TIFF 2021 welcomes audiences in September with Dune, 100+ films, and cross-Canada screenings

by W. Andrew Powell

The 46th Toronto International Film Festival returns this September, and the annual celebration of cinema will feature over 100 films, including Denis Villeneuve’s Dune. Perhaps the biggest detail, however, was that in-person screenings and red carpets are also set for a comeback, and TIFF will also screen films across Canada.

TIFF 2021 will run from September 9 to 18, and one of the most buzzed-about films announced today is a special screening of Dune as a World Exclusive IMAX Special Event at the Cinesphere Theatre at Ontario Place.

Other TIFF 2021 official selections announced today include Le Bal des Folles, Belfast, Benediction, Charlotte, Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over, Guilty, Jagged, Lakewood, Last Night in Soho, Night Raiders, Petite Maman, and The Starling.

“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.”

Vicente noted that many people won’t be able to make it to Toronto this year, so the festival will ensure that their TIFF Digital Cinema Pro platform will support the industry for screenings, press conferences, and special events.

“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.”

TIFF will welcome back audiences to seven theatres and drive-ins during the festival’s 10 days, featuring over 100 films, as well as events, and the Industry Conference. Those theatres are TIFF Bell Lightbox, Roy Thomson Hall, Visa Screening Room at the Princess of Wales Theatre, Cinesphere Theatre at Ontario Place Outdoor screenings at Ontario Place Festival Village, Visa Skyline Drive-In, RBC Lakeside Drive-In, and the West Island Open Air Cinema.

New this year, the festival will also host screenings across Canada with TIFF “Coast-to-Coast Screenings”, and they will also continue digital screenings with the TIFF Bell Lightbox, and conversations with TIFF Bell Digital Talks platforms. In Conversation With… Q&A sessions will be available around the world.

The festival will continue to work with health officials from the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto to keep people safe at in-person events, and that will mean a mandatory mask usage policy for festival-goers.

Ticket options will include single film tickets for in-person screenings, packages for digital film screenings, and more, with digital ticket package going on sale June 30 for TIFF’s Contributors Circle Members. Visit tiff.net/tickets for more information.

TIFF’s Gala and Special Presentations presented by Visa will be announced on July 20. Contemporary World Cinema presented by Sun Life, Discovery, TIFF Docs presented by A&E Indie Films, Midnight Madness, Primetime, and Wavelengths selections will be announced July 28. TIFF Short Cuts and the Platform Programme will be announced August 11.

Stay tuned for more announcements, and follow The GATE’s coverage in our TIFF 2021 feature section.

TIFF announcement excerpts:

TIFF is excited to announce the following twelve films as a sampling of what is to come in the Festival’s Official Selection for 2021: 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.

“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 programme 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.”

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-colour, women, and LGBTQ+ creators and other under-represented talent.

To ensure that under-represented voices and perspectives are sought out and welcomed into its press corps, TIFF’s media team works with outlets and editors around the globe, encouraging a diverse contingent. In addition, TIFF will host the fourth year of its Media Inclusion Initiative (MII), a mentorship programme committed to growing the diversity of the press corps covering the Festival.

This year, TIFF welcomes 45 new critics and writers who will offer greater representation in the areas of race, gender, sexual orientation, and disability. The MII participants will have access to films, talks, specialized workshops, and one-on-one mentoring opportunities for eligible participants.

The 2021 TIFF Tribute Awards, will be co-produced by Bell Media Studios and for the second straight year will be broadcast nationally by CTV and streamed internationally by Variety.

TIFF will once again celebrate outstanding filmmaking with its jury awards: the Federation of International Film Critics (FIPRESCI) and Network for the Promotion of Asian Pacific Cinema (NETPAC) Awards, the Platform Prize, the IMDbPro Short Cuts Awards, the Amplify Voices Awards presented by Canada Goose, and the Shawn Mendes Foundation Changemaker Award.

Known for its discerning audiences that predict box-office and critical success, the TIFF People’s Choice Awards series returns, comprising the People’s Choice Award, the People’s Choice Documentary Award, and the People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award. All films in TIFF’s Official Selection are eligible for the People’s Choice Award and are voted on by Festival audiences.

Dune photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures

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