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The end of summer and the arrival of September means one thing in Toronto: time to grab your autograph books, selfie sticks, and a sweater (it gets cold in those movie theatres) in preparation for the Toronto International Film Festival.
This year, the Festival’s 43rd, will see the regular lineup of Hollywood films with big name stars plus movies from across the world meant to introduce fans to completely new kinds of cinema—but there’s something new, too. From the initial lineup of 47 Gala and Special Presentation Films (read: the biggest movies coming the Festival), just under a third of them are directed by women. While TIFF (and other film fests) still have some work to do in the gender equality area, this is a big step forward.
Just announced: 10 amazing female filmmakers bringing their films to #TIFF18 🙋🏼♀️🙋🏻♀️🙋🏾♀️ . . . GALVESTON by Mélanie Laurent; WHERE HANDS TOUCH by #ShareHerJourney ambassador Amma Asante; HIGH LIFE by Claire Denis; MANTO by Nandita Das; CAPERNAUM by 2011 People’s Choice Award–winner Nadine Labaki; MAYA by Mia Hansen-Løve; THE WEEKEND by #ShareHerJourney ambassador Stella Meghie; GIRLS OF THE SUN by Eva Husson; CAN YOU FORGIVE ME? by Marielle Heller; THE LAND OF STEADY HABITS by Nicole Holofcener; THE KINDERGARTEN TEACHER by Sara Colangelo; WHAT THEY HAD by Elizabeth Chomko; and the Special Presentations Opening Film, MOUTHPIECE, by Canada’s Patricia Rozema (#ShareHerJourney, represent). . . #clairedenis #nicoleholofcener #patriciarozema #elizabethchomko #nadinelabaki #ammaasante #evahusson #nanditadas #melanielaurent #miahansenlove #stellameghie #marielleheller #saracolangelo #womeninfilm
“Every September we invite the whole film world to Toronto, one of the most diverse, movie-mad cities in the world,” says TIFF Director and CEO Piers Handling. “I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to put together a lineup of Galas and Special Presentations that reflects Toronto’s spirit of inclusive, passionate engagement with film. We can’t wait to unveil these films for our audience.”
Movies with prime spots usually mean that their stars will be making the yearly pilgrimage to Hollywood North and gracing the streets of Toronto, so expect some of the big names you see below to pop up on red carpets (and maybe even in your favourite local coffee shop) this fall.
Here are a few of the films and stars we’re already excited about:
Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) fans, strap yourself in for the director’s new crime thriller. Co-written by Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn, Widows looks at a group of women thrown together in a deadly situation after their shady criminal underworld husbands all die. The film stars Viola Davis, Daniel Kaluuya, Liam Neeson, Jacki Weaver, Colin Farrell, and Michelle Rodriguez.
Hugh Jackman fronts The Front Runner, a dark comedy from Canadian director Jason Reitman. Jackman plays US Senator Gary Hart, who, back in 1988 was vying to become the Democratic party’s candidate for president. News about an affair Hart had been involved in came out in the media and completely ruined his chances. Which really makes you think about just how far politics has come! Err, gone? Vera Farmiga and J. K. Simmons round out The Front Runner cast.
Back after the triumphant TIFF debut of Oscar winner La La Land, director Damien Chazelle is once again delivering to Festival audiences exactly what they want: Ryan Gosling. We could tell you what it’s about (Neil Armstrong’s NASA career) but we know you’ll see it either way.
Take a deep breath and try to act calm. We say “try” because the fact that your former Twilight crush Robert Pattinson may turn up in Toronto this September is kind of a big deal. He’ll be starring in French auteur Claire Denis’ first English-language film alongside Juliette Binoche, Mia Goth, and André Benjamin (yes, Outkast’s André Benjamin). Bonus: the movie is set in space.
This world premiere from director Peter Hedges (Dan in Real Life) features Julia Roberts as a mother welcoming her problem child son back into her blended family home along with step siblings and a step dad. Trouble ensues—it is the Christmas holidays, afterall. Speaking of family, Hedges has cast his own son, Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea), to play the title character.
All actors want to direct and Bradley Cooper is no different—A Star Is Born is his directorial debut. But if all actors want to direct, is it also true that all musicians want to act? Grab tickets to this flick and find out, because it stars Lady Gaga alongside Cooper.
Yet another actor-turned-director will bring her latest film to TIFF ’18: Galveston is Mélanie Laurent’s first English-language film and for it, she’s recruited one of the biggest young stars working today, Elle Fanning. The screenplay is based on True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto’s best-selling novel and Pizzolatto himself penned the script.
In which everyone’s Oscar-nominated obsession, Timothée Chalamet, plays the troubled son of none other than Steve Carell. We’re totally into this odd couple pairing, you?
Directed by Emilio Estevez, this is a big-issues-tackling drama with some big stars: Alec Baldwin, Taylor Schilling, Westworld’s Jeffrey Wright, The Hunger Games’ Jena Malone, and Mr. Robot’s Christian Slater. Wait, are we sure this isn’t a sci-fi movie?
Speaking of sci-fi, director Patricia Rozema, who brought her excellent Into the Forest to TIFF back in 2015 (that dystopian future drama starred Evan Rachel Wood and Ellen Page) returns this year with Mouthpiece.
Words of wisdom: never, ever miss a chance to see Richard E. Grant in a movie. In Nicole Holofcener’s forthcoming film, Grant stars opposite Melissa McCarthy in a story based on Lee Israel’s autobiography (Israel was known for her glowing and heavily airbrushed profiles on A-listers like Katharine Hepburn and cosmetics giant Estée Lauder). Having lost the plot on what was trendy in the world of celeb journalism (read: dishing the dirtiest dirt out there), Israel does the only thing she can do: forging and selling historical documents.
Travelling to Toronto this fall? The 43rd Toronto International Film Festival kicks off September 6. Other big stars in the just-announced lineup of films include Jake Gyllenhaal, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jesse Eisenberg, Alexander Skarsgård, Elisabeth Moss, Connie Britton, Riz Ahmed, Hugh Jackman, Hilary Swank, and Penelope Cruz. For more deets, go here.