TIFF 2019 Unsung Gems

The festival scene rolls on past Toronto, with Fantastic Fest kicking off this week and New York Film Festival gearing up for next week. It’s easy to focus on the big winners – Joker, Jojo Rabbit – and the losers – The Goldfinch, Lucy in the Sky – and completely lose sight of why these festivals exist in the first place. In a crowded media environment, film festivals represent one of the last bastions that provide platforms to emerging or under-the-radar filmmakers. They are a spot where a film, freighted with few expectations, can come out of nowhere and surprise unsuspecting viewers.

The following three films represent some of the best of this side of TIFF. Their journeys do not end at the festival, either. Unlike well-funded studio projects using TIFF as a launch pad for release, these films are all seeking U.S. distribution and will likely continue touring the worldwide festival circuit. Keep an eye out for them if they arrive at a fest near you.

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Guns Akimbo Review

“You like this?!” asks Daniel Radcliffe’s Miles to a covert camera live streaming his misfortunate adventures as he fights for his life. It’s a breaking point for him as a character in Guns Akimbo, and he launches into quite the screed about the cowardice of the viewers who cheer on imperiling people from behind the remove of their screen but could never face a similar situation in their own lives. In a smarter movie, Miles might also be addressing us, the audience, with his impassioned rant. After all, haven’t we, too, been watching his plight voyeuristically and getting a kick out of his misery?

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TIFF 2019 Streamer's Guide

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) gained international prominence over the last few decades by billing itself as the “Festival of Festivals.” That distinction means, in essence, that if you go to TIFF, you won’t need to go to another festival all year. With more than 300 titles hailing from across the globe, one can only dip their toe into the riches of Toronto’s lineup even with wall-to-wall screenings over its 11-day duration.

By the time the oft-Oscar prognostication People’s Choice Award winner is announced on Sunday, September 15, two of TIFF’s biggest premieres – The Goldfinch and Hustlers – will be playing across North America. But let’s say you don’t want to wait until then to get in on the Toronto viewing? Here are ten curated titles that you can program as a streaming festival adjacent to Toronto. That way, once these titles hit theaters over the next year, you’ll have a leg up on some of the past work of cinema’s coming vanguard.

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TIFF 2019 Gala Presentations

The first 2019 Toronto International Film Festival announcements are here, and they don’t disappoint. The special and gala presentation titles include Todd Phillips‘s Joker, Rian Johnson‘s Knives Out, Taika Waititi‘s Jojo Rabbit, and many more. The Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 5 through September 15, 2019. See the full TIFF 2019 gala presentation line-up below, along with the special presentation titles.

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Outlaw King TIFF

The opening and closing night films at TIFF have been announced. David Mackenzie’s Outlaw King, starring Chris Pine, will open the fest, while Justin Kelly, Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy, starring Laura Dern and Kristen Stewart, will close. More info on these titles, and what else to look forward to at TIFF below.

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the shape of water red band trailer

Another Toronto International Film Festival has been resigned to the dust, and it is time for us to look back on it and remember all the great (and not so great) films we witnessed there.

Truth be told, this year’s fest was slightly less exciting than last – the films were good, and some were even fantastic, but overall they did not pack as much of a punch as I’d been hoping. Still, it’s hard to deny the thrill one gets from attending TIFF; day after day, you spend hours upon hours watching films with audiences who are genuinely excited to be there, unlike seeing a film at your local multiplex, where the crowd could care less. If you’re covering TIFF as press, you rise at dawn, make your way down to the Scotiabank Theatre and spend almost the entire day there. It can be exhausting and draining, but it’s also wonderful.

For the sake of completion, I’ve compiled links to all the /Film reviews (written by me and Marshall Shaffer) out of this year’s TIFF, as well as a blurb or two for films that did not receive a full review. Here is every movie we saw at TIFF 2017.

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creation-still-4a

The Toronto International Film Festival has announced its choice for opening night film, as well as a host of other pictures that will play among the festival’s 300-plus films. As expected, a healthy few Cannes veterans are in the mix as well as a number of other films we’re excited to see. (Like Nicolas Winding Refn’s Valhalla Rising, but not the Coen Bros. A Serious Man.)

Opening the fest is Jon Amiel‘s Creation, based on the life of Charles Darwin and starring real life husband and wife Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly as Darwin and his wife. (See our article on the trailer.) Based on the Randal Keynes biography of Darwin called Annie’s Box, the fest says the film is “part ghost story, part psychological thriller, part heart-wrenching love story. Torn between his love for his deeply religious wife and his own growing belief in a world where God has no place, Darwin finds himself caught in a struggle between faith and reason, love and truth.”

You can keep up with the film schedule here. The list of more films playing the fest, with descriptions as written by the festival, is after the break. Read More »