The 41st edition of the Toronto International Film Festival is almost five months away, but that doesn't mean the organization is in hibernation mode. On Tuesday morning, TIFF announced that Lagos, Nigeria, would be the focus of this year's City to City program, curated by the festival's artistic director, Cameron Bailey.
"Vital, complex and inspiring, Lagos is entirely unique," Bailey said in a statement. "The city of Fela Kuti's music has also given birth to one of the world's most vibrant film industries. The 1,000 low-budget features 'Nollywood' produces each year generate about $1-billion in box office. Now, from that commercial hotbed, a new generation of filmmakers is emerging to both advance and challenge Nollywood. Bigger budgets, greater artistic ambition – the new cinema of Lagos is bold, exciting, and ready to take its place on the international stage. We're excited to share the creativity of this remarkable city's filmmakers with TIFF audiences in September."
Last year's City to City program focused on London, and featured such films as Owen Harris's dark comedy Kill Your Friends, Rufus Norris's adaptation of the musical London Road and Michael Caton-Jones's coming-of-age drama Urban Hymn. (The wider TIFF 2015 lineup also included such London-based production as Ben Wheatley's acclaimed dystopic drama High-Rise and the Tom Hardy gangster film Legend.)
This will mark the eighth year for the City to City program, with past editions highlighting Istanbul, Buenos Aires, Mumbai, Athens, Seoul and, to much controversy, Tel Aviv. (When the Israeli city was selected by TIFF in 2009, Canadian filmmaker John Greyson pulled his short documentary Covered from the festival in protest, while a host of marquee names – including Jane Fonda and Viggo Mortensen – signed a letter protesting against the decision.)
This year's edition of TIFF runs Sept. 8 to 18.