Idris Elba, Kate Winslet, Saoirse Ronan and Halle Berry are some of the stars with films at this year’s (largely virtual) festival.
In light of Covid restrictions, the Toronto International Film Festival is going largely virtual this September with a limited schedule of socially-distanced screenings and a reduced slate of 50 films, down from the usual 200+, available to view online. Today, a first look at the lineup of films was revealed, with additional special presentations and events to be announced in August. In keeping with the festival’s push in recent years for more representation of female filmmakers, 46% of the films announced for TIFF 2020 are directed or co-directed by women.
“The strong representation of women, Black people, Indigenous people, and people of colour among TIFF’s selection reflects the organization’s continuing commitment to normalizing gender parity and racial equality for future generations,” the festival said in its press release.
Spike Lee’s David Byrne’s American Utopia will open the festival, with several other buzzy titles featuring on this year’s slate including Francis Lee’s Ammonite starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan; The Father, directed by French filmmaker Florian Zeller and starring Oscar winners Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman; Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland starring Frances McDormand and David Strathairn, which is set to premiere “simultaneously” at TIFF and the Venice Film Festival; and Ricky Staub’s Concrete Cowboy starring Idris Elba.
2020 also marks the year that several acclaimed actors are making their feature directorial debuts: Viggo Mortensen with Falling, a family drama exploring themes of loss and love; Halle Berry with Bruised, in which she also stars as a disgraced MMA fighter returning to the ring; and Regina King with One Night in Miami, based on a 2013 play that follows a young Cassius Clay (later known as Muhammad Ali) after he wins the title of World Heavyweight Boxing Champion in 1964.
Canadian films lined up at TIFF 2020 include Tracey Deer’s Beans, a film about the 1990 Oka crisis told through the perspective of a 12-year-old Mohawk girl; Night Of The Kings, a drama from Quebec director Philippe Lacôte set in an Ivory Coast prison; and Inconvenient Indian, a documentary by Metis/Algonquin director Michelle Latimer exploring the cultural colonization of Indigenous peoples in North America.
In a first for the festival, a television miniseries will be closing out the lineup—Mira Nair’s BBC adaptation of Vikram Seth’s sprawling novel A Suitable Boy. Currently airing in the United Kingdom, the six-part show follows several different characters as they forge their own paths in a newly independent India.
The 45th Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 10 to 19, 2020. For more information, visit TIFF’s website.