Toronto lineup aims to show diversity on and off the screen
Prophecy abounds at the Toronto International Film Festival. Pundits pronounce Oscar guarantees. Buzz, the most cherished commodity at the festival, is measured and speculated on like stock prices.
But this year’s festival, teeming with diversity on screen and behind the camera, stuffed to the gills with not just more than 300 films but virtual reality and even a smattering of television, might just offer a broader vision of what’s to come in movies.
“If you want to see the future of film, you need to come to Toronto this year,” says Cameron Bailey, artistic director of the festival.
“It feels like the range of the lineup in terms of the diversity of the stories that are being told and the storytellers that are telling them, the introduction of new technology, like the VR lineup we have, the way that the festival has pretty smoothly integrated television and long-form storytelling. All of those things, I think, are where film is headed.’’
It may be an optimistic portrait of cinematic future put forth by the 41st Toronto Film Festival, but the strength of festival lineup lends a sense of inevitability. The festival kicks off on Thursday with the premiere of Antoine Fuqua’s Magnificent Seven remake, starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt.
“The industry can only benefit from seeing more diverse everything. Not just in front of the camera, behind the camera, executive positions,” says Fuqua, the director of Training Day.
“It’s good for everyone because movies are a shared experience. People go to the theater and we laugh and have each other.”
The movies at the festival offer a compendium of the fall movie season, squeezed into a 10-day blitz. Many of them are awards-hopefuls, including most of the top films from Cannes, Venice and Telluride. And after a lackluster summer rife with blockbuster disappointment, the distance between seasons has never felt so vast.
No films come into Toronto with more heat than Damien Chazelle’s Los Angeles musical La La Land, starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, and Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight, a striking comingtale of a gay black man. Both have drawn enthusiastic raves out of Telluride and Venice in recent days.
Of the many debuts, few match the size of Peter Berg’s DeepwaterHorizon, a visceral, big-budget rendering of the oil rig disaster, made with itsownenormousmock rig.
Also on tap are courses of science fiction (Denis Villeneuve’s alien communication thriller Arrival), fantasy (J.A. Bayona’s emotional A Monster Calls, a drama filled with equal parts wonder and grief), and comedy (Kelly Fremon Craig’s witty and honest coming-of-age movie The Edge of Seventeen).
“The enthusiasm that runs through the people that make the decisions of what’s going to be there is ridiculous,” says Jonathan Demme, who will premiere his Justin Timberlake concert film, JT and the Tennessee Kids.
“They’ve got good taste and they show too many movies. I’ve got the press schedule in my pocket right now. I’m going to see as many movies as I can in between our screenings.” all get to fun with
Chris Pratt stars in TheMagnificentSeven, which kicks off the Toronto Film Festival on Thursday.