10. Moonlight

Barry Jenkins, USA

If you didn’t get the chance to see Moonlight at SWIFF, I suggest seeking out this oscar contender at your local theatre or streaming service once it becomes more accessible. The experience of Moonlight is extremely important in society’s discourse of gender, sexuality and economic barriers.

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9. Hunt For The Wilderpeople

Taika Waititi, New Zealand

There isn’t a bad film directed by Taika Waititi and I don’t believe there ever will be. Hunt for the Wilderpeople follows a rough juvenile delinquent who gets fostered by an even rougher Sam Neil (Jurassic Park). It’s a very witty and clever film that can be enjoyed by both adults and teens - so go watch it as a family or on your own (It’s on Netflix! No Excuses!).

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8. Blue Jay

Alex Lehmann, USA

It’s amazing to witness the amount of work that comes from the Duplass Brothers. Bluejay stars Mark Duplass and Sarah Paulson (The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story) as an ex-couple that revisits their life together for one mixed night of nostalgia and melancholy. The feeling of this film still resonates with me today (Also on Netflix!!).

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7. Paterson

Jim Jarmusch, USA

Starring Adam Driver and directed by Jim Jarmusch (Gimme Danger) - Paterson follows a week in the life of a bus driver who has a passion for poetry. It’s an incredibly relaxing and beautiful film that gives meaning to every little detail in one’s life.

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6. Arrival

Denis Villeneuve, USA

With the rejuvenation of 80s and 90s content through remakes and sequels it seems cinema is returning it’s focus to Sci-Fi; luckily there is still room for original screenplays. Arrival was everything I wanted it to be - grounding the alien genre with the human connection; Arrival uses language as a tool to unpack divisiveness.

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5. Kubo And The Two Strings

Travis Knight, USA

The latest stop motion film by Laika Entertainment (Coraline, The Boxtrolls), Kubo and The Two Strings follows a young bard who must retrieve three ancient artifacts to protect himself from his villainous grandfather. I love the fantasy genre and Kubo felt like an epic - the use of origami both as a stop-motion technique and a story element is impressive. I would recommend any and all Laika films - they are one of the few stop motion companies steadily creating content.

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4. Midnight Special

Jeff Nichols, USA

With the current over saturation of superhero films, Midnight Special stands out. The film follows a father on the run with his gifted son blending aspects of Sci-Fi and Drama. Jeff Nichols has quickly become my favourite Director within the past few years by far; he has a unique ability of using landscape almost as a character - I would also suggest his other film of 2017, Loving.

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3. The Happiest Day In The Life Of Olli Maki

Juho Kuosmanen, Finland/Germany/Sweden

I got the chance to see this Finnish film at TIFF this year. I love watching feature debuts by new filmmakers and the Happiest Day in The Life of Olli Maki is a joy to watch; you fall in love with the boxer protagonist as he falls in love for the first time - ignoring what should be the biggest moment in his life. If you also love feature debuts go see Old Stone (if you didn’t already see it at SWIFF).

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2. The Lobster

Yorgos Lanthimos, Ireland/United Kingdom/Greece/France/Netherlands

My favourite comedies are filled with dry, dark and witty humour. The concept alone made me laugh - single people on a retreat who must find love in 45 days or be turned into an animal of their choice. It’s got a star studded cast in a film that allows them to really show off their craft. If you also love dark comedies you’ll enjoy it.

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1. Into The Inferno

Werner Herzog, United Kingdom/Austria

If there is one thing connecting my top ten it’s quality directors. Werner Herzog is an icon in documentary filmmaking and this may be my favourite as he tackles the mythology, science and beauty surrounding volcanos around the world. I may be biased because I hold a love for volcanos but this fits in my top ten.

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Levi Webb

Programmer

Levi graduated from York University with a B.A. in Film and Media Studies. Since then he has worked within the Submissions and Festival Programming departments at the Toronto International Film Festival as well as being a Front of House Manager for Hot Docs. My favourite films include 'Harold and Maude', 'The 400 Blows' and 'The Squid and The Whale.'