Toronto has yet another film festival on the scene. The Pendance Film Festival is an independent film festival supported by a bevy of great sponsors and key artists in the Canadian film community, with the goal to give a serious platform to innovative storytellers, and to spark a new love affair with cinema among modern audiences starving for truth and meaning on the big screen. It is one of the fastest-growing film festivals in the world, and will be hosting 37 Canadian premieres (out of 49 total films) at the Regent Theatre (551 Mt. Pleasant Rd) in Toronto from January 31st to February 3rd, 2019. The full 49-film-lineup includes 8 feature films making premieres.

Highly recommended is Ori Aharon’s Rubber Dolphin, that explores the deep sexual relationship between two men during a one-night-stand, and is easily one of the most raw and unfiltered look at this subject in years.  A gay love story set in a one bedroom apartment in Tel Aviv. They meet, they have sex, they fall in love. Will it last until the morning comes?

Director Ori Aharon is a screenwriter and a film director who was born and raised in Haifa and lives in Tel Aviv. Rubber Dolphin is his graduation film at the Steve Tisch School of Film and Television at Tel Aviv University. He is attending the Toronto screening, which is being co-presented by the Toronto Jewish Film Festival.  Screens February 3rd at 5pm.

Other films screening this year include, A.J. Edward’s Friday’s Child starring Tye Sheridan, Imogen Poots, and Caleb Landry Jones will have its Canadian Premiere at Pendance following its world premiere at SXSW in 2018. To the Night starring Caleb Landry Jones and Eleonore Hendricks and directed by Austrian director Peter Brunner also makes its Canadian premiere at Pendance following its world premiere at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

In Reality, directed by and starring Ann Lupo makes its Canadian premiere after winning the Jury Award and Audience Award at the Austin Film Festival. Lost Holiday starring Kate Lyn Sheil, Thomas MatthewsWilliam Jackson Harper and Emily Mortimer will make its Canadian Premiere days after its world premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival.

Santiago Rizzo’s Quest starring Lakeith Stanfield, Gregory Kasyan, Dash Mihok, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Betsy Brandt makes its Canadian premiere following screenings at Slamdance, and major awards at Mill Valley, Napa Valley, and Gasparilla Film Festivals.

Curtiz by Tamas Yvan Topolanszky is a period piece about director Michael Curtiz and the production of Casablanca. The film won the Grand Prix des Ameriques (Best picture) at the 2018 Montreal World Film Festival and is making its Ontario premiere We the Coyotes by Hanna Ladoul and Marco La Via starring Morgan SaylorMcCaul Lombardi and Betsy Brandt makes its Ontario premiere following selections at Raindance Film Festival and the Warsaw Film Festival in 2018. 

Among 41 short films selected for premieres, 31 are making their Canadian Premieres at Pendance. Among them are three standouts from the Cannes Cinefoundation; Rubber Dolphin, Equally Red & Blue, and ‘Inanimate’. Other Canadian premieres include: Piggy by Carlota Pereda, Ready by Melissa Farman, and Dear Chickens by Mauro Muellerwhich stars Philip Baker Hall and Kerris Dorsey. Pendance will also host the World Premiere of Canadian director Matthew Evans Landry’s Re: Possessed Homes, starring Natalie Lisinska and Jordan Gavaris.

Filmmakers in attendance include Peter Brunner (My Blind Heart), Ann Lupo  (Netflix’s Documented),   Natalie Lisinska (Orphan Black), Emmy Award winner Cam Be, and Ori Aharon (“Rubber Dolphin”). Actors include Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One), Caleb Landry Jones (Get Out), Lou Diamond Phillips (La Bamba), Phillip Baker Hall (Magnolia), and Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad).

Toronto is one of the most diverse, and rapidly growing cities in the world. Already home to the Toronto International Film Festival each fall, and hopes are that Pendance will give the film industry a reason to make a second trip north of the border each year.



All films screen at the Regent Theatre, 551 Mt. Pleasant Rd, Toronto

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About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.