TIFF unveils June 2023 programming

programming release

May 17, 2023

TIFF unveils June 2023 programming

Pride and National Indigenous History Month events at TIFF Bell Lightbox

TIFF welcomes Elliot Page, Stephen Winter, Celine Song, Maya Cade and Sarah Lewis

Plus, hot summer New Releases

A still from Better Luck Tomorrow

Chocolate Babies (1996)

TORONTO — This June, TIFF is celebrating and amplifying the work of Indigenous and 2SLGBTQ+ filmmakers for Pride and National Indigenous History Month. Special guests joining TIFF next month include advocate and generation-defining actor Elliot Page, here for the exclusive Canadian launch of his highly anticipated and groundbreaking coming-of-age memoir Pageboy; and award-winning director Stephen Winter here with the Canadian premiere of the 4K restoration of his 1996 audacious debut feature Chocolate Babies, which follows queer activists of colour in New York City as they hold the front lines of AIDS activism.

Featured as part of TIFF’s Pride month celebrations, Winter’s Chocolate Babies screening, Q&A, and special reception on June 21 will feature performances by Devine Darlin and Naomi Leone, plus music by DJ Jelz programmed in partnership with the Black Gay Men’s Network of Ontario. All attendees with a valid ticket to the film will be admitted to the reception.

New Releases featuring queer themes and storylines coming to TIFF Bell Lightbox include Christian Petzold’s Afire; V. T. Nayani’s This Place; Georgia Oakley’s Blue Jean; and the return of Saim Sadiq’s Joyland. Shamin Sharif’s Polarized will also be available to rent on digital TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Later this month, Canadian Korean filmmaker Celine Song joins TIFF for a Q&A and an exclusive advance screening of her debut feature film Past Lives, which won audiences over at the Berlinale earlier this year. The film will make its theatrical debut on June 8, and tickets will be available on May 24.

On June 10, TIFF welcomes Maya Cade, visionary creator and curator of Black Film Archive, for a special screening of Sylvia Hamilton and Claire Prieto’s Black Mother Black Daughter, curated by Cade, followed by a conversation with Sarah-Tai Black about preserving, celebrating, and expanding access to Black film history online. This event is programmed in partnership with BIPOC TV & Film. Following the in-cinema event, Cade will lead an intimate workshop in the Film Reference Library for emerging BIPOC creators and scholars on expanding Black Canadian film archives.

In celebration of National Indigenous History Month, TIFF Cinematheque presents the uplifting first feature from Jub Clerc, Sweet As, on June 15, about a Nyul Nyul/Yawuru woman from the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Programmed by Jason Ryle, International Programmer, Indigenous Cinema at TIFF, the film first premiered at the Festival in 2022, and was inspired by the filmmaker’s own childhood. Silver Screenings will also be hosting a free screening of Clerc’s tender coming-of-age film on June 16. Accompanying the screening, Sarah Lewis, an Anishnaabe Kwe (Ojibwe and Cree) award-winning spoken-word artist, will join TIFF for a live performance and a moderated discussion about her career and art practice. This event is free for audiences 65+.

Also in June, TIFF Cinematheque is presenting the six-film series A String of Pearls: The Films of Camille Billops & James Hatch, the complete retrospective of the filmmakers’ and partners in life’s captivating, culturally significant, and resonant body of work. The series will feature the Toronto premiere of the new 4K restoration of the couple’s Suzanne, Suzanne, originally released in 1982, and 2K digitizations of their five remaining films, ending with their last film, A String of Pearls, for which the series was named after. Other TIFF Cinematheque highlights include MDFF Selects’ Coma, filmed during the COVID-19 pandemic and dedicated to, and inspired by, director Bertrand Bonello’s own 18-year-old daughter; Midnight Madness Presents’ The Eagle Shooting Heroes screening in 35mm, starring Brigitte Lin, Carina Lau, Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung Kai-fai, Leslie Cheung, and Jackie Cheung, directed by Jeffrey Lau, and preceded by Guy Maddin’s Sombra Dolorosa.

By popular demand, TIFF has added second screenings of popular POP Japan titles, including Seijun Suzuki’s Tokyo Drifter, as well as Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away and Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue. Tickets are available to Members starting today and to the public on Friday, May 19 at 10 am. The POP Japan: Seijun Suzuki and World of Anime series are generously supported by the Japan Foundation, Toronto.


June 14, 6:30pm
TIFF Wavelengths Presents Bedevil with introduction by TIFF Programmer Jason Ryle

Tracey Moffatt’s Bedevil continues to mesmerize 30 years after its debut at the Cannes Film Festival in 1993. An established visual artist and photographer, Moffatt’s first ― and only ― feature film was at the time justly celebrated for its complex storytelling and inventiveness, and particularly as a visionary and radical work of Indigenous cinema.

June 15, 7pm
Sweet As - Co-presented with imagineNATIVE and Indigenous Screen Office

Director Jub Clerc offers a refreshing and uplifting twist on the coming-of-age story with her debut feature, which centres on a 15-year-old Indigenous girl who finds escape and inspiration through photography during a youth-therapy trip in the stunning countryside of Western Australia.

✅ Official Selection, 2022 Toronto International Film Festival

June 16, 11am - FREE
Silver Screenings - Sweet As - Sarah Lewis performance and talk

Prior to the screening of Sweet As, Sarah Lewis, Anishnaabe Kwe (Ojibwe and Cree) award-winning spoken word artist will join TIFF for a live performance and a moderated discussion.

✅ TIFF 2022 - Official Selection, Contemporary World Cinema

Available to rent on digital TIFF Bell Lightbox

Celebrating Indigenous Stories shelf
Gail Maurice’s Rosie; Bretten Hannam’s Wildhood; Nyla Innuksuk's Slash/Back; and more. Discover recent releases that champion Indigenous stories and filmmakers.


Returns June 5 (limited screenings)
, Oscilloscope Films
A Pakistani family confronts emotional intimacy and social expectations when their son begins performing with a trans dancer, in Saim Sadiq’s staggering debut feature — winner of the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize and the Queer Palm at the Cannes Film Festival. Starring Ali Junejo, Rasti Farooq, and Alina Khan.

✅ TIFF 2022 - Official Selection, Special Presentations programme

June 16, 7pm
In Conversation With… Elliot Page

Moderated by filmmaker Chase Joynt (No Ordinary Man, Framing Agnes)
TIFF proudly presents the exclusive Canadian launch of Elliot Page’s highly anticipated and groundbreaking coming-of age memoir Pageboy. A generation-defining actor and one of the most famous trans advocates of our time, Page joins TIFF in person to discuss his personal journey, his starring role in the hit series The Umbrella Academy, and the process of establishing himself as a key creative force behind the camera as a director and producer with his company Pageboy Productions.

This event is presented in partnership with our Programming Partner HarperCollins Canada and Community Partners Glad Day Bookshop, Trans Film Mentorship, and Inside Out Toronto.

TIFF will partner with several organizations across Canada to provide a livestream of the event. Confirmed partners include: Vancouver Public Library (Vancouver), Calgary Wordfest (Calgary), THIN AIR Winnipeg (Winnipeg), and King’s Co-op Bookstore (Halifax). More information about the livestreams will be available on the websites of the respective organizations.

June 21, 6pm | Reception 8pm-10pm
Chocolate Babies Q&A with filmmaker Stephen Winter and introduction by Nataleah Hunter-Young

In this entertaining yet fiery political satire, a powerful team of sharp-tongued Black drag queens, an HIV-positive Black woman, a trans chanteuse, and a soft-spoken queer Asian activist stage a series of surprise attacks on New York City’s conservative officials, who are believed to be collecting secret lists of HIV-positive individuals for nefarious purposes. When their plans are jeopardized and enemy lines are crossed, the group begins to lose sight of their mission and loyalty to each other.

Following the Q&A, attendees are invited to attend a reception celebrating Pride in the Main Floor Gallery.

Playing July 7
This Place
, Vortex Films
Canadian director V. T. Nayani’s feature debut, starring Devery Jacobs and Priya Guns, is a queer love story about two young women — one Iranian and Kanienʼkehá꞉ka, the other Tamil — living in Toronto and dealing with difficult family legacies.

✅ TIFF 2022 - Official Selection, Discovery programme

Opens July 14
, filmswelikes
A small holiday house by the Baltic sea. The days are hot and it hasn’t rained in weeks. Four young people come together, friends old and new. As the parched forests around them begin to ignite, so do their emotions, in Christian Petzold’s feature. Happiness, lust, and love; but also jealousies, resentments, and tensions. Starring Thomas Schubert, Paula Beer, and Enno Trebs.

✅ Berlin International Film Festival - Winner Silver Berlin Bear Grand Jury Prize

Available to rent on digital TIFF Bell Lightbox

Available May 30
Queens of the Qing Dynasty
Canadian filmmaker Ashley McKenzie’s 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

Available June 30
, Photon Films
In Shamim Sarif’s feature, a white farm worker gets fired for racism by her Palestinian boss. The two become deeply and intimately connected, in this women-led drama. Starring Holly Deveaux, Maxine Denis, and Tara Samuel.

Now Available
Of an Age
, NBCUniversal
Of an Age, by director Goran Stolevski, is set in the summer of 1999 as a 17-year-old Serbian-born, Australian amateur ballroom dancer experiences an unexpected and intense 24-hour romance with a friend's older brother. Starring Thom Green, Matthew Page, and Elias Anton.

Now Available
Little Richard: I Am Everything
, Mongrel Media
This documentary about American pop innovator Richard Penniman and the story of the Black queer origins of rock ’n’ roll features Billy Porter, Mick Jagger, and John Waters.

Celebrating 2SLGBTQ+ Stories shelf
Laura Poitras’ All The Beauty and the Bloodshed, Elegance Bratton’s The Inspection, Nicholas Stoller’s Bros, and more. Discover recent releases that celebrate queer stories and filmmakers.

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.

Press Contact

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Senior Manager, Communications


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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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