The Toronto International Film Festival brings together the best of Canadian and International cinema for a star-studded two-week event. Starting September 6, hundreds of thousands of people converge in Toronto’s Entertainment District to attend various screenings of this year’s award-worthy films. Here is a list of must-sees:
A Star is Born follows a successful but alcoholic rockstar, Jackson (Bradley Cooper), who discovers a talented but shy singer-songwriter Ally (Lady Gaga) and helps her rise to stardom. This film is one of the most anticipated films at TIFF this year, as it is Cooper’s directorial debut as well as Lady Gaga’s big screen debut. Following a premiere at the Venice Film Festival, the film is being eyed as a major player in next year’s Oscars, with both actors garnering praise for their performances. This is the 3rd remake of the 1937 film of the same name. The previous two films have earned Academy Award nominations. After TIFF, the film will play in theatres October 5.
Damian Chazelle’s follow up to La La Land, is First Man, a biopic that centers around Neil Armstrong’s (Ryan Gosling) 1969 moon landing. Although the film is another critic favourite from the Venice Film Festival, it also has already garnered some controversy before release for its exclusion of a scene planting the American flag causing a strong reaction from several politicians such as past presidential candidate Marco Rubio. After TIFF, the film will play in theatres on October 12.
If Beale Street Could Talk follows Tish (Kiki Lane) finding out she is pregnant with the child of her boyfriend Tonny (Scarborough native Stephan James), who had just been accused of a crime he did not commit. The film is directed by Barry Jenkins and will be his first since his Best Picture win for Moonlight. His film is based on a James Baldwin novel of the same name and will be premiering at TIFF. The film will play in theaters on November 30.
Roma centres around Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), who works as a maid and nanny to a middle-class family in Mexico. When the father of the household leaves, she must learn to navigate her unique relationship with the rest of family. The film hails from director Alfonso Cuaron, whose sci-fi film Gravity won Best Picture in 2013. A darker horse from the Venice Film Festival, Roma is expected to be the sole foreign language nominee for Best Picture next year, being as it is in in Spanish. The movie also marks Netflix’s first possible Best Picture nomination which has sparked debate about the role streaming services will have in the future of movie award seasons. After TIFF, the film will be released on Netflix on December 14.
Finally, Clara is a film UTM students should put on their radar, as several of its scenes were shot on our campus, including the IB and CCT buildings. A sci-fi about the balance of work and life, Clara follows Isaac (Patrick J. Adams), an astronomer, who is consumed by his fascination of outer space. He meets Clara (Troian Bellisario), and they form an unlikely collaboration in their search for life beyond Earth. and his obsession with his work to distract him from a tragedy involving Clara. The film directed by 23-year-old Ryerson graduate Akash Sherman and is premiering at TIFF.