The full line-up of world and international premieres in Toronto’s Gala and Special Presentations programmes, with details on each title including sales contacts. Toronto International Film Festival runs September 7-17.
The Boy And The Heron (Jap)
Dir. Hayao Miyazaki
Legendary Japanese animation director Miyazaki returns with what will likely be his final film in a career that includes the iconic My Neighbour Totoro and Oscar-winning Spirited Away. Produced by Studio Ghibli and written by Miyazaki, the story follows a teenage boy who meets a talking grey heron and enters a magical world through an abandoned tower in his new town. While several Studio Ghibli films — including The Wind Rises, Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke — have previously screened at TIFF, this will be the first Japanese or animated film to ever open the festival. The film led the box office when released by Toho in Japan on July 14, despite a teaser poster being the only piece of marketing ahead of release.
Concrete Utopia (S Kor)
Dir. Um Tae-hwa
Squid Game star Lee Byung-hun and Park Seo-joon from upcoming The Marvels lead this disaster thriller set in the aftermath of an earthquake in Seoul. Survivors gather at the last remaining apartment building but swelling numbers threaten its original inhabitants, who adopt extreme measures to defend themselves. Um won best new director at Korea’s Daejong Film Awards with 2016’s Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned. His latest is produced by Climax Studio, the company behind Netflix hits D.P. and Hellbound. It was released locally and in several other Asian territories in August.
Contact: Lotte Entertainment
Dumb Money (US)
Dir. Craig Gillespie
Gillespie’s comedy drama focuses on the recent Wall Street scandal that pitted amateur investors against hedge fund billionaires over stocks in videogame retailer GameStop. The filmmaker’s similarly fact-based I, Tonya was first runner-up for the People’s Choice Award at TIFF in 2017. Sony bought rights for the US and a number of international territories after Dumb Money — starring Paul Dano and Seth Rogen and based on a book by Ben Mezrich, whose work was the source for 2010’s The Social Network — was introduced in last year’s Toronto market.
Contact: Black Bear International
The End We Start From (UK)
Dir. Mahalia Belo
Jodie Comer headlines the feature debut of TV director Belo (The Long Song), a survival drama that sees a mother attempt to get home while an environmental disaster ravages London. Joel Fry, Mark Strong, Nina Sosanya and Benedict Cumberbatch also star. The project marks a return to Toronto for Cumberbatch and producers Leah Clarke and Adam Ackland of the actor’s SunnyMarch production outfit, after 2021’s The Electrical Life Of Louis Wain. Fellow producers are Liza Marshall, Amy Jackson and Sophie Hunter, with financing from Anton, C2 Motion Picture Group, BBC Film and the BFI. Signature has UK distribution, while Republic Pictures has the US.
Contact: Anton Corp
Dir. Brian Helgeland
Helgeland, whose credits include Legend (2015) and 42 (2013), wrote and directed this crime thriller set against the backdrop of commercial fishing, as two reunited brothers strike a deal with a Boston crime gang. Ben Foster, Toby Wallace, Jenna Ortega from Netflix’s Wednesday and Tommy Lee Jones star for Krasnoff/Foster Entertainment, Bosque Ranch and 101 Studios in association with MTV Entertainment Studios. The film will debut on Paramount+ in the US and UK and every territory carrying the service; 101 Studios handles sales outside the Paramount+ territories.
Contact: Ennis Hensley, 101 Studios
Hate To Love: Nickelback (Can)
Dir. Leigh Brooks
Canadian stadium rockers Nickelback are the subject of this documentary chronicling the band’s rise, their handling of online vitriol and decision to return to the spotlight after a five-year break. Director Brooks, known for music documentaries including The Sound Of Scars (which screened at last year’s BFI Flare London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival) and Terrorvision: Wired Up And Scary, reteamed for the project with producer Ben Jones, founder of UK-based audio and visual content studio Gimme Sugar.
Contact: Submarine Entertainment
Dir. Ellen Kuras
Kuras, a renowned cinematographer (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind) who has directed episodes of TV series including Ozark and was Oscar-nominated for 2008 feature documentary The Betrayal, helms this biographical drama spotlighting US model and Second World War Vogue photojournalist Lee Miller. Kate Winslet stars in the title role, alongside Andrea Riseborough, Alexander Skarsgard, Marion Cotillard and Josh O’Connor. Kate Solomon and Winslet produce with Troy Lum, Andrew Mason, Marie Savare and Lauren Hantz. Financiers are Sky, MS Participations, Pasaca Entertainment, Hantz Motion Pictures, Aperture and Cofiloisirs. Sky will distribute in the UK.
Contact: (international) Rocket Science; (US) CAA Media Finance, United Talent
The Movie Emperor (China)
Dir. Ning Hao
Chinese director Ning returns to Toronto after Breakup Buddies played in Special Presentations in 2014, with a biting satire on the film industry. Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau plays an actor who wishes to restore his former glory by taking on the role of a farmer in a festival-baiting arthouse film. Co-stars include Sinn Lap Man, Rima Zeidan (Missing Johnny) and director Ning himself, with Daniel Yu as producer. Ning made a name for himself with 2006’s Crazy Stone through Focus First Cuts and has since become a renowned director and producer of new talent through his Dirty Monkeys Studio.
Contact: Rinky Yu CMC Pictures
A Normal Family (S Kor)
Dir. Hur Jin-ho
Two sets of wealthy parents meet for dinner to decide how to handle a crime committed by their children in this adaptation of Dutch novel The Dinner by Herman Koch. A Normal Family marks the fourth feature adaptation of the story, with the most recent being Oren Moverman’s US version, which premiered in Competition at the Berlinale in 2017. Korean director Hur was previously at TIFF with Dangerous Liaisons in 2012 and April Snowin 2005. The cast is led by Seol Kyung-gu, Claudia Kim, Jang Dong-gun and Kim Hee-ae, and the film is produced by Hive Media Corp.
Dirs. Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin
Toronto favourites Vasarhelyi and Chin — winners of the festival’s documentary People’s Choice Award for both 2021’s The Rescue and 2018’s Free Solo — turn to narrative filmmaking with this true-story about Diana Nyad, who — in her sixties — set out to become the first person to make the 110-mile ocean swim from Cuba to Florida. Annette Bening stars as Nyad alongside Jodie Foster and Rhys Ifans in the biographical drama, which is produced by Mad Chance and Black Bear for Netflix and tipped for a Telluride launch before its international premiere at Toronto.
The Royal Hotel (Australia)
Dir. Kitty Green
Australian director Green’s follow-up to The Assistant is a psychological thriller that tells of two backpackers who take a live-in job at a remote pub and find themselves in an unnerving situation in a foreign land. The lead roles are taken by Julia Garner, who starred in The Assistant, and Jessica Henwick alongside Toby Wallace and Hugo Weaving. Green’s documentary credits include Casting JonBenet and Ukraine Is Not A Brothel. The Royal Hotel is produced by See-Saw Films with Scarlett Pictures. Transmission Pictures is the local distributor and Neon has secured North American rights.
Contact: Hanway Films
Dir. Thom Zimny
The nearly 50-year career of actor/filmmaker Sylvester Stallone is the focus of this retrospective documentary for Netflix. The film parallels Stallone’s own underdog story with the characters he has portrayed on screen, from the hero of his 1977 best picture Oscar winner Rocky, through his roles in the Rambo movies, Cliffhanger, Cop Land, The Expendables and Creed, which earned him a best supporting actor Oscar nomination in 2016. Director Zimny is known for his music videos and documentaries and won a Primetime Emmy for helming the 2018 performance film Springsteen On Broadway.
Dir. Sophie Dupuis
Quebec filmmaker Dupuis broke through with her debut feature Family First — which was picked as Canada’s submission for the 2018 best foreign-language film Academy Award — and followed up with Underground(Souterrain), winner of four Prix Iris awards. Her third feature is a French-language romantic drama centred on a young performer in Montreal’s lively drag scene dealing with two impossible loves. Family First lead Théodore Pellerin — who also appeared in Underground — stars and Dupuis’ regular collaborator Etienne Hansez once again produces. SND began its international sales push earlier this year in Cannes.
Contact: Clara Flageollet Schmit, SND Groupe M6
Swan Song (Can)
Dir. Chelsea McMullan
Canadian documentary maker McMullan — known for such films as 2014 Sundance entry My Prairie Homeand last year’s TIFF title Ever Deadly — spotlights the National Ballet of Canada with this immersive look at the company’s production of Swan Lake, directed by dance icon Karen Kain on the eve of her retirement. Produced by Sean O’Neill for his Visitor Media (with Canadian actress Neve Campbell as an executive producer), Swan Song is set to be screened by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in November.
Thank You For Coming (India)
Dir. Karan Boolani
This comedy follows a single woman in her 30s on a quest for true love and pleasure. Bhumi Pednekar headlines a cast that also includes Shehnaaz Gill, Kusha Kapila and an appearance from Bollywood superstar Anil Kapoor. It marks the feature directing debut of Boolani, who directed Kapoor in the Indian adaptation of action series 24. Thank You For Coming is produced by Rhea Kapoor and Ektaa R Kapoor’s production giant Balaji Telefilms with Anil Kapoor Film Company.
Contact: Ankit Chauhan, Balaji Telefilms
American Fiction (US)
Dir. Cord Jefferson
Jefferson, a Primetime Emmy-winning TV writer on HBO’s Watchmen, makes his feature writing and directing debut with this adaptation of Percival Everett’s 2001 novel Erasure. Jeffrey Wright plays an English professor who writes a satirical novel to expose the hypocrisies of the publishing industry, with an ensemble cast that includes Issa Rae, Sterling K Brown and Miriam Shor; Ram Bergman and Nikos Karamigios produce for MRC Film and T-Street. MGM label Orion Pictures has worldwide rights and is planning a November release in the US.
Contact: MGM Studios
The Burial (US)
Dir. Maggie Betts
Betts follows up her 2017 award-winning debut narrative feature Novitiate with a legal drama inspired by a true story reported in The New Yorker magazine. Tommy Lee Jones and Jamie Foxx star, respectively, as a funeral home owner and his smooth-talking attorney, whose effort to save the former’s family business exposes corporate corruption and racial injustice. Foxx is also one of the producers and the project is backed by Amazon Studios.
Contact: Prime Video
Close To You (Can-UK)
Dir. Dominic Savage
Elliot Page and Hillary Baack lead the cast of this story about a chance encounter between two old friends. Savage has previously premiered at Toronto with The Escape in 2017, while Page’s career-launching role in Jason Reitman’s Juno also played at the festival in 2007. Krishnendu Majumdar and Richard Yee produce through Me + You Productions alongside Daniel Bekerman and Chris Yurkovich of Good Question Media, plus Savage and Page, who conceived and co-wrote the story. Anita Gou’s Kindred Spirit helped finance.
Contact: United Talent
The Convert (Australia-NZ)
Dir. Lee Tamahori
Guy Pearce plays a lay preacher with a violent past who unwittingly steps into a Maori tribal war in the 1830s. Once Were Warriors director Tamahori and former Edinburgh International Film Festival artistic director Shane Danielsen wrote the screenplay from a story by Michael Bennett. Jump Film and Television and Brouhaha Entertainment are behind the New Zealand-Australia co-production, which has significant New Zealand public funding. Presales offers were held back in favour of showing buyers on completion.
Contact: Mister Smith Entertainment
The Critic (UK)
Dir. Anand Tucker
Ian McKellen plays the most feared drama critic in London in this 1930s-set thriller, based on UK novelist and former film critic Anthony Quinn’s crime novel Curtain Call. Gemma Arterton, Mark Strong and Lesley Manville also star. Filmmaker Tucker has a longstanding relationship with Toronto, with previous visits including the world premiere of his feature Shopgirl in 2005, plus as a producer on The Girl With A Pearl Earring in 2003. The Critic is produced by Jolyon Symonds for Fearless Minds and Bill Kenwright for BKStudios, with BKStudios fully financing.
Contact: (international) Culmination Productions; (US) United Talent, CAA Media Finance
Dir. Cristy Hall
The feature directing debut from the writer and co-creator of Netflix high-school fantasy series I Am Not Okay With This is a two-hander starring Dakota Johnson and Sean Penn as a customer and taxi driver who strike up a profound conversation during a ride from New York’s JFK airport. Johnson produced with her TeaTime Pictures partner Ro Donnelly and the producer roster includes director Hall and Emma Tillinger Koskoff. WME Independent and CAA Media Finance jointly handle sales.
Contact: WME Independent; CAA Media Finance
Days Of Happiness (Can)
Dir. Chloé Robichaud
This French-language drama sees Robichaud reunite with Sophie Desmarais, star of the writer/director’s debut feature and Cannes 2013 Un Certain Regard entry Sarah Prefers To Run. In Days Of Happiness, Desmarais plays a young orchestra conductor at a crossroads in her life and career. Robichaud returns to TIFF after screening her drama Boundaries at the 2016 festival and winning the event’s best Canadian short film prize in 2019 with Delphine. Pierre Even produced for his Item 7 label and Maison 4:3 is set to distribute in Canada.
Contact: Pierre Even, Item 7 International
The Dead Don’t Hurt (Can-Den-Mex)
Dir. Viggo Mortensen
Vicky Krieps stars as a French-Canadian woman left to fend for herself in a remote Oregon town full of corrupt and violent men when the Civil War separates her from her new husband, played by Mortensen on his second directing outing after Falling (a Toronto premiere in 2020). Garret Dillahunt, Solly McLeod, Colin Morgan, Danny Huston and W Earl Brown co-star. Mexico City-based Talipot Studio fully financed the Recorded Picture and Perceval Pictures production, with Mortensen, Jeremy Thomas and Talipot CEO Regina Solorzano credited as producers.
Contact: HanWay Films
A Difficult Year (Fr)
Dirs. Éric Toledano, Olivier Nakache
French directing duo Toledano and Nakache, best known internationally for their 2011 hit buddy comedy Intouchables, seek further transatlantic success with their eighth feature, a dramatic comedy that tackles issues of climate change and rampant consumerism. The story follows a pair of compulsive spenders who reluctantly join forces with a group of eco-activists. A Difficult Year brings together a cavalcade of French acting talent including Pio Marmaï, Jonathan Cohen, Noémie Merlant and Mathieu Amalric. The film had its world premiere in late June at Biarritz International Film Festival and makes its international premiere at TIFF.
Contact: Manuel Pereira, Gaumont
El Sabor De La Navidad (Mex)
Dir. Alejandro Lozano
The second TelevisaUnivision film from Salma Hayek Pinault’s Ventanarosa Productions will debut on Spanish-language streaming platform ViX in November with no plans for a theatrical release. The romantic comedy (working title A Merry Mexican Christmas) follows three intertwined seasonal stories set in Mexico City and the cast includes Mariana Treviño (A Man Called Otto). Screenwriter Jose Tamez produced for Ventanarosa alongside Hayek Pinault and Lemon Studios’ Erica Sanchez. TelevisaUnivision handles international distribution.
Contact: Guillermo Borensztein, TelevisaUnivision
Dir. Tony Goldwyn
Actor-turned-filmmaker Goldwyn returns to Toronto 13 years after his last feature directing effort, 2010’s Conviction. His latest film is a comedy drama about a down-on-his-luck man, at odds with his ex-wife over childcare, who takes his autistic son on a road trip. Bobby Cannavale, Rose Byrne, Robert De Niro, Vera Farmiga, Rainn Wilson, Whoopi Goldberg and newcomer William Fitzgerald star in the film written by Tony Spiridakis. Finance came from entrepreneur Zhang Xin’s Closer Media and Wayfarer, while producers are Goldwyn, William Horberg for Closer, Jon Kilik and Spiridakis.
Contact: (international) Mister Smith Entertainment; (US) CAA Media Finance
Dir. Christos Nikou
Greek director Nikou, whose Apples was a festival favourite and Greece’s Academy Awards entry in 2020, makes his English-language debut with this film about a woman having doubts about her partner; she takes a job at an institute that tests if relationships are based on true love. Jessie Buckley, Riz Ahmed, Jeremy Allen White, Luke Wilson and Annie Murphy star. Produced by Cate Blanchett’s Dirty Films and FilmNation Entertainment, Fingernails was acquired for the world by Apple Original Films in pre-production. The film makes its international premiere at TIFF, which implies an earlier launch at Telluride.
Contact: Apple Original Films
His Three Daughters (US)
Dir. Azazel Jacobs
Carrie Coon, Elizabeth Olsen and Natasha Lyonne star as three sisters who come together when their father’s health begins to fail, in the latest from writer/director Jacobs (French Exit, The Lovers). Olsen and Jacobs previously worked together on the Facebook Watch series Sorry For Your Loss. High Frequency Entertainment produced with Tango Entertainment, which was one of the backers for last year’s festival and arthouse hit Aftersun.
Contact: CAA Media Finance email@example.com
The Holdovers (US)
Dir. Alexander Payne
Nearly 20 years after the Oscar-winning Sideways, which premiered at TIFF in 2004, Payne and star Paul Giamatti are back together for another comedy-drama, which is tipped for a world premiere at Telluride and receives its international premiere at Toronto. Giamatti plays a curmudgeonly teacher at an elite boarding school forced to supervise a belligerent student (Dominic Sessa) over the Christmas break. Original backer Miramax sold worldwide rights to Focus Features — for a reported $30m — after a buyers screening at last year’s TIFF. The awards season hopeful is scheduled to open in the US in late October.
Contact: Focus Features
In Restless Dreams: The Music Of Paul Simon (US)
Dir. Alex Gibney
Prolific Oscar and Primetime Emmy winner Gibney’s latest documentary follows Paul Simon through the making of his acclaimed new album Seven Psalms during the pandemic — while Simon was also dealing with his recently revealed hearing loss — and looks back over the singer/songwriter’s six-decade career. Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions produced with Closer Media and Anonymous Content, which also co-financed. The new film joins a list of Gibney documentaries — including Citizen K, The Armstrong Lie and the Primetime Emmy-honoured Mea Maxima Culpa — that have screened at Toronto.
Contact: Altitude Films Sales
Knox Goes Away (US)
Dir. Michael Keaton
Keaton returns to the helm 15 years after his feature directing debut The Merry Gentleman with this thriller about a contract killer on a journey of redemption after being diagnosed with dementia. Keaton joins a starry cast including James Marsden, Marcia Gay Harden, Suzy Nakamura, Joanna Kulig and Al Pacino. The script is by Gregory Poirier, while producers are Nick Gordon and Trevor Matthews for Brookstreet Pictures and Michael Sugar and Ashley Zalta for Sugar23.
Contact: (international) FilmNation Entertainment; (US) CAA Media Finance
Les Indésirables (Fr)
Dir. Ladj Ly
Ly’s Academy Award-nominated debut feature Les Misérables won the Cannes jury prize in 2019 before making its North American premiere at TIFF. His second feature is another plunge into Paris’s rough suburbs and mounting police violence, and follows an idealistic young doctor attempting to resuscitate a working-class neighbourhood after the sudden death of its mayor. The timely tale stars Alexis Manenti, Jeanne Balibar, Steve Tientcheu, Anta Diaw and Aristote Luyindula. Le Pacte will distribute in France while producers are Toufik Ayadi and Christophe Barral, who also jointly produced Ly’s debut and last year’s Saint Omer.
Contact: (international) Flavien Eripret, Goodfellas; (North America) CAA Media Finance
Mother, Couch (US)
Dir. Niclas Larsson
Taylor Russell, Ewan McGregor, Ellen Burstyn, F Murray Abraham, Lara Flynn Boyle and Rhys Ifans star in the feature debut of Larsson, a black comedy based on the book by Jerker Virdborg about estranged siblings brought together when their mother refuses to get up from a sofa in a furniture store. Larsson has won fans around the world for his shorts including Göteborg 2013 award-winner Vatten and 2015’s The Magic Dinerstarring Alicia Vikander and Anna Wintour. Lyrical Media, Fat City and Suris/Bishop Films produced with Sweden’s Film i Väst and Denmark’s Snowglobe co-producing.
Contact: (international) Charades; (US) UTA Independent Film Group
The Movie Teller (Sp-Fr-Chile)
Dir. Lone Scherfig
Danish filmmaker Scherfig is no stranger to Toronto, gracing the festival with Their Finest, The Riot Club and Just Like Home. She returns with a Spanish-language comedy drama observing the life of a mining community in Chile’s Atacama desert, and one resident’s unbridled passion for cinema. Daniel Brühl, Bérénice Bejo, Antonio de la Torre and Sara Becker star, with a screenplay by Walter Salles, Rafa Russo and Isabel Coixet. Producers are Adolfo Blanco (A Contracorriente Films), Vincent Juillerat (Selenium Films) and Andres Mardones (Altiro Films).
Contact: Embankment Films
Next Goal Wins (US-UK)
Dir. Taika Waititi
Waititi, whose Jo Jo Rabbit took people’s choice award at TIFF 2019, is back with a comedy about the American Samoa football team and the down-on-his-luck coach, played by Michael Fassbender, hired to give the squad a slim hope of World Cup qualification. Scripted by Waititi and UK comedy writer Iain Morris (The Inbetweeners), the film is based on an eponymous UK-made documentary from 2014 and has Andy Serkis’s Imaginarium among its production companies. Jo Jo Rabbit studio Searchlight Pictures financed and is releasing in most of the world from November.
Contact: Searchlight Pictures
North Star (UK)
Dir. Kristin Scott Thomas
Previously titled My Mother’s Wedding, the UK actress’s directing debut follows a trio of dysfunctional sisters who reunite for their mother’s third wedding. Scott Thomas also co-wrote the script with John Micklethwait and stars alongside Scarlett Johansson, Sienna Miller, Emily Beecham and Freida Pinto. North Star is produced by Finola Dwyer and Steven Rales. The latter is CEO of Indian Paintbrush, Wes Anderson’s regular backer. As an actress, Scott Thomas has been nominated five times for Bafta and was Oscar nominated in 1997 for The English Patient.
Contact: CAA Media Finance
One Life (UK)
Dir. James Hawes
While this is the UK director’s first theatrical feature, Hawes has helmed episodes of Black Mirror, Slow Horsesand Snowpiercer in addition to acclaimed TV films such as the Bafta TV-nominated Enid. One Life tells the story of Nicholas Winton, who helped rescue hundreds of children, many of them Jewish or orphans, from the Nazis. Anthony Hopkins and Johnny Flynn portray Winton at different ages while Helena Bonham Carter and Jonathan Pryce are also among the cast. See‑Saw Films produced in association with Cross City Films, FilmNation Entertainment and Lipsync, and with backing from BBC Film and MBK Productions. Warner Bros will distribute in the UK.
Pain Hustlers (US)
Dir. David Yates
UK director Yates takes a break from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts franchises with this comedy drama about a blue-collar woman with a young daughter who takes a job at a failing pharma company and finds herself involved in a criminal conspiracy. Emily Blunt, Chris Evans and Andy Garcia star, with a script based on Evan Hughes’ non-fiction book The Hard Sell: Crime And Punishment At An Opioid Start-up. Netflix snapped up the world for a reported $50m price tag.
The Peasants (Pol-Ser-Lith)
Dirs. DK Welchman, Hugh Welchman
The Peasants is created with the same oil-painting animation technique that helped propel the Welchmans’ previous film Loving Vincent to Oscar and Bafta nominations in 2018. Based on the Nobel Prize-winning novel by Wladyslaw Reymont and set in a 19th-century Polish village, the female-focused story tells of a young woman caught between the conflicting desires of a rich farmer, his eldest son and other prominent men in the community. It is produced by the Welchmans and Sean Bobbitt through Poland-based outfit Chlopi.
Contact: Jan Naszewski, New Europe Film Sales
Dir. Chris Pine
Best known for his performances in the Star Trek franchise, Wonder Woman and other mainstream hits, Pine takes on directing, co-writing, producing and starring duties in this independent mystery comedy. He plays a hapless pool cleaner who becomes an amateur sleuth after discovering a plot to rob Los Angeles of its water. Pine produces with his Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, Stacey Sher and co-writer Ian Gotler while the supporting cast includes Annette Bening and Danny DeVito. AGC pre-sold the film in multiple international territories at last autumn’s AFM.
Contact: AGC International
Quiz Lady (US)
Dir. Jessica Yu
This latest feature from veteran TV director Yu (This Is Us, Billions) stars Awkwafina, Sandra Oh, Jason Schwartzman, Will Ferrell and Tony Hale in the story of a woman obsessed with quiz shows who teams up with her estranged sister to pay off their mother’s gambling debts. Awkwafina, Ferrell and screenwriter Jen D’Angelo are among the producers. The 20th Century Studios feature will debut on Hulu in the US on November 3, Star+ in Latin America, and Disney+ under the Star banner in all other territories.
Contact: 20th Century Studios
Dir. Grant Singer
In-demand music video director Singer (known for his work with The Weeknd and Taylor Swift, among other musicians) makes his narrative feature-directing debut with this crime drama starring Benicio Del Toro. The Sicario star plays a hardened New England detective whose investigation of a young real-estate agent’s murder tests the illusions he holds about his own life. Del Toro, who is joined in the cast by Justin Timberlake, Eric Bogosian and Alicia Silverstone, also wrote the screenplay with Singer and Benjamin Brewer. Black Label Media produced for Netflix, which holds worldwide rights.
Dir. Charles-Olivier Michaud
The drama from Immina Films and Amalgamated is adapted from Kim Thuy’s novel about Tinh, a young Vietnamese woman who struggles to adapt to life in Montreal after fleeing from home. André Dupuy and Marie-Alexandra Forget served as producers on the French and Vietnamese-language film. Quebecois director Michaud has mostly helmed TV series and music videos, and his last film Anna played at Busan in 2015. Canadian producer Immina Films will distribute in Canada on November 24 and handles international sales. Chloé Djandji, Jean Bui, Chantal Thuy, Karine Vanasse and Patrice Robitaille star.
Contact: Patrick Roy, Immina Films
Dir. George C Wolfe
Wolfe reteams with Netflix after Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom on this biopic about gay civil-rights activist and Martin Luther King Jr advisor Bayard Rustin. Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions co-produces the film, which was written by Milk Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black. Colman Domingo stars as Rustin alongside Chris Rock, Aml Ameen, Glynn Turman, CCH Pounder, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Jeffrey Wright and Audra McDonald. Netflix will release theatrically for a week in November before it hits the platform on November 13.
Seven Veils (Can)
Dir. Atom Egoyan
Toronto New Wave filmmaker Egoyan is said to have tapped into his experience working in opera to write and direct this drama about an earnest theatre director who is haunted by memories from her past when she remounts her former mentor’s staging of Salome. Amanda Seyfried, who starred for Egoyan in 2009 thriller Chloe, takes the lead. Rhombus Media produced and also co-financed with XYZ Films (which launched the project at this year’s EFM) and Finland’s IPR.VC. Egoyan is a frequent TIFF prize-winner, for projects including Exotica, The Sweet Hereafter and Adoration.
Contact: XYZ Films
Dir. Michael Winterbottom
Prolific UK filmmaker Winterbottom returns to Toronto having screened several films at the festival including Everyday (2012), The Wedding Guest (2018) and Greed (2019). Previously titled Promised Land, Shoshana stars Harry Melling and Douglas Booth as two police officers on the hunt for a Zionist poet. It is produced by Winterbottom’s Revolution Films and Italy’s Bartleby Film. Elsewhere on the festival circuit, Winterbottom has picked up Berlin’s Golden Bear and the directing Silver Bear for In This World (2003) and The Road To Guantanamo (2006), respectively.
Contact: Catia Rossi, Vision Distribution firstname.lastname@example.org
Sing Sing (US)
Dir. Greg Kwedar
Kwedar, whose feature debut Transpecos won the audience award at SXSW in 2016, and who was last at Toronto in 2018 as a producer on Ghost Fleet, directs this drama based on the true story of prisoners at the infamous maximum security prison who write and stage a theatre production. Colman Domingo, Paul Raci, John Divine G Whitfield, Clarence Maclin and Sean San Jose star in the film, produced by Black Bear Pictures, Kwedar’s Marfa Peach Company and Colman and Raul Domingo’s Edith Productions.
Contact: (international) Black Bear International; (North America) CAA Media Finance
Together 99 (Swe-Den)
Dir. Lukas Moodysson
Swedish filmmaker Moodysson picks up the story from his 2000 hit Together with this sequel, which can be appreciated on its own without knowledge of the earlier film. The new story is set in 1999, some 24 years after the events of the first film when the commune has dwindled down to just two people who decide to have a reunion with their old friends (many of the original cast members return). Lars Jönsson and Anna Carlsten of Memfis Film produce and SF Studios handles Nordic distribution. Moodysson’s Show Me Love (1998), Together (2000), Lilya 4-Ever (2002), We Are The Best! (2013) and the series Gösta (2019) also played at TIFF.
Contact: Helene Auro, REinvent
Dirs. Sally El Hosaini, James Krishna Floyd
After opening the festival last year with The Swimmers and picking up the TIFF emerging talent award, UK-Egyptian director El Hosaini returns to Toronto with a drama exploring the intertwined lives of a queer South Asian cabaret performer and a single father mechanic. She co-directs with Krishna Floyd, who also wrote the screenplay and starred in The Swimmers and El Hosaini’s debut feature My Brother The Devil (2012). Ben Hardy, Hannah Onslow and newcomer Jason Patel lead the cast while Maven Screen Media, Chromatic Aberration, Cambridge Picture Company and River Road Entertainment produce.
Contact: (international) Protagonist Pictures; (US) CAA Media Finance
Dirs. Paul Middleditch, Hamish Bennett
Set in 1981 New Zealand, this coming-of-age story follows a young man of Maori heritage who battles to find his true voice when the arrival of the South African national rugby union team sparks nationwide protests against apartheid and racism. Julian Dennison of Hunt For The Wilderpeople leads the cast, which also includes Minnie Driver. Middleditch (Separation City), who is also a commercials director, and Bennett (Bellbird) co-directed for Auckland-based Firefly Films. Kismet has local rights.
Contact: Audrey Delaney, Blue Fox Entertainment
Wicked Little Letters (UK)
Dir. Thea Sharrock
UK theatre and film director Sharrock marks her Toronto debut with a comedy-drama about a group of residents in a small UK town who receive obscene and mysterious letters. This is Sharrock’s third feature after Me Before You (2016) and Disney production The One And Only Ivan (2020). Wicked Little Letters’ ensemble cast includes Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley, Timothy Spall and Eileen Atkins. It is the first feature from Colman’s production company with husband Ed Sinclair, South Of The River Pictures, with Graham Broadbent also on board as producer for Blueprint Pictures. Studiocanal developed the feature with backing from Film4 and will distribute in territories including UK and France as well as handling remaining sales.
Contact: Chloé Marquet, Studiocanal
Dir. Ethan Hawke
Hawke’s fifth feature behind the camera, which receives its international premiere in Toronto, explores the life and work of US author Flannery O’Connor, played by the US actor’s daughter Maya Hawke in a cast that also includes Laura Linney and Cooper Hoffman. The director — himself a published novelist — also wrote the screenplay with Shelby Gaines and produced along with executives from Renovo Media and O’Connor rightsholder Good Country Pictures among others. Hawke was at TIFF as a director with his 2014 documentary Seymour: An Introduction.
Contact: CAA Media Finance; UTA Independent Film Group
Woman Of The Hour (US)
Dir. Anna Kendrick
As well as playing the lead, musical and movie star Kendrick makes her directing debut with this Toronto world premiere. The true-crime thriller recounts the case of a contestant on 1970s US TV show The Dating Gamewho picked Rodney Alcala as her date — a man later revealed to be a serial killer. Based on a Black List script by Ian MacAllister McDonald, the film was financed by AGC Studios and produced by a team including Kendrick and Roy Lee. AGC introduced the project (then known as The Dating Game) to buyers at last year’s Cannes market.
Contact: AGC International
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Toronto profiles by Ellie Calnan, Tim Dams, Patricia Dobson, Sandy George, John Hazelton, Jeremy Kay, Rebecca Leffler, Emilio Mayorga, Wendy Mitchell, Michael Rosser, Mona Tabbara, Silvia Wong