Indian star Priyanka Chopra and filmmaker Anurag Kashyap are among the 50 celebrated filmmakers and actors invited as the ambassadors of a slimmed down Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) this year. The festival, slated to run from September 10 to September 19, will be opting for digital screenings and virtual red carpets for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic, making it “tailored to fit the moment”. Chopra and Kashyap will join Oscar winners and celebrated international names including filmmakers Martin Scorsese, Alfonso Cuaron, Taika Waititi, Ava DuVernay, Rian Johnson, Denis Villeneuve, and actors Nicole Kidman, Nadine Labaki, Riz Ahmed, Isabelle Huppert, Zhang Ziyi to help TIFF deliver a strong gala this year, the organisers said in a press statement.
The 45th edition of the festival plans to screen 50 films during its first five days in physical theatres through socially-distanced screenings. Physical screenings will need the approval from the health authorities of the city as it is dependent on province's reopening framework to ensure that festival venues and workplaces practice, meet, and exceed public health guidelines. Festival goers can also opt for drive-ins to experience cinema.
For the first time in its history, TIFF will launch a digital platform for the festival, hoping to connect with audiences beyond Toronto by hosting digital screenings, as well as numerous talks and special events.
“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,” said Joana Vicente, executive director and co-head, TIFF.
“Ammonite”, directed by Francis Lee (UK); “Another Round”, from director Thomas Vinterberg (Denmark); “Bruised”, the debut film from director Halle Berry (US); “Concrete Cowboys” by filmmaker Ricky Staub (US); “Fauna”, from director Nicolas Pereda (Mexico/Canada); “Good Joe Bell” by director Reinaldo Marcus Green (US); “Spring Blossom”, the debut film by director Suzanne Lindon (France); and “True Mothers” by director Naomi Kawase (Japan) are among the festival line-up.
“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,” said Cameron Bailey, artistic director and co-head, TIFF.
“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,” added Bailey.
The festival’s annual TIFF Tribute Awards event, which acknowledges and celebrates outstanding contributors in the film industry, is going virtual this year as well.
Screenings for the press and industry will also move online.
A number of international cultural events, including Cannes and Tribeca film festivals, had to be cancelled due to the pandemic this year.
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