TIFF shines a light on women filmmakers this March

programming alert

February 24, 2023

TIFF shines a light on women filmmakers this March

Special guests Erika Balsom, Lizzie Borden, Maggie Briggs, Miryam Charles, Luis De Filippis, Chandler Levack, Ashley McKenzie, Renuka Jeyapalan, and Chloé Robichaud come to TIFF Bell Lightbox

TORONTO — Throughout March, TIFF is showcasing a diverse programme of films and spotlighting the achievements and impact of women in the film industry in support of Share Her Journey. The programme will feature Q&As with established and emerging filmmakers, special screenings, and an Industry DIALOGUES event. TIFF’s month-long International Women’s Day celebration is generously supported by the RBC Foundation, in support of RBC Emerging Artists.

NEW RELEASES – Playing at TIFF Bell Lightbox

A still from Queens of the Qing Dynasty

Queens of the Qing Dynasty

Opening March 3
Queens of the Qing Dynasty, MDFF
Q&A with filmmaker Ashley McKenzie March 3 to 5

Ashley McKenzie’s (TIFF Writers’ Studio 2017, Filmmaker Lab 2012) much-anticipated sophomore effort is an enthralling affair of the heart about one of those once-in-a-lifetime encounters that can change everything. Starring Sarah Walker, Ziyin Zheng, and Xue Yao.

✅ TIFF 2022 - Official Selection, Wavelengths programme
✅ Berlin International Film Festival - nominee, Encounters Award
✅ 2023 Canadian Screen Awards - nominee

McKenzie (she/they) is a filmmaker based in Unama’ki–Cape Breton Island. She writes and directs films in collaboration with people in her community, compelled by the stories near to her that may otherwise be overlooked. Her debut feature Werewolf won the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award from the Toronto Film Critics Association in 2017. It has screened at the New York Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival, as well as being curated by the Criterion Channel, MUBI, and Anthology Film Archives. Queens of the Qing Dynasty premiered in the Encounters Competition of the 2022 Berlinale.
A still from I Like Movies

I Like Movies

Opening March 10
I Like Movies, Mongrel Media
Q&A with filmmaker Chandler Levack on March 10

Levack’s feature film debut centres on socially inept 17-year-old cinephile Lawrence Kweller (Isaiah Lehtinen, TIFF Rising Stars 2022) who gets a job at a video store and forms a complicated friendship with his older female manager. Also starring Percy Hynes White, Krista Bridges, and Romina D’Ugo.

Levack grew up in Burlington, Ontario, and lives in Toronto, where she studied cinema at the University of Toronto and screenwriting at the Canadian Film Centre. Levack has directed numerous music videos, earning two JUNO nominations, and is a veteran journalist and critic. Her short film We Forgot to Break Up (2017) premiered at the Festival.

✅ TIFF Canada’s Top Ten
✅ TIFF Next Wave ’22 - Official Selection, Discovery programme
✅ 2023 Canadian Screen Awards - nominee
A still from Cette maison

Cette maison

Opening March 14 | Limited Run
Cette maison, La Distributrice de Films
Virtual Q&A with filmmaker Miryam Charles on March 15

Bridgeport, 2008. A teenage girl is found dead in her room. While everything points to suicide, the autopsy report reveals something else. Ten years later, the director and cousin of the teenager examine the past causes and future consequences of this unsolved crime. Like an imagined biography, the film explores the relationship between the security of the living space and the violence that can jeopardize it. Starring Eve Duranceau, Nadine Jean, and Schelby Jean-Baptiste.

✅ TIFF Canada’s Top Ten
✅ Berlin International Film Festival - nominee, Caligari Film Award and GWFF Best First Feature Award

Charles is a director, producer, and cinematographer of Haitian descent living in Montreal. She is the producer of several short and feature films, and has also directed several short films which have screened at festivals in Canada and internationally, including at TIFF. Cette maison is her first feature film as director. Charles’s work explores themes related to exile and the legacies of colonization.


A still from Regrouping

Regrouping (1974)

March 3–26
No Master Territories: Feminist Worldmaking and the Moving Image
Generously supported by the RBC Foundation

A touring series adapted from a landmark exhibition, No Master Territories: Feminist Worldmaking and the Moving Image is screening in Canada for the first time since it made its debut in Berlin in 2022. Curated by Erika Balsom and Hila Peleg, this showcase of rarely-seen yet pivotal feminist nonfiction films from the 1970s to the 1990s was recently listed in Artforum’s best-of-the-year exhibitions. Independent filmmaker Lizzie Borden will join Balsom for the screening of her 1976 debut feature film Regrouping on March 3, presented in a new restoration, along with a Q&A. TIFF Members are invited to a Happy Hour celebration prior to the screening.
  • March 3: Regrouping, Q&A with filmmaker Lizzie Borden and series co-curator Erika Balsom
  • March 4: No Master Territories: Shorts Programme 1 introduced by Erika Balsom
  • March 4: Blind Spot introduced by Erika Balsom
  • March 5: Surname Viet, Given Name Nam introduced by Erika Balsom
  • March 8: No Master Territories: Shorts Programme 2
  • March 11: Akiko: Portrait of a Dancer
  • March 12: My Survival as an Aboriginal preceded by Nice Coloured Girls
  • March 14: Nightcleaners
  • March 18: The Nouba of the Women of Mount Chenoua
  • March 19: Three Lives
  • March 23: The Murmuring
  • March 26: After Winter Comes Spring (Winter Adé)

Balsom is a scholar and critic based in London, England, whose focus is on cinema, art, and their intersection. She is the author of four books, including After Uniqueness: A History of Film and Video Art in Circulation and Ten Skies (shortlisted for the Kraszna Krausz prize). Her criticism appears regularly in venues such as Artforum, Cinema Scope, and 4Columns. With Peleg, she is co-curator of the exhibition No Master Territories: Feminist Worldmaking and the Moving Image (House of World Cultures, Berlin, 2022). In 2018, she was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize and the Katherine Singer Kovacs essay award from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.

Borden is a writer, director, editor, and script consultant. Her film Born in Flames, named one of “The 50 Most Important Independent Films” by Filmmaker magazine, has been shown at countless festivals and theatres domestically and internationally. Borden also wrote, directed, and produced the controversial independent fiction film Working Girls, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in the Directors’ Fortnight, won a U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Recognition at the Sundance Film Festival, and was restored by the Criterion Collection in 2021. Anthology Film Archives recently restored Borden’s long-unseen first film, Regrouping, an experimental documentary about women’s groups. Film critic Melissa Anderson called it “combative, entropic, mesmerizing.” Borden is currently in production on Rialto, a feature about women’s freedom of choice set in the early 1950s against the background of McCarthyism.

A still from Boundaries

Boundaries (2016)

March 10 and March 12
Reformation: Contemporary Quebec Cinema
In-person and virtual Q&As with filmmakers Chloé Robichaud and Sophie Deraspe

A spotlight featuring contemporary Québécois films, curated by former TIFF Canadian programmer Magali Simard, opens March 10, with an in-person Q&A and screening of Chloé Robichaud’s 2016 political satire Boundaries. Then on March 12, Sophie Deraspe will join TIFF for a virtual Q&A following the screening of her 2019 contemporary adaptation of the classic Greek tragedy Antigone.

Simard is the Director of Industry Relations at Cinespace Studios Toronto. She is the former Film Sector Development Program Manager for the City of Toronto, where she led economic and creative development activities to amplify the international competitiveness of the city’s screen sector. Prior to joining the City, Simard was a long-time programmer at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Robichaud, screenwriter and director, already has an established career. In 2013, she was for the second year in a row in the official selection of the Cannes Film Festival with her first feature film, Sarah Prefers to Run. In 2012, her film Herd Leader was also presented in Cannes, and nominated for the Palme d’Or for short films. In 2016, her film Boundaries, which explores the life of women politicians, was selected at the TIFF. The film won the prestigious “New Directors” award from the Seattle International Film Festival. Her latest short film, Delphine, premiered at the 2019 Venice Film Festival and won the IWC Award for Best Canadian Short Film at TIFF. Her next feature film, Days of Happiness, will be released in 2023. Robichaud is also the creator of the acclaimed web series Féminin/Féminin.

As a screenwriter, director, and cinematographer, Deraspe has worked on documentaries and in television before writing and directing her realism-bending first feature film, Missing Victor Pellerin (2006). After critical acclaim and multiple screenings around the world, Deraspe went on to direct a second feature film in 2009, Vital Signs, which won 14 prizes and was shown at some 30 international festivals. Deraspe released two films in 2015: The Wolves (which won the FIPRESCI prize), and The Amina Profile, a feature-length documentary that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2019, Deraspe wrote and directed Antigone, a contemporary interpretation of the Sophocles tragedy, which was named Best Canadian Feature Film in Toronto (TIFF 2019) and Canada’s official selection for the Oscars. Among many other honours, it took home Best Motion Picture at the 2020 Canadian Screen Awards. In the last two years, Deraspe moved to direct the TV miniseries Bête Noire. She is also the co-author and director of the brand new series Motel Paradis on Club Illico.
A still from Stay the Night

Stay the Night (2022)

March 15 – FREE
See the North - Stay the Night
Q&A with filmmaker Renuka Jeyapalan

The latest installment in TIFF’s free series of Canadian cinematic treasures is featuring the delicate romantic charmer Stay the Night from writer-director Renuka Jeyapalan (TIFF Writers’ Studio 2016, Filmmaker Lab 2006). The 2022 film borrows the walk-and-talk structure perfected by Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy and repurposes it to its own ends, setting these two people against a Toronto downtown beautifully photographed by Conor Fisher.

Jeyapalan is a Toronto-based writer-director and graduate of the Canadian Film Centre’s Director’s Lab. She was recently featured as one of the New Hollywood North filmmakers in Toronto Life magazine. Her short films have screened at TIFF, Tribeca, and the Berlinale. She has directed episodes of Kim’s Convenience, Workin’ Moms, Murdoch Mysteries, Children Ruin Everything, Son of a Critch, the Netflix original series Ginny & Georgia, and the HBOMax/CBC Series Sort Of, for which she received a Canadian Screen Award nomination for Best Director, Comedy. Stay the Night, which had its World Premiere at the SXSW Film Festival, is her first feature film. She has an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from the University of Toronto.


A still from Regrouping

Maggie-Briggs (L) and Luis-De-Filippis (R)

March 8
DIALOGUES The Writers’ Room: Acclaimed First Features

In this in-depth discussion moderated by Robyn Citizen, Director of Festival Programming and Cinematheque at TIFF, filmmakers Maggie Briggs (TIFF Writers’ Studio 2022), co-writer of Joyland (TIFF 2022, winner of the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at Cannes 2022), and Luis De Filippis (TIFF Talent Accelerator 2020, Filmmaker Lab 2018), writer-director of Something You Said Last Night (winner of the Changemaker Award presented by the Shawn Mendes Foundation at TIFF 2022, the Sebastiáne Award at San Sebastián 2022, and the IFFR 2023 Youth Jury Award), will speak about the craft of screenwriting, the challenges they encountered in bringing their vision to the screen, and what advice they have for emerging creators hoping to follow in their footsteps.

Briggs is a filmmaker based between her hometown of Asheville, North Carolina and New York City, where she received her MFA at Columbia University. Her short films have screened internationally at festivals including the Berlinale, Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, and Champs-Élysées Film Festival. Her first feature, Prone to Wander, has been supported by Tribeca Film Institute, The Gotham, and, most recently, TIFF Writers’ Studio where she was awarded the CHANEL Women Writers’ Network Grant. She co-wrote Saim Sadiq’s feature, Joyland, which premiered at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival in Un Certain Regard, where it won the Jury Prize and the Queer Palme.

De Filippis is a Canadian-Italian filmmaker whose work has played at international film festivals. Her films include the short For Nonna Anna (2017), which received a Sundance Special Jury Prize, and her debut feature Something You Said Last Night (2022), which received the TIFF Change Maker Award, Sebastiáne Award at the San Sebastián film festival, and the Rotterdam Youth Jury Award.


March 24 – FREE
Silver Screenings

Each month, this free series brings seniors together to connect with fellow film lovers and participate in a variety of events, including peer-led film discussions, interactive workshops, and classes. On March 24 at 11am, Silver Screenings will be hosting a free screening of Agnieszka Holland's The Secret Garden -30th Anniversary for seniors 65+.

Launched in 2017, and now a permanent initiative as part of TIFF’s broader Every Story fund, Share Her Journey is TIFF’s commitment to address gender parity by broadening opportunities for women at every stage of their careers. To date, TIFF has raised more than $3 million to provide direct support to women along their creative journeys, from inspiration to a finished product showcased on TIFF platforms.

Available to rent

Available March 3
Celebrating Women in Film
Women telling women's stories. From Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation to Adamma Ebo’s Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul., re-discover these classics on digital TIFF Bell Lightbox.

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/membership.

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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.

TIFF Cinematheque is supported by Ontario Creates and Canada Council for the Arts.

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