5 Moving Films at the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival

To all of Toronto’s movie enthusiasts, it’s finally time to watch some incredible internationals films at the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival™. The Next Wave Committee has chosen some inspiring, emotional and heartrending films that examine and highlight social issues. From the struggles young immigrants’ deal with, to the insecurities tied to growing up, these films have the power to move audiences.

If you’re having trouble choosing which films to attend, I have outlined five films that are a must-see.

Leave to Remain                  

Leave to Remain

In this heart-rending film directed by Bruce Goodison and stars Toby Jones, a group of young teenagers have left their families, friends and homes behind in the hopes to leave war and corruption from their native country. This is a realistic tale of the reoccurring struggles immigrants face when forced to leave everything they once knew and deal with a different type of brutality when they fight to remain in the UK.

52 Tuesdays

52 Tuesdays

Sophie Hyde makes her directorial debut with this heartbreaking family drama. A sixteen-year-old high school student (Billie) struggles with her mother’s female-to-male gender transition while dealing with her own identity crisis. The film captures Billie’s rocky relationship with her mother and Billie’s complex relationship with her newfound friends who share their own struggles and insecurities along the way.

 Wet Bum

Wet Bum

Canadian filmmaker Lindsay MacKay directed this thoughtful coming of age drama. This tale follows a young girl, Samantha, from a small town who takes swimming lessons while her friends experiment with boys and drugs, which makes Samantha uncomfortable. After getting into trouble, she is forced to work at a retirement home where she befriends two of the residents. Actor Craig Arnold will be in attendance.

 Lily & Kat

Lily & Kat

Director Micael Preylser’s Lily & Kat is making its World Premiere in Toronto. Two inseparable best friends spend their last few days together by hitting up the city life and getting into trouble along the way, even meeting a mysterious artist who joins their wild ride. The director and actors Jessica Rothe and Hannah Murray will be in attendance.

 The Word

The Word

Anna Kazejak directs this Polish/Danish psychological drama. After Liliana finds out her boyfriend Janek has cheated on her, she gives him an ultimatum to prove his love within twenty-four hours or acknowledge the possibility of losing her forever.

If you’re attending the festival, make sure to hashtag #TIFFNextWave and #novellamag on your social media pages.

Teach Me How To Rhubarb


With over one hundred artists participating in the 36th Rhubarb Festival, there is no doubt audiences will be amazed. The festival will be held at the Buddies In Bad Times Theatre, in both their Cabaret and Chamber, with libations for those who wish to partake. Unlike any other festival, audiences will have the opportunity to see many quality and unique performances under one roof. The acts range from comedies to one-man shows, even to interpretive dance and musicals.

The experience varies from what each individual makes of it. Viewers will pick the first performance to watch, and after the thirty-minute show, they can choose to stay or head over to the other rooms and experience other talents. Performances will be held in the most unlikely places including the hallways, washrooms, staircases and other alcoves of Buddies.


The adventures in the Rhubarb experience include a special events segment of the evening, which changes day by day, included in the $20 admission. On Thursdays and Fridays at 6 p.m., the Festival will host a Young Creators Unit, which is a collaboration of four young artists with the Queer Youth Arts Program to support emerging voices in the community. This part of Rhubarb is a Pay-What-You-Can event.

Finally, there are select off-site performances across the city, which take place at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, Oasis Aqualounge and Videofag. These special performances are also Pay-What-You-Can so take the chance to attend at least one of these gems.


One of the shows that will be performed at the festival is What’s Left Of Us. Created and performed by Justin Many Fingers and Brian Solomon, this tells a story of shared histories between two men through dance and storytelling. Both men were born with undeveloped hands from a congenial birth defect known as amniotic band syndrome. Through their performance, viewers are granted access to their history and strong First Nations ancestry as you listen in on an intimate conversation with Solomon’s mother about the life of her son.

“We really needed each other,” Solomon recalls, embracing Many Fingers. “We needed the healing of the hand, a part of us which we and others ignored for many years. The healing came in multiple layers.”

The night was charged with emotion as the performers discovered that morning that four influential people from the arts community’s lives had been lost in a car accident, including an Elder from Many Fingers home reserve, Kainai Reserve in Alberta of the Blackfoot Territory.

“We had the changing room to ourselves before the show,” recalls Solomon. “There was so much energy in the room. We were singing so loud and dancing. They were there. They saw the show.”


The first week of the Rhubarb Festival runs from Wednesday, February 11th to Sunday, February 15th. The second week will continue from February 18th to February 22nd. Make sure to hashtag #RhubarbFestival #novellamag with pictures, videos, and commentary so we can follow your journey through the festival.

All photographs courtesy of the Rhubarb Festival.

UntappedTO: GBC’s Charity Craft Beer Event


Nothing exudes Toronto like craft beer. From a crisp refreshing Steam Whistle pilsner to Junction’s hybrid Conductor’s Craft Ale, Torontonians just can’t get enough. This Thursday, fourth semester students from George Brown College’s Special Event Planning program will be hosting a charity craft beer event. Craft beer all for a good cause, sign us up!


With eleven vendor booths around the heritage venue, the event will showcase ciders and craft beers, which will include the brewmasters discussing the process behind brewing the perfect pint everything from the ingredients used, tasting notes, and pairings. UntappedTO will also be providing hors d’oeuvres throughout the event to compliment the beers.


The entertainment will be a mix of activities and live music, featuring Toronto bands and DJs, as well as a raffle and silent auction with prizes ranging from gift cards, craft beer swag and tickets to upcoming events.


UntappedTO is this Thursday, February 12th from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. at the Burroughs, 639 Queen Street West. Admission is $20.00 for all George Brown College students and $25.00 for general admission. All proceeds from the night will be going to the Daily Bread Food Bank, as well as George Brown Scholarship program.


Be sure to follow @untappedTO and hastag #untappedTO #novellamag so we know what you’ve been drinking. Cheers!

Valentine’s Day Playlist


Since Valentine’s Day is this Saturday, Novella has come up with a top 10 Valentine’s Day playlist. The first playlist caters to those who can’t wait for the lovey dovey festivities to begin. The epic tracks are the epitome of romance. Swoon your way through the list and get ready to fall in love all over again. Take a trip through memory lane with Boys II Men, Elvis Presley and Savage Garden and even listen to some recent Valentine’s Day hits from Toronto band Alvvays and Ellie Goulding.

Now the second playlist is for all the anti-valentine’s day protestors. This playlist is comprised of legendary hits that really scream F You to love. Guaranteed this list will make you angry, laugh or even cry. From the ultimate heartbreak band The Smiths to Alanis Morrissette’s attack on Joey Gladstone (you need to Google this if you don’t know about it) to Jack White’s powerful vocals telling us Love is Blindness, each song is ready for your ears on February 14th.


Pro Valentine’s Day: 


Truly Madly Deeply – Savage Garden

With or Without You – U2

I’ll Make Love to You – Boys II Men

Never Let Me Go – Florence + And The Machine

All My Life – K-Ci & Jo Jo

Love Song – The Cure

I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You – Elvis Presley

Turn Your Lights Down Low – Bob Marley

Archie, Marry Me – Alvvays

How Long will I love you – Ellie Goulding


Anti-Valentines Day:


Love is Blindness – Jack White

Everybody Hurts – R.E.M

Girlfriend in a Coma – The Smiths

Love Stinks – The J. Geils Band

Somebody That I Used to Know  – Goyte

You Make Me Wanna Die – The Pretty Reckless

You Oughta Know – Alanis Morissette

F*ck You – Cee Lo Green

Since You’ve Been Gone – Kelly Clarkson

Boys Don’t cry – The Cure

Top 5 Most Iconic Movie Kisses

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and in light of our Valentine’s Day contest Novella takes a look back at some of the most steamy, sweet and controversial onscreen kisses. From innocent high school sweethearts to steamy S&M, this list showcases all types of romance. Whether you’re with your partner, friends or alone on Valentine’s Day, these films are the ultimate love cure.  Here is Novella’s list for the top 5 Hollywood kisses.

 Sixteen Candles (1984)

Jake Ryan stole all the girls’ hearts with Sixteen Candles. This coming of age comedy has Samantha an average high school sophomore end up with the oh-so-dreamy Jake Ryan. The last scene when she blows out her birthday candles and shares a sweet kiss with the hunky senior melts our hearts every time.

Sixteen Candles

Fifty Shade of Grey (2015)

It kind of seems impossible not to mention 50 Shades of Grey with all the hype for the movie that’s releasing this Saturday on Valentine’s Day, how fitting. A little bit of S&M tackles quite a different type of romance. With Jamie Dornan, starring as Christian Grey, there’s no reason why this hot kiss wouldn’t make the cut.

Fifty Shades of Grey

The Notebook (2004)

Do we need to explain this one? The Notebook is one of the most talked about love stories starring our two fellow Canadians, Ryan Gosling and Rachael McAdams. We just can’t help but swoon when Gosling says, “It wasn’t over for me. It’s still not over” then the two run into each other’s arms, while the rain continues to pour.

The Notebook

Titanic (1997)

Oh Jack Dawson, how could we not add you to our list? This epic movie kiss has Rose “flying” in Jack’s arms. Everything about this moment is perfect from the wind in Rose’s hair, the beautiful sunset, and Leo’s arms around her waist.


Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Because love comes in all shapes and sizes. Set in Wyoming, Ennis and Jack develop an emotional relationship over one summer that defies the cultural norms during the 1960s. This heartbreaking tale showcases that it shouldn’t matter who you love.

Brokeback Mountain

Don’t forget to enter our contest by reenacting a famous kiss scene with your significant other and post it on your Instagram page. To win a dinner for two at a local Toronto restaurant, follow Novella on instagram and hashtag #mynovellakiss #novellamag. The photo with the most likes will have a romantic dinner on us!

Are we missing any famous Hollywood kiss scenes? Novella will continue to share epic onscreen kisses on our social media pages so stay tuned.