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The Next Level: TIFF Next Wave Film Festival Brings Authenticity to Youth Experiences on Screen

Fearless storytelling, diverse protagonists, and the high drama of youth on the big screen


Revel in the complexity of youth on screen and banish the old world of cookie-cutter portrayals to cinema’s past, as TIFF helps herald in a new era of storytelling for young people. The TIFF Next Wave Film Festival™ returns for its eighth year with a lineup of emotionally resonant films that push the narrative envelope. From February 15 to 17, 2019, be invigorated by fierce protagonists ready to battle an apocalypse (even if the apocalypse is just growing up), experience heartbreaking stories of young love, and everything in between. This year’s feature-film lineup boasts 70% debuts and 50% films directed by women, and if that’s not exciting enough, the Next Wave Official Selection films are FREE for anyone under 25.

The weekend is overflowing with incredible opportunities, including: a dynamic lineup of feature films; the always rocking Battle of the Scores and Opening Night Party kickoff; a nostalgic Movie Marathon with big moods — the relatable, the memorable, and the magical — for the ages; the return of the Young Creators Co-Lab, a full day of programming tailored exclusively for young creators interested in exploring the world of film and filmmaking; and the brand-new Young Creators Showcase, a presentation of Canadian shorts about youth, by youth, and for youth.

The stories in this year’s feature-film lineup bring an authentic diversity to the representation of youth, femininity, and all the emotions that go along with growing up. Highlights include Carmen & Lola (2018), the love story of two young women who come into conflict with Madrid’s conservative and patriarchal Roma community; a grotesque fairytale-esque twist on growing pains and pesky body changes in Lisa Brühlmann’s Blue My Mind (2017); director Nijla Mu’min’s first feature, Jinn (2018), a coming-of-age story about a 17-year-old girl coming to terms with her mother’s sudden conversion to Islam and her own changing beliefs; Respeto (2017), the story of one boy’s dreams of escaping his life of crime and poverty by ascending to hip-hop greatness; and French Canadian actor-turned-director Sophie Lorain’s feature-film debut, Slut in a Good Way (2018).

This festival is steered by the TIFF Next Wave Committee, an advisory team made up of 12 youth from across the Greater Toronto Area who are dedicated to bringing quality film programming and film-related events to young film lovers across the city. The committee carefully curates and champions stories around film that challenge not only convention, but also narrative structures and platforms.

“The TIFF Next Wave committee curated a lineup that breaks through the baseline of simply telling diverse stories,” said Brigid Tierney, Manager, Youth and Community Initiatives at TIFF. “This year’s films challenge what coming-of-age stories are and could be, championing nuanced and complex takes on what it means to be young, what it means to grow up, and how young people want to see themselves on screen.”

“Through Next Wave programming, youth are encouraged to build connections with like-minded people who you may never have thought about talking to,” said Nara Wrigglesworth, TIFF Next Wave Committee member. “It creates an opportunity for young people to explore diverse and nuanced dialogues. Above all, Next Wave makes the conversations around cinema more diverse and welcoming.”

Looking to spend a day indulging in a big mood? Look no further than the Next Wave Movie Marathon, featuring a selection of films that paved the way for other artists to challenge what it means to be young for years to come. Guaranteed to bring you back to the high drama of youth, this year’s lineup features Studio Ghibli’s animated epic Princess Mononoke (1997); the delightfully awkward family-friendly romp from Taika Waititi, Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016); Millennium Mambo (2001), set in the neon-lit clubs of Taipei and featuring Qi Shu as Vicky, who examines the love triangle she’s in; the satirical, funny, and campy But I’m a Cheerleader (1999), starring Natasha Lyonne, Clea DuVall, and Cathy Moriarty, and featuring a rare onscreen appearance of RuPaul Charles out of drag; and Heath Ledger serenading Julia Stiles from the bleachers in the Taming of the Shrew adaptation 10 Things I Hate About You (1999).

Special guests will be announced in the coming weeks at

Tickets for the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival go on sale today to TIFF Members and to the public on January 16 at 10am. Pricing is as follows: TIFF Next Wave Official Selection films and the Young Creators Showcase are FREE to youth under 25 or with valid student identification if over 25 (Battle of the Scores and Opening Night Party, Movie Marathon screenings, and special screenings are $11.50), $14 for adults and $11.50 for seniors. The TIFF Next Wave Young Creators Co-Lab is open to anyone under 25 and students with valid student identification; full-day ticket $15, class drop-in ticket $5 per event (made available 10 minutes prior to the start of each session on a first-come, first-served basis). For more information on screenings and activities or to purchase tickets, please visit, call 416.599.TIFF (8433) or 1.888.599.8433, or visit the box office at TIFF Bell Lightbox.


Young Creators

Co-Lab TIFF Next Wave signals the return of the Young Creators Co-Lab (February 15), a full day of programming tailored exclusively for young creators interested in exploring the world of film and filmmaking. This year’s Co-Lab will be focussed on celebrating the local world of Toronto filmmaking and people who make a living as artists. The panels, talks, and workshops will look at how stories can be told on different platforms, how to develop ideas for the big screen, and how to take advantage of the possibilities and space in the world of Toronto creatives. More information on the Young Creators Co-Lab lineup and guests will be revealed in the coming weeks at

Battle of the Scores

Opening Night (February 15) kicks off once again with the popular Battle of the Scores, a high-profile showcase for young musical talent. Bands with performers under the age of 25 play original soundtracks for three different short films programmed in collaboration with Insomniac Film Festival. Prizes will be awarded by the audience and a panel of professional judges from the Toronto music and film community, including D.W. Waterson (That’s My DJ) and Emma Seligman (Shiva Baby). The grand-jury prize winner receives studio time with Oak Recording Studio and a scoring opportunity in Emma Seligman’s upcoming feature Shiva Baby.

Big Mood Movie Marathon

The festival presents a special Big Mood Movie Marathon on February 16 with back-to-back timeless classics that feel oh-so-relatable: Taika Waititi’s Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) [12:30pm]; Gil Junger’s 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) [2pm]; Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke (1997) [4:15pm]; Jamie Babbit’s But I’m a Cheerleader (1999) [7:30pm]; and Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Millennium Mambo (2001) [10pm].

Young Creators Showcase

The TIFF Next Wave Film Festival is proud to introduce the Young Creators Showcase (February 17, 12:30pm), which presents short films created by young, emerging filmmakers. This year’s shorts programme explores new ways of thinking about youthdom in universally relatable, yet surprisingly specific, ways. The programme centres on diverse stories and diverse methods of storytelling. This year’s lineup features 15 films from across the country.


Blue My Mind dir. Lisa Brühlmann | Switzerland | 2017 | Swiss German

Sunday, February 17 at 8:30pm

Carmen & Lola dir. Arantxa Echevarría | Spain | 2018 | Spanish

Sunday, February 17 at 3:45pm

Jinn dir. Nijla Mu’min | USA | 2018 | English

Saturday, February 16 at 6:15pm

Ladyworld dir. Amanda Kramer | USA | 2018 | English

Saturday, February 16 at 9pm

Meteorites (Les Météorites) dir. Romain Laguna | France | 2018 | French

Saturday, February 16 at 5:15pm

Minding the Gap dir. Bing Liu | USA | 2018 | English

Sunday, February 17 at 5:45pm

Respeto dir. Alberto Monteras II | Philippines | 2017 | Tagalog

Sunday, February 17 at 9pm

Slut in a Good Way (Charlotte a du fun) dir. Sophie Lorain | Canada | 2018 | French

Sunday, February 17 at 3:15pm

Socrates dir. Alexandre Moratto | Brazil | 2018 | Portuguese

Saturday, February 16 at 3pm

Virus Tropical dir. Santiago Caicedo | Colombia | 2017 | Spanish Sunday, February 17 at 1pm

About TIFF

TIFF is a charitable cultural organization whose mission is 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 Bell Lightbox, which features five cinemas, major exhibitions, and learning and entertainment facilities; and innovative national distribution program Film Circuit. The organization generates an annual economic impact of $189 million CAD. TIFF Bell Lightbox is generously supported by contributors including Founding Sponsor Bell, 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 is generously supported by Lead Sponsor Bell, Major Sponsors RBC, L’Oréal Paris, and Visa, and Major Supporters the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, and the City of Toronto.

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

The TIFF Next Wave Committee is supported by The Slaight Family Foundation Learning Fund.

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