Why do people flock to the Toronto International Film Festival every year? Some of us do it for work. At last year’s TIFF, I had the pleasure of watching 15 films and chatting with, among others, Matt Damon, Frances McDormand, and George Clooney. Some attend to support their moviegoing habit. As of this writing, 297 films (both features and shorts) have been scheduled for this year’s 43rd annual festival, which runs from Sept. 6-16 at cinemas all over Toronto, with the lion’s share screening at the TIFF Bell Lightbox and the Scotiabank Theatre. Still others head north for a few days or for the entire run simply for the fun of it. You can see a movie in the morning, be a tourist in the early afternoon, see another movie in late afternoon, do some fine dining, then catch a Midnight Madness presentation — one of those very special and usually very odd horror or science fiction or just plain way offbeat films shown every night at 11:59.
What’s so special about the roster of films at TIFF? There are world premieres, North American premieres, Canadian premieres, old classics, films that will open wide in a month or two, that will open throughout this year and next at art houses, that might not ever open. You can see movies with big stars (and often see the stars around town), you can roll the dice and try out one you’ve never heard of and — there’s no avoiding this –— while waiting in lines, you can get caught up in conversations with movie lovers from all over the world.
For information on single tickets as well as ticket packages, and answers to pretty much any questions you can think of, contact tiff.net/tickets or call 1-888-599-8433.
As I’ve done in past years, here’s a list of films that I’m putting on my “Want to See” list. I rarely get to all of them, but my movie itch usually gets properly scratched.
“American Dharma” — Errol Morris’ new documentary focuses on Breitbart and White House bad guy Steve Bannon.
“Assassination Nation” — A satire about what happens when personal information about a small town’s residents is leaked and vengeful blame is put on a group of teenage girls.
“Boy Erased” — Joel Edgerton directs a drama about the son (Lucas Hedges) of a Baptist preacher who is outed and forced to take part in a gay-conversion therapy program.
“Carmine Street Guitars” — A documentary about the coolest guitar shop in New York City.
“Donnybrook” — A drama about two guys who prepare to compete in a bar-knuckle fight that offers a $100,000 prize.
“Fahrenheit 11/9” — Michael Moore’s new documentary zooms in on the mishegas that’s come out of Donald Trump’s tenure in the White House.
“Galveston” — A dying hitman (Ben Foster) goes on the run with a young prostitute (Elle Fanning) when he finds out that his mobster boss is gunning for him.
“Green Book” — An Italian-American bouncer (Viggo Mortenson) sees a different side of life in the 1960s American South when he lands the job of driver for a black classical pianist (Mahershala Ali).
“High Life” — A father (Robert Pattinson) and daughter become part of an extended isolation experiment in deep space.
“In Fabric” — A ghost story about a cursed dress in a department store that wreaks havoc on everyone who comes in contact with it during the Christmas sales rush.
“The Old Man & The Gun” — The true story of a career criminal (Robert Redford) who escapes prison at age 70 and begins a series of heists.
“Outlaw King” — The 14th century Scottish outlaw Robert the Bruce (Chris Pine) goes up against the English army with determination.
“Peterloo” — Mike Leigh directs a look at the 1819 Peterloo Massacre, during which 60,000 protestors demanding political reform were attacked by British government forces.
“Red Joan” — The true story of Joan Stanley (Judi Dench), who worked in the British government in the mid-20th century, but was actually a KGB spy stealing atomic bomb secrets.
“A Star is Born” — This fourth version of the story about a male actor (Bradley Cooper) on the way down and a female singer (Lady Gaga) on the way up is directed by Bradley Cooper.
— Ed Symkus writes about movies for More Content Now. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.