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Wednesday , October 20 2021

Toronto Film Festival to open with ‘Dear Evan Hansen’

NEW YORK, July 26, (AP): The adaptation of Broadway hit and Tony-winner “Dear Evan Hansen,” Edgar Wright’s ’60s London themed “Last Night in Soho,” and “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” are just a few of the major films coming to the Toronto International Film Festival this September. Organizers on Tuesday unveiled a robust slate of premieres for the 46th edition of TIFF, which is returning to an in-person fete. “Dear Evan Hansen,” starring Ben Platt and Julianne Moore and directed by Stephen Chbosky, will be the opening night gala on Sept. 9. “There was no question that Dear Evan Hansen was the ideal film to launch the Festival this year,” said Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director and Co-Head of TIFF. “This film is ultimately about healing, forgiveness, and reaffirms how connected and essential we all are to one another. We couldn’t think of a more important idea to celebrate this year as we come together once again to share the power and joy of cinema in theatres together.” Chbosky added, “We could not have asked for a more ideal festival, or audience, or moment to premiere our film.”

Audiences can also expect a look at Jessica Chastain’s turn as Tammy Faye Bakker and Andrew Garfield as televangelist Jim Bakker in Michael Showalter’s latest film, as well as director Barry Levinson’s “The Survivor” starring Ben Foster as WWII-era boxer Harry Haft. “Clifford the Big Red Dog,” featuring David Alan Grier as the voice of the children’s book character, is another gala presentation. The festival will also host the world premiere of Terence Davies’ “Benediction,” about English poet Siegfried Sassoon, starring Jack Lowden and Peter Capaldi, as well as Justine Bateman’s directorial debut “Violet,” starring Olivia Munn. Previously announced premieres include Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast,” Tahir Rana’s “Dionne Warwick; Don’t Make Me Over,” Antoine Fuqua’s “The Guilty,” writer-director-actor Mélanie Laurent’s “The Mad Women’s Ball,” and Alison Klayman’s Alanis Morissette documentary “Jagged.” The festival will also host an IMAX screening of Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” to follow its premiere at the Venice Film Festival in Italy. A few selections from Cannes will also screen including Joachim Trier’s “The Worst Person in the World,” Jacques Audiard’ s “Paris, 13th District,” and Mia Hansen-Løve’s “Bergman Island.”

Zhang Yimou’s “One Second,” about a man escaping a concentration camp to see his daughter, will serve as the closing night film in its North American premiere. Filmmakers Denis Villeneuve and Alanis Obomsawin are among those being honored at the Toronto International Film Festival this September. TIFF co-heads Joana Vicente and Cameron Bailey said Thursday that Villeneuve will receive the TIFF Ebert Director Award and Obomsawin will be honored with the Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media at the 2021 TIFF Tribute Awards. Both are Canadian. Villeneuve is known for directing films like “Prisoners” and “Blade Runner 2049” and was nominated for an Oscar for the 2016 film “Arrival.” His new film, an adaptation of “Dune,” will be playing at the festival after its world premiere in Venice. “There is no question Denis is an accomplished and outstanding filmmaker. He has a wonderful body of work and operates at an incredible level of excellence on the world stage,” Bailey said in a statement.

“Over the years, Denis has brought many of his films to TIFF, so we feel a special closeness to him. It is wonderful to be celebrating his career at this time.” Obomsawin, meanwhile, has been making films for over 50 years, exploring the lives of First Nations peoples. She’s a member of the Abenaki Nation. “The Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media recognizes leadership in creating a union between social impact and cinema,” Vicente said. “As a gifted documentary filmmaker and impassioned storyteller, Alanis brings awareness to vital Indigenous issues and is widely recognized as a national treasure because of her extraordinary body of work.” Previous TIFF Award winners have included Chloé Zhao, Kate Winslet and Sir Anthony Hopkins. TIFF is scheduled to run as an in-person event Sept. 9-18. The Canadian government has said it will open its border to fully-vaccinated US citizens and permanent residents on Aug. 9 and will expand to the rest of the world by Sept 7.

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