Last year, the Toronto International Film Festival unveiled its inaugural Platform lineup, a juried program designed to highlight "artistically ambitious" films from global auteurs that might otherwise be overshadowed by TIFF's shinier, more star-studded offerings.
Although the winner of 2015's program and its $25,000 cash reward – Alan Zweig's captivating documentary Hurt – didn't exactly set the world on fire after its Platform debut (it ended up playing Canada's Top Ten Film Festival, before airing on television's Super Channel), the initiative proved popular enough to warrant a return for this year's TIFF.
On Thursday morning, festival organizers unveiled Platform's 2016 titles, featuring new works from international directors Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Ivan Sen, Katell Quillevere, Khyentse Norbu, Fien Troch, Pablo Larrain, William Oldroyd, Mijke de Jong, Barry Jenkins and Bertrand Bonello, and Canadian filmmakers Mathieu Denis, Simon Lavoie and Zacharias Kunuk (the latter best known for his acclaimed 2001 drama Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner).
All of the films will screen at the Winter Garden Theatre, one of TIFF's most desirable and high-profile venues, with no advance screenings for media or industry. In other words, industry insiders will discover these titles at the same time as the rest of the world.
"A multicultural epicentre, Toronto is one of the most diverse and inclusive cities in the world, and it is the perfect home for Platform to live and grow as a world-class program," Piers Handling, director and CEO of TIFF, said in a statement. "The lineup this year aims to shine the spotlight on fearless, artistic films that will inspire a global dialogue around issues that affect us all, and we are thrilled to honour the next generation of filmmakers who are capturing the evolving discourse with their transformative visions."
Those visions include Jenkins's already-buzzy awards contender Moonlight, which focuses on one young man's struggle with his sexuality; Kurosawa's supernatural fantasy Daguerrotype (which was previously announced as a Special Presentation in TIFF's earlier lineup); Bonello's Nocturama, a sure-to-be-controversial look at young terrorists on the loose in Paris; and Larrain's Jackie, a biopic of Jacqueline Kennedy starring Natalie Portman (Larrain will also be at TIFF with another biopic, Neruda, starring regular collaborator Gael Garcia Bernal).
Last year's jury consisted of an impressive array of international talent, including France's Claire Denis, Poland's Agnieszka Holland and China'a Jia Zhang-Ke, whose 2000 film Platform helped inspire the program. This year's jury will be announced at a later date, as TIFF continues to spend the summer unveiling its full lineup.
The 41st edition of TIFF runs from Sept. 8 to 18.