Toronto Film Festival to open with ‘Dear Evan Hansen’

Entertainment

FILE – In this Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, file photo, a view of a festival sign appears on Day 1 of the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto. Organizers announced Tuesday, July 20, 2021, that among the films that premiere at this year’s TIFF will be the adaptation of the Tony-winner “Dear Evan Hansen,” which will open the festival, Edgar Wright’s ’60s London themed “Last Night in Soho,” and “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.” TIFF runs Sept. 9-18. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

The adaptation of Broadway hit and Tony-winner “Dear Evan Hansen,” Edgar Wright’s ’60s London-themed “Last Night in Soho,” and “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” are just a few of the major films coming to the Toronto International Film Festival this September.

Organizers on Tuesday unveiled a robust slate of premieres for the 46th edition of TIFF, which is returning to an in-person fete. “Dear Evan Hansen,” starring Ben Platt and Julianne Moore and directed by Stephen Chbosky, will be the opening night gala on Sept. 9.

“There was no question that Dear Evan Hansen was the ideal film to launch the Festival this year,” said Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director and Co-Head of TIFF. “This film is ultimately about healing, forgiveness, and reaffirms how connected and essential we all are to one another. We couldn’t think of a more important idea to celebrate this year as we come together once again to share the power and joy of cinema in theatres together.”

Chbosky added, “We could not have asked for a more ideal festival, or audience, or moment to premiere our film.”

Audiences can also expect a look at Jessica Chastain’s turn as Tammy Faye Bakker and Andrew Garfield as televangelist Jim Bakker in Michael Showalter’s latest film, as well as director Barry Levinson’s “The Survivor” starring Ben Foster as WWII-era boxer Harry Haft.

“Clifford the Big Red Dog,” featuring David Alan Grier as the voice of the children’s book character, is another gala presentation.

The festival will also host the world premiere of Terence Davies’ “Benediction,” about English poet Siegfried Sassoon, starring Jack Lowden and Peter Capaldi, as well as Justine Bateman’s directorial debut “Violet,” starring Olivia Munn.

Previously announced premieres include Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast,” Tahir Rana’s “Dionne Warwick; Don’t Make Me Over,” Antoine Fuqua’s “The Guilty,” writer-director-actor Mélanie Laurent’s “The Mad Women’s Ball,” and Alison Klayman’s Alanis Morissette documentary “Jagged.” The festival will also host an IMAX screening of Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” to follow its premiere at the Venice Film Festival in Italy.

A few selections from Cannes will also screen including Joachim Trier’s “The Worst Person in the World,” Jacques Audiard’ s “Paris, 13th District,” and Mia Hansen-Løve’s “Bergman Island.”

Zhang Yimou’s “One Second,” about a man escaping a concentration camp to see his daughter, will serve as the closing night film in its North American premiere.

The Canadian government said Monday that the border will open to fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents beginning Aug. 9, and open to the rest of the world by Sept. 7. The festival is also planning to make films available online for press and industry unable to travel.

TIFF will run from Sept. 9-18 and return to in-person screenings in many of its usual downtown Toronto venues, like the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Roy Thomson Hall, and the Princess of Wales Theatre.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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