OTTAWA, ON — After its untimely cancellation last year right as the pandemic hit, IFFO: the International Film Festival of Ottawa launches online this March, bringing some of the best films from the festival circuit back this year. The first programming announcements for 2021 are three anticipated feature films that were slated to be part of the 2020 event: It Must Be Heaven, A State of Madness, and Andrey Tarkovsky: A Cinema Prayer.
“We are thrilled to be able to welcome back three films we selected for IFFO 2020 to the 2021 edition. These are three of my personal favourites and I’m excited that we are still able to give them their online Canadian premieres at our Festival,” says Tom McSorley, CFI Executive Director and IFFO Director of Programming.
It Must Be Heaven, by Palestinian director Elia Suleiman, is an internationally co-produced dark comedy film that garnered the FIPRESCI Prize for Best Film In Competition and a Jury Special Mention at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. The film explores nationalism, normality, and identity through Suleiman’s trademark critical gaze, following the character he plays as he searches for somewhere to call home. With a screen presence that has been compared to Buster Keaton and a tendency to embellish small details that brings his style ever closer to the surreal, Elia Suleiman reveals the experience of a perpetual outsider in this highly acclaimed piece of work.
The stylish and evocative film A State of Madness is set in the Dominican Republic during the dictatorship of Leonidas Trujillo and was selected as the Dominican entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards. Its director, Leticia Tonos, was awarded the Medal of Cinematographic Merit the same year the film was released, and was also the first woman to earn this distinction. A fascinating portrait of a particular era in the Dominican Republic’s history, this quietly intense drama is all about power: those who have it, those who don’t, and those caught in between.
Andrey Tarkovsky: A Cinema Prayer is a look into the famed director’s life and the masterpieces of cinema he brought into the world. This documentary allows the director to tell the story himself as he shares memories, art, inspirations, and even some contemplation on the meaning of human existence, made up of his works, rare contemporary photos and videos, and sections shot in the places where Tarkovsky lived and made his movies. About the film and his father, director Andrey A. Tarkovskiy says, “Would it be possible, more than thirty years after his death, to hear again the voice of the director as he talks about his life, his profession, his vocation? These were the goals that I set myself in the making of the film.”
IFFO will take place March 11 to 21 in a completely online format. More programming announcements will roll out over the course of the month with passes going on sale February 23, 2021.
For more information about IFFO head to www.iffo.ca.

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