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Filmmaker Steven Spielberg attends the 2019 'An Unforgettable Evening' benefiting the Women's Cancer Research Fund, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, in Beverly Hills, Calif.Chris Pizzello/The Associated Press

The Toronto International Film Festival is getting a major injection of unprecedented star power this September. On Friday, organizers announced that Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans will have its world premiere at this fall’s festival, with the iconic Oscar-winning director attending TIFF for the first time ever.

The Fabelmans is a long-in-the-works semi-autobiographical film from Spielberg that is described by producers as a “deeply personal portrait of 20th-century American childhood.” Focusing on a family based in post-Second World War-era Arizona, the film follows the young Spielberg facsimile Sammy Fabelman (played by Gabriel LaBelle) as he grows up with his father (Paul Dano), mother (Michelle Williams) and uncle (Seth Rogen). After discovering a “shattering family secret,” Sammy dives into the wonder of cinema to cope and find a path forward. Filmmaker David Lynch also reportedly appears in an undisclosed role,

With a screenplay by regular collaborator Tony Kushner (Munich, Lincoln, and last year’s West Side Story), The Fabelmans is Spielberg’s latest shot at awards-season glory. The film’s premiere also represents a huge coup for TIFF, which is aiming to return to the celebrity-packed glory days of its prepandemic self.

The 47th edition of the festival, which runs Sept. 8 through 18 with a fully in-person program after two years spent in hybrid mode, has so far announced only a handful of films, including the highly anticipated Knives Out sequel and the buzzy Canadian drama Brother from director Clement Virgo. Typically by this time of the summer, TIFF has revealed a larger chunk of its programming, though organizers this year have so far opted to trickle out lineup information on a film-by-film basis.

While The Fabelmans will have its world premiere in Toronto – bypassing the competing Venice and Telluride festivals – there is still no word on what title will officially open TIFF.

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