The 42nd Toronto International Film Festival kicks off in less than a month, which means, right about now, the city’s top florists are busy coordinating delivery times for truckloads of exotic blooms, cases of Dom Pérignon are being stockpiled in event and restaurant storerooms, the concierges at Toronto’s top hotels are working their magic to orchestrate seamless visits, and at least half of Hollywood is currently dieting for their red carpet debut.
Over four decades TIFF has morphed from friendly festival in America’s neighbour to the north, into a tour de force that commands the cinematic world. In 2007, TIME declared that TIFF had “grown from its place as the most influential fall film festival to the most influential film festival, period.” Not too shabby. Year after year, films that debut at TIFF go on to clean up on screen and during awards season – 15 films that have nabbed the TIFF People’s Choice Award have been nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards later that year (American Beauty, Slumdog Millionaire, La La Land, and 12 Years a Slave to name a few). That’s why, season after season, all eyes are on TIFF to gauge what may be in the running come Oscar time.
This year’s festival line up includes 14 galas, 25 world premieres, and 33 special presentations from more than 15 countries. Keep your eyes out for:
Borg/McEnroe the festival opener that shines a spotlight on the fierce rivalry between two tennis legends during the 1980’s Wimbledon tournament;
Kings, directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven and starring Halle Berry and Daniel Craig, a story about a foster family in South Central Los Angeles in the wake of the Rodney King trial of 1992;
The Mountain Between Us, starring Kate Winslet and Idris Elba who spent weeks filming the plane crash survival tale in British Columbia’s subzero temps;
Battle of the Sexes, a film that pits Steve Carell (as Bobby Riggs) against Emma Stone (playing Billie Jean King) in the true story of a 1973 tennis match that saw the feminist mystique played out on the court;
Mary Shelley by Haifaa Al Mansour, the first Saudi female director ever to direct a Hollywood film;
Long Time Running, documenting The Tragically Hip’s emotional 2016 final tour;
First They Killed My Father, Angelina Jolie’s documentary of one woman’s experience during the deadly Khmer Rouge;
I, Tonya, starring Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding in the time leading up to the 1994 Nancy Kerrigan attack;
Call Me By Your Name, a film directed by Luca Guadagnino, set in Northern Italy in the summer of 1983, depicting one of the topics Italians do best – love;
Stronger, a true story in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a man who loses both his legs;
Mother!, the new Darren Aronofsky horror pic starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem as a couple whose relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home.
The 42nd Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 7 to 17, 2017. Visit tiff.net for more info.
Lead photo courtesy of Ex-Press