TEWSF - FINAL STILL - Credit Anika Molnar

Source: Anika Molnar

‘The End We Start From’

The world premieres of Ellen Kuras’s biopic Lee starring Kate Winslet, Craig Gillespie’s GameStop meme craze drama Dumb Money, David Yates’s crime drama Pain Hustlers with Emily Blunt, and Michael Winterbottom’s thriller Shoshana are among Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) Galas and Special Presentations.

The festival unveiled a further 60 selections on Monday after previously announcing Taikia Waititi’s Searchlight Pictures underdog football story Next Goal Wins, and Ladj Ly’s Les Indésirables, and Atom Egoyan’s Seven Veils - both of which are available for the US. XYZ Films handles world sales on Seven Veils and Goodfellas is selling Les Indésirables.

All selections are subject to change. The ongoing Hollywood double strike has cast uncertainty over whether talent will attend fall festivals. Last week TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey told Screen that he and his team are deep in talks “film by film, person by person” to ensure as many of the selections as possible attend the festival running September 7-17.

Wicked Little Letters

Source: © Studiocanal

Wicked Little Letters

The first wave of TIFF selection features 37 world premieres, seven international premieres, 12 North American premieres, and four Canadian premieres. Bailey said the selections “showcase a rich tapestry of talent, vision, and storytelling” and said attendees should prepare themselves for a “star-studded festival, showcasing the best of global cinema for film lovers in September”.

Anna Kendrick (Woman Of The Hour, formerly The Dating Game), Michael Keaton (Knox Goes Away), Chris Pine (Poolman) and Ethan Hawke (Wildcat) are four US stars and SAG-AFTRA members with feature directorial debuts receiving world premiere slots at TIFF. Kristin Scott Thomas makes her debut behind the camera on North Star starring Scarlett Johansson and Sienna Miller, and Viggo Mortensen returns for his second stint as director with The Dead Don’t Hurt after 2020 TIFF selection Falling.

The selection includes Unicorns from Sally El Hosaini (who directed TIFF 2022 opening film The Swimmers) and James Krishna Floyd; Anant Tucker’s mystery comedy The Critic with Gemma Arterton, Ben Barnes, Ian McKellen, Leslie Manville and March Strong; Mahalia Belo’s The End We Start From starring Jodie Comer and Benedict Cumberbatch; Thea Sharrock’s comedy Wicked Little Letters from Studiocanal, Film4, Blueprint Pictures and South Of The River Pictures, which it was announced today will open in the UK on Fenruary 24 2024; and Dominic Savage’s drama Close To You starring Elliot Page.

One Life

Source: See-Saw Films

“One Life’

There are world premieres for Tony Goldwyn with Ezra; Azazel Jacobs (French Exit, The Lovers) with His Three Daughters; Ning Hao’s (Breakup Buddies, No Man’s Land) The Movie Emperor; and Alex Gibney’s recently announced documentary In Restless Dreams: The Music Of Paul Simon.

An international premiere designation for Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers – which Focus features acquired at TIFF last year in a $30m worldwide deal – suggests a Telluride world premiere. Richard Linklater’s dark comedy Hitman gets a North American premiere, suggesting a Venice berth – at time of writing.

Fingernails, the Apple TV+ pick-up which like Pain Hustlers (Netflix) was one of two major Cannes market 2022 deals with streamers – gets its international premiere. Christos Nikou directed the sci-fi starring Current Emmy nominee Jeremy Allen White from Hulu’s The Bear, Jessie Buckley, and Riz Ahmed.

Flying the flag for Canada with world premieres besides Egoyan are: Chloé Robichaud and her drama Days Of Happiness; Sophie Dupuis with the queer romance Solo; Chelsea McMullan with ballet documentary Swan Song (Dogwoof handles sales) Leigh Brooks with his rock band documentary Hate To Love: Nickelback.

Rights are available on many of the first wave selections and TIFF’s role as a late summer sales market where buyers can see completed films is an important one that is growing in stature. Sellers often hold back US rights for big deals on completed films in Toronto.

The Dead Don't Hurt

Source: Marcel Zyskind

The Dead Don’t Hurt

Rocket Science, CAA Media Finance and UTA Independent Film Group represent sales on Lee, for example. AGC Studios has enjoyed robust international sales on Woman Of The Year, Poolman and Hitman and US rights are available on all three. US rights are available too on Keaton’s hitman thriller Knox Goes Away, which FilmNation sold internationally and ICM Partners and Verve Ventures jointly represents for the US.

Announcements from TIFF, Venice and Telluride will be watched closely in the coming days and weeks amid the strike. SAG-AFTRA strike rules prohibit talent from promoting films by struck companies and the rules over whether they can promote independent films are unclear at time of writing.


Source: SND


Directors can promote their films after Directors Guild Of America signed a new three-year contract with the studios and streamers. However it remains to be seen whether they, like actors from independent films should they be allowed to promote films, will do so or decline to perform publicity duties in solidarity with striking SAG-AFTRA and Writers Guild Of America members.

Last week MGM pulled Venice Film Festival opener Challengers and will announce its line-up tomorrow.

In theory there should be nothing to stop international talent from attending and performing promotional work if their films are not from struck companies. 


*Previously announced

Concrete Utopia (S Kor)
Dir. Um Tae-Hwa
North American premiere

Dumb Money (US)
Dir. Craig Gillespie
World premiere 

Fair Play (US)
Dir. Chloe Domont
International premiere

Flora And Son (Ire-US)
Dir. John Carney
Canadian premiere

Hate To Love: Nickelback (Can)
Dir. Leigh Brooks
World premiere

Lee (UK)
Dir. Ellen Kuras
World premiere

*Next Goal Wins (US)
Dir. Taika Waititi
World premiere

Nyad (US)
Dirs. Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin
International premiere

Punjab ’95 (India)
Dir. Honey Trehan
World premiere

Solo (Can)
Dir. Sophie Dupuis
World premiere

The End We Start From (UK)
Dir. Mahalia Belo
World premiere

The Movie Emperor (Chi)
Dir. Ning Hao
World Premiere 

The New Boy (Aus)
Dir. Warwick Thornton
North American premiere

The Royal Hotel (Aus-UK)
Dir. Kitty Green
Canadian premiere 


A Difficult Year (Fr)
Dirs.Éric Toledano and Olivier Nakache
International premiere

A Normal Family (SK)
Dir. Hur Jin-ho
World premiere

American Fiction (USA)
Dir. Cord Jefferson
World premiere

Anatomy Of A Fall (Fr)
Dir. Justine Triet
Canadian premiere

Close To You (Can-UK)
Dir. Dominic Savage
World Premiere

Days Of Happiness (Can)
Dir. Chloé Robichaud
World premiere

El Rapto (Arg)
Dir. Daniela Goggi
North American premiere

Ezra (US)
Dir. Tony Goldwyn
World premiere

Fingernails (US)
Dir. Christos Nikou
International premiere

Four Daughters (Fr-Tun-Ger-Sau)
Dir. Kaouther Ben Hania
North American premiere

His Three Daughters (US)
Dir.Azazel Jacobs
World premiere

Hitman (US)
Dir. Richard Linklater
North American premiere

In Restless Dreams: The Music Of Paul Simon (US)
Dir. Alex Gibney
World premiere

Kidnapped (It-Fr-Ger)
Dir. Marco Bellocchio
North American premiere

Knox Goes Away (US)
Dir. Michael Keaton
World premiere

La Chimera (It-Fr-Swi)
Dir. Alice Rohrwacher
North American premiere

Last Summer (Fr)
Dir. Catherine Breillat
North American premiere

*Les Indésirables (Fr)
Dir. Ladj Ly
World premiere

Memory (US-Mex)
Dir. Michel Franco
North American premiere

Monster (Jap)
Dir. Kore-eda Hirokazu
North American premiere

Mother Couch (USA)
Dir. Niclas Larsson
World Premiere

North Star (UK)
Dir. Kristin Scott Thomas
World premiere

One Life (UK)
Dir. James Hawes
World premiere

Pain Hustlers (US)
Dir. David Yates
World premiere

Poolman (US)
Dir. Chris Pine
World premiere 

Reptite (US)
Dir. Grant Singer
World premiere

Rustin (US)
Dir. George C. Wolfe
International premiere

*Seven Veils (Can)
Dir. Atom Egoyan
World Premiere

Shoshana (UK-It)
Dir. Michael Winterbottom
World premiere

Sing Sing (US)
Dir. Greg Kwedar
World premiere

Smugglers (SK)
Dir. Ryoo Seung-wan
North American premiere

Swan Song (Can)
Dir. Chelsea McMullan
World premiere

The Beast (Fr-Can)
Dir. Bertrand Bonello
North American premiere

The Burial (US)
Dir. Maggie Betts
World premiere

The Convert (Aus-NZ)
Dir. Lee Tamahori
World premiere

The Critic UK)
Dir. Anand Tucker
World premiere

The Dead Don’t Hurt (Mex-Can-Den)
Dir. Viggo Mortensen
World premiere

The Holdovers (US)
Dir. Alexander payne
International premiere

The Peasants (Pol-Ser-Lith)
Dirs. DK Welchman, Hugh Welchman
World premiere

The Zone Of Interest (UK-Pol-US)
Dir. Jonathan Glazer
Canadian premiere

Together 99 (Swe-Den)
Dir. Lukas Moodysson
World premiere

Unicorns (UK-US-Swe)
Dirs. Sally El Hosaini, James Krishna Floyd
World premiere
Sales title - International rights available

Uproar (NZ)
Dirs. Paul Middleditch, Hamish Bennett
World premiere

Wicked Little Letters (UK)
Dir. Thea Sharrock
World premiere

Wildcat (US)
Dir. Ethan Hawke
International premiere 

Woman Of The Hour (US)
Dir. Anna Kendrick
World premiere