The annual Canadian festival will run in September, but with a slimmer line and a series of changes designed to foster a safe viewing experience for everyone.
Like many of its festival siblings, this year’s Toronto International Film Festival will look very different from previous incarnations. The annual fall festival has announced a handful of films to be released at the festival, as well as “tailored” operational plans, including virtual screening options and a small number of films.
This year’s TIFF, which runs from September 10 to 19, will exist as a limited physical festival and online experience, through a combination of physicals and drive-ins, digital screenings, virtual red carpets, press conferences, and industry talks. . The programming will be drastically reduced compared to previous editions, with 50 new feature films and five short film programs. In contrast, the 2019 festival hosted more than 300 films.
While the full schedule will be announced over the summer, the festival today announced a handful of films to be shown at this year’s TIFF, including Francis Lee’s “Ammonite”, Thomas Vinterberg’s “Another Round”, “Concrete Cowboy” by Ricky Staub. Nicolás Pereda’s “Fauna”, Reinaldo Marcus Green’s “Good Joe Bell”, Suzanne Lindon’s “Spring Blossom”, Halle Berry’s directorial debut “Bruised” and Naomi Kawase’s “True Mothers”. Several of these titles are part of this year’s announced selection of Cannes 2020 features.
“The pandemic has hit TIFF hard, but we’ve responded by going back to our original inspiration: bringing the best of the film to the widest possible audience,” said Cameron Bailey, TIFF co-director and art director. 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 building on our five decades of commitment to a solid healing, support to filmmakers, and engagement to the public. “
During its first five days, the entire list of TIFF movies will be released in Toronto “as physical, socially distanced screenings,” according to today’s announcement. The festival is also scheduling drive-in theaters and other “outdoor experiences” for its physical visitors, though today’s announcement adds that the festival is working closely with the Province of Ontario, the City of Toronto and public health officials in Logistics.
Furthermore, today’s announcement is quick to add that “this presentation of the traditional TIFF in-person film festival will depend on the province’s reopening framework to ensure that festival venues and workplaces practice, meet and exceed the guidelines for public health”.
For those unable to travel to Toronto for the festival, TIFF will launch its first digital platform to host digital screenings, as well as numerous talks and special events.
“TIFF has a proud history of award-winning movie programming, expanding the conversation to include a multitude of voices and creating initiatives to push the border for the industry. And this year we have added new innovations and ways to give back to the community. In doing so, our goal is to advance what a film festival is capable of offering to the public and the film industry, ”said Joan Vicente, Executive Director and Co-Head, TIFF, in her own statement.
As part of its drive towards what Vicente called a “distilled edition” of the festival, TIFF will welcome several “TIFF Ambassadors”, including 50 celebrated filmmakers and actors “invited to help TIFF deliver a strong festival this year for the film industry. ” Those names include Ava DuVernay, Taika Waititi, Anurag Kashyap, Nicole Kidman, Martin Scorsese, Nadine Labaki, Alfonso Cuarón, Tantoo Cardinal, Riz Ahmed, 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.
TIFF will continue to present its annual TIFF Tribute Awards, recognizing and celebrating outstanding contributors to the film industry. This tradition will continue for 2020 and the public from all over the world will be able to experience the Awards virtually. Additional information on the 2020 prizes and winners will be announced in the coming months.
Meanwhile, the robust Industry Conference will take place as an online event on the new digital platform. Those delegates traveling to Toronto will also have access to “in-depth conversations” with actors and filmmakers, and will have access to filmmakers for interviews.
Earlier this week, the festival cut 31 full-time staff positions in response to the financial impact of COVID-19 and the temporary closure of the TIFF Bell Lightbox. The festival estimated that it will lose half of its projected income by 2020.
More information on movie scheduling, screening locations, ticketing for members and the public, accreditation and the TIFF Industry Conference will be available in the coming weeks.
Watch a video interview below with Cameron Bailey, Co-Director and Artistic Director, TIFF and Joana Vicente, Executive Director and Co-Director, TIFF, as they talk about the way forward for this year’s festival.