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Toronto International Film Festival Aims to “Share Her Journey”

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On Tuesday, July 24th, in lieu of its normally scheduled press conference, cancelled due to the recent horrible events here in Toronto, the artistic directors of the Toronto International Film Festival released the names of the first 47 films to grace our screens in September.  While the percentage of films by women is lower than last year, this is just the first round of announcements and it’s clear that there has been care to try and be more inclusive.  In fact, TIFF is in its second year of “Share Her Journey” an initiative to support women in film.  As per their statistics, last year only 18% of all directors, writers, producers, editors and cinematographers were women.  Only 11% of the top 250 films of 2017 were directed by women and 16% were written by women.

Ambassador to Share her Journey, Amma Asante (A United Kingdom) looks to have the world premiere of her newest film Where Hands Touch starring Abbie Cornish and Amandla Stenberg in a story of a bi-racial teen in Nazi Germany.  The Belle director also wrote the film, and she is among a strong group of women who are premiering their works at the festival including Mélanie Laurent (for Galveston starring Ben Foster and Elle Fanning) and Canadian Patricia Rozema (for Mouthpiece, the opening special presentation of the festival).

Amandla Stenberg in Where Hands Touch directed by Amma Asante. Image courtesy of TIFF

The 43rd Toronto International Film Festival will also see Claire Denis‘ world premiere of her English language debut, High Life starring Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche in a sci-fi story focusing on a father and daughter living in isolation in deep space.  Canadian writer and director Stella Meghie, whose last feature was Everything, Everything, will be having the premiere of The Weekend, featuring Saturday Night Live alumni Sasheer Zamata.

Robert Pattinson in High Life. Image courtesy of TIFF.

Of the announcements so far, 13 of these will be directed by women, however more still will be written by women, including the highly anticipated Widows, penned by Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) and directed by Steve McQueen.  The film stars Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Cynthia Erivo and Elizabeth Debicki in the story of four women who take action when their dead husbands leave behind a debt.  The Hate U Give, directed by George Tillman Jr and written by Audrey Wells (based on the novel by Angie Thomas) will also be a world premiere gala.

While women in film will certainly a focus this year at TIFF, there is a hefty list of amazing stories that will be screened at TIFF in 2018.  In fact, the list of premieres is probably one of its most impressive of recent memory with 21 world premieres so far hitting the slate, including Beautiful Boy starring Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet as well as Barry JenkinsIf Beale Street Could Talk.   Bradley Cooper will also see his directorial debut, A Star is Born make its North American premiere here (and if the turn out for Lady Gaga’s documentary last year is any indication her fans will be out in full force!).

Michelle Rodriguez, Viola Davis and Elizabeth Debicki in Widows. Image courtesy of TIFF

Check out our TIFF coverage

More announcements should be expected in the coming weeks, in the lead up to the festival which takes place September 6-16th.  You can visit tiff.net for more information and to watch trailers for several of the announced galas and special presentations.  For more information on the Share Her Journey initiative, visit tiff.net/shareherjouney or go to shareherjouney.org.

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