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Honorary Stars, Midnight Madness, Documentaries & Discovery at TIFF 2021

There is no double that the star wattage will not reach pre-pandemic levels but the 46th Toronto International Film Festival is retaining some of Hollywood glamour through the 2021 TIFF Tribute Awards with actress Jessica Chastain (Molly’s Game), activist and documentarian Alanis Obomsawin (Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance), and French-Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve (Dune) being among the honourees. “Jessica has brought to life such strong and inspiring roles for women, from the films that have screened at TIFF such as The Debt, Take Shelter, The Martian, Crimson Peak, and Molly’s Game to the upcoming World Premiere of The Eyes of Tammy Faye at the Festival; she is one of the most respected actors of her generation,” stated Joana Vicente, Executive Director and Co-Head, TIFF.  “Her recent portrayal of Tammy Faye Bakker is a testament to her exceptional onscreen presence and talent.”


Midnight Madness features 2021 Palme d’Or-winner-Titane by Julia Ducournau which revolves around a woman becoming pregnant after having sex with a car, the anarchical behaviour of an online streamer has horrific consequences in DASHCAM by Rob Savage and three mercenaries find themselves in a mystical region of Segal in Saloum by Jean Luc Herbulot.  Annecy Best Feature-winner Flee by Jonas Poher Rasmussen is part of the TIFF Docs slate which also includes Oscar Peterson: Black + White by Barry Avrich and The Devil’s Drivers by Mohammed Abugeth and Daniel Carsenty.   The Girl and the Spider by Ramon Zürcher and Silvan Zürcher, earthearthearth by Daïch Saïto, and A Night of Knowing Nothing by Payal Kapadia are among the Wavelengths screenings.

Oscar Peterson: Black + White

Contemporary World Cinema showcases Are You Lonesome Tonight? by Wen Shipei, Unclenching The Fists by Kira Kovalenko, and Whether the Weather is Fine by Carlo Francisco Manatad.  Cinematic debuts are the cornerstone of Discovery programme and this year consists of efforts by Thyrone Tommy (Learn to Swim), Agustina San Martín (To Kill the Beast), and Hong Sung-eun (Aloners).  The number of Galas and Special Presentations have grown with the additions of The Worst Person In The World by Joachim Trier, The Power of the Dog by Jane Campion, and The Falls by Chung Mong-Hong.  Training Day, Best in the Show, Real Women Have Curves and Eastern Promises get revisited courtesy of TIFF Rewind which has line-up digital conversations with Antoine Fuqua, Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Patricia Cardoso, America Ferrera, and Viggo Mortensen.


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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