The Peanut Butter Solution

Director Michael Rubbo
Year 1985
Run Time 94min
Genre Action/Adventure, Comedy, Family, Horror, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
While exploring a haunted mansion, Michael Baskin (Mackay) is struck by “The Fright”, a mysterious curse that causes its victim to lose all their hair. After failed attempts to disguise his sudden hair loss, Michael receives a hair growth cure from the ghosts – one that involves a lot of peanut butter. From there, everything just gets worse… and so much stranger.

Hands down the most surreal children’s movie in Canadian history, this cult classic from the Tales For All series has to be seen to be believed.

Director

Michael Rubbo

Writers

Vojtech Jasný, Andrée Pelletier, Louise Pelletier, Michael Rubbo

Cast

Matthew Mackay, Siluck Saysanasy, Alison Darcy

Producers

Nicole Robert, Rock Demers

Genres

Action/Adventure, Comedy, Family, Horror, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Original Languages

English, French

Canadian Distributor

Cineplex Odeon Films/Criterion

Tales from the Gimli Hospital

Director Guy Maddin
Year 1988
Run Time 72min
Genre Drama, Experimental
In his first feature film, Guy Maddin spins a faux-Icelandic saga set during the smallpox epidemic in “a Gimli we no longer know.” Shot in black & white and structured as an extended flashback told by an ailing woman in a Gimli, Manitoba hospital, the film recounts the tale of Einar the Lonely and his hospital roommate Gunnar. As the two compete for the affection of the nurses, what begins as a friendly rivalry soon spirals into jealousy and madness. 

Nominated for a genie award for Best Screenplay, Gimli Hospital is a cult classic bearing many of the surreal hallmarks that would make Maddin one of Canada’s most singular filmmaking voices.     

Director

Guy Maddin

Writer

Guy Maddin

Cast

Kyle McCulloch, Angela Heck, Michael Gottli

Producers

Guy Maddin, Stephen Snyder, Greg Klymkiw

Genres

Drama, Experimental

Interests

Classics, Cult & Offbeat Cinema

Original Language

English

Canadian Distributor

Criterion

Highway 61

Director Bruce McDonald
Year 1991
Run Time 102min
Genre Comedy, Drama
Inspired by Bob Dylan’s classic song and the fact that Highway 61 actually starts in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Bruce McDonald and Don McKellar joined forces to create this acclaimed rock ’n’ roll road movie.

When naïve barber Pokey Jones (McKellar) meets Jackie Bangs (Buhagiar), a flamboyant roadie on the run, it doesn’t take her long to persuade him to leave Thunder Bay for New Orleans. Jones f inds himself taking not only Jackie, but also a frozen corpse he found in his backyard, which she claims is her brother. Meanwhile, in hot pursuit of the fleeing couple is Mr. Skin (Pastko), a bizarre and deluded character who thinks of himself as the Devil. As the three travel south, sparks fly and romance blooms between Pokey and Jackie.

“The triumphant return of two talents firing on all cylinders.” — Festival of Festivals

Director

Bruce McDonald

McDonald directed the cult hits Highway 61, Roadkill, Hard Core Logo, The Tracey Fragments, starring Elliot Page, Pontypool, and the award-winning series Twitch City, episodes of Degrassi and Heartland. His recent films include Trigger, The Husband, Hellions, Weirdos and Dreamland. He recently directed the series Creeped Out and Malory Towers and is currently working on the films Switched at Death and I Have a Bad Feeling About This.

Writers

Allan Magee, Bruce McDonald, Don McKellar

Cast

Valerie Buhagiar, Earl Pastko, Don McKellar

Producers

Colin Brunton, Bruce McDonald

Genres

Comedy, Drama

Interests

Classics, Cult & Offbeat Cinema, Strong Female Leads

Original Language

English

Language Version

EN CC

Canadian Distributor

eOne

I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing

Director Patricia Rozema
Year 1987
Run Time 81min
Genre Drama
In Patricia Rozema’s fanciful character study, aspiring photographer Polly (McCarthy) lands a job at a Toronto art gallery run by Gabrielle (Baillargeon), who is also a painter. Polly is impressed with Gabrielle’s paintings, but as Polly gets to know her lover Mary (MacDonald) and becomes entangled in their lives, she realizes Gabrielle isn’t exactly who she appears to be.

Though timid on the outside, Polly’s inner life is rich and full of charming fantasies which Rozema brings to life in black & white sequences that punctuate the film with humour and whimsy.

The film won the award for Best First Feature at the Cannes Film Festival, and in 1993 was ranked as one of TIFF’s Top 10 Canadian Films of All Time.

Director

Patricia Rozema

Writer

Patricia Rozema

Cast

Sheila McCarthy, Paule Baillargeon, Ann-Marie MacDonald

Producers

Don Haig, Alexandra Raffe, Patricia Rozema

Genre

Drama

Interests

BIPOC Stories, Female Filmmaker, LGBTQ2S+

Original Language

English

Language Versions

EN CC, FR Dub, FR Subtitles

Canadian Distributor

eOne

Léolo

Director Jean-Claude Lauzon
Year 1992
Run Time 107min
Genre Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Young Léolo (Collin) lives in a Montreal apartment building with his chaotic and eccentric family, but he spends much of his time in his own imagination. 
 
Lauzon's critically acclaimed film tells the tale from Léolo's point-of-view, alternating the stark reality of his dysfunctional home life with the surrealistic imagery and fantasy sequences into which Léolo retreats, in order to escape the family drama that surrounds him. Eventually, this precarious balance of reality and fantasy begins to crack. A haunting score by Tom Waits accentuates Léolo's breakdown.
  
This disturbing, visually stunning, magical realist coming-of-age tale won three Genie Awards and was named one of the Top 10 films of 1993 by Time Out. In 2015, a poll conducted by the Toronto International Film Festival named it one of the Top 10 Canadian Films of all time.
 
Roger Ebert called it “a film that stirs in the shadows of memory for everyone who has ever seen it, a film that cannot be classified and can hardly be explained”.
 

Director

Jean-Claude Lauzon

Writer

Jean-Claude Lauzon

Cast

Gilbert Sicotte, Maxime Collin, Ginette Reno, Julien Guiomar, Pierre Bourgault

Producers

Aimée Danis, Jean-François Lepetit

Genres

Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Interests

Arts and Culture, Classics, Family Relationships

Original Language

French

Canadian Distributor

eOne

The Twentieth Century

Director Matthew Rankin
Year 2019
Run Time 90min
Genre Comedy, Drama
This delightfully insane look at the early political career of Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King (Dan Beirne) is director Matthew Rankin’s first feature, but demonstrates a unique and fully formed vision. Far from being a traditional biopic, Rankin creates an alternate Canadian history that needs to be seen to be believed.

Winner of TIFF’s 2019 award for Best Canadian Feature, and nominated for 8 Canadian Screen Awards including Best Picture.

“An exuberant feat of visual design, it’s meticulously weird and full of rambunctious humor.” 
– Nicolas Rapold, The New York Times

Director

Matthew Rankin

Writer

Matthew Rankin

Cast

Catherine St-Laurent, Dan Beirne, Sarianne Cormier

Producers

Gabrielle Tougas-Fréchette, Ménaïc Raoul

Genres

Comedy, Drama

Interests

Biography, Social Justice & Politics

Original Language

English

Language Version

EN CC

Canadian Distributor

Crave

  • Own Voice

Zero Patience

Director John Greyson
Year 1993
Run Time 97min
Genre Drama
John Greyson’s fantasy musical Zero Patience explores the case of Gaëtan Dugas, a Quebecois flight attendant who was erroneously labeled “Patient Zero” for the AIDS epidemic in the US. By framing the story through the efforts of immortal explorer and museum curator Sir Richard Francis Burton to exhibit Dugas’ story in his “Hall of Contagion,” Greyson exposes the flaws in public narratives about disease that position marginalized communities as scapegoats rather than canaries in the proverbial coal mine. 

A playful hybrid of activism and entertainment, Zero Patience polarized critics upon its release in 1993 but has since been hailed as an important work of New Queer Cinema.  

Director

John Greyson

Writer

John Greyson

Cast

John Robinson, Normand Fauteux, Dianne Heatherington, Richardo Keens-Douglas

Producers

Alexandra Raffe, Louise Garfield, Anna Stratton

Genre

Drama

Interests

History, LGBTQ2S+

Original Languages

English, French

Canadian Distributor

Cineplex Odeon Films

Maps to the Stars

Director David Cronenberg
Year 2014
Run Time 111min
Genre Drama
The Weiss family seem to be living the Hollywood dream. They have money, fame, the envy of their peers, and more than their fair share of skeletons in their closet. Stafford Weiss (Cusack) is a TV self-help therapist with an A-list clientele. Meanwhile, Cristina (Williams) has her work cut out managing the career of their disaffected child-star son, Benjie (Bird), freshly out of rehab at age 13.

Unbeknownst to them, another member of their brood has just arrived in town – the mysteriously scarred Agatha (Wasikowska), recently released from a psych ward. Agatha befriends a limo driver (Pattinson) and becomes the assistant to one of Stafford’s clients, (Moore) who is haunted by the abuse she suffered at the hands of her legendary mother (Gadon).

A wickedly funny trip into the depravity of Hollywood and a compelling meditation on the ways family can haunt us both literally and figuratively,  Maps to the Stars won 10 awards including two CSAs and two awards at the Cannes Film Festival, and was nominated for 20 others internationally.

Director

David Cronenberg

Writer

Bruce Wagner

Cast

Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson, John Cusack, Evan Bird

Producers

Saïd Ben Saïd, Martin Katz, Michel Merkt

Genre

Drama

Interest

Arts and Culture

Original Language

English

Language Versions

EN CC, FR Subtitles, Other Subtitles

Canadian Distributor

eOne

Family Viewing

Director Atom Egoyan
Year 1987
Run Time 86min
Genre Drama
Atom Egoyan’s provocative second feature follows an estranged father and son, Stan (Stemblen) and Van (Tierney) who engage in a battle of wills that further drives them apart. Devoted to his grandmother in a way his father isn’t, Van is desperate to get her out of a nursing home, and enlists the help of Aline (Khanjian), a phone sex worker he meets there. When he discovers that his father has been destroying the record of his childhood by recording over old home movie videostapes to record scenes of perversion with his new wife, his plan takes on a sinister twist, leading to unexpected complications.

Nominated for 8 Genie Awards, and now considered Egoyan’s breakthrough feature, Family Viewing is a classic that is a must-see for Canadian film fans.

Director

Atom Egoyan

Egoyan received the Governor General’s award in 2015 for Lifetime Artistic Achievement. He was the first-ever Canadian director to earn two Oscar nominations (for The Sweet Hereafter). His award-winning films include Exotica, Ararat and The Captive. His most recent film, Guest of Honour, premiered at TIFF 2019.

Writer

Atom Egoyan

Cast

Arsinee Khanjian, David Hemblen, Aidan Tierney, Gabrielle Rose

Producer

Atom Egoyan

Genre

Drama

Interest

Family Relationships

Original Language

English

Canadian Distributor

Canada Council for the Arts

Crime Wave

Director John Paizs
Year 1985
Run Time 80min
Genre Comedy, Drama
One of the quirkiest and funniest films ever made in Canada, Crime Wave follows neophyte screenwriter Steven Penny (Paizs), a strangely silent young man who aspires to make the best "colour crime films" imaginable. But Steven has one major problem: He's only good at writing the beginnings and endings of movies. With the help of a young neighbour (Kovacs) and the mysterious "Dr. Jolly," Steven struggles to beat his writer's block.

Set in a 1950s fantasy world, this wryly humorous combination of post-modernism, surrealism and genuine affection for old Hollywood films is irresistible for anyone who likes unusual movies with an inventive take on storytelling.

Director

John Paizs

Since filming the widely-praised Crime Wave in his native Winnipeg, Paizs has directed Top of the Food Chain and Marker, and has worked on such TV series as Kids in the Hall, The Adventures of Shirley Holmes and John Woo’s Once a Thief. He is currently writing and illustrating a graphic novel and working as the director in residence at the Canadian Film Centre.

Writer

John Paizs

Cast

John Paizs, Eva Kovacs, Darrell Baran

Producer

John Paizs

Genres

Comedy, Drama

Interests

Arts and Culture, Cult & Offbeat Cinema

Original Language

English

Canadian Distributor

eOne