Now that the dust has settled on this 44th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival, our critics have wrapped up the best, worst and most awkward moments of the fest – including that time Jane Fonda jetted into town for an exclusive private fireside chat about her life and career. We look at how TIFF’s new co-heads Cameron Bailey and Joana Vicente – along with their revamped programming team – diversified this year in what kinds of productions played TIFF and also in who was making them. But a new study of TIFF’s industrial and professional impact, released as the festival closed, reveals that the event’s international prominence is not necessarily a blessing for Canadian film.
Catch up on all our coverage, and start planning which films you’ll want to watch as they’re released over the coming months.
Check out our epic guide to our critics’ reviews of films screening at the festival – 70 in all. See if the ones they rated as their favourites lined up with their list of most-anticipated films coming to TIFF. If challenging is your thing, read our guide to the most daring and demanding films that screened this year. And if you missed these 10 films that come to the festival without distribution attached, we’re sad to say that it may take months or years for them to screen again.
Among the themes and trends our critics noticed this year were films about the making, and unmaking, of great artists. And get ready for a class war in the multiplex this fall, as a high-profile contingent of movies – including Todd Phillips’ new film Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix – centre on the casual privilege of those at the top, and the ferocious revenge of those below.
- Night one: Dev Patel, Hugh Laurie, Aimee Kelly among Hollywood stars gracing opening-night parties
- Night two: Michael B. Jordan, Dakota Johnson, Heather Graham and other stars out in full force
- Night three: Nicole Kidman and Kerry Washington step out at splashy celebrations of women
- Night four: Academy Award winner Allison Janney among stars celebrating in Toronto
- Night five: From martinis to Meryl – everything that happened at the inaugural Tribute Gala
The road to the Oscars begins at TIFF, and after the festival’s first weekend it was already clear which films will be blazing a road to potential Academy Awards (and even box-office) glory. One early predictor of Academy Award success is the TIFF People’s Choice Award, which this year went to JoJo Rabbit, a satire set during the Second World War about a German boy grappling with the reasons his mother is hiding a young Jewish girl in their attic.
What’s changed since the previous TIFF? Netflix and theatre owners are still battling over the length of time between a film’s opening in theatres and its release date on the streaming service – a battle that spilled over into a key festival venue, Cineplex’s Scotiabank Theatre, which didn’t screen any of the nine Netflix titles playing this year.
A year after TIFF signed the “50/50 by 2020” gender-equity pledge, among this year’s gala selections nine of 20 films are directed by women, while seven are stories where the protagonist or the ensemble is female.
Several Canadians to watch include Kazik Radwanski and Deragh Campbell, the director and star of the buzz-generating microbudget film Anne at 13,000 ft, and Indigenous writer-director-actor Elle-Maija Tailfeathers, who had two films at the fest this year. Director David Cronenberg says he may not make another film – and he’s perfectly fine with that.
As for the future of the Canadian industry, keep an eye on Telefilm Canada’s Talent to Watch program. The inaugural cohort of first-time directors selected last year for the microbudget program were awarded $125,000 each. Since then, The Globe has been tracking the progress of every production, including two especially driven and lucky teams who secured a premiere at TIFF.
This guide was compiled by Lori Fazari, with reports from Barry Hertz, Kate Taylor, Brad Wheeler, Simon Houpt, Johanna Schneller, Nolan Bryant, Sarah Hagi, Kelsey Adams and Nathalie Atkinson.