Autumn Peltier, Greta Thunberg
Autumn Peltier, Greta Thunberg

Toronto International Film Festival announced additional programming for 2020 Festival including Special Events – I Am Greta, the new documentary on high-school climate strike organizer Greta Thunberg; and The Water Walker on 15 years old, advocate for clean water, Autumn Peltier.

TIFF is often the platform for exciting conversations, new talent, and new voices,” stated Bailey and Vicente. “In the midst of a global health crisis, it is clear that stories do not stop. We are happy to be able to share these screenings and special events with audiences.”

Reflecting the diversity of TIFF’s audiences and the breadth of their interests, this year’s Special Events lineup focuses on a wide range of topics from around the globe. Advocacy is front and centre in 2020.

As the world faces a global climate crisis, TIFF presents two new films about activism, passion, and commitment to change.

The Water Walker James Burns | United States
At 15 years old, Autumn Peltier has become a powerful advocate for clean drinking water in Indigenous communities around the world. The Water Walker is a short film that documents Peltier’s powerful journey from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory to New York City as she prepares to speak in front of the United Nations with the hope of preserving the future of Indigenous communities for generations to come.

I Am Greta Nathan Grossman | Sweden
In August 2018, 15-year-old student Greta Thunberg picketed Swedish parliament calling for action on the climate crisis, eventually inspiring student strikes at schools in communities around the world. In I Am Greta, Nathan Grossman documents Thunberg’s meteoric one-year rise from high-school climate strike organizer to inspiration for a global movement.

The festival will host a special FREE live conversation with bestselling author Naomi Klein and Anishinaabe water activist Autumn Peltier as they discuss climate activism and its impact on future generations.

As previously announced, Planet Africa, created in 1995 by Cameron Bailey, was a Festival program dedicated to cinema from Africa and the African diaspora. The filmmakers’ panel Planet Africa 25: Black Film Now, happening on September 16 at 3pm EDT, has been added to the Planet Africa 25 banner. Moderated by Bailey, the discussion will feature directors Charles Officer (Akilla’s Escape), Dieudo Hamadi (Downstream to Kinshasa), Tommy Oliver (40 Years A Prisoner), and Dawn Porter (The Way I See It).

Marking the Festival’s 45th anniversary, TIFF journeys down memory lane reuniting creators and collaborators from now-classic films that have screened at past editions of the Festival, and at TIFF Bell Lightbox year-round. To kick off the Best of TIFF Reunions presented by Bell series and gear up for the Festival, audiences are invited to join a Twitter watch party of Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird on September 8 at 7:30pm EDT with special appearances from surprise guests.

The Best of TIFF Reunions presented by Bell for 2020 are as follows: A 20th-anniversary commemoration of Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream featuring a moderated discussion between Aronofsky and star Ellen Burstyn, director of photography Matthew Libatique, composer Clint Mansell, and production designer James Chinlund will happen on September 13 at 3:30pm EDT. Stanley Kubrick’s critically acclaimed Full Metal Jacket will be marked by a special drive-in screening of the film in 4K resolution with high dynamic range (HDR) for the first time at the RBC Lakeside Drive-In at Ontario Place. The screening will be complemented by a pre-recorded panel featuring stars Vincent D’Onofrio and Arliss Howard, casting director and dialogue coach Leon Vitali, and Stanley Kubrick’s daughter Katharina Kubrick, on September 18 at 8:45pm EDT. Additionally, a celebratory look back at the legacy of Claudia Weill’s Girlfriends (1978) — the first-ever TIFF People’s Choice Award winner — with Weill and star Melanie Mayron will happen on September 11 at 1pm EDT.

The 45th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival runs September 10–19, 2020.

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