10 Films You Need to See at TIFF 2016

If you’re planning on catching a movie or two at TIFF 2016, we’ve rounded up a list of titles-star-studded movies, likely Oscar contenders, foreign features and even animated comedies-you should see. Over 75 movies are making their Canadian premiere at TIFF 2016, but these 10 are generating the most buzz.

1 / 10
Sasha Lane in American Honey
Courtesy of TIFF

1. American Honey

Winner of the Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, American Honey looks to be a road trip movie for the ages. The film stars Shia LaBeouf and newcomer Sasha Lane as door-to-door salespeople travelling cross-country in what director Andrea Arnold describes as “a small potted version of the American dream.” Interestingly, it’s Arnold’s first film set in the United States, and one of the most anticipated films at TIFF 2016.

2 / 10
Ewan McGregor in American Pastoral
Courtesy of TIFF

2. American Pastoral

For his directorial debut, actor Ewan McGregor adapted one of the most acclaimed novels of the last 25 years. Starring McGregor in the lead role, Jennifer Connelly as his wife and Dakota Fanning as their daughter, American Pastoral realizes Philip Roth’s 1997 book about a seemingly perfect American family whose lives are destroyed by the social and political upheavals of the sixties.

3 / 10
Anatomy of Violence directed by Deepa Mehta
Courtesy of TIFF

3. Anatomy of Violence

It was the crime that angered the world-the 2012 fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old student on a New Delhi bus. Directed by Toronto native and Oscar nominee Deepa Mehta, Anatomy of Violence is a dramatization of the lives of the men who committed the horrific act. It’s easily the most highly-anticipated film by a Canadian director in the TIFF 2016 line-up.

4 / 10
Amy Adams in Arrival
Photo: Paramount Pictures

4. Arrival

Quebec native Denis Villeneuve has quite the resume, having directed 2013’s Prisoners and 2015’s Sicario, as well as the upcoming Blade Runner sequel. Starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker, Arrival is a science-fiction drama that tells the tale of mysterious spacecraft landings across the globe. Sounds simple enough, but if you’ve seen any of Villeneuve’s movies, you know this film will be anything but.

5 / 10
Nate Parker's The Birth of a Nation will premiere at TIFF 2016
Courtesy of TIFF

5. The Birth of a Nation

After winning the Grand Jury and Audience prizes at the Sundance Film Festival, writer-director-star Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation is one of the most eagerly anticipated movies at TIFF 2016. Co-starring Gabrielle Union and Armie Hammer, it dramatizes the life of Nat Turner and the slave rebellion he led in 1830s Virginia. If its record-setting $17.5 million acquisition by Fox Searchlight is any indication, The Birth of a Nation is a must-see.

6 / 10
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in La La Land
Courtesy of TIFF

6. La La Land

Take two of Hollywood’s most talented young actors, a filmmaker fresh off of a critical hit, the classic Hollywood musical genre, and you’ve got a likely smash on your hands. Directed by Damien Chazelle (2014’s Whiplash), La La Land stars Emma Stone as an aspiring actress and Ryan Gosling as a jazz pianist who try to make it big in Tinseltown. Get ready for some song-and-dance!

7 / 10
Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga in Loving
Courtesy of TIFF

7. Loving

Directed by Jeff Nichols (2013’s Mud), Loving tells the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, a mixed-raced couple sentenced to prison for violating Virginia laws prohibiting interracial marriage in the 1950s. Starring Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga as the titular couple, the movie premiered at Cannes to positive reviews, with many praising it as a sensitive portrait of love and civil rights.

8 / 10
Lupita Nyong'o in Queen of Katwe
Courtesy of TIFF

8. Queen of Katwe

Directed by acclaimed Indian filmmaker Mira Nair and starring Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo, Queen of Katwe is a biographical movie about a Ugandan chess prodigy in a small village. Co-produced by Walt Disney Pictures, it also looks to be one of the few feel-good movies at TIFF 2016.

9 / 10
Animal characters in Sing
Courtesy of TIFF

9. Sing

From the creators of Despicable Me, Sing is an animated comedy about a theatre owner who holds a singing contest to keep his business afloat. Oh, and did we mention this theatre owner happens to be a koala in a world populated by animals? With a vocal ensemble that includes Scarlett Johansson and Matthew McConaughey, Sing is one of the more offbeat titles at TIFF 2016.

10 / 10
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Edward Snowden
Courtesy of TIFF

10. Snowden

Filmmaker Oliver Stone has a reputation for making movies about heavy political issues (Platoon and JFK, to name a few), and his latest sees him tackling the story of Edward Snowden: former CIA employee and infamous whistleblower. It will be interesting to see how Joseph Gordon-Levitt portrays Snowden-a man regarded by some as an American hero, and by others as a traitor.

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