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Getting Personally in Touch with TIFF 2022

Trevor Hogg attending the digital edition of TIFF 2020.

There is something to be said for watching movies on a computer screen in your pyjamas and then immediately after writing and posting a review without having to deal with lineups and waiting at subway platforms.  This has been the case for the past two years for me and Toronto International Film Festival which went from being a physical event where filmmakers, actors, journalists, industry professionals and the general public from around the world gather to celebrate cinema to a digital platform.  A partial revival took place last year but the 47th edition will be a full-blown in person affair with masks and proof of COVID-19 vaccination not being part of the price of admission.

Steven Spieberg

Check out all of our TIFF coverageThe number of movies and shorts will not be returning to pre-pandemic levels where 400 were screened in 2016 as 2022 will consist of 200 feature films and 40 short films.  It will remain to be seen how bright the star wattage will be on the red carpet but a huge coup for TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey and the team at the Bell Lightbox is securing the World Premiere of coming-of-age drama The Fablemans, a semi-biographic retelling of the childhood of Steven Spielberg which is also directed by him and will see the Hollywood legend heading north to attend TIFF for the first time.

The Swimmers

Opening the proceedings is The Swimmers by Sally El Hosaini with other notable screenings being The Woman King by Gina Prince-Bylthewood, Broker by Hirokazu Kore-da, Decision to Leave by Park Chan-wook, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery by Rian Johnson, Triangle of Sadness by Ruben östlund, Wendell & Wild by Henry Selick, The Whale by Darren Aronofsky, and Women Talking by Sarah Polley.  Closing the festivities will be Salvador Dalí biopic Dalíland starring Sir Ben Kingsley and directed by Mary Harron.  Once again 10 films are eligible for the $20,000 award known as the Platform Prize.  The competitors include Emily by Frances O’Connor, How to Blow Up a Pipeline by Daniel Goldhaber, Riceboy Sleeps by Anthony Shim, and Subtraction by Mani Haghighi.

How to Blow Up a Pipeline

Celebrating the directorial debuts and sophomore releases for emerging filmmakers is the Discovery programme which includes World Premieres of comedy fantasy Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Aitch Alberto, military drama The Inspection by Elegance Bratton, reintegration social drama SHIMONI by Angela Wanjiku Wamai, and family drama The Taste of Apples is Red by Ehab Tarabieh.  Experimental auteurs, visual artists and filmmakers from Canada, Portugal, USA, Brazil, Switzerland, and UK provide a selection of features and shorts for the Wavelengths programme including immigration drama Concrete Valley by Antoine Bourges, thriller Pacifiction by Albert Serra, and the silent short Fata Morgana by Tacita Dean.

The Inspection

Chronicling true life stories is the TIFF Docs programme that range from celebrating an internationally acclaimed Indigenous artist with Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On to Irish state-sanctioned mother and baby homes exposé Pray for Our Sinners to studying the creative process in Self-Portrait as a Coffee Pot.  Werner Herzog will be in attendance to discuss the cutting edge of research on the brain which is the topic of his Theatre of Thought and Laura Poitras talks about profiling artist Nan Goldin for All the Beauty and the Bloodshed as part of the industry conference.  The Contemporary World Cinema programme consists of over 50 films and among them are the pandemic-centric The Hotel by Wang Xiaoshuai, life-affirming My Sailor, My Love by Klaus Härö, young love Under the Fig Trees by Erige Sehiri, and sociopolitical Zwigato by Nandita Das.  Travelling to the dark side of humanity is the Midnight Madness programme which showcases unconventional and often bloody offerings such as the deranged biopic Weird: The Al Yankovic Story starring Daniel Radcliffe, gore-filled Project Wolf Hunting and iconic horror franchise sequels Pearl and V/H/S 99.

Project Wolf Hunting

As for those intrigued by what television has to offer from Germany, United States, Canada, Denmark and Australia, the Primetme programme will be presenting episodes of 1899, Dear Mama, The Handmaid’s Tale (Season 5), High School, The Kingdom Exodus, LIDO TV and Mystery Road: Origin.  If the industry conference is more to your liking guest speakers include filmmakers Tyler Perry and S.S. Rajamouli as well topics of ranging from ‘The Future of Exhibition’, ‘All Welcome: Increasing the Accessibility of Events in the Film Industry’ and ‘Lets Talk Future of Cinema Technology’.   And lets not forget the Short Cuts programmer as it with making short films that filmmakers around the world hone their craft and become cinema icons of tomorrow.    A World War II Italian holiday takes place in Le Pupille by Alice Rohrwacher, Nation Film Board of Canada production of The Flying Sailor, Quiet Minds Silent Streets by Karen Chapman, and Liturgy of Anti-Tank Obstacles by Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk.

Mystery Road: Origin

For the first time an ensemble will be lauded with the TIFF Tribute Award for Performance; the honour is being bestowed to the love triangle My Policeman starring Harry Styles, Emma Corrin, David Dawson, Linus Roache, Gina McKee, and Rupert Everett and directed by Michael Grandage in what has been redesignated as a gender-neutral acting category. Also being honoured with a TIFF Tribute Award for Performance is the resurgent Brandan Fraser.  Brendan Fraser gives a performance of staggering depth, power, and nuance in The Whale,” stated Cameron Bailey in a press release.  “This former Torontonian has been an action star, a screen comic, and a romantic lead. We’re thrilled to welcome him home as the actor behind one of the finest performances of the year.”   As for TIFF Ebert Director Award, the recipient will be Sam Mendes while his Empire of Light which celebrates a beautiful old cinema on the South Coast of England has its Canadian Premiere.

My Policeman

Bailey is happy to see TIFF return to a state of relative normalcy and looks forward to what attendees will get to experience in person at the festival where the real contenders at the 2023 edition of the Academy Awards are uncovered.  “We’re excited to welcome some of the most celebrated figures in movies back to Toronto to present their Gala and Special Presentation films,” stated Cameron Bailey in a press release. “With stories that span six continents and feature performances you just have to see; this lineup delivers the rich experiences we wait all year for.  Cinema is alive. Red carpets are back. And the best audience in the world awaits them in Toronto.”

SHIMONI

The 47th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 8-18, 2022, and for more information visit tiff.net.    

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

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