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2021 Toronto International Film Festival is a virtual and in-person affair

Dear Evan Hansen

Whereas the film festival circuit in 2020 consisted of virtual editions or cancellations, 2021 is reintroducing the in-person aspect as demonstrated by the  Cannes Film Festival.  The 46th Toronto International Festival, which is being held from September 8th to 19th, is also looking to incorporate the theatrical experience once again with screenings at the Scotiabank Theatre, TIFF Bell Lightbox, Roy Thomson Hall, Princess of Wales Theatre and Cinesphere Theatre.  Over 100 films will be showcased with the feature adaptation of a Tony Award-winning musical receiving an Opening Night Gala Presentation.  “There was no question that Dear Evan Hansen was the ideal film to launch the festival this year,” remarked Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director and Co-Head, TIFF. “This film is ultimately about healing, forgiveness, and reaffirms how connected and essential we all are to one another.”

Drive My Car

“We are so proud of the calibre of the films and the diversity of the stories we will be presenting this year,” stated Joana Vicente, TIFF Executive Director and Co-Head, in a press release. “It is so powerful to be able to share these films with Festival-goers in theatres. And while the world is definitely moving towards a degree of normalcy, many of our industry and press colleagues may not be able to travel across international borders. In response, we have brought back the TIFF Digital Cinema Pro platform that will host Press & Industry screenings, the Industry Conference, press conferences, as well as the TIFF Industry Selects market. We believe that digital access is an important part of providing accessibility to audiences and will be vital to the future of film festivals.”

One Second

World Premieres include 1960s drama Belfast by Kenneth Branagh, animated-live-action-comedy Clifford the Big Red Dog by Walt Becker, Alanis Morissette documentary Jagged by Alison Klayman, and French thriller The Mad Women’s Ball by Mélanie Laurent.  Other noteworthy films include Edgar Wright delving into psychological horror with Last Night in Soho, Japanese drama Drive My Car by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, lockdown thriller Lakewood by Phillip Noyce, and fantasy comedy The Starling by Theodore Melfi.  A World Exclusive IMAX Special screening of Dune by Denis Villeneuve will be taking place at the Cinesphere Theatre.  A regular participant in the festivities is acclaimed filmmaker Zhang Yimou who will be honoured with a Closing Night Gala Presentation of One Second which was withdrawn from 2019 Berlin Film Festival because of Chinese government censorship.  “Every September we invite the whole film world to Toronto, one of the most diverse, movie-mad cities in the world,” stated Bailey. “And to have Zhang Yimou’s film here, now, is a true joy.”

Last Night in Soho

Returning will be the People’s Choice Awards, Platform Prize, Short Cut Awards, Amplify Voices Awards, and the FIPRESCI and NETPAC Awards. The Conference programme, which is designed around mentorship and industry discussions, will be divided into six sections: Visionaries (formerly Master Classes), Dialogue, Perspectives, Microsessions, Spotlights and Connections.  “As the industry continues to grapple with the lack of inclusivity and diversity,” noted Geoff Macnaughton, Senior Director of Industry & Theatrical, TIFF, “TIFF Industry Conference will spotlight creators, filmmakers and industry professionals who are actively working towards a safer, more inclusive and equitable industry, with sessions exploring the creative process, collaboration for better representation, behavioural standards and policies, equitable hiring practices, and diverse voices in film criticism.”


The 46th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 9-18, 2021, and for more information visit    

Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada; he can be found at LinkedIn.

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