TIFF Next Wave Film Festival Goes National This Friday

This year’s TIFF Next Wave Film Festival runs from February 12–15. 2021.

Now in its tenth year, the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival brings together young people from across Canada to celebrate cinema.

The beauty of this festival is that it’s curated by a group of 12 students ranging in age from 15 to 18. Known as the TIFF Next Wave Committee, these young cinephiles’ efforts will inspire the next generation of talented Canadian storytellers.

The TIFF Next Wave Film Festival is “curated for youth, by youth, the titles selected for this year’s lineup demonstrate the power, tenacity, and steadfastness of the next generation, and feature stories of self-discovery and community.

This year’s event features an Opening Night Party, a Battle of the Scores, a conversation with Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard, as wells as a binge on a Movie Marathon. 15-year-old me would have killed for a chance to take part in something like this, and I’m thrilled for the team chosen to curate this year’s festival.

We’ve listed everything you need to know about this weekend’s festival below.


TIFF Next Wave Official Selection

Your couch: the place to be in 2021


This year’s Official Film Selection consists of features and short films that are of the moment and represent a variety of experiences and perspectives of youth around the world, from Canada and the United States to Brazil and the United Arab Emirates. Seventy percent of features are directed by women. Highlights include: Beans (2020), TIFF Emerging Talent Award–winning filmmaker Tracey Deer’s story of a 12-year-old Mohawk girl during the 1990 Oka Crisis; My Name is Baghdad (2020), a naturalistic look at skateboarding culture and a girl whose life is transformed by her crew; queer coming-of-age story Tahara (2020); and Unapologetic (2020), a documentary looking at the Movement for Black Lives in Chicago through the eyes of two community activists.


Beans dir. Tracey Deer | Canada | 2020 | English/French

Cocoon (Kokon) dir. Leonie Krippendorff | Germany | 2020 | German

Death of Nintendo dir. Raya Martin | USA/Philippines | 2019 | Tagalog/Filipino


La Leyenda Negra dir. Patricia Vidal Delgado | USA | 2020 | English/Spanish

My Name is Baghdad (Meu nome é Bagdá) dir. Caru Alves de Souza | Brazil | 2020 | Brazilian Portuguese

The Night of the Beast (La noche de la bestia) dir. Mauricio Leiva Cock | Colombia/Mexico | 2020 | Spanish

Scales (Sayidat Al Bahr) dir. Shahad Ameen | Saudi Arabia/United Arab Emirates/Iraq | 2019 | Arabic


Summertime dir. Carlos López Estrada | USA | 2020 | English

Tahara dir. Olivia Peace | USA | 2020 | English

Unapologetic dir. Ashley O’Shay | USA | 2020 | English


Young Creators Showcase
A lineup of short films created for you, by you.


Created by young, emerging filmmakers, this shorts programme explores themes of identity, connection, self-discovery, and finding one’s place in the world. From animation to documentary, these shorts feature a dynamic mix of voices, visions, and methods of storytelling. They showcase bold, new ways youth are engaging in film to create honest, intersectional stories about their experiences. The lineup features 14 films by the next wave of Canadian filmmaking talent.



COPING dir. Vivien Forsans | Canada | 2019 | No Dialogue

heroes dir. Andy Nguyen | Canada | 2020 | English

I Wanna Make a Movie, or I Wanna Die Trying dirs. Sydney Nicole Herauf, Eric Bizzarri | Canada | 2019 | English

The Gift (Kaudo) dir. Natalie Paton | Canada | 2020 | Farsi/English

LUZ dir. Andrea Villanueva | Canada | 2020 | English

My Head Aches When I Look Too Long dir. Callahan Bracken | Canada | 2020 | English

No Justice No Peace dir. KhaRå Martin | Canada | 2020 | English

No More Parties dir. Natalie Murao | Canada | 2020 | English/Cantonese

Prey dirs. Aiken Chau, Yusheng Nathan Chen | Canada | 2020 | English

sunday (일요일) dir. kim hayung | Canada | 2020 | Korean/English

this is a completely normal home movie dir. Tessa Hill | Canada | 2020 | English

Under The Bridge dir. Peter Widdrington | Canada | 2019 | English

Wash Day dir. Jaida Salmon | Canada | 2019 | English

With Love From Munera dir. Yazmeen Kanji | Canada | 2020 | English

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In Conversation With…Finn Wolfhard

February 13, 6pm EST
TIFF Next Wave proudly presents a live conversation with actor, writer, director, and musician Finn Wolfhard. The 18-year-old Vancouverite has already accumulated an impressive list of credits, ranging from his award-winning portrayal of Mike Wheeler in the Netflix Original series Stranger Things to lead roles in such feature films as It, the upcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio. Wolfhard joins us for a discussion about his passion for music and film, his work in front of the camera, and his collaborations with emerging filmmakers on short films — including his own directorial debut, Night Shifts. This event will be available for free on TIFF’s Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube channels.

Experience even more at TIFF Next Wave
Whether you take in a talk, a short film, or the whole festival, the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival promises to be a truly transformational weekend!

3 films, 3 bands, lotsa bops.
Battle of the Scores
Three bands will score three short films for one big prize. Visit @TIFF_NET on Instagram February 8–11 to see the films, hear the scores, and cast your vote. Winners will be announced on February 12 at TIFF Next Wave’s Opening Night Party.
February 8–11

Nationwide watch-party
Movie Marathon: A Trip
This year’s Movie Marathon is made up of four supremely bingeable throwback classics, guaranteed to be A Trip:
Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus
High Fantasy
Let the Right One In
February 12, 10am EST

Party at your house?
Opening Night
This year, the party goes from IRL to URL with lotsa digital bops and a few hundred (online) friends virtually raising your roof. Get down during lockdown from anywhere in Canada at the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival’s online opening bash, with a lineup of young DJs and live performances. Stay tuned for the full lineup to be announced on February 3.
February 12, 8:30pm EST

Want to make movies?
Young Creators Co-Lab
Connect with other emerging artists and get inspiration and tips from industry experts in a series of online workshops and talks (via Zoom) at this year’s Young Creators Co-Lab. Offering a day of connective and engaging programming for filmmakers and creatives, Co-Lab is FREE and accessible to youth anywhere in Canada.
February 13, 1pm EST

For more information and ticket info, click here.