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The Review/ Interview/

The Next Wave Committee Helps You #TIFFHack Your Festival

A group of brilliant young cinephiles shed light on how to navigate the rush lines, celebrities and nearly 400 films of TIFF 16

Sep 1, 2016

See the Next Wave committee in action tomorrow on TIFF's official Snapchat @TIFF_NET!

Next Wave are TIFF’s most astute programmers and critics. A committee made up of high school students aged (14-18), they are fierce cinema fiends with impeccable taste. Naturally, we got them together to talk about how to #TIFFHack the festival, recommend some movies and maybe, tell us how to meet Ryan Gosling? For up-to-the minute news, you can follow Next Wave on Facebook and seek out their smarts by using the #TIFFNextWave hashtag on all social media. Now let the #TIFFHacks begin!


Ben: I almost love the experience of getting what you get. The Next Wave page is a good way to start, but you're picking movies, try experiencing what TIFF has to offer. You might find yourself surprised. Last year, I just got a random ticket and it turned out to be the world premiere of The Idol. And the director was there and there was a standing ovation and it was an amazing experience.

Sarina: Another tip on how to TIFF, if you volunteer with us, you get free tickets.

Macy: I'd say that the free screening of the People's Choice film is really good. Just because you don't have to stress out about looking at the programme, or being right there when tickets go on sale online. I would also recommend getting packages and finding a group of people who want to go.

Isabel: One of the best films I saw last year was called Closet Monster. I didn't read the blurb, I didn't look at the still, I just came to the film with no expectations and I had such an enjoyable time.


Mandeq: Last year was the first year that I went to see a bunch of films... I took the programme and I literally just read through it and I circled all the films with interesting blurbs. And then I made a list and it was way too many movies, so I cut it down to the five films that interested me the most. And then I went to go see them by myself, instead of going with friends like I usually do. Because a), sometimes if you're waiting in line, you'll meet some really cool people. And also just going to see a movie by yourself, it's just a different type of experience. It was really nice, I liked it.

Dasola: Going off of what Mandeq said, if you're afraid to go downtown by yourself, definitely bring a friend. But if not, I think talking to people in line is really important. Because you meet people who probably have the same interests as you, and if you don't have something in common, you can find something to talk about. If you do go to TIFF with a friend, you can go to things like “Festival Street” and get all the enjoyment of the city while you're waiting in between movies. So ya talk to people, and bring a friend if you need to.

Alice: One of the most enjoyable experiences I had at festival last year was a Midnight Madness screening of The Final Girls. It was just insane, it started at midnight, we got there at 11-something. And then, the whole experience - the theatre, the energy is so palpable. You only get that kind of insanity at festival. And then the film finished at three and then I got home and I felt like dying, because I was so tired. But it was just the best.

Isabel: Another thing that people don't know is that even if you don't get a ticket for a film you really wanted, you can line up and there's often a lot of space for rush tickets. Standing in line is actually a great experience because you talk to so many people and then they tell you about a great film that they saw yesterday - and then you go see that. So just know that it's fun even to go last-minute and even wait in line for an hour.


Macy: That is my specialty. Okay, that sounded so creepy. Social media's good. Red carpets are fine, press conferences are really good, but I think hanging out around the back entrance is the best way. The Princess Of Wales theatre is the best place to find them and The Elgin, too. Around that area, there's are tons of press spots, so just look for people with cameras. I ran into Chris Evans, he just walked into me, which was so cool. I saw Catherine Keener come out of an after-party!

*Tasked with the ultimate job - what movies to see at TIFF 16 - the Next Wave committee’s recommendations are 10 brilliant coming-of-age films that run the gamut between psychedelic animation, sensory queer filmmaking and films across Africa, Belgium and India. Seriously, they have amazing taste in cinema. *


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Divines, directed by Houda Benyamina, premieres September 8

Dasola: I really like Divines because of how honest it was. Even though, there was moments in the movie where it was completely heartbreaking and really frustrating. It's about a girl in France and - I don't want to give any spoilers away! But she gets mixed up with the wrong people, she's trying to make her way.

Why you should see this movie: "It’s directed by a woman of colour."

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Handsome Devil, directed by John Butler, premieres September 13

Richmond: I really liked the directing style of Handsome Devil because it really threw back to certain directors. I could see Wes Anderson in the movie. I also really liked the editing and how well-written the characters were. There was one character, I think his name was Connor and he wasn't as two-dimensional as you would expect. He has a numerous amount of interests and you understand why he's very timid about himself. He tries to build his persona of being a rugby player, but then, he hangs out with his close friend Ned, where he's a lot more personal... more light-hearted. I think the best way to describe this film is “solid.” It's just a solid, fun movie.

Why you should see this movie: "If you really like light hearted teenage comedies."

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India In A Day, directed by Richie Mehta, premieres September 11

Elena: I enjoyed India In A Day because it showed the perspectives of what I assume to be many real people. And their real day-to-day life. And I like that the film showed India in a positive light without limiting the hardships that some people face.

Ben: I just want to add that this is a really human movie. It removes the politics and the poverty and all the things you might hear about India and just lets you see the people living and how they are just like any other people living in the world. So it's a really sweet, hopeful and beautiful movie.

Why you should see this movie: “To experience the perspective of so many."

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Layla M., directed by Mijke de Jong, premieres September 10

Alyssa: This movie showed a completely different perspective than what is usually portrayed in media about anyone who is in the Jihadist community. It was really interesting to see how a teen transitions and the struggles that they go through everyday. I think that you definitely need to see this movie if you want to watch something that's serious and will affect you.

Why you should see this movie: “Because it will definitely make you feel something for the characters. And make you understand their situation a little better than what you would think watching the news.”

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Moonlight, directed by Barry Jenkins, premieres September 10

Mandeq: This is like my favourite movie out of all the ones we screened. I didn't know anything about it, other than Dasola telling me it was going to be amazing. And then I was just completely blown away. By the end of the film, I was just sitting in my chair, like, "What the hell!"

Basically it chronicles this young Black boy in Miami during the War of Drugs. And it documents him dealing with drug problems in his community and the violence, all these things. But what makes this film so amazing and so important, is that he tries to figure out his sexuality throughout the whole film. Which is really amazing because how rarely do you get to see young people of colour get to discuss their sexuality? Especially young Black men because of the toxic culture of masculinity. And the acting the was amazing, all the performances, from the little boy to the adult version of himself… I don’t know, I liked this movie too much! It was great!

Macy: You spend the entire film with this character and it's so genuine. It's so hard to describe it because you just literally follow him. I cannot imagine anyone hating it or saying anything negative about this film - ever.

Dasola: I just want to say, I've seen the trailer too many times already. It's on Twitter now and I’ve just been watching it on repeat, even though I've seen the movie, but that's how addictive and captivating the story is. It’s an absolutely phenomenal story that needs to be told.

Richmond: Even looking at Moonlight from a technical aspect, I thought one of the best parts of the movie was the sound design. In the introductory scene where the father figure character first meets the little boy, I was analyzing the soundscape in that abandoned apartment. The cinematography is really impactful. There was a particular scene on the beach where it was used to great effect, in terms of the lighting, too.

Why you should see this movie: “I can't imagine anyone not loving it.”

High School

My Entire High School Sinking Into The Sea, directed by Dash Shaw, premieres September 11

Steven: They have to make an acronym for that title, it's way too long. But I'm looking at the actors here and you can see that their other work has been just as idiosyncratic. A film like this can jar your audience, so I'm surprised we chose it. It's jarring in the sense that it has complete disregard for character and plot - everything is so elliptical. And it just jumps from different motivations and different ideas of what the characters want. It's just really surprising.

Macy: After I watched it, I was like, "Man, high school sucks!"

Ben: I also thought the animation in the movie was really, really beautiful. And how it allowed them to do things you wouldn't be able to do in a normal live-action movie about high school. You know, like have your entire high school sinking into the ocean. It was a very good movie.

Steven: The way that the plot and the characters sort of meandered around was very true to my experiences. For me, high school was a daydream where I constantly thought of all the diferent things that I was missing out on. I think this film was an adventure that we all could go on.

Why you should see this movie: “You don't see this kind of experimentation in Western cinema.”

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Noces, directed by Stephan Streker, premieres September 8

Mandeq: This film is about a Muslim girl in Belgium who is dealing with her family and also her love life, and her best friend from school. So she has a lot of things going on, especially the expectation of her parents in terms of marriage. What I liked so much is that it showed the main character living her life and being a regular teen. And I think a lot of the time, when they show this portrayal of Muslims, it's in a negative light? But this film didn't really do that. It humanized people, which I really appreciated. Even though this girl wanted to live a typical, Western life with her boyfriend and her best friend, she never lost her faith. She remained devout the entire time and it wasn't a bad thing. I liked seeing that a lot.

Isabel: I thought another interesting piece was the conflict she felt living in Belgium. For example, her best friend was from Belgium and didn't follow those same practices, and had a different culture practiced in her family. So that led to even more conflict because there was so many different options and it wasn't all she knew. There were different influences for her to feed off of.

Amanda: And I just forgot - the main character and her father, the mother, the brother - they all really love each other. And even though they had clashing ideals, they still loved each other deeply. I think we were talking about this, when we were deciding whether or not we wanted to put this film in. Did we want to show a film that had negative aspects to Islam? Like if we couldn't have any other films about Muslim families, is this the only image we wanted to portray? I think that's something that needs to be acknowledged, but I think it was handled pretty well.

Ben: One thing I wanted to add was this movie and specifically, the ending, really stuck with me. I had a dream about this movie the night after I saw it.

__Why you should see this movie: __“It’s really beautiful and fun.”

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The Edge of Seventeen, directed by Kelly Fremon Craig, premieres September 17

Richmond: So I really, really, really, really liked this movie. As a teenager, I really related to Hailee Steinfeld's character a lot. The plot went all over the place, but that's what I liked about the movie. First you go through her issues with her best friend who is dating her brother. Then it's her issues with how she's trying to interact with people socially, and then it kinda bounces around all these different aspects of her life. It’s not one singular thing where it's like, always sad, or it's always happy.

And I also like how they brought the comedy through self-deprecation, which is a comedy that I highly um, relate to. The film focuses more on her reactions and her feelings towards what’s happening, but that's what I personally love about it. It perfectly represents highschool life because it's very inconsistent.

Why you should go see this movie: “I liked how it bounces through different emotions.”

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The Wedding Ring, directed by Rahmatou Keïta, premieres September 10

Chloe: This film dives right into this different culture and it doesn't try to hold your hand through it. You either got it or you didn't. It was kind of ridiculous at times and also self-aware, which made it really funny. The story had a dark tone but it stayed consistently light, which also helped it be really funny.

Mandeq: The one thing I wanted to say about this film, was not only was it really cute and funny… but usually when African countries are shown in films, everybody's poor, everybody's desperate. And this film was the opposite of that. Everyone was having a good time, people were okay. And of course, poverty is a reality. But it doesn't need to be shown in every single film, that's stupid.

Dasola: I also appreciated that the characters were independent but at the same time, there was a lot of respect for their culture and their family. And all the sacrifices that needed to be made. There was these kickass characters who did what they needed to do, but also had a good time.

Why you should go see this movie: “It’s a really realistic representation of young African people and young African women.”

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Window Horses (The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming), by Anne Marie Fleming, premieres September 11

Dasola: What I appreciated about the movie is that I learned a lot. There were a lot of cultural aspects that I didn’t know about, which is always really fun because you get that experience of something that is lighthearted, but at the same time, very educational. The main character was so vulnerable, just trying to be brave and do what they could do with what they had. And the animation was so good. There were parts that were really confusing, like how the main character's a stick figure in comparison to everyone else. I'm not really sure why that was a thing, but I'm sure there was a really complex reason for it! But I really liked how the storytelling involved flashbacks for the narration parts. All those styles were really captivating. You got the history, you got the story, while at the same time, you were mesmerized by this beautiful artwork.

Why you should go see this movie: “It’s an important film to see during festival while you still have the chance.”