Yesterday morning the Toronto International Film Festival unveiled its first batch of Special Presentations as well as Gala films (68 to be exact) and cinephiles have much to be excited for! The previously announced TIFFxInstagram Shorts Festival (with a jury that includes filmmakers Ava DuVernay and Xavier Dolan) as well as the Michael Fassbender centered Soiree already had us counting the days until September but here are 5 more things that have us fired up for the annual festival.
- Song and Dance films! We’re suckers for a well choreographed song and dance number or when an actor unabashedly breaks out into song. At this year’s festival there’s writer/director Damien Chazelle’s (Whiplash, Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench) La La Land, a dreamy musical starring the effervescent Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling (both regular festival attendees). For younger audiences there’s Sing, Universal Pictures/Illumination Entertainment’s (The Secret Life of Pets)’s animated American Idol send-up with an all star voice cast. Music documentaries have a long history at the festival (in fact it wasn’t that long ago that the festival boldly opened with the U2 doc From the Sky Down), and thus it was no surprise that the announcement included JT+The Tennessee Kids (Jonathan Demme’s doc that follows singing superstar Justin Timberlake), and The Rolling Stones Ole Ole Ole!: A Trip Across Latin America. Oh, and those big song and dance numbers that we adore? We’re positive that multi hyphenate Nick Cannon will have tons of those in his musical King of the Dancehall.
- Auteurs! The lineup of films in the Masters program haven’t even been announced yet and already we’re treated to a wide range of films from celebrated filmmakers. The latest films from Tom Ford (who brought his stunning directorial debut A Single Man to TIFF in 2009), Denis Villeneuve (his first foray into sci-fi, Arrival, was gushed about to us by both TIFF CEO Piers Handling and TIFF Artistic Director Cameron Bailey, so watch out for it come awards season), Francois Ozon, Werner Herzog, Amma Asante, Mira Nair, Lone Scherfig, Park Chan-wook, Christopher Guest, and the list goes on and on.
- Sundance and Cannes favorites! We weren’t one of the lucky few who were fortunate enough to attend the Sundance and Cannes film festivals, so we’re delighted to see that the titles that received much fanfare at the respective festivals will be coming to TIFF. Among those we’re ecstatic for are The Birth of a Nation, Loving, American Honey, The Handmaiden, Manchester by the Sea, The Salesman, Paterson, Elle, and Toni Erdmann.
- Book adaptations! We admit that we’re that pesky audience member who usually walks out of a film saying, “The book was so much better!”. Make your own comparisons after seeing the highly buzzed about Lion (based on the novel by Saroo Brierley), American Pastoral (based on the novel by Phillip Roth), The Secret Scripture (based on the novel by Sebastian Barry), Queen of Katwe (based on the book by Tim Crothers), Carrie Pilby (based on the book by Caren Lissner), and Unless (based on Carol Shields’ final novel, and starring hometown favorite Paul Gross’ daughter, Hannah).
- Opening and closing night films! They had us at “film written by the creator of True Detective” and “teen angst film starring Hailee Steinfeld”. Of course Antoine Fuqua’s star studded The Magnificent Seven (cast members including Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt are sure to make this one of the festival’s glitziest red carpets in recent history) and Kelly Fremon’s The Edge of Seventeen are so much more than those descriptors. See for yourself on September 8th and 17th, respectively.
The Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 8th to the 18th.