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Reflecting On Tomorrow: TIFF Next Wave Film Festival Lineup Holds A Mirror Up To The World’s Next Generation

Returning for its ninth year, the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival puts a global lens on themes of self-exploration, social media, and coming of age


Narratives about relationships and self-discovery are at the forefront of this year’s TIFF Next Wave Film Festival, taking place February 14–16, 2020 at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Now in its ninth year, TIFF Next Wave — a dynamic film festival designed specifically for film fans under 25 — gives TIFF’s youngest curators the keys to the kingdom, showcasing youth protagonists tackling challenges and situations that will resonate with young audiences. Presenting international stories of identity, community, and relationships across live-action, animation, and documentary formats, Next Wave pushes audiences to challenge the idea of what a youth film festival should be. Tickets for TIFF Next Wave Official Selection films are available for free to anyone under 25.

With films representing all but one continent, this year’s Official Selection comprises 12 features and 14 short films, and underscores the increasingly global interests of the next generation. Programming highlights include Kuessipan (2019), the Canadian story of two childhood friends from the same Quebec Innu community whose lives begin to diverge; Selah and The Spades (2018), a stylish look at five factions vying for social supremacy at a posh Pennsylvania boarding school, starring Emmy winner Jharrel Jerome; Your Turn (2019), a vibrant documentary covering the Brazilian student movement; and Angelfish (2019), a story of improbable love that marks the acting debut of rapper Princess Nokia. Crowning this year’s incredible lineup of programming is In Conversation With… Kelvin Harrison Jr., a one-night-only onstage conversation with the breakout star of Waves, Of Monsters and Men, and Stella Meghie’s upcoming film, The Photograph.

Setting the tone for the festival is the TIFF Next Wave Committee, a group of 12 students aged 15–18 that have been selected from a pool of Toronto’s most enthusiastic young film lovers — many of whom are promising young creators themselves. In collaboration with the TIFF Next Wave programming team, the TIFF Next Wave Committee curates the festival’s core lineup of films and programming. The Committee champions titles that are challenging, unconventional, and, above all, important and representative of their generation.

“This year’s Next Wave Committee truly illustrates what can be achieved when a passionate group of young people channel their energy toward a shared goal,” said Steph Guthrie, TIFF Manager, Youth & Community Initiatives. “The team has put together a wildly diverse lineup of films that demonstrate the value of seeing oneself on screen and illustrate just how many ways there are to be young. It has been both inspiring and incredibly fun to watch the Committee members cultivate their skills and voices as film programmers. I can’t wait to see how the conversation grows when we share the lineup with an audience.” “To me, TIFF Next Wave is all about making diverse films accessible to young audiences who may not have discovered them on their own,” said Marlee Machado, TIFF Next Wave Committee member. “I also love that this festival gives first-time and international filmmakers a platform to showcase their work in Canada. I hope this year’s festival impacts a whole new group of people and we’re able to highlight what Next Wave is all about: diversity, inclusion, and fun!” In addition to the unique lineup of new feature films, the festival offers audiences a variety of other ways to engage with what’s next, including a nostalgic look backwards during the Growing Pains Movie Marathon; a remarkable opportunity for young creators to to hear from the experts and expand their knowledge of filmmaking and the film industry at the Young Creators Co-Lab; the Young Creators Showcase, a shorts programme highlighting emerging Canadian filmmakers; and Battle of the Scores and the Opening Night Party. Whether you come for a talk, a short film, or take in the whole festival, the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival promises to be a truly transformational weekend. Tickets for the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival are available now for TIFF Members and will be available to the public on January 17 at 10am. TIFF Next Wave Official Selection films and the Young Creators Showcase are FREE for anyone under 25 or with valid student student identification if over 25, $14 for adults, and $11.50 for seniors. Tickets for In Conversation With… Kelvin Harrison Jr. are $11.50 for anyone under 25, $23.75 for adults, and $19.25 for seniors and students over 25 with valid student identification. Battle of the Scores and Opening Night Party, Movie Marathon screenings, and special screenings are $11.50 for those under 25 or students over 25 with valid student identification, $14 for adults, and $11.50 for seniors. Full-day pass access to the Young Creators Co-Lab are $15 for anyone under 25 and students with valid student identification; drop-in tickets are available for $5 per event (made available on a first-come, first-served rush basis). For more information on screenings and activities or to purchase tickets, please visit, call 416.599.2033 or 1.888.258.8433 or visit the box office at TIFF Bell Lightbox. TIFF Members get early access to TIFF Next Wave tickets starting January 15. For a limited time, you and a friend can join TIFF and Canada’s biggest film club for only $60! Join with promo code 20SQUADGOALS by January 14 and save $100 on a Membership for two. EVENTS AT THE TIFF NEXT WAVE FILM FESTIVAL: In Conversation With… Kelvin Harrison Jr. On February 13, the breakout star joins us for an onstage conversation about bringing socially charged roles to life, balancing his craft across indie features and Hollywood hits — including Of Monsters and Men, Luce, and Waves — and his performance in Stella Meghie’s forthcoming film, The Photograph.

Young Creators Co-Lab

February 14 marks the return of the Young Creators Co-Lab, a day of inspirational and engaging programming for young and emerging filmmakers. Co-Lab invites the creators of tomorrow to attend panels and workshops with industry professionals designed to facilitate learning and development, and foster collaboration and information exchange. This year’s Co-Lab will feature a masterclass with Tayarisha Poe, director of TIFF Next Wave feature selection Selah and The Spades. 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 14) launches the festival with the always epic 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 and are judged by the audience and a panel of professional judges from the Toronto music and film community. Programmed in collaboration with Insomniac Film Festival, the short films receiving bespoke scores this year are Eating is a Very Tender Thing, directed by Michaela Robertson; A Sinnerwoman’s Consequence, directed by Zavia Forrest; and How Do Clowns Say I Love You?, directed by Sydney Herauf and Dylan Mitro. The winner will receive a scoring opportunity in the upcoming series Sloppy Jones, created by Sophie Nation, Jamie Hart, and Jonathan Macdonald.

Movie Marathon: Growing Pains

This year’s movie marathon shows us that at some point or another, we all have to grow up. The Growing Pains Movie Marathon on February 15 features coming-of-age classics back to back to back: Taika Waititi’s Boy (2010) [12:30pm], Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont’s Josie and the Pussycats (2001) [2pm], Gina Prince-Bythewood’s Love & Basketball (2000) [4:30pm], Anne Fletcher’s Step Up (2006) [7:30pm], and Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho (1991) [9pm].


And Then We Danced dir. Levan Akin | Sweden/Georgia/France | 2019 | Georgian Saturday, February 15 at 5pm

Angelfish dir. Peter Lee | USA | 2019 | English/Spanish Sunday, February 16 at 5:45pm

Children of the Sea dir. Ayumu Watanabe | Japan | 2019 | Japanese Sunday, February 16 at 12:30pm

CRSHD dir. Emily Cohn | USA | 2019 | English Saturday, February 15 at 4:45pm

House of Hummingbird dir. Bora Kim | South Korea | 2018 | Korean Sunday, February 16 at 6pm

Kuessipan dir. Myriam Verreault | Canada | 2019 | Innu/French Sunday, February 16 at 3:15pm

Papicha dir. Mounia Meddour | Algeria | 2019 | French/Arabic Sunday, February 16 at 3pm

Premature dir. Rashaad Ernesto Green | USA | 2019 | English Sunday, February 16 at 8:30pm

Selah and The Spades dir. Tayarisha Poe | USA | 2018 | English Saturday, February 15 at 7:15pm

Sequin in a Blue Room dir. Samuel Van Grinsven | Australia | 2019 | English Sunday, February 16 at 9pm

Take Me Somewhere Nice dir. Ena Sendijarević | Netherlands/Bosnia and Herzegovina | 2019 | Bosnian/Dutch Sunday, February 16 at 6:30pm

Your Turn dir. Eliza Capai | Brazil | 2019 | Portuguese Saturday, February 15 at 2:45pm

Young Creators Showcase

Returning for its second year, the Young Creators Showcase (February 16) presents short films created by young, emerging filmmakers. Bringing new and exciting perspectives of youth on screen, the programme showcases a diverse mix of voices, visions, and methods of storytelling that will excite, engage, and inspire. The lineup features 14 films by the next wave of Canadian filmmaking talent.

No Crying at the Dinner Table dir. Carol Nguyen | Canada | 2019 | Vietnamese/English

Do Turtles Swim in Maple Syrup? dir. Paul Daniel Torres Canessa | Canada | 2019 | English/Spanish

PICK dir. Alicia K. Harris | Canada | 2019 | English

Wash Day dir. Kourtney Jackson | Canada | 2019 | English

Kashif dir. Haaris Qadri | Canada | 2019 | English/Urdu

Yolk dir. Renee Y. Liang | Canada | 2019 | English

The Lost Tribe dir. Emanuel Ntwiga | Canada | 2019 | English

Bananas Stand Up Straight dirs. Sydney Herauf, Dylan Mitro | Canada | 2019 | English

Boy Before dir. Onyeka Oduh | Canada | 2019 | English/French

In Passing dir. Esther Cheung | Canada | 2019 | Cantonese

Tune In dirs. Tiffany Kewageshig, Cassidey Ritchie | Canada | 2019 | English

u really hurt me dir. Callahan Bracken | Canada | 2019 | English

Video Vengeance dir. Nada Cosovic | Canada | 2019 | English

XO Rad Magical dir. Christopher Grant | Canada | 2019 | English


About TIFF

TIFF is a not-for-profit 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.

The TIFF Next Wave Film Festival is supported by Corus


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