Six must-see indie films at TIFF

Six must-see indie films at TIFF

Some of TIFF’s so-called indies are bankrolled by Brad Pitt and Lena Dunham. We rounded up the best of the fest’s true hidden gems


With: Joselito “Jeffrey” de la Cruz and family
Director: Yanillys Perez
Most Canadians know the Dominican Republic more for its all-inclusive resorts than for its impoverished economy, but Perez’s first feature documentary fills the gap with a story anyone can get behind: 12-year-old window-washer Jeffrey’s attempts at making it as a professional singer.


. Photograph courtesy of TIFF
Ayiti Mon Amour

Cast: Joakim Cohen, Anisia Uzeyman, Jaures Andris
Director: Guetty Felin
Felin’s freshman feature dives into her Haitian roots, five years after 2010’s devastating earthquake. Instead of reinforcing standard-issue notions of poverty and victimhood, Ayiti Mon Amour’s local cast delivers a healing narrative of empowerment and perseverance.



Cast: Andrew Gillis, Bhreagh MacNeil
Director: Ashley McKenzie
Nova Scotia’s Ashley McKenzie has gained a stellar reputation with her minimalist, understated short films. Her first feature, about two homeless 20-something drug addicts trying to get by with odd jobs, stays on brand, using low-budget sets and a stark, vérité style.


. Photograph courtesy of TIFF
Hello Destroyer

Cast: 2016 TIFF Rising Star Jared Abrahamson, Kurt Max Runte, Joe Dion Buffalo
Director: Kevan Funk
Vancouver-born Kevan Funk has made six films since 2010. He finally steps into the big leagues with this claustrophobic, heavy feature, which chronicles the misguided machismo and aggression of Canada’s favourite sport.


Daughters of the Dust

Cast: Adisa Anderson, Barbara-O, Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Cora Lee Day
Director: Julie Dash
This 1991 release may not seem quite as avant-garde as it did in its day, but it’s still the first ever feature directed by an African-American woman to receive a general theatrical release. Restored especially for this TIFF season, Julie Dash’s epic tells the story of an African family trying to cross into mainland America through coastal towns in Georgia and South Carolina.


. Photograph courtesy of TIFF
All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception, and the Spirit of I.F. Stone

With: Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, Glenn Greenwald
Director: Fred Peabody
This nuanced primer about the value and legacy of investigative journalism was a labour of love for Vancouver-based journalist Fred Peabody, and was only possible thanks to assorted grants from The Knight Foundation, Catalytic Diplomacy and The Park Foundation.