The 48th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) will take place from September 7-17, 2023. As usual, an eager audience will gather for numerous screenings, including premieres of films from countries around the world.
Here’s everything you need to know to enjoy the festival.
Recipients of TIFF Tribute Awards are being announced on a rolling basis before the festival. The first recipients were announced earlier this month and are eminent creatives, whom cinema fans are sure to know.
The Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media will go to Spanish writer-director Pedro Almodóvar. His most recent film is Parallel Mothers. Congratulating Almodóvar, TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey said he “illuminates the human experience with sensitivity and grace.”
The TIFF Ebert Director Award will go to American director Spike Lee. His most recent film is David Byrne’s American Utopia. As Bailey remarked, Lee “has inspired audiences and made a lasting impact on the art of filmmaking.”
Jenkins is the director and co-writer of Moonlight, which won Academy Awards® for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Mahershala Ali) in 2017. Jenkins also worked as director and showrunner for The Underground Railroad (2021), which won awards for Best Limited Series at the 2021 African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) Awards and the 2022 Golden Globes. For the series, Jenkins was also recognized with Best Director awards from the AAFCA, the Director’s Guild of America (DGA), and the NAACP. His latest film, Mufasa: The Lion King, will be released in 2024.
After debuting with Caramel (2007), Labaki co-wrote, directed, and acted in Where Do We Go Now? In this comedy, Lebanese women resort to an unorthodox means for securing peace: using their sex appeal to distract Christian and Muslim men from fighting. The film won the TIFF People’s Choice Award in 2011. Subsequently, Labaki co-wrote and directed Capernaum, which won the Jury Prize and other awards at Cannes in 2018. To date, two of Labaki’s films, Caramel and Capernaum, have represented Lebanon at the Academy Awards® as nominees for Best International Film.
Shim is the writer, director, and editor of Riceboy Sleeps, which won the TIFF Platform Prize in 2022. Taking place in Canada during the 1990s, the film tracks the relationship between a Korean Canadian boy and his single, immigrant mother. Before Riceboy Sleeps, Shim wrote and directed Daughter. His acting credits include the role of Jin in Star Trek: Beyond (2016).
We can’t cover every film that will be screened, so we have selected some program highlights.
The film for the Opening Night Gala will be Hayao Miyazaki’s The Boy and the Heron. (The English title is a substitute for the original Japanese title, How Do You Live?) Marketers have decided to release the film without ads or other fanfare, which might spoil surprises. Announcing the selection, TIFF CEO Bailey guaranteed that the film will be “a singular, transformative experience” – which is exactly what we have learned to expect from Miyazaki’s beautiful, moving works.
The film for the Closing Night Gala will be Sly, directed by Thom Zimny. The documentary reviews the life and career of Sylvester Stallone, who has played action heroes from Rocky Balboa to Rambo to Barney Ross (The Expendables). Stallone most recently starred in Tulsa King. Announcing the selection, Bailey said, “Sly offers an unexpected and heartfelt exploration of the man behind the action megastar.”
This year, ten films made in 13 different countries will compete for the Platform Prize, worth $20,000 CAD (approximately $15,000). The Platform lineup will open with Kristoffer Borgli’s Dream Scenario, starring Nicolas Cage, Michael Cera, and Julianne Nicholson. In a tantalizing description, a festival organizer said, “This surrealist satire-comedy has sharp, timely observations about social media culture.”
The Discovery series will showcase 26 works by first- or second-time filmmakers, evenly split between men and women. The lineup’s opening film is Patricia Arquette’s Gonzo Girl, based on Cheryl Della Pietra’s novel. In the film, Camila Morrone plays an assistant who covers for the drug-addled writer Walker Reade, played by Willem Dafoe.
The Midnight Madness lineup will feature 10 films made in nine different countries. Appropriately for the witching hour, the lineup invites viewers to revel in “the weird and the wicked.”
The lineup opens with Larry Charles’ Dicks, the first musical from indie studio A24. In this Parent Trap parody, Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp play separated twins, Megan Mullally plays their eccentric mom, Nathan Lane plays their gay dad, Megan Thee Stallion plays a badass boss, Bowen Yang plays God, and the train hurtles off the rails in the campiest (and best) imaginable way.
Let the Celebration Begin!
After our overview, we hope you’re excited for the 48th TIFF. There is an abundance of screenings and special events, so we hope you will read the full program.
We also hope you will join us in wishing the best of luck to all films screening at TIFF 2023!