The Toronto International Film Festival has unveiled its first wave of films for what will be a slimmed-down festival that will combine physical, drive-in and digital screenings and events.
The 2020 TIFF will feature a “tighter” selection of 50 films, the festival announced on Wednesday and will run between September 10-19. The festival will also feature five programs of short films, sections such as Wavelengths and Midnight Madness, as well as documentaries and international cinema.
Chosen for the first wave of films are Francis Lee’s “Ammonite” starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan, Thomas Vinterberg’s “Another Round,” Halle Berry’s “Bruised” and Ricky Staub’s “Concrete Cowboy.”
Over the first five days of the fest, TIFF’s full slate of films will premiere as physical, socially-distanced screenings, as well as drive-ins and outdoor experiences that can be safely managed. The festival will also launch its first-ever digital platform, partnering with Shift72 on a portal that can host digital screenings, talks and other events.
Also screening at the festival are “Fauna,” from director Nicolás Pereda, “Good Joe Bell” by director Reinaldo Marcus Green, “Spring Blossom,” the debut film by director Suzanne Lindon and “True Mothers” by director Naomi Kawase. More titles will be announced over the summer.
The festival says it is “working closely with the Province of Ontario, the City of Toronto, and public health officials on the safe execution of the festival, with its number one priority being the health and well-being of both festival filmgoers and the residents of the entire community.”
“The pandemic has hit TIFF hard, but we’ve responded by going back to our original inspiration — to bring the very best in film to the broadest possible audience,” Cameron Bailey, artistic director and co-head, TIFF, said in a statement. “Our teams have had to rethink everything, and open our minds to new ideas. In countless video calls over the past three months we have rebuilt our Festival for 2020 drawing on our five decades of commitment to strong curation, support for filmmakers and engagement with audiences. We have listened to this year’s urgent calls for greater representation of underrepresented voices. You’ll see that this year at the Festival. And we have watched as audiences have embraced cinema’s ability to transport them through screens of all sizes. You’ll see that too. We’re excited to present thoughtful, high-impact programming this September that reflects our belief that there’s no stopping great storytelling.”
“TIFF has a proud history of programming award-winning films, expanding the conversation to include a multitude of voices, and in creating boundary-pushing initiatives for the industry. And this year we’ve added new innovations and ways to give back to the community. In doing so, we’re aiming to advance what a film festival is capable of delivering — for audiences and the film industry,” Joana Vicente, co-head and executive director, TIFF, said in a statement. “We could never have anticipated the global seismic changes we would be facing in 2020. We tapped into the original spirit of the Festival from when it began in 1976 as our guiding light. The distilled edition of TIFF 2020 reflects a deep love of film, passion for our loyal audiences, commitment to the industry and a whole lot of heart.”
Other information regarding film selection, screening venues, ticket sales for both Members and the public, accreditation and TIFF’s Industry Conference will be available in the coming weeks.
TIFF also unveiled some of its 50 ambassadors for this year’s festival. They will include Ava DuVernay, Taika Waititi, Anurag Kashyap, Nicole Kidman, Martin Scorsese, Nadine Labaki, Alfonso Cuarón, Tantoo Cardinal, Riz Ahmed, Rian Johnson, Jason Reitman, Isabelle Huppert, Claire Denis, Atom Egoyan, Priyanka Chopra, Viggo Mortensen, Zhang Ziyi, David Oyelowo, Lulu Wang, Rosamund Pike, Sarah Gadon and Denis Villeneuve, to name a few.
The festival will also continue to honor specific talents with Tribute Awards, which will be announced at a later date. Last year’s festival recognized Meryl Streep, Joaquin Phoenix, Taika Waititi and Mati Diop.
TIFF closed its offices in March in response to the coronavirus and launched its Stay-At-Home Cinema program. The organization is actively looking at ways to reopen its facilities. Though the festival also confirmed earlier this week that 31 full-time staff members were let go. TIFF says it is forecasting a 50% reduction in revenue this year compared to 2019 due to the coronavirus.
Find more information on the full 2020 TIFF festival and initial lineup here.