Your first love. Your first loss. The first time you broke the rules and felt the thrill. Some of the most magical moments in life are your firsts — many of them happening in your youth. Take a trip back in time and relive your firsts at the sixth annual TIFF Next Wave Film Festival.

Running from February 17 to 19, 2017 at TIFF Bell Lightbox, young audiences will delve into current and relatable topics through a slate of international films spanning all genres, and participate in a variety of engaging film-related events, including the always popular Battle of the Scores, 24-Hour Film Challenge, Freaks and Geeks Movie Marathon, and the inaugural Young Creators Co-Lab, a full-day of programming tailored exclusively for youth interested in exploring the world of film and filmmaking. New this year, all regular screenings and Movie Marathon titles are FREE for anyone under 25!

The festival is steered by the TIFF Next Wave Committee, a voluntary advisory team made up of 12 youth dedicated to bringing quality film programming and film-related events to young film lovers across the city.

“The passionate and talented members of this year’s TIFF Next Wave Committee are the minds and hearts of this festival,” said Elizabeth Muskala, Director, Youth Learning. “I am always in awe of their passion and ability to curate such a diverse slate of programming that is on the pulse of what youth want to see and what they need to see.”

“One of this year’s films, California, is so great because it has the nostalgic background of the ’80s (especially for those who love classic pop rock), and allows you to navigate through the vibrant and exciting life of a Brazilian teenager, but also lets you emotionally relate to someone who wants to see the world, just as much as all of us do,” said Richmond Uy, Next Wave Committee Member.

Truffaut1-The 400 Blows

“We programmed 400 Blows, one of our Movie Marathon titles, because of its honesty surrounding adolescence, identity, and rebellion,” said Ben Sagar, Next Wave Committee Member. “Truffaut’s debut feature is a love letter to film and the quintessential coming-of-age classic — a must see for any film goer!”

This year’s film highlights include Golden Globe–nominated Divines (2016) from debut director Houda Benyamina, a suspenseful, kinetic film about a pair of young women determined to make their own way in a world that seems set against them; Miles Joris-Peyrafitte’s As You Are (2016), the retelling of a friendship between three teenagers through a construction of different memories; and Before I Fall (2017), from indie darling Ry Russo-Young, which is a filmic journey that follows a young woman discovering the best version of herself as she learns to accept the finality of death.

Other highlights include award-winning director Chloé Leriche’s debut feature Before the Streets (2016), which provides a meditative glance into Indigenous processes of connection, redemption and healing; and as part of Canada on Screen/Canada à l’écran, TIFF’s year-long programme in celebration of Canada 150, a free screening of Xavier Dolan’s Mommy (2014), an emotional film about the perils of a strained, unstable mother-son relationship.

Special guests will be announced in the coming weeks on tiff.net/nextwave.


Here some of the films screening at the festival:

1:54 Yan England, Canada, 2016, French with English subtitles Toronto Premiere
Tim, a shy sixteen-year-old athlete, is both brilliant and talented. But the pressure he undergoes pushes him to the edge, where human limits reach the point of no return. Sunday, February 19 at 2:15 p.m.

2 Fists Up Spike Lee, USA, 2016, English
When University of Missouri football players threatened to boycott their game with Brigham Young University in November 2015, unless President Tim Wolfe resigned, they made news far beyond the sports pages and Columbia, Missouri. But that was only one chapter in a tale that began long before that — a tale that director Spike Lee unspools in this Lil’ Joints documentary for ESPN Films. Saturday, February 18 at 2 pm

All This Panic Jenny Gage, USA, 2016, English Canadian Premiere
An indelible look at growing up, husband and wife filmmaking team Jenny Gage and Tom Betterton chronicle sisters Ginger and Dusty and their group of friends over the course of three years, as they grow from teenagers to young adults in Brooklyn. The girls are disarmingly eloquent and incredibly candid as they go through the most confusing, painful, and exciting times of their lives. This is an extraordinary and intimate piece of work about what it mean to come of age today. Saturday, February 18 at 9:15 p.m.

As You Are Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, USA, 2016, English Toronto Premiere
Jack is a high school student who lives with his single mother, Karen. Considered a social outcast and loner, Jack is friendless until Karen’s new boyfriend Tom moves in and brings his son Mark into their lives. The two outsiders quickly bond and form a tight friendship and, after a chance encounter at a diner, bring fellow student Sarah into their group. The three teens become each other’s saving grace until changing relationships and emerging secrets force them to look at themselves and see how far they are willing to go live the lives they choose. Sunday, February 19 at 8:45 p.m.


Barakah Meets Barakah (Barakah yoqabil Barakah) Mahmoud Sabbagh, Saudi Arabia, 2016, Arabic with English subtitles
Toronto International Film Festival 2016
Saudi Arabia’s first rom-com features comedian and social-media superstar Hisham Fageeh as a mild-mannered civil servant who runs up against his society’s strict mores when he sets out to romance the outspoken daughter of a wealthy couple. Saturday, February 18 at 2:30 p.m.

Before I Fall Ry Russo-Young, USA, 2016, English
February 12 is just another day in Sam’s charmed life until it turns out to be her last. Stuck reliving her last day over one inexplicable week, Sam untangles the mystery around her death and discovers everything she’s in danger of losing. Sunday, February 19 at 6 p.m.

Before the Streets (Avant les rues) Chloé Leriche, Canada, 2016, Atikamekw with English subtitles
Indigenous teenager, Shawnouk, gets caught up in a crime and fearing the justice system, flees into the forest. He decides to return to his Atikamekw village in Québec, where he embarks on a healing journey to reconnect with his traditional rituals and find himself again. Saturday, February 18 at 6:30 p.m.

California (Califórnia) Marina Person, Brazil, 2015, Portuguese with English subtitles North American Premiere
The year is 1984. Estela is going through a troubled adolescence. Sex, love and friendship all seem dreadfully complicated. Estela’s uncle Carlos is her hero and visiting him in California is her biggest dream. But everything falls apart when he unexpectedly returns to Brazil: thin, feeble and ill. Amid crises and self-discoveries, Estela will have to face a new reality, which will unquestionably change the way she sees the world. Saturday, February 18 at 12:15 p.m.


Divines Houda Benyamina, France/Qatar, 2016, French with English subtitles
Toronto International Film Festival 2016
Girlhood meets Scarface in Houda Benyamina’s Cannes prize–winning debut feature, about two young women who become embroiled in the criminal world of the Parisian banlieues. Sunday, February 19 at 5:15 p.m.

Girl Asleep Rosemary Myers, Australia, 2016, English Toronto Premiere
In this vibrant portrayal of Australian adolescence, Greta Driscoll’s bubble of obscure loserdom is burst when her parents throw her a surprise 15th birthday party and invite the whole school! Perfectly content being a wallflower, suddenly Greta’s flung far from her comfort zone into a distant, parallel place — a strange world that’s a little frightening and a lot weird, but only there can she find herself. Sunday, February 19 at 12:45 p.m.

Japanese Girls Never Die Daigo Matsui, Japan, 2016, Japanese with English subtitles North American Premiere
Cryptic graffiti, borrowed from a missing person’s poster, begins to appear all over town. A mysterious group of high school girls starts attacking men at random. Haruko Azumi is an unhappy office clerk who lives with her parents. Storylines converge in Daigo Matsui’s edgy, experimental drama. Saturday, February 18 at 4 p.m.


Mommy Xavier Dolan, Canada, 2014, French with English subtitles
FREE: Canada on Screen/GRATUIT: Canada à l’écran
A feisty, widowed single mom finds herself burdened with the full-time custody of her explosive 15-year-old ADHD son. As they try to make ends meet and struggle with their unpredictable ménage, the peculiar, new girl across the street, Kyla, benevolently offers her help. Together, they find a new sense of balance, and hope is regained. Sunday, February 19 at 5:15 p.m.

The Young Offenders Peter Foott, Ireland, 2016, English Toronto Premiere
Inspired by the true story of Ireland’s biggest cocaine seizure in 2007, The Young Offenders is a comedy road movie about best friends Conor and Jock, two inner-city teenagers from Cork who dress the same, act the same, and even have the same bum-fluff moustaches. When a drug-trafficking boat capsizes off the coast of West Cork and 61 bales of cocaine are seized, word gets out that there is a bale missing. The boys steal two bikes and go on a road trip hoping to find the missing bale, which they can sell so as to escape their troubled home lives. Sunday, February 19 at 3 p.m.

The full list of films and events are on tiff.net/nextwave.