The best consolation for the end of summer is the fact that three days after Labour Day, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) rolls into town in all of its red carpet, party, and film-filled glory.
While it’s easy to get caught up in the glitz, glam and 4 am last calls of it all, what makes TIFF one of the world’s most coveted film festivals are, naturally, the well-curated assortment of films. Many of these films go on to become top contenders come awards season.
If you’re in the market for a quality film fix, here are 9 films to check out this TIFF.
After award-winning filmmaker Rob Stewart passed away in a scuba diving incident early 2017, his family and friends promised to complete the documentary that he was shooting at the time. Now, they’ve kept their promise with the world premiere of Sharkwater Extinction, a follow-up to the Toronto-born filmmaker’s highly successful and game-changing documentary, Sharkwater (2006).
Another must-see Canadian film is The Hummingbird Project, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Alexander Skarsgard and directed by Kim Nguyan. The main characters are cousins with big plans and relentless determination to build a thousand-mile-long fiber-optic network between Kansas and New Jersey that would give them a one-millisecond edge on transactions in the New York Stock Exchange.
If you have a soft spot for Julia Roberts, you can catch her in the film Homecoming this TIFF. Based on the popular podcast, the film follows a caseworker in a military reintegration facility as she takes a contested holistic approach to preparing an endearing veteran for his return to everyday life.
Well-known French filmmaker Claire Denis makes her long-anticipated English-language debut this TIFF with High Life. The film stars Robert Pattinson, Juliette Boniche, Mia Goth, and André Benjamin as a group of criminals sent into deep space.
AcademyAward-winning director Damien Chazelle and his La La Land star, Canada’s own Ryan Gosling, reunite for this biopic on the adventures and life of Neil Armstrong. It documents everything from the astronaut’s entry into the NASA astronaut program in 1961 to his walk on the moon eight years later.
In a deep and dramatic role, funny guy Steve Carell plays a middle-class man struggling with his son’s addiction for years, complete with the lies, betrayal, near-death experiences, relapses, and pain that comes along with it. Breakout star Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) plays the addiction-suffering son.
If you’re looking for big and more mainstream, Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut, A Star is Born – which stars Lady Gaga – tells the love story between a seasoned and successful musician (played by Lady Gaga, naturally) who falls in love with a struggling artist who is fighting his own demons.
Starring Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire), Armie Hammer (Call Me By Your Name), Nazanin Boniadi (Homeland), and Anupam Kher (The Big Sick), Hotel Mumbai – Anthony Mara’s debut feature – tells the true stories of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks and its survivors.
If horror movies are your thing, you’ll find it in its guts and blood-filled glory when Halloween – a sequel to the iconic original 1978 classic – premieres at TIFF. Jamie Lee Curtis returns for the reboot, which is in the lineup for the festival’s Midnight Madness Program.
Of course, these are just a handful of the dozens of films appearing this year at TIFF. You can find others here.
Featured image: Instagram/ @ladygaga
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