With a vintage Venice drawing to a close, the autumn festival calendar continues to ramp up as this year’s Toronto International Film Festival kicks off over the Atlantic. Recent form suggests that many of the big players come awards season will be unveiled over 11 packed days from 6-16 September, with many eagerly anticipated UK films and co-productions among them.
Top of the pile includes the opening night world premiere of Outlaw King, an epic history of Robert the Bruce from director David Mackenzie (Hell or High Water), as well as the big reveal of Steve McQueen’s heist movie Widows, which will open the BFI London Film Festival in October.
There’s the English-language debut from Claire Denis too. Shot by her regular DP Agnès Godard, High Life is a space travel adventure starring Robert Pattinson, Mia Goth and Juliette Binoche. On paper, at least, it sounds like a big departure for the French auteur.
Also getting a gala slot is Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy, a Canada/US/UK co-production adapting Savannah Knoop’s memoir Girl Boy Girl: How I Became J.T. Leroy. Laura Dern and Kristen Stewart star.
New works from some of the big guns of British indie cinema include Peter Strickland’s ghost story In Fabric, Carol Morley’s Atlanta-set detective noir Out of Blue, Michael Winterbottom’s The Wedding Guest and Mike Leigh’s historical drama Peterloo, which recently premiered in Venice.
TIFF’s list of special presentations includes Pawel Pawlikowski’s acclaimed black-and-white love story Cold War (currently on release in the UK); Tom Harper’s Wild Rose, the story of a Glasgow country singer with her sights set on Nashville; Amma Asante’s Second World War drama Where Hands Touch; Annabel Jankel’s period romance Tell It to the Bees; and Wash Westmoreland’s Colette, starring Keira Knightley as the eponymous French novelist.
Bringing a corner of windswept Wales to Toronto is Gwen, a brooding rural drama with sinister edges from former Poldark director William McGregor. McGregor’s debut feature gets one of the festival’s Discovery slots, alongside Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s Farming and Ryan and Andrew Tohill’s The Dig. In TIFF’s boundary-pushing Wavelength strand, there’s also RAY & LIZ, photographer Richard Billingham’s move into movies with an autobiographical portrait of his family filmed on 16mm.
Heavyweights and new names mingle among TIFF’s documentary selection, with the first four hours of Mark Cousins’ mammoth new celebration of female filmmakers, Women Make Film, screening alongside the latest missives from Errol Morris and Werner Herzog. American Dharma is Morris vs Steve Bannon, while Meeting Gorbachev is Herzog doing just that. Both are UK co-productions.
Last, shortest but not least, a smattering of British short films will be seen in Toronto, including a new piece by Ben Rivers and Sandhya Suri’s The Field, produced through the BFI’s NETWORK programme.
The full list of UK films and co-productions is below.
High Life – d. Claire Denis (Germany/France/UK/Poland)
Widows – d. Steve McQueen (UK/USA)
Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy – d. Justin Kelly (Canada/USA/UK)
Outlaw King d. David MacKenzie (USA/UK)
Cold War – d. Pawel Pawlikowski (Poland/UK/ France)
Colette – d. Wash Westmoreland
Driven – d. Nick Hamm (Puerto Rico/ UK/USA)
Red Joan – d. Sir Trevor Nunn
Teen Spirit – d. Max Minghella
The Death and Life of John F. Donovan – d. Xavier Dolan (Canada/UK)
The Wedding Guest – d. Michael Winterbottom
Where Hands Touch – d. Amma Asante
Tell It to the Bees – d. Annabel Jankel
Vita & Virginia – d. Chanya Button (UK/Ireland)
Wild Rose – d. Tom Harper
Peterloo – d. Mike Leigh
Out of Blue – d. Carol Morley
In Fabric – d. Peter Strickland
Women Make Film: A New Road Movie through Cinema – d. Mark Cousins
Freedom Fields – d. Naziha Arebi (Libya/UK/Netherlands/USA/Qatar/Lebanon/Canada)
Maiden – d. Alex Holmes
The Elephant Queen – d. Victoria Stone, Mark Deeble (UK/Kenya)
American Dharma – d. Errol Morris (USA/UK)
Meeting Gorbachev – d. Werner Herzog and André Singer (UK/USA/Germany)
Wavelengths – features
RAY & LIZ – d. Richard Billingham
Wavelengths – shorts
Fallen Arches – d. Simon Liu (UK/USA/Hong Kong)
TREES DOWN HERE – d. Ben Rivers
I Hope I’m Loud When I’m Dead – d. Beatrice Gibson (USA/Italy/UK)
Farming – d. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Gwen – d. William McGregor
The Dig – d. Ryan and Andrew Tohill
Circle – d. Jayisha Patel (UK/Canada/India)
The Field – d. Sandhya Suri (France/UK/India)
Dodgy Dave – d. Charlotte Regan
Films backed with National Lottery money via the BFI Film Fund
Where Hands Touch
Tell It to the Bees
Out of Blue
RAY & LIZ
Films also screening at the 62nd BFI London Film Festival
Out of Blue
Women Make Film: A New Road Movie through Cinema
The Elephant Queen
RAY & LIZ
TREES DOWN HERE