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Alanis Morissette, Dionne Warwick
Alanis Morissette, Dionne Warwick (dp)

For the upcoming 46th edition, Toronto International Film Festival returns to in-person screenings from September 9 to 18, 2021 with over 100 films in its Official Selection, events featuring acclaimed industry guests, and TIFF’s Industry Conference.

TIFF revealed the first twelve films in the 2021 Official Selection including: Le Bal des Folles directed by Mélanie Laurent (France) from Amazon Studios, Benediction, directed by Terence Davies (United Kingdom) from Bankside Films, Belfast, from director Kenneth Branagh (United Kingdom) from Focus Features, Charlotte, directed by Eric Warin and Tahir Rana (Canada/Belgium/France) from Elevation Pictures and MK2 Mile End, Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over, directed by Dave Wooley, David Heilbroner (USA), The Guilty by director Antoine Fuqua (USA) from Netflix, HBO’s Jagged, documentary on iconic Canadian singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette, directed by Alison Klayman (USA), Lakewood, directed by Philip Noyce (Canada), Last Night in Soho, directed by Edgar Wright (United Kingdom) from Focus Features, Night Raiders, directed by Danis Goulet (Canada/New Zealand) from Elevation Pictures and Samuel Goldwyn Films, Petite Maman, directed by Céline Sciamma (France) from Elevation Pictures and NEON and The Starling by director Theodore Melfi (USA) from Netflix.

Dune Starring Timothée Chalamet, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Zendaya
Dune Starring Timothée Chalamet, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Zendaya

The festival also announced that award-winning Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve’s Dune will screen as a World Exclusive IMAX Special Event at the Cinesphere Theatre at Ontario Place. The film, based on Frank Herbert’s seminal novel and featuring an impressive all-star ensemble cast, will be showcased in Toronto and Montreal, in partnership with Warner Bros. Canada and venue partner Cineplex. Dune, from Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures, is in theatres nationwide this fall.

“We are so proud of the calibre of the films and the diversity of the stories we will be presenting this year,” said Joana Vicente, TIFF Executive Director and Co-Head. “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. This inclusivity across all our offerings helps to ensure that, no matter where you are located, you can participate in the Festival.”

“It’s been a tough year and we’re so glad to be back,” said Cameron Bailey, TIFF Artistic Director and Co-Head. “We’re thrilled to be presenting the latest by Alison Klayman, Edgar Wright, Philip Noyce, Kenneth Branagh and many more to audiences in our Toronto cinemas, and to Canadians all across the country at home. We can’t wait for September. We’re also honored to introduce the world to outstanding Canadian debuts such as Eric Warin and Tahir Rana’s Charlotte and Danis Goulet’s Night Raiders. We’ve been inspired by the quality, range, and diversity of the films we’re inviting, and we couldn’t wait to give everyone an early glimpse.”

New this year, audiences across Canada can enjoy the excitement of TIFF in their own communities with TIFF’s “Coast-to-Coast Screenings.” Film Circuit, TIFF’s film-outreach program since 1995, will host in-cinema screenings in select locations across the country for one evening in each location, to help ignite theatrical exhibition across Canada and celebrate audiences’ return to theaters. Locations and films to be announced at a later date.

“TIFF remains a must-attend festival,” said Vicente. “Last year’s industry offerings led to a record-breaking year in film sales, new highs in Conference attendance, the introduction of TIFF’s pass-gifting initiative for under-represented voices, gender parity across all Industry programming streams, and TIFF’s curated Industry Selects film program devoted to international sales titles. Our commitment to diverse voices, to removing all barriers for their work to be seen, to creating an accessible space for business, and to sharing creators’ stories is in our DNA. In 2021, TIFF is ensuring every initiative and event will have diversity, equity, and inclusion woven into its implementation.”

Since its inception, one of TIFF’s guiding principles has been to celebrate and amplify the voices of exceptional filmmakers working in Canada. Award-winning filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin’s prolific body of work will be highlighted at TIFF 2021 with a retrospective entitled Celebrating Alanis. “Alanis is one of the most important figures in Canadian film, documentary film, and Indigenous film,” said Bailey. “Curated by Jason Ryle, one of the world’s leading Indigenous curators, this retrospective captures a national moment when Canadians are looking for ways to better understand and access how central Indigenous history and culture are to this nation.” Celebrating Alanis is co-presented with the National Film Board of Canada.

TIFF will build on its unwavering commitment to greater representation of voices by challenging the status quo, celebrating diverse storytellers and audiences, and making space for Black, Indigenous, people-of-color, women, and LGBTQ+ creators and other under-represented talent. “TIFF’s programming team works to ensure that the films they curate are reflective of the audiences they serve,” continued Bailey. “Films and film festivals help shape our culture, which is why access and representation are so important. Our team strives to bring under-represented voices to the table, and we build on this year after year.”

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