I’ve been spending much of the past week preparing for covering the Toronto International Film Festival — and by preparing I mean reading, reading, reading and scheduling, scheduling, scheduling.
My press pass gives me access to all the Press And Industry screenings which run through the day for the first six or seven days of the 10-day festival. Most of the features and documentaries get single P&I screenings, though a few, like My Policeman and The Fabelmans, have two, presuming that every member of the film press will want to see these films.
On Monday I get to apply for tickets to Public Screenings. My picks for those will be based on conflicts in the press screening schedule, but I’m also hoping for a few genuine, thrilling audience experiences with the filmmakers present.
(I’ve had conflicting information about how likely it is I’ll get all my picks for the Public Screenings. Fingers crossed.)
I’ll also likely choose to pass on a few films I know will be opening very soon in cinemas in order to prioritize others that won’t be out for awhile.
I will be posting here regularly, but please give @flaw_in_the_iris a follow on Instagram for images, video, and who knows what else I encounter in the Big Smoke.
For a full list of the TIFF films, go here. And if you’re in Nova Scotia, FIN Atlantic International Film Festival has a few of these films screening after TIFF. If I miss them in Toronto, I’ll try to catch them in Halifax.
Though there’ll probably be more, here’s my list of what I’m considering so far:
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed | Academy Award-winner Laura Poitras delivers a documentary about the life and work of artist and activist Nan Goldin.
The Banshees of Inisherin | Martin McDonough reunites Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell, his two leads from In Bruges, for a dark comedy about feuding friends in a small Irish town.
Bones of Crows | Biopic of the life of Cree matriarch Aline Spears, here played by three actors at different points in her life, from director Marie Clements.
Bros | Billy Eichner’s queer New York romcom boasts an entire cast of actors who identify as LGBTQ+.
Brother | Toronto filmmaker Clement Virgo’s first film since his Halifax-shot Poor Boy’s Game, this one adapts David Chariandy’s novel about siblings in Scarborough in the 1990s.
Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry On | A look at the life of the Canadian legend.
Catherine Called Birdy | A British period romcom directed by Girls’ Lena Dunham.
Causeway | Jennifer Lawrence stars as an American vet struggling to recover from her experience in Afghanistan.
Decision To Leave | A noirish thriller from Park Chan-wook, director of The Handmaiden.
Empire of Light | Two-time James Bond director Sam Mendes and cinematographer Roger Deakins offer their ode to going to movies, though so far the advance buzz for this one hasn’t been glowing, comparing it unfavourably to Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast.
The Eternal Daughter | Following the two Souvenir movies Joanna Hogg once again pairs up with Tilda Swinton, this time for a ghost story.
The Fabelmans | Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical drama about a Jewish-American family
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery | Netflix produced this return of southern gentleman detective, Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig).
The Grab | A documentary from Blackfish director Gabriela Cowperthwaite on the powerful forces looking to control global food supply.
Holy Spider | A serial killer thriller from Iran, directed by Ali Abbasi
I Like Movies | Canadian film reviewer-turned-filmmaker, Chandler Levack (who is my new hero) tells a relatable story about a video-store employee (I also once worked at Blockbuster).
Living | Kazuo Ishiguro adapts Akira Kurosawa’s Ikuru, moving the story to in London in the 1950s and starring Bill Nighy as an office worker who dreams of more.
The Lost King | Stephen Frears and Steve Coogan bring to the screen the true story of the woman who located the remains of Richard the Third under a car park, starring Sally Hawkins.
A Man of Reason | Korean thriller from movie star and first-time feature filmmaker, Jung Woo-sung.
Maya and the Wave | A documentary looking at the life and passion of Brazilian surfer Maya Gabeira.
The Menu | Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult, and Ralph Fiennes star in a thriller centred around a fine-dining experience.
Moonage Daydream | Part trippy David Bowie concert movie, part documentary.
My Policeman | Pop star Harry Styles is poised to become a movie star this year with the forthcoming Olivia Wilde picture Don’t Worry Darling and this queer drama about (then forbidden) love in 1950s England.
Nightalk | A new sex thriller from Cape Breton-born Donald Shebib, director of Goin’ Down The Road.
No Bears | Iranian iconoclast, Jafar Panahi’s new film, a romance.
One Fine Morning | Bergman Island director, Mia Hansen-Love, returns with a family drama starring Léa Seydoux.
Prisoner’s Daughter | Thirteen and Twilight filmmaker Catherine Hardwicke directs this drama about an ex-con (Brian Cox) looking to make amends with his daughter (Kate Beckinsale).
Queens of the Qing Dynasty | Ashley McKenzie’s follow-up to Werewolf tells a story of a suicidal teen and the bond she forms with a Chinese student who volunteers to spend time with her.
Sidney | House Party director Reginald Hudlin, who’s done a whole lot of things since that picture, takes a look at the life and work of the late, great Sidney Poitier.
The Swimmers | True life tale of Syrian refugees who went to the Olympics.
Triangle of Sadness | Another satiric comedy from Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund (Force Majeure, The Square), which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year. This one has a yacht-full of wealthy folks who get stuck on a desert island.
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story | A spoof of music biopics couldn’t arrive at a better time, with Daniel Radcliffe in the lead and Evan Rachel Wood as Madonna.
The Whale | The buzz here is Darren Aronofsky’s doing with Brendan Fraser what he did with Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler, giving a faded star a role worthy of his talent.
The Woman King | The true story of the African warriors who inspired Black Panther‘s Dora Milaje, starring Viola Davis.
Women Talking | Sarah Polley gets back to feature filmmaking, adapting the Miriam Toews novel.
If all this wasn’t enough, consider all the workshops, talks (Eddie Redmayne?! TAYLOR SWIFT?!!), and special screenings available, including a presentation of Nope in IMAX, with a Jordan Peele and DP Hoyte van Hoytema Q&A afterward.
I don’t expect to get a lot of sleep.