Originally published by The Hollywood Reporter
Regina King’s directorial debut ‘One Night in Miami’ and Viggo Mortensen’s ‘Falling’ are among the titles set to play during the pandemic-altered event.
Hollywood A-listers won’t be walking in person on any red carpets at the Toronto Film Festival in September, but their latest movies will screen online and hopefully on theatrical screens as part of the pandemic-era 45th edition.
TIFF, unveiling its full film lineup, added big-name titles like J Blakeson’s legal thriller I Care A Lot, starring Rosamund Pike and produced by Black Bear Pictures; Roseanne Liang’s action horror pic Shadow in the Cloud, starring Chloe Grace Moretz; and Glendyn Ivin’s Penguin Bloom, which stars Jacki Weaver and Naomi Watts.
Also headed to Toronto is Regina King, a best supporting actress Oscar winner for If Beale Street Could Talk, bringing her directorial debut, One Night in Miami, starring Eli Goree, Leslie Odom Jr., Aldis Hodge and Kingsley Ben-Adir as 1960s African-American icons like Cassius Clay and Malcolm X; and Florian Zeller’s The Father, the Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman dementia drama that debuted at Sundance.
The 2020 Toronto Film Festival, set to run Sept. 10-19, has opted for a hybrid event with limited in-person film screenings and mostly virtual red carpets, press conferences and industry events amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. To ensure star wattage for the Toronto festival amid the COVID-19 crisis, organizers have also recruited around 50 top industry directors and actors to serve as TIFF Ambassdors and appear online throughout the 10-day event.
Many are veterans of the Canadian festival, including Mortensen, Ava DuVernay, Taika Waititi, Nicole Kidman, Martin Scorsese, Nadine Labaki, Alfonso Cuarón, Tantoo Cardinal, Riz Ahmed, Isabelle Huppert, Claire Denis, Priyanka Chopra, David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Sarah Gadon and Denis Villeneuve.
“We’re drawing on our ambassadors to help us kickstart industry conversations for the industry audience. We’ve got a lot of stakeholders who are really important supporters of ours and we want to make sure they get opportunities that they would usually get in a green room or at a social event and they can do that online (this year),” TIFF artistic director and co-head Cameron Bailey told The Hollywood Reporter.
In an era of cooperation, and not competition, between traditionally rival fall film festivals, TIFF has also booked Viggo Mortensen’s Falling, which bowed at Sundance; Frederick Wiseman’s City Hall and Wang Jing’s The Best is Yet to Come will both bow in Venice before shifting to screenings in Toronto.
Elsewhere, Francois Ozon’s Summer of 85 and Ben Sharrock’s asylum seeker comedy Limbo will both screen in Toronto after being named as Cannes 2020 Virtual Festival selections. And Emma Seligman’s debut feature Shiva Baby, which stars Polly Draper and Rachel Sennott, is booked into Toronto after being programmed into the canceled SXSW festival this year.
Festival co-heads Joana Vicente and Cameron Bailey plan a slimmed-down September event that will take place mostly online this year with a first-time digital platform to comply with safety precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We will be relying on drive-ins and outdoor screenings and will have some indoor screenings, and then there’s a strong digital component, not just for the public, but also for the industry,” Vicente told THR.
Other titles representing the best in international cinema include Iranian director Farnoosh Samadi’s 180 Degree Rule; Italian director Gianfranco Rosi’s Notturno; Manijeh Hekmet’s road movie Bandar Road; Mayye Zayed’s Lift Like a Girl; Irish director Cathy Brady’s Wildfire; Indian helmer Chaitanya Tamhane’s The Disciple; and Jasmila Zbanic’s Quo Vadis, Aida?
Toronto will also screen episodes of international TV series, including Mira Nair’s BBC adaptation of the A Suitable Boy novel, set to close the Toronto festival this year, as well as Michelle Latimer’s CBC miniseries Trickster and The Third Day, the HBO and Sky drama starring Jude Law and Naomi Harris.
The Canadian contingent at Toronto will include Latimer also screening her feature documentary Inconvenient Indian, about Canadian storyteller Jonathan King; Tracey Deer’s coming-of-age drama Beans; No Ordinary Man, from directors Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt; and the psychological thriller Violation, directed by Madeleine Sims-Fewer, who also stars, and Dusty Mancinelli.
Toronto programmers earlier announced studio and indie titles for the 45th edition, including HBO’s Spike Lee-directed filmed version of David Byrne’s American Utopia Broadway stage play, which will open the festival; Searchlight Pictures Nomadland, a road movie drama from director Chloé Zhao that stars Frances McDormand and will bow simultaneously in Venice; the MMA drama Bruised, Halle Berry’s directorial debut feature in which she also stars; and Ricky Staub’s horsemanship drama Concrete Cowboy, starring Idris Elba and Caleb McLaughlin.
Other previously-announced titles bound for Toronto include Francis Lee’s Ammonite, toplined by Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan; Thomas Vinterberg’s Another Round; Fauna, from director Nicolás Pereda; Reinaldo Marcus Green’s Good Joe Bell, starring Mark Wahlberg; Spring Blossom, the debut film by director Suzanne Lindon; and Naomi Kawase’s True Mothers.
Other documentaries added to the Toronto 2020 lineup include Enemies of the State, from National Bird director Sonia Kennebeck and focused on the case of a hacker’s alleged persecution by the U.S. government; Werner Herzog’s meteorite film Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds, already picked up by Apple for its Apple TV+ platform; and civil rights director Sam Pollard’s MLK/FBI, which recounts the FBI’s surveillance of Dr. Martin Luther King.