films by emerging filmmakers from across Canada; and Lost & Found: There are so many worlds, a free public art exhibition featuring multi-media works by artist kaya joan and curated by the TIFF Next Wave Committee. Complete festival details, schedules, and ticket information are all available at tiff.net/nextwave.

Ranging in age from 15 to 18, the TIFF Next Wave Committee is made up of 12 teen film enthusiasts, many of whom are young creators and filmmakers from across the Greater Toronto Area. With the guidance of TIFF staff, the Committee is charged with planning major teen-oriented events year-round at TIFF Bell Lightbox, including the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival, a one-of-a-kind talent incubator.

“I am beyond excited to share this incredible lineup of films that young people wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to with our audience. We care deeply about amplifying diverse and innovative creators at TIFF Next Wave, and so celebrating these unique films that explore underrepresented themes and stories is going to be such a joy,” said Ellie Tripp, TIFF Next Wave Committee Member. “Beyond the film lineup, this year’s festival is centered around the theme of Lost & Found ― an exploration of world-building, futurity, and how the stories we carry with us as young people inform our relationship to place.”

TIFF Members and TIFF Under-25 Free Pass Holders receive access to year-round TIFF benefits including free access to more than 300 Cinematheque screenings. To learn more and join as a TIFF Member, visit tiff.net/under25.

* Free tickets are limited to 2 tickets per film screening for anyone under 25


TIFF Next Wave Presents: Rye Lane
March 29, 7pm

Celebrate the upcoming TIFF Next Wave Film Festival with this advance screening of Raine Allen-Miller's funny and touching debut film, Rye Lane. Prior to the screening, audiences are invited to attend the opening reception of Lost & Found: There are so many worlds exhibition at 5pm.

Lost & Found: There are so many worlds by kaya joan
March 21 to April 30

Lost & Found: There are so many worlds features multi-media works by kaya joan created on found and recycled substrates from around the city, investigating the stories that exist in the in-between spaces held in place. The works in this exhibition reach into the infinities that stretch between past, present, and future to explore multiplicities of being in relation. Audiences are also invited to join a collective collage-making workshop facilitated by kaya joan on April 1. For more information on kaya joan and the event visit: tiff.net/events/art-exhibition-lost-and-found.

TIFF Next Wave Film Festival Official Selection
April 14–16

Films marked with an asterisk ( * ) will be available to rent on digital TIFF Bell Lightbox starting April 12.

dir. Sofía Auza *
Mexico/USA | 2022 | Spanish | North American Premiere

Egghead & Twinkie
dir. Sarah Kambe Holland
USA | 2022 | English | Canadian Premiere

La Maternal
dir. Pilar Palomero
Spain | 2022 | Spanish | Canadian Premiere

Liquor Store Dreams
dir. So Yun Um
USA | 2022 | English, Korean | Canadian Premiere

dir. Charlotte Regan
United Kingdom | 2022 | English | Canadian Premiere

Summer Scars
dir. Simon Rieth
France | 2022 | French | North American Premiere

Summer With Hope
dir. Sadaf Foroughi *
Canada/Iran | 2022 | Persian

The Lost Boys
dir. Zeno Graton
Belgium | 2023 | French | North American Premiere

The Ordinaries
dir. Sophie Linnenbaum *
Germany | 2022 | German | Toronto Premiere

Battle of the Scores & Opening Night Party
April 14, 8:30pm

Discover the next wave of movie and music talent as four up-and-coming bands score a short film for one big prize. Visit @TIFF_NET on Instagram in April to see the films, hear the scores, and cast your vote. The final showdown will take place at TIFF Bell Lightbox on April 14, during the TIFF Next Wave Opening Night Party, featuring retro sights and sounds, with a variety of interactive Lost & Found activations.

Young Creators Co-Lab
April 15, 9am – 3pm

The Young Creators Co-Lab, presented by the City of Toronto, is a gathering space for young and emerging artists in Toronto to connect with industry professionals and learn about all things film. The Co-Lab offers a full day of connective and engaging programming for filmmakers and creatives. Session topics include Screenwriting for Film & Television with Vera Santamaria (How to Be Indie, Bojack Horseman, PEN15), a deep dive into the writing process and the keys to being a great storyteller; an IndustryTok panel with content creators discussing their process from ideation to production, and TikTok’s growing influence as a platform for innovative storytelling; and a series of breakout sessions with industry professionals discussing their experience navigating the film landscape, and advice for young students and graduates about various Pathways into the Industry.

Young Creators Showcase
April 16, 7:30pm

Celebrating the work of young and emerging filmmakers, this shorts programme touches on themes of belonging, family, and finding connection in the people and communities closest to us. From animation to documentary, these 13 films by the next wave of Canadian filmmaking talent feature a dynamic mix of voices, visions, and methods of storytelling. They showcase daring new ways youth are engaging in film to create honest, intersectional stories about their experiences.

dir. Shamiso Chigwende
Canada | 2021 | English | Canadian Premiere

Execution Triptych
dir. Giran Findlay
Canada | 2022 | English

dir. Tram Anh Nguyen
Vietnam/Canada | 2022 | Vietnamese

In the Whiteness
dir. Niya Ahmed Abdullahi
Canada | 2022 | English, Harari | Canadian Premiere

Inside Groove
dir. Elizabeth Wei Yun Albrecht
Canada | 2022 | English | Canadian Premiere

Late Bloomer
dir. Emma Cheuk
Canada | 2022 | English | Toronto Premiere

majboor-e-mamool (What Will You Do When I'm Gone?)
dir. Haaris Qadri
Canada | 2022 | Urdu, English

Ms. Butterworth's Cherry Pie
dir. Cameron Lightly
Canada | 2021 | English | North American Premiere

On the Cosmic Shore
dir. Luvleen Hunjan
Canada, India | 2022 | Punjabi | International Premiere

Ozigwan (Tail of Serpent)
dir. Cole Forrest
Canada | 2021 | English, Anishinaabemowin | World Premiere

Bawang Merah Bawang Putih (Shallots and Garlic)
dir. Andrea Nirmala Widjajanto
Canada/Indonesia | 2021 | Bahasa Indonesia, English

The Mess We’re In
dir. Jamie Lam
Canada | 2022 | English, Cantonese | Toronto Premiere

The Year Long Boulder
dir. Brielle LeBlanc
Canada | 2022 | English | Toronto Premiere

Additional information is available at tiff.net/nextwave.

Press Contact

Sofia Powell Suárez

Coordinator, Communications


Social Media:
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To become a TIFF Member visit tiff.net/join.

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TIFF 2024 takes place September 5–15, 2024.

About TIFF
TIFF is a not-for-profit cultural organization with a mission to transform the way people see the world through film. An international leader in film culture, TIFF projects include the annual Toronto International Film Festival®in September; TIFF Lightbox, which features five cinemas, learning and entertainment facilities; and the innovative national distribution program Film Circuit. The organization generates an annual economic impact of $200 million CAD. TIFF Lightbox is generously supported by contributors including the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada, the City of Toronto, the Reitman family (Ivan Reitman, Agi Mandel, and Susan Michaels), The Daniels Corporation, and RBC. For more information, visit tiff.net.

TIFF is generously supported by Major Sponsors RBC and Visa, and Major Supporters: the Government of Canada, Government of Ontario, and City of Toronto.

The TIFF Next Wave Film Festival is supported by the Ontario Arts Council and the City of Toronto.

The TIFF Next Wave Film Festival Young Creators Co-Lab is presented by the City of Toronto. The Supporting Educational Partner is Toronto Film School.

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