TIFF 2018: A Star is Born, The Hate U Give, First Man announced for Toronto festival
Security a paramount issue, TIFF CEO says following Greektown shooting
Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong in First Man, YA book adaptation The Hate U Give and a pair of high-profile remakes — A Star is Born and Widows — are among the first offerings unveiled for this year's Toronto International Film Festival.
Organizers announced an initial batch of gala and special presentation films slated for this year's edition on Tuesday, highlighting a list of celebrity-studded projects, acclaimed titles from the film festival circuit and the latest entries from notable international filmmakers.
The movies were revealed in a release, scaled back from the planned press conference following the shooting in Toronto's Greektown neighbourhood on Sunday evening that has sparked some concern for upcoming large public gatherings in the city.
Security has been paramount for the last number of years, according to TIFF director and CEO Piers Handling.
"We're paying significant attention to it. Last year, we put a bunch of measures in place: you probably noticed more concrete barriers, more visible security in terms of dogs, bag checks, those types of things. We're upping that," he said Tuesday, noting that he couldn't share more specific details.
TIFF, Pride, Toronto Caribbean Carnival and dozens of other major public events roll out safely each year, Handling emphasized.
"We hope they continue to be safe," he said, adding that the festival remains in touch with Toronto police along with its own security companies regarding TIFF's security measures.
Shifting culture, political conflicts, social tensions
Though there are still many more titles to be announced, some themes are apparent in Tuesday's films.
"Every year is a mixed bag in terms of what the films are about, but we are seeing this year a number of films and filmmakers who are addressing real shifts in the culture and political conflicts, social tensions that are going on," TIFF artistic director and co-head Cameron Bailey said Tuesday.
Gosling reteams with La La Land director Damien Chazelle in First Man, while Bradley Cooper makes his directorial debut with A Star is Born, in which he also co-stars with Lady Gaga.
Viola Davis presides over a star-studded ensemble cast in 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen's Widows, a female-led heist thriller based on a British series, while Keira Knightly stars in Wash Westmoreland's historical biopic Colette.
Two dramas about substance abuse will also feature A-list Hollywood figures: Ben is Back, which stars Julia Roberts, and Beautiful Boy, starring Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet.
Also featuring a star-studded cast is the 1970s-era bank-robber comedy Old Man & the Gun, which counts Robert Redford, Casey Affleck, Danny Glover, Tom Waits and Sissy Spacek among its performers.
TIFF will also debut The Hate U Give, the anticipated teen-focussed drama based on Angie Thomas' bestselling American young adult novel, along with movie versions of award-winning CanLit novels Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden and The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt.
Several notable films from the Cannes Film Festival are also making the trip to Toronto, including Asghar Farhadi's opener, the psychological thriller Everybody Knows, the Japanese-language Palme d'Or-winning modern drama Shoplifters and two notable, female-directed projects that made a splash on La Croisette: Eva Husson's all-women war movie Girls of the Sun, at the premiere of which female filmmakers staged a powerful protest, and Nadine Labaki's social drama Capernaum, which captured the Jury Prize.
Altogether, just under one-third of the TIFF films announced today are directed by women, including new projects from Patricia Rozema (Mouthpiece), Stella Meghie (The Weekend), Nandita Das (Manto), Claire Denis (High Life), Amma Asante (Where Hands Touch) and Nicole Holofcener (The Land of Steady Habits).
A changing industry
Last year, the festival made a five-year commitment to prioritizing gender parity initiatives and increasing the participation of and opportunities for women both behind and in front of the camera with its program Share Her Journey. Weeks later, the bombshell sexual misconduct accusations against film mogul Harvey Weinstein set off a wave that has since rippled throughout the film industry and beyond.
"When all of the events of last fall and winter happened — #MeToo and #TimesUp really became an international debate — it became clear that one of the first things that we have to do, in getting women opportunities in the industry, is getting harassment and abuse as much out of the way as possible," Bailey said.
"So in addition to Share Her Journey, we're also going to be reminding people of the code of conduct that TIFF has had for a long time at our festival. We won't be tolerating any forms of abuse, we will also have a hotline in place as well for anyone who has something they want to report and we'll just be raising the debate in conversation, and in our industry conversations as well."
Along with the new films from Rozema and Meghie, other Canadian filmmakers on Tuesday's list include Kim Nguyen, Don McKellar, Jason Reitman and Keith Behrman.
The 2018 Toronto International Film Festival runs Sept. 6-16.
TIFF titles announced Tuesday include:
- Beautiful Boy, Felix van Groeningen, USA
- Galveston, Mélanie Laurent, USA
- Everybody Knows, Asghar Farhadi, Spain/France/Italy
- First Man, Damien Chazelle, USA
- The Hate U Give, George Tillman, Jr., USA
- Hidden Man, Jiang Wen, China
- High Life, Claire Denis, Germany/France/Poland/United Kingdom
- Husband Material, Anurag Kashyap, India
- The Kindergarten Teacher, Sara Colangelo, USA
- The Land of Steady Habits, Nicole Holofcener, USA
- Life Itself, Dan Fogelman, USA
- The Public, Emilio Estevez, USA
- Red Joan, Sir Trevor Nunn, United Kingdom
- A Star is Born, Bradley Cooper, USA
- Shadow, Zhang Yimou, China
- What They Had, Elizabeth Chomko, USA
- Widows, Steve McQueen, United Kingdom/USA
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS 2018
- Ben is Back, Peter Hedges, USA
- Burning, Lee Chang-dong, South Korea
- Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Marielle Heller, USA
- Capernaum, Nadine Labaki, Lebanon
- Cold War, Paweł Pawlikowski, Poland/United Kingdom/France
- Colette, Wash Westmoreland, United Kingdom
- Dogman, Matteo Garrone, Italy/France
- The Front Runner, Jason Reitman, USA
- Giant Little Ones, Keith Behrman, Canada
- Girls of the Sun (Les filles du soleil), Eva Husson, France
- Hotel Mumbai, Anthony Maras, Australia
- The Hummingbird Project, Kim Nguyen, Canada
- If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins, USA
- Maya, Mia Hansen-Løve, France
- Manto, Nandita Das, India
- Monsters and Men, Reinaldo Marcus Green, USA
- Mouthpiece, Patricia Rozema, Canada
- Non-Fiction, Olivier Assayas, France
- Old Man & the Gun, David Lowery, USA
- Papi Chulo, John Butler, Ireland
- Roma, Alfonso Cuarón, Mexico/USA
- Shoplifters, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan
- The Sisters Brothers, Jacques Audiard, USA/France/Romania/Spain
- Sunset, László Nemes, Hungary/France
- Through Black Spruce, Don McKellar, Canada
- The Weekend, Stella Meghie, USA
- Where Hands Touch, Amma Asante, United Kingdom
- White Boy Rick, Yann Demange, USA
- Wildlife, Paul Dano, USA