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Your Week in Streaming: O Canada! Fandor Heads North, and a Guide to Great Canuck Films on VOD

Photo of Ryan Lattanzio By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! September 10, 2013 at 11:24AM

The SF-based streaming site Fandor has just launched a VOD service in Canada and in celebration, here's a guide to some of the best Canadian films you can currently stream in the US, from Sarah Polley's "Stories We Tell" to the films of Guy Maddin.
Sarah Polley on the set of her documentary, 'Stories We Tell.'
Roadside Attractions Sarah Polley on the set of her documentary, 'Stories We Tell.'

Ever go abroad and realize, to your crippling chagrin, that your streaming subscriptions don't work in other countries? Yeah, me too. 

To ameliorate that problem on at least one end, the generous San Francisco-based streaming service Fandor has launched a streaming site in Canada. (If you're a stateside cinephile who doesn't already have a US subscription, you're a fool.)

This landmark move arrives in the wake of the Toronto International Film Festival, currently in mid-swing as it wraps up this Thursday. And what a game-changer this service will be. Netflix currently offers its own streaming arm in Canada, but Fandor wants to supplement that VOD monopoly's gobbling selection with more cinephile-tailored offerings. Fandor's initial Canadian launch of 2,200 titles includes works from the vaults of Kino Lorber, Zeitgeist, Vanguard Cinema, FilmBuff and more. This can only mean that more Canadian streaming services will be queuing up to cash in on the VOD content vacuum. (Check out THR's story and interview with Fandor CEO Dan Aronson here.)

In celebration, this week I take a look at some of the best cinematic offerings from the Great White North currently available to stream stateside.

I'm late to the game here, as this film played fall festivals last year and had its US run in the spring, but I have just seen Sarah Polley's "Stories We Tell" (iTunes and Amazon). It is an emotional wallop of a doc, a glorious feat of self-discovery as troubling and poignant a nuclear family revisionist portrait since "51 Birch Street" and (the way, way darker) "Capturing the Friedmans." I have always admired Canuck auteur Polley's deeply personal films and earlier this year I went as far as putting her woozy romance "Take This Waltz" as number one on my top 10 of 2012

But "Stories" is her most satisfying film yet, a passion project in which she examines the thorns of her own sinuous family tree while also retaining her gifts for cinematic style. Polley bravely conveys the sense that as hard as she may try, her work as an artist, child, daughter and a human will never be done. I won't spoil as much as the trailer (after the jump) does, but this film is as powerful a personal journey as it is a storyteller's reflection on her own art. (Check out TOH!'s candid video interview with Polley here.)

Picks from Fandor and SnagFilms you don't want to miss after the jump.

This article is related to: Fandor, VOD, New On VOD, Your Week In Streaming, Sarah Polley, Sarah Polley, Stories We Tell, Guy Maddin, Francine, Melissa Leo, Features

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.