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Norwegian films in Toronto

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Tang goes Crazy for China German sales powerhouse Global Screen, which gave a Toronto market premiere to its 3D animation adventure Tabaluga this weekend, is continuing to rack up deals on true-life tearjerker This Crazy Heart, about a wealthy thirtysomething forced to look after a 15-year-old heart patient. An eye-catching deal has been closed with China’s Tang Media Partners for the film, directed by Marc Rothemund (Sophie Scholl: The Final Days) and produced by Constantin Film’s Martin Moszkowicz and Oliver Berben. Tang Media Partners has acquired all rights for China and is planning a wide release in 2019. Other new deals include France (M6), Italy (M2 Pictures), Hong Kong (Edko), Malaysia and the Philippines (Suraya Filem) and airlines (Encore). Negotiations are also underway with buyers for Scandinavia, Latin America and Japan. This Crazy Heart has posted more than 2 million admissions in Germany since its release earlier in the year. Elyas M’Barek stars alongside Philip Noah Schwarz making his feature debut. As announced in Cannes, Constantin Film has sold the remake rights across multiple territories, including to Tang Media for China. Geoffrey Macnab

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Buzz titles sing to buyers BY JEREMY KAY

As the talk around TIFF on Sunday evening centred on the breakout performance of Jessie Buckley in Wild Rose, distributors continued to question which films would strike a chord with audiences. Female singers have been writ large in Toronto. LD Entertainment is looking to partner with a distributor on Elle Fanning drama Teen Spirit, Natalie Portman pop-star saga Vox Lux remained in play and Warner Bros kicked off its Oscar push in North America for A Star Is Born with Lady Gaga. Neon last night took US rights to Wild Rose. Her Smell starring

Elisabeth Moss was one of several anticipated Sunday acquisition screenings, alongside Claire Denis’ English-language debut High Life and Midnight Madness entry The Wind for press and industry. Monday brings Xavier Dolan’s The Death And Life Of John F. Donovan, John DeLorean drama Driven and Sam Taylor-Johnson’s detox drama A Million Little Pieces. Focus Features has already snapped up Neil Jordan’s crowdpleasing psycho-thriller Greta, and Sony Pictures Classics is planning an awards run for Stan & Ollie following a private buyers screening. There will be more: most Toronto

business is typically done in the coming days and weeks. The trick is how to parlay festival buzz into a break-even theatrical release several months down the line, let alone one that turns a profit. Away from breathless trade reports fuelled by sales agents of all-night bidding wars, buyers remain cautious. Yet if filmmakers and buyers execute properly, a package or completed film can deliver. Should Media Rights Capital find the right distributor for its murder mystery Knives Out, it is hard to see how the prospect of Rian Johnson directing Daniel Craig will disappoint at the box office.

Hubert Boesl

There may have been a four-year gap between Jennifer Kent’s acclaimed 2014 debut feature The Babadook and her latest The Nightingale, which is being sold by FilmNation Entertainment, but the Australian writer/director will not be waiting so long for her next projects. Hot off The Nightingale’s Special Jury Prize at Venice (the film’s Baykali Ganambarr also won the Marcello Mastroianni award for best young actor), Kent is close

Widows, review, page 6

NEWS The road to ROMA Participant Media’s Jonathan King on backing a Venice winner » Page 4

REVIEWS Widows Steve McQueen delivers big with his female-empowerment drama » Page 6

Destroyer Nicole Kidman’s fiercely committed performance steadies an uneven ride » Page 8

Final print daily This is Screen’s final print edition for Toronto 2018. For continued coverage, see

IFFAM, Screen partner on award BY SCREEN STAFF

Lady Gaga arrives at the TIFF Bell Lightbox for yesterday’s A Star Is Born press conference.

Venice queen Kent plots out next projects BY GEOFFREY MACNAB


to completing a new draft of the screenplay for her third feature, Alice + Freda Forever. The new project — backed by Sidney Kimmel Entertainment — is based on the true story of two women who fall in love in Memphis, Tennessee in the 1890s. Kent is also busy preparing a US-set TV series, Tiptree, about sci-fi writer Alice Bradley Sheldon (aka James Tiptree Jr), which she describes as “a surreal trip”. This will be made for Brian Kavanaugh-Jones’ Automatik, with

development financing from Imperative. “I am just gravitating toward projects I love. They happen to be based on true stories set in America. It’s just coincidence,” the filmmaker said of her decision to work away from Australia. The Nightingale provoked strong reactions when it premiered in Competition at Venice last week. The Tasmania-set period picture tells the story of a young Irish convict woman (Aisling Franciosi) seeking revenge against the sadis-

tic British officer (Sam Claflin) who raped her and murdered her family. “[The film’s violence] is shocking and it was very important for me to shown the true human cost, the fallout, from that violence,” said Kent. The Nightingale will be released in Australia by Transmission, with the date to be set once the film has secured a US distribution deal. “There’s been a lot of interest [from US buyers] but it requires care and savvy marketing,” Kent said.

Screen International will partner with International Film Festival & Awards Macao (IFFAM, December 8-14) on New Chinese Cinema, a new competitive section that will present a dedicated showcase of outstanding films from Chinesespeaking territories to audiences and industry guests. Six films selected by IFFAM programming consultant Giovanna Fulvi and IFFAM artistic director Mike Goodridge will screen for a jury of international critics. Screen will oversee the jury and present the award for best film in new Chinese cinema. The six titles, which will be announced when the 3rd edition of IFFAM unveils its line-up, will not be subject to premiere status.

Jokers takes Gwen to France Great Point Media has secured a key deal on TIFF Discovery title Gwen, selling rights for France to The Jokers. The feature debut of UK writer/director William McGregor is the story of a teenager facing precarious circumstances in 19th-century rural Wales. Producers are Hilary Bevan Jones and Tom Nash for Endor Productions. The film was backed by the BFI Film Fund.


Luxbox finds homes for Ray & Liz Paris-based sales and production outfit Luxbox has closed deals on TIFF title Ray & Liz, which opened Wavelengths off the back of a buzzy reception at Locarno Festival last month where it premiered. The film has been sold to Potemkine for France and Filmfreak for Benelux. The feature debut of Turner Prize-nominated artist Richard Billingham is an autobiographical portrait of growing up in a squalid flat in Margaret Thatcher-era Birmingham with formidable mother Liz and diffident father Ray. The film, which was produced by Jacqui Davies, received backing from the British Film Institute and Ffilm Cymru Wales. “Ray & Liz is an incredible cinematic debut and a film full of humour and sensitivity,” said Fiorella Moretti and Hédi Zardi of Luxbox. Discussions are underway on further deals in Toronto. Matt Mueller

Rotterdam festival’s VoD platform unleashes data BY TOM GRATER

IFFR Unleashed, the streaming service launched by International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) in January during its 2018 edition, has published initial statistics from the platform’s first six months of operation. To date, the view count has surpassed 7,500, and 98.8% of films on the platform have been viewed. Audiences have accessed the platform from 39 countries. IFFR Unleashed hosts a selection of films that have previously screened at the festival. There are currently 180 titles on the service. At launch, these included Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive, Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Winter Sleep and Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights. It is aiming to have 400 films available online by the festival’s 2019 edition. To date, the most viewed film on the platform is Austrian filmmaker Lukas Valenta Rinner’s 2016 drama A Decent Woman (Los

A Decent Woman, IFFR Unleashed’s most watched film

Decentes). In Benelux, IFFR Unleashed works on a subscription model, while outside of the territory it works on a pay-per-view format. Fifty percent of all revenue made from the services goes directly back to rights holders. SVoD services often choose not to share data publicly but festival director Bero Beyer said IFFR’s move was an obvious decision: “The question shouldn’t be why we release data. The question should be why others don’t. If you’re working to reimagine and to reshape the future of the independent film distribution business, you have to know the extent

and reach of it, especially while things are in flux. “It may be fine to keep a veil of mystery for marketing purposes but when dealing with filmmakers, producers, sales agents and other rights holders as closely as we do, it’s odd not to be transparent of what is being done and achieved,” Beyer added. “Our business is first and foremost to increase the potential for independent author-driven and imaginative films and filmmakers. Our premise is that this can and should be beneficial to all concerned, both the filmmaking and the film-loving community.”

Vertical punches with action pair BY JEREMY KAY

Vertical Entertainment has closed a North American deal with Premiere Entertainment Group on revenge action film Message Man. Paul O’Brien and Verdi Solaiman star in the tale of a former hitman whose brutality resurfaces when his past catches up with him. Corey Pearson makes his feature directorial debut from his screenplay, and produced through his Rhythmic Films. Message Man shot in Indonesia and Australia. “It’s great to see this kind of quality genre film coming out of Australia and Southeast Asia,” said Vertical’s Josh Spector. “We’re confident it will do well in the marketplace.” Vertical has also acquired all North American rights at TIFF from Spotlight Pictures to the Luke Goss action/sci-fi film The Last Boy. Perry Bhandal wrote, directed and produced the feature about a young boy at the end of the world who joins a lone soldier and a scientist on a journey that will change the course of humanity.

EXECUTIVE FOCUS JONATHAN KING, PARTICIPANT MEDIA After winning the best foreign-language film Oscar this year for A Fantastic Woman, Participant Media is back in the awards game with Venice Golden Lion winner ROMA (which has its TIFF premiere tonight) and upcoming premiere Green Book (tomorrow). President of narrative film and television Jonathan King discusses why Alfonso Cuaron’s film appealed, the value of Toronto and future projects.

presentation, both in theatres and streaming.

How did Venice Golden Lion winner ROMA come about?

Going back to An Inconvenient Truth and continuing with Spotlight and Citizenfour and A Fantastic Woman, we have been lucky enough to gain a little bit of experience on the stage of the Dolby Theatre. We don’t make movies to win awards, but when a movie connects with audiences and then is recognised by our peers in the film community, that feels like real validation that we may have done something right.

Alfonso had been thinking about this story for a very long time and then almost three years ago told it to [Participant CEO] David Linde, who loved it. David’s relationship with Alfonso goes back to Y Tu Mama Tambien and covers more than seven films. They have a level of trust with each other that is rare.

What is the value of Toronto for the film? Toronto audiences are famous for their love of great cinema, and we’re excited for them to see ROMA.

Is there an expectation that you will deliver at least one major awards contender a year?

Jonathan King

brings a perspective that is severely underrepresented in popular culture. It’s about the changing roles of women in society and how societal norms evolve, sometimes dramatically, in times of upheaval.

How does the film’s storyline fit into Participant’s ethos?

Why did you decide to go with Netflix?

What was the company’s role on TIFF selection Green Book?

On an emotional level, it’s a film about family, but telling this story from the point of view of a domestic worker is unique and

From the very beginning, we were focused on making the best film possible and giving it the best and widest possible

We produced and financed the movie through our joint venture with Amblin/ DreamWorks. [Director] Pete [Farrelly]

4 Screen International at Toronto September 10, 2018

‘When a movie connects with audiences and is recognised by the film community, that feels like real validation’ Jonathan King, Participant Media

and the producers brought us the project last year and the script was so winning that we jumped on board right away.

What’s in the pipeline? We are very excited about the launch of our television business this year. America To Me, the 10-part docuseries from Steve James, just premiered on Starz. We’re in production on our first scripted show, Ava DuVernay’s limited series about the Central Park Five case [in which a group of youths were wrongly convicted of rape]. We are producing it with Tribeca Films and it will premiere on Netflix next year. Jeremy Kay


» Widows p6 » Life Itself p6 » Destroyer p8

» Skin p8 » Boy Erased p9 » Vita & Virginia p9

» Freaks p10 » The Hummingbird project p10

Reviews edited by Fionnuala Halligan

Life Itself Reviewed by Allan Hunter

Widows Reviewed by Fionnuala Halligan It is interesting that Oscar winner Steve McQueen would take the career lift from 12 Years A Slave and invest it all in a knotty thriller like Widows. But to see it is to understand: he has taken the bones of Lynda La Plante’s 1983 UK TV series and used it to support the multi-racial casting of a big-budget film about female empowerment of all ages. It would be subversive if it wasn’t so obvious. The fact Widows is an intelligent, entertaining drama may help pass it on: he is using his power to be an agent for change. Releasing through 20th Century Fox in early November, the only thing that can hold Widows back is the occasional episodic feel of this adaptation, its setting moved from London to Chicago. In a muscular lead performance, Viola Davis forms a powerful central trio with Michelle Rodriguez and Elizabeth Debicki. In support, Daniel Kaluuya, Liam Neeson and Colin Farrell expand the audience potential further, alongside Robert Duvall in an increasingly rare appearance. The film starts with a strong statement: framed against white bedsheets, middle-aged Veronica (Davis) and Harry (Neeson) exchange a passionate kiss. Scenes from their marriage are juxtaposed with a heist that quickly comes off the rails. Harry and his gang of career criminals are all killed, making widows of Veronica, Linda (Rodriguez) and Alice (Debicki), none of whom know each other. Elsewhere in the city, crooked politician Tom Mulligan (Duvall) has been forced to resign due to ill health, prompting an election that is being contested by his equally bent son Jack (Farrell) and another corrupt candidate, Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry), whose money went missing in the heist. When Jamal approaches Veronica to demand his money back, the grieving and penniless widow is forced to take matters into her own hands. She contacts Linda and Alice, and plans a heist, based on maps in Harry’s old notebook. This is a well-funded production and McQueen clearly wants to make good use of the abundance of talent at his disposal, changing the colour and sex and age of what we are fed as mass-market entertainment. It’s a bold shot across the bows and it should cause ripples.

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GALA PRESENTATIONS US. 2018. 131mins Director Steve McQueen Production companies See Saw Films, New Regency, Lammas Park Worldwide distribution 20th Century Fox Producers Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Steve McQueen, Arnon Milchan Screenplay Steve McQueen, Gillian Flynn Production design Adam Stockhausen Editing Joe Walker Cinematography Sean Bobbitt Music Hans Zimmer Main cast Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Daniel Kaluuya, Jacki Weaver, Robert Duvall, Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, Brian Tyree Henry

This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman makes a bold attempt to transfer the winning template of his television success to the big screen. The result is a sprawling, overwrought multi-generational soap opera that feels constricted by its two-hour running time. The manic litany of joy and sorrow, heartbreak and elation is not for the cynical, leaving the starry ensemble cast and polished craft of the execution as potential selling points. Divided into five chapters, the film begins in playful meta mood with a section narrated by Samuel L Jackson, focusing on the life of Will (Oscar Isaac). In therapy after a lengthy spell in hospital, Will is struggling to come to terms with a recent trauma. During conversation with his therapist, he recalls the highs and lows of his marriage to Abby (Olivia Wilde), the love of his life. Jackson and Will are the first of many unreliable narrators and wise-cracking characters who may not be as adorable as they seem to think. The initial stages of the film are marked by bustling, boisterous passages of helterskelter dialogue and endless narration. The mood changes when the story shifts to Spain and the life of philosophical olive grower Saccione (Antonio Banderas) and the people who surround him. We also meet Will and Abby’s fierce daughter Dylan (Olivia Cooke) and a host of others. Eventually, the connections that unite the characters become apparent, but until that point it seems to ricochet between extremes of tragedy and happiness. Barely a moment seems to pass without a birth, a death, a betrayal, a startling revelation or a life-changing bombshell. And, because it keeps pushing at breakneck speed, we never get the chance to become sufficiently invested in any particular character. Throughout the film, Fogelman seems to be trying out all kinds of genres for size, from screwball comedy to heartfelt romance, tearjerker to melodrama. Some of the wit and emotion strikes home and the longer we spend with characters the more their stories resonate. But the film is messy, offering glib comments on profound subjects and succumbing to sentimentality before concluding that the most unreliable of narrators is, of course, life itself.

GALA PRESENTATIONS US-Spain. 2018. 118mins Director/screenplay Dan Fogelman Production companies FilmNation Entertainment, Temple Hill Entertainment, 17-28 Black International sales FilmNation Entertainment, Producers Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey, Aaron Ryder, Dan Fogelman Production design Gerald Sullivan Editing Julie Monroe Cinematography Brett Pawlak Music Federico Jusid Main cast Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening, Mandy Patinkin, Olivia Cooke


Skin Reviewed by Allan Hunter

Destroyer Reviewed by Tim Grierson The sins of the past weigh heavy on Destroyer, a sunsplashed Los Angeles noir that is more an exercise in portentous atmosphere than a deft exploration of guilt and regret. Buried in make-up that accentuates her character’s hard-luck existence, Nicole Kidman brings such conviction to her role as a tormented detective that she singlehandedly imbues the film with urgency and authenticity. That proves crucial, since director Karyn Kusama often miscalculates Destroyer’s sense of its own profundity. After a stint on the festival circuit, Destroyer will open in US theatres on December 25, no doubt hoping to secure Kidman her fifth Oscar nomination. Fans of other moody indie revenge thrillers such as You Were Never Really Here might be on board, although mixed reviews and a despairing tone may turn off mainstream crowds. As the movie begins, LAPD detective Erin Bell (Kidman) is waking up in her car, her weathered face suggesting someone in the midst of a bad personal spell. But soon, her interest is piqued by hints that an old nemesis, a violent criminal named Silas (Toby Kebbell), has reemerged, giving her an opportunity to settle some scores. Written by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, the screenwriters behind Kusama’s 2015 thriller The Invitation, Destroyer is constructed like a puzzle, balancing the present-day story with flashbacks that reveal who Erin once was. Those latter scenes involve her going undercover to infiltrate Silas’s gang, an experience that has left her reeling. While it is a standard Hollywood gimmick to transform a glamorous star so that she looks ‘realer’ through unflattering make-up and a bad wig, Kidman’s reinvention is so striking — and the actress’s performance so gritty and exhausted — that we accept her as a troubled cop who cannot let an unspecified past trauma go. Cinematographer Julie Kirkwood makes good use of Los Angeles’ seediest sections, the squalor contrasting bitterly with the sunny weather. And when the action shifts to the desert, Destroyer exudes a wide-open vastness that suitably mirrors its protagonist’s spiritual depletion. Regrettably, the film occasionally aims for mythic, tragic self-importance, which gives the story thematic undercurrents it has not fully earned. Kusama is on much firmer ground when she simply lets her vengeful cop rumble across the city looking for answers, unconcerned about the damage she leaves in her wake.

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PLATFORM US. 2018. 123mins Director Karyn Kusama Production companies 30 West, Automatik Entertainment International sales Rocket Science, Producers Fred Berger, Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi Screenplay Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi Production design Kay Lee Editing Plummy Tucker Cinematography Julie Kirkwood Music Theodore Shapiro Main cast Nicole Kidman, Toby Kebbell, Tatiana Maslany, Scoot McNairy, Bradley Whitford, Sebastian Stan

Love triumphs over the darkest recesses of human hatred in Skin. Writer/director Guy Nattiv transforms the true story of reformed racist Bryon Widner into a powerful, if sensationalist, drama with a fierce central performance from Jamie Bell. It is a heartening, inspirational tale to counteract our depressing times but there is so much evil on display that the challenge will be in persuading audiences that they want to spend time in the company of these characters. Bell brings a fully committed Method-school intensity to his performance as Widner, a vicious neo-Nazi raised by white supremacists and taught never to question their authority. Widner’s elaborate facial tattoos are a map of hatred. He swaggers and glowers, driven by a seething inner anger. His life is a booze-fuelled swirl of sex, drugs and violence. This is a long way from the tender heartbreak of Bell’s touching Bafta-nominated performance in last year’s Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool. The first half of the film is the weakest, as Nattiv establishes Widner’s character and the suffocating life of a neoNazi community led by Fred (Bill Camp) and the motherly Shareen (Vera Farmiga). An attack on a young black man is staged with little conviction and the violence, hardboiled dialogue and energetic sex start to feel like a wearying wallow in depravity. When Widner is arrested by the police, he strips naked to reveal the tattoos on his thighs stating “Snitches Get Stitches”. He will never betray his people or take the easy way out. We know something fundamental changes, however, as the whole film is punctuated with scenes detailing the painstaking removal of Widner’s most conspicuous facial tattoos. The change in Widner’s life is a flirtation with sassy single mother Julie (Danielle Macdonald) who, along with her three children, gives Widner a glimpse of a different life. Macdonald is exceptional as Julie, capturing both her fiercely protective relationship with her children and the weary vulnerability of a seen-it-all-before woman sizing up the risks and the rewards of a new relationship. This journey to redemption makes for a much tighter and more involving second half as Widner confronts all the internal conflict and external threat working to convince him that a leopard cannot change its spots, never mind eradicate his tattoos.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS US. 2018. 110mins Director/screenplay Guy Nattiv Production companies Maven Pictures, Sight Unseen Pictures, New Native Pictures, PaperChase Films, Lost Lance Entertainment, Brookstreet Pictures, Come What May Productions, Allusionist Picture House, Hua Wen Movie Group, Tugawood Pictures International sales ICM Partners, Producers Guy Nattiv, Oren Moverman, Jaime Ray Newman, Celine Rattray, Trudie Styler, Dillon D Jordan Production design Mary Lena Colston Editing Lee Percy, Michael Taylor Cinematography Arnaud Potier Music Dan Romer Main cast Jamie Bell, Vera Farmiga, Danielle Macdonald, Mike Colter, Bill Camp

Vita & Virginia Reviewed by Wendy Ide

Boy Erased Reviewed by Tim Grierson Good intentions go awry in Boy Erased, a sensitively rendered look at a gay American teen sent away for conversion therapy. In his second feature as director, Joel Edgerton has made an eminently worthy drama about the stigma around homosexuality, but his muted approach ends up being a major barrier. As a result, the film strains so honourably to ensure it does not put a foot wrong that it never rises above a tasteful earnestness. Lucas Hedges heads up a cast that includes Oscar winners Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe, all of whom will boost the film’s visibility among arthouse crowds (Boy Erased is slated for a November 2 release in the US, reaching the UK in February). Based on author Garrard Conley’s memoir, the film looks to be an awards contender as well as a boon to champions of LGBTQ rights. Taking place largely in 2004, the film introduces us to Jared (Hedges), an Arkansas college student who has news for his Baptist pastor father Marshall (Crowe) and religious mother Nancy (Kidman): he thinks he is gay. Alarmed, they ship him to a conversion camp run by Victor (Edgerton), who believes he can ‘cure’ gay teens of their affliction. The seriousness of the subject matter inspires a measured, unfussy aesthetic from Edgerton and cinematographer Eduard Grau, who strip the story down to its basics so that there is no room for grandstanding or gimmicks. Even flashbacks to Jared’s past homosexual encounters are handled with nonchalance. Such understatement allows the power of Conley’s true-life experiences and the cast’s naturalistic performances to carry the drama. But the respectfulness has unintended consequences. Boy Erased does not delve too deeply into any of its characters, as if the film were too polite to risk a definitive take on anyone that appears on screen. Unfortunately, that leaves us with mostly surface understandings of who these people are and how their confrontations change them — a failing not shared by Desiree Akhavan’s similar recent film, The Miseducation Of Cameron Post. Still, several emotionally attuned performances help paper over the storytelling weaknesses. Continuing a streak of superb portrayals, Hedges mostly eschews melodramatic fireworks, and although the character remains disappointingly oblique, the actor reveals the scared boy beneath the placid demeanour.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS US. 2018. 114mins Director Joel Edgerton Production company Anonymous Content Worldwide distribution Universal Pictures Producers Kerry Kohansky-Roberts, Steve Golin, Joel Edgerton Screenplay Joel Edgerton, based on the memoir Boy Erased by Garrard Conley Production design Chad Keith Editing Jay Rabinowitz Cinematography Eduard Grau Music Danny Bensi, Saunder Jurriaans Main cast Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Joel Edgerton, Joe Alwyn, Xavier Dolan, Troye Sivan, Britton Sear, Jesse LaTourette, Cherry Jones, Flea, Russell Crowe


In this mannered literary period piece, the story of the love affair between Virginia Woolf and Vita SackvilleWest is too hampered by tonal and pacing issues to ever ignite. Chanya Button’s account of the romance between the two women takes as its central spine the letters that they exchanged, but augments them with too much in the way of soft-focus longing and wistful sighs. Gemma Arterton deploys the full force of her seductive charm in the role of the poet, author and scandalous society beauty Vita. And it is her presence in the cast that will provide the film with its main marketing hook. But even Arterton can do little to hold together a picture in which the chemistry between the two leads is non-existent and many of the directorial choices are decidedly odd. A tighter edit and a different score might improve the film’s chances of connecting with audiences. Of the two central characters here, it is Vita who comes across as the more complex, full-blooded individual. She is, as her long-suffering husband Sir Harold Nicolson (Rupert Penry-Jones) acknowledges, someone who likes to have her cake and eat it. Equipped with a fabulous wardrobe and a string of discarded lovers, she is a purring, pleasure-seeking force of destruction. But even Vita is upstaged in the giddy atmospheresetting early scenes in 1920s London by the incongruous music choices. The social whirl of the capital’s literary scene plays out to a kind of trance/EDM-infused anthem that is so glaringly ill-suited it undermines any credibility the film might have otherwise mustered. Meanwhile, as portrayed by Elizabeth Debicki, Woolf is so physically and emotionally awkward she is almost painful to watch. She communicates in brusque, gnomic declarations and moves with the alien jerkiness of a longlegged wading bird picking its way across a swamp. And for all the unblinking stares that pass between the women, there is little to suggest much of a connection between the two. Instead, the film attempts to manufacture chemistry by regurgitating chunks of the letters that Vita and Virginia wrote to each other, with each actress breathily reciting words that are picked out on the screen for emphasis. The sound design is overloaded with passionate pants and heartsore sighs that have little bearing to what we are seeing on screen. Like Virginia herself, it’s all rather arduous.

UK-Ire. 2018. 110mins Director Chanya Button Production companies Mirror Productions, Blinder Films International sales Protagonist Pictures, info@protagonistpictures. com Producers Katie Holly, Evangelo Kioussis Screenplay Chanya Button, Eileen Atkins Production design Noam Piper Editing Mark Trend Cinematography Carlos De Carvalho Music Isobel Waller-Bridge Main cast Gemma Arterton, Elizabeth Debicki, Isabella Rossellini, Rupert Penry-Jones, Peter Ferdinando

September 10, 2018 Screen International at Toronto 9


The Hummingbird Project Reviewed by Tim Grierson

Freaks Reviewed by Tim Grierson Freaks is an oddity: a supernatural drama that cannibalises plenty of well-worn genre elements while trying to say something impassioned about childhood, trauma, abandonment and grief. The film does not earn many points for originality, but writer/directors Zach Lipovsky and Adam B Stein show just enough low-budget gusto to suggest they might have a future as B-movie mavens. Premiering in Toronto’s Discovery section, the film boasts some star power thanks to Emile Hirsch and Bruce Dern. But although Freaks will remind viewers of several popular franchises — to reveal more would ruin the surprises — this modest offering seems as likely to land on SVoD as secure theatrical distribution. Freaks gives us very little information at first, focusing on seven-year-old Chloe (Lexy Kolker), who is hiding out in her boarded-up house alongside her protective father (Hirsch). He does not permit her to leave, only warning her that they could be killed if they try to do so, but she is drawn to a kindly ice-cream man (Dern) whose truck is parked outside their home. The film’s early stretches are noticeably draggy, as it teases out its secrets. But whereas many sci-fi movies lose momentum once they have completed world-building, Freaks actually gets more interesting as it stops being coy about why the father and daughter live like recluses. Only then do the filmmakers start delivering some pulpy suspense sequences and unpacking their story’s underlying themes. Even so, Lipovsky and Stein’s first feature as collaborators exudes a grungy second-hand feel and does not have the confidence nor vision to breathe new life into its narrative clichés. Instead, the pair lean on the sincerity of their storytelling, crafting a paean to broken families and exploring how children process unspeakable loss. While Hirsch has top billing, and is somewhat convincing as an anguished patriarch who may be losing his grip on reality, Freaks’ spiritual centre is the daughter, who comes to understand just what dad is trying to shield her from. The film’s metaphors are obvious — this father is afraid of letting his little girl leave the nest — and Kolker is required to give a physically and emotionally demanding performance. Even here, though, the acting mostly recalls other fantasy and horror films, leaving the viewer feeling déjà vu rather than devastated.

10 Screen International at Toronto September 10, 2018

DISCOVERY Can. 2018. 104mins Directors/screenplay Zach Lipovsky, Adam B Stein Production companies Wise Daughter Films, My Way Productions, Storyboard Capital Group, Amazing Incorporated Sales contact CAA,; The Gersh Agency, Producers Adam Stein, Zach Lipovsky, Jordan Barber, Mitchell Waxman Production design Moe Curtin Editing Sabrina Pitre Cinematography Stirling Bancroft Music Timothy Michael Wynn Main cast Emile Hirsch, Bruce Dern, Grace Park, Amanda Crew, Lexy Kolker

A defiantly odd thriller involving esoteric subject matter, The Hummingbird Project tells a familiar story of ambition and greed with enough eccentricity that the movie’s strangeness becomes one of its chief attributes. Jesse Eisenberg and Alexander Skarsgard commit fully as cousins hell-bent on getting rich in the stock market by building a super-fast cross-country fibre-optic cable. And writer/director Kim Nguyen’s faith in his weird, cynical vision proves sufficiently compelling, even when the characters’ peculiarities turn a little tiresome. The movie will benefit from the star power of Eisenberg and Skarsgard, not to mention a villainous turn from Salma Hayek. Hummingbird’s juggling of genres — thriller, heist movie, family drama, character study, social commentary — may attract adventurous viewers, although it could prove challenging to marketers. Eisenberg plays Vincent, who convinces his computersavvy cousin Anton (Skarsgard) that they should quit their jobs at a high-powered New York trading company, run by Eva Torres (Hayek), to go into business for themselves. Their plan: construct a thin but reliable cable running from Kansas to New Jersey that can receive trading information milliseconds faster than the competition. For those not familiar with high-frequency trading or other aspects of the stock market, Hummingbird refuses to simplify its characters’ milieu. But the strategy pays off for Nguyen (War Witch), who in some ways wants Vincent and Anton’s plan to be abstruse, underlining how, in our modern age, untold fortunes can be acquired simply by accessing data a millisecond faster. In films like The Social Network, Eisenberg has depicted driven, not wholly likeable protagonists, and so the role may not feel far removed from past portrayals. But as Hummingbird progresses, the depth of Vincent’s ambition becomes starker, and the actor unapologetically reveals his character’s every devious tendency, resulting in a brazen performance that willingly strains credibility. If anything, Skarsgard is even more over-the-top as a socially awkward programmer who has spent most of his life being browbeaten by his cousin. Anton’s objectives seem less materialistic than Vincent’s — he just wants to design a superior product — but although his quirky behaviour can feel invented rather than organic, Skarsgard’s vulnerability elicits our sympathy.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS Can-Bel. 2018. 111mins Director/screenplay Kim Nguyen Production companies Item 7, Belga Productions US sales CAA, International sales HanWay Films, Producer Pierre Even Production design Emmanuel Fréchette Editing Arthur Tarnowski, Nicolas Chaudeurge Cinematography Nicolas Bolduc Music Yves Gourmeur Main cast Jesse Eisenberg, Alexander Skarsgard, Salma Hayek, Michael Mando


INDIA AT TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry, is participating in the 43rd Toronto International Film Festival, to project Indian cinema, facilitate syndication of Indian films, and promote shooting locales, co-production and film services in India. The 12-member Indian M&E delegation is led by Mr Ashok Kumar Parmar, Joint Secretary (Films), Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India

ADVANTAGE INDIA  Media & Entertainment is identied as one of the champion sector for growth by the Government of India  M&E Industry spearheaded by Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Minister of State (Independent charge) of the I&B Ministry  Ease of Filming in India facilitated by Film Facilitation Office (FFO)  International Film Festival of India (IFFI) is marching towards Centenary Celebrations in 2019  Welcome to 49th edition of IFFI, Goa (November 20-28, 2018)  Encourage filmmakers to benefit from the India Canada Audio Co Production Treaty  100% FDI in Film Sector Massive Digitization, Innovation driven.

Mr John Tory, Mayor of Toronto and Mr Ashok Kumar Parmar, Joint Secretary (Films), Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India at the Welcome Reception hosted for Indian Delegation @ TIFF

Indian Media & Entertainm


& Entertainment delegation members at the India Stand, TIFF


TIFF 2018 INDIAN PICKS Manto (Special Presentations 2018) Director: Nandita Das

Manmarzian (Galas 2018)

Director: Anurag Kashyap

Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota (Midnight Madness 2018)

Director: Vasan Bala

Bulbul Can Sing (Contemporary World


Director: Rima Das

The Sweet Requiem (Contemporary World


Ritu Sarin & Tenzing Sonam


Building up to blockchain At the ‘How blockchain can work for your film’ session co-hosted by Screen International and SingularDTV in Toronto, executives discussed the tech’s potential for revolutionising the industry. Tiffany Pritchard reports


xecutives at the blockchain entertainment company SingularDTV addressed how the technology can benefit producers and distributors at a panel in Toronto in partnership with Screen International. Daniel Hyman, SingularDTV’s vicepresident of entertainment, finance and development, outlined the essence of blockchain, explaining it as simply another way of distributing information from point A to point B, within a transparent and accountable framework. “It is verifiable record keeping,” Hyman said at the ‘How blockchain can work for your film’ session at the Soho Metropolitan on September 8. “And it works for all different kinds of businesses and films.” SingularDTV produces, acquires and distributes film and music, and launches its first original film, Alex Winter’s documentary Trust Machine: The Story Of Blockchain, in New York on October 26 and Los Angeles on November 16. It has also wrapped principal photography on

‘As a rights-holder, you have control over the millions of people you have been speaking to’ Daniel Hyman, SingularDTV

narrative feature The Happy Worker, which includes David Lynch among the executive producers. On the technology side, the company is planning the launch of a VoD service in 2019, and recently created Rentalist, which offers production crew, equipment and location rentals on an Airbnbtype platform. It also launched rights management portal Tokeit, described by Hyman as “a Kickstarter on blockchain steroids” where anybody can create a token, embed an IP on it, and use it for rights, royalties, project funding, management and audience engagement. “We want to offer a range of business models and an alternative to the tradi-

The audience was told blockchain could make the industry more transparent, from rights management to cinema tickets

Picture caption here

14 Screen International at Toronto September 10, 2018

tional entertainment industry, whereby we remove the intermediary and create a pathway for producers and creatives, as well as distributors, managers and agents, to communicate more directly to audiences so they have a clear pathway to data, record-keeping and accounting,” explained Jason Tyrell, SingularDTV’s vice-president of content. Hyman, who was previously a sales agent at Preferred Content, noted the challenges agents and producers face today, citing the example of antiquated handwritten contracts and cheques for incremental amounts that still arrive from theatres. That struck a chord with fellow panellist, Oscar-nominated producer Steven Markovitz of Cape Town-based Big World Cinema, who has Rafiki and aKasha in TIFF’s Discovery section. “We are in a bit of a crisis right now,” said Markovitz. “There is a lack of transparency. Recently, I had to take a trip to try and get money directly from a client. When I did get paid, the total was incorrect. It took nearly two years to get that money. There is a lot of ripping off.” He added that while blockchain is in its infancy, he hoped it will make the industry more transparent, from rights management to selling cinema tickets. “Every festival, I hear of companies launching blockchain,” Markovitz said. “We have to try this out and start getting partners on board. If we don’t, it’s a missed opportunity. We have to start engaging.” He estimated that by next autumn he would start using blockchain for rights management. Targeting communities Janet Brown, executive vice-president of distribution at production and distribution outfit Gunpowder & Sky, said she was excited about the opportunity to use blockchain on her upcoming projects, including SXSW premiere Prospect. The sci-fi feature will be released theatrically in November and Gunpow-

‘Every festival, I hear of companies launching blockchain. We have to try this out and get partners on board’ Steven Markovitz, Big World Cinema

der & Sky has partnered with SingularDTV on the film’s upcoming digital launch through a 30-day exclusive TVoD window on SingularDTV’s blockchain-enabled VoD platform. “We are thrilled to work in a more alternative space for this film,” said Brown. “We think this structure will speak more specifically to sci-fi and crypto-currency audiences, that we hope overlap. It’s like a micro-windowing strategy where we are talking directly around this community. We need all that

Grayson Lee

SingularDTV’s Jason Tyrell, Gunpowder & Sky’s Janet Brown, Big World Cinema’s Steven Markovitz and SingularDTV’s Daniel Hyman

we can to help small films like this with different distribution models.” She added that blockchain was also a way to engage with audiences throughout the production process, from preproduction to post. “You can build an audience and raise money, and collect all the way through the lifecycle. It’s not like you’re having multiple conversations. You’re going back to the same well,” she explained, adding that fans can get more involved in the overall process of the film. When asked about the how-to of blockchain, including basic start-up and audience engagement, Hyman said it is a simple process of working with a blockchain-specific development team, and reaching out to audiences via typical social-media channels such as Facebook and Twitter to promote content to audiences. “Audiences will look at this content [like they would view content on any other platform],” said Hyman. “And

you will still have to hustle to get people to see your project. The idea is this is a one-stop shop, and audiences’ last point of sign-in. Data and ownership are put back into the viewers’ hands. With this, there is no platform asking you to pay, or cancel you out. You, as a rights-holder, have the control over the millions of people you have been speaking to. You have data and identity of ownership.” Brown added: “It’s like sophisticated collection account management. You won’t all of a sudden have Netflix reporting their views and licence fees — that problem is not solved — but whatever deals you’ve done, you pay that into blockchain. Someone else doesn’t have to control it. It’s like paying into a pot and that pot pays everyone. We get a payment from Netflix or any other data coming in, we then show that on the blockchain, and we can hold the distributor or whoever it is accountable because they can actually

‘You can build an audience and raise money, and collect all the way through the lifecycle’ Janet Brown, Gunpowder & Sky

see the debits and credits, like transparent account management.” Brown also gave the example of shareable transaction reports. “I receive daily reports from iTunes such as how many transactions we receive on EST and VoD,” she said. “I’m using that information right now for a movie I’m releasing. I’m checking how the marketing is turning into pre-orders. This information is not often shared to distributors. On the blockchain, everyone can see this data.” “Traditional marketing spend is a fixed

amount,” said Hyman. “And there is a lag on the effect of your spend, until you receive the box-office reports. If you can create a new transparent system, you can actually know whether people are showing up for your theatrical exhibitions the next day or the day of. That way you can tailor your marketing spend, you can cut one market and re-invest in another. “That is future state, to be able to bring theatrical transactions on to the chain so that a producer/creator can log in and see how a particular theatre is doing with sales, and whether that correlation with marketing spend exists. That is where we hope to be going.” “No-one knows where all this is going, but we have to try to invest in it,” insisted Markovitz. “From the beginning of a project, I want to use blockchain. It’s difficult, there will be myriad contracts you have to change. But that’s how we will s get it started.” ■

September 10, 2018 Screen International at Toronto 15



Edited by Jamie McLeish » Screening times and venues are correct at the time of going to press but subject to alteration



(Germany) 188mins. Beta Cinema. Dir: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. Cast: Oliver Masucci, Paula Beer, Saskia Rosendahl, Sebastian Koch, Tom Schilling. Set in post-war East Germany, this humanist drama follows the lives of a doctor and an artist, both struggling to reconcile their personal aspirations with their country’s politics. Special Presentations TIFF Bell Lightbox 3 — Piers Handling Cinema


(Netherlands-Belgium) 101mins. Dir: Esther Rots. Cast: Circé Lethem, Lien Wildemeersch, Martijn van der Veen. Esther Rots’ second feature puzzles together a timeline-jumping narrative as Mette’s relationship to work, life and motherhood change and evolve, culminating in catastrophic events. Contemporary World Cinema TIFF Bell Lightbox 4 — Paul & Leah Atkinson Family Cinema


(Vietnam) 96mins. m-appeal. Dir: Ash Mayfair. Cast: Mai Thu Huong Maya, Nhu Quynh Nguyen, Nu Yen Khe Tran, Phuong Tra My Nguyen, Vu Long Le. A 14-year-old girl struggles with family politics, her own agency and the prospect of motherhood after she becomes the third wife of a wealthy landowner, in this debut feature set in 19th-century Vietnam. Discovery Jackman Hall


(UK) 94mins. United Talent Agency (UTA),


(US) 119mins. Capstone Group. Dir: Emilio Estevez. Cast: Alec Baldwin, Che Rhymefest Smith, Christian Slater, Emilio Estevez, Jena Malone, Michael K Williams. Endeavor Content. Dir: Michael Winterbottom. Cast: Dev Patel, Jim Sarbh, Radhika Apte. The latest from Michael Winterbottom follows a mysterious young British man (Dev Patel) on a journey across Pakistan and India. Special Presentations TIFF Bell Lightbox 1


(US) 135mins. Warner Bros Pictures. Dir: Bradley Cooper. Cast: Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Dave Chappelle, Sam Elliott, Andrew Dice Clay. Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut tells the story of a seasoned

16 Screen International at Toronto September 10, 2018

A sit-in by patrons at a public library escalates into a police standoff and a media sideshow, in this arresting drama that explores homelessness, mental health and community. Gala Presentations Winter Garden Theatre

musician who discovers — and falls in love with — a struggling artist. But, even as her career begins to take off, he fights an ongoing battle with his own demons. Gala Presentations TIFF Bell Lightbox 2


(US-Spain) 118mins. FilmNation Entertainment. Dir: Dan Fogelman. Cast: Alex Monner, Annette Bening, Antonio Banderas, Laia Costa, Mandy Patinkin, Olivia Cooke, Olivia Wilde, Oscar Isaac, Sergio Peris-Mencheta. Featuring an impressive ensemble cast, this is an affecting drama about life,

love and loss set across years and continents. Gala Presentations Elgin Theatre

10:30 THE PUBLIC See box, left


(US) 117mins. Annapurna International. Dir: Barry Jenkins. Cast: Aunjanue Ellis, Bryan Tyree Henry, Colman Domingo, Dave Franco, Diego Luna, Ed Skrein, Emily Rios, KiKi Layne, Michael Beach, Pedro Pascal, Regina King, Stephan James. Director Barry Jenkins’ ambitious follow-up to Moonlight adapts James Baldwin’s poignant novel about a woman fighting to free her falsely accused husband from prison. Special Presentations Princess of Wales


Rasika Dugal, Tahir Raj Bhasin. Nandita Das’s biopic follows the most tumultuous years in the life of iconoclastic writer Saadat Hasan Manto and those of the countries — India and Pakistan — Manto chronicled. Special Presentations Scotiabank 3

Abshir Sheikh Nur, Jere Ristseppa, Pihla Viitala, Rosa Honkonen, Ville Haapasalo. When carefree young Lenni and his girlfriend find themselves expecting a child, he ends up looking for a role model in all the wrong places as he becomes involved with local right-wing activists.


Contemporary World Cinema Jackman Hall

(US) 110mins. ICM Partners. Dir: Guy Nattiv. Cast: Bill Camp, Danielle Macdonald, Jamie Bell, Mike Colter, Vera Farmiga. Jamie Bell stars in the true story of Bryon Widner, a young man raised by skinheads, for whom turning his back on hatred meant undergoing painful operations to remove the tattoos that signified his past life — a process only possible with the support of a black activist.


(US-UK) 100mins. William Morris Endeavor Entertainment. Dir: Errol Morris. Cast: Stephen K Bannon. From groundbreaking documentarian Errol Morris comes a probing portrait of controversial Donald Trump adviser Stephen K Bannon. TIFF Docs Scotiabank 1

Special Presentations TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

THE GRAND BIZARRE (preceded by short film THOSE WHO DESIRE)


(Switzerland-Spain, US) 85mins. Dir: Jodie Mack. A fast-paced examination » of the global circulation


(India) 112mins. Radiant Films International. Dir: Nandita Das. Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui,


(Finland-NetherlandsSweden) 102mins. Dir: Selma Vilhunen. Cast:


of textiles and patterns, The Grand Bizarre is the dazzling debut feature by experimental animator Jodie Mack. Wavelengths TIFF Bell Lightbox 4 — Paul & Leah Atkinson Family Cinema


(Taiwan-China-USFrance) 107mins. Dir: Ho Wi Ding. Cast: Jack Kao, Li Hong-Chi, Louise Grinberg, Ding Ning, Stone, Huang Lu, Liu Rui-Chi, Hsin Yin, Liu Juei-Chi, Shin Yin. This arresting tale from Ho Wi Ding, told in reverse-chronological order, reveals one man’s fraught inner world and the circumstances that led to a life-altering decision. Platform TIFF Bell Lightbox 2


(US) 111mins. Bloom Media. Dir: Jake Scott. Cast: Aaron Paul, Amy Madigan, Christina Hendricks, Sienna Miller, Will Sasso. Following the disappearance of her daughter, a woman must raise her grandson and find some answers, in this decades-spanning drama. Special Presentations Elgin Theatre

13:00 BEFORE THE FROST See box, above


(UK) 106mins. Film Constellation. Dir: Annabel Jankel. Cast: Anna Paquin, Holliday Grainger. A wrenching drama of a small-town doctor and beekeeper in postwar Britain who befriends a struggling mother and son, helping them discover that love can be found in many forms. Special Presentations Scotiabank 4


(UK) 153mins. Cornerstone Films. Dir: Mike Leigh. Cast: Karl Johnson, Maxine Peake, Neil Bell, Philip


(Denmark) 104mins. TrustNordisk. Dir: Michael Noer. Cast: Bertil de Lorenzi, Clara Rosager, Elliott Crosset Hove, Ghita Norby, Gustav Giese, Jesper Christensen, Magnus Krepper, Rasmus Hammerich. Jackson, Rory Kinnear, Tim McInnerny, Vincent Franklin. Mike Leigh returns to TIFF with a look at the 1819 Peterloo Massacre, when British government militias responded with violence to a crowd calling for political reform.

The heart-wrenching story of a farmer in 19th-century Denmark who must go against his morals in order to make a deal with a wealthy neighbour and secure his family’s survival. Contemporary World Cinema TIFF Bell Lightbox 3 — Piers Handling Cinema

Masters Winter Garden Theatre

Corbet. Cast: Jennifer Ehle, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Raffey Cassidy, Stacy Martin. The second feature from Brady Corbet (The Childhood Of A Leader), which spans decades in the life of a woman juggling a music career, a teenage daughter and an overbearing manager.


Special Presentations Roy Thomson Hall

(India) 260mins. Dir: Anand Patwardhan. In what is perhaps his most urgent and thorough exploration of Indian society yet, documentarian Anand Patwardhan charts his country’s slide away from secular democracy and toward divisions of power, caste and religious belief — and the violence that has followed. TIFF Docs Jackman Hall


(US) 112mins. Sierra/ Affinity. Dir: Brady

18 Screen International at Toronto September 10, 2018


(Canada) 100mins. Dir: Gwaai Edenshaw, Helen Haig-Brown. Cast: Adeana Young, Tyler York, William Russ. In 19th-century Haida Gwaii, an accident prompts a tormented man to retreat deep into the forest in this landmark first feature made entirely in the two dialects of the Haida language. Discovery TIFF Bell Lightbox 4 — Paul & Leah Atkinson Family Cinema


(US) 90mins. Endeavor Content. Dir: Jeffrey Waldron, Shannon Service. Cast: Chutima Oi Sidasathian, Patima Tungpuchayakul, Tun Lin. The global fishing industry is cast under a harsh light in this documentary following Thai humanrights activist Patima Tungpuchayakul as she and her team seek to bring home workers essentially enslaved at sea. TIFF Docs Scotiabank 3


(US-Ireland) 98mins. Sierra/Affinity. Dir: Neil Jordan. Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Colm Feore, Isabelle Huppert, Maika Monroe, Stephen Rea. Isabelle Huppert teams with writer/director Neil Jordan to play the title role in this psychological thriller about a lonely, mysterious widow whose friendship with a naïve young woman (Chloë Grace Moretz) takes on an increasingly obsessive and sinister air. Special Presentations Ryerson Theatre


(US) 104mins. FilmNation Entertainment. Dir: Paul Dano. Cast: Bill Camp, Carey Mulligan,

Ed Oxenbould, Jake Gyllenhaal. In Paul Dano’s evocative and emotional directorial debut, a teenage boy in 1960s Montana experiences the breakdown of his parents’ marriage and his mother’s struggle to keep their lives afloat after his father leaves. Special Presentations Princess of Wales

14:45 MID90S

(US) 84mins. A24. Dir: Jonah Hill. Cast: Alexa Demie, Gio Galicia, Katherine Waterston, Lucas Hedges, Na-kel Smith, Olan Prenatt, Ryder McLaughlin, Sunny Suljic. Jonah Hill makes his directorial debut with this coming-of-age story about a teenage boy who finds his scene when he meets an eclectic group of neighbourhood skateboarders. Special Presentations TIFF Bell Lightbox 1


(UK) 122mins. Protagonist Pictures. Dir: Amma Asante. Cast: Abbie Cornish, Amandla Stenberg, Christopher Eccleston, George MacKay, Tom Sweet. Amandla Stenberg stars in Amma Asante’s disquieting coming-of-age romance about a black German teenager who falls

in love with a member of the Hitler Youth. Special Presentations Scotiabank 2


(Latvia-SwitzerlandCzech Republic) 102mins. Deckert Distribution. Dir: Vitaly Mansky. Through testimonies from Gorbachev, Yeltsin and the current Russian president himself, Vitaly Mansky tells the story of how Putin rose to power and held his position for nearly two decades. TIFF Docs Scotiabank 13


(Israel) 117mins. Foresight Unlimited. Dir: Avi Nesher. Cast: Joy Rieger, Maya Dagan, Nathan Goshen, Sasson Gabai, Yuval Segal. Two rebellious young women, one fleeing the chaos of secular hedonism for the disciplined comforts of faith, the other desperate to transcend her oppressive religious upbringing for sexual and spiritual freedom, cross paths in Jerusalem. Contemporary World Cinema TIFF Bell Lightbox 2


(UK) 101mins. Sierra/ Affinity. Dir: Tom Harper. Cast: Jessie Buckley, »


American Film Market


Oct. 31 - Nov. 7 | Santa Monica


Julie Walters, Sophie Okonedo. An inspiring comedy drama about a would-be country singer who dreams of leaving her dreary Glasgow life for the bright lights of Nashville.


(South Africa-Germany) 118mins. Rushlake Media. Dir: Jahmil XT Qubeka. Cast: Bok van Blerk, Ezra Mabengeza, Kandyse McClure, Mandisa Nduna, Peter Kurth, Zolisa Xaluva. A rousing reimagining of the hunt for John Kepe, an outlaw in 1950s South Africa who robbed from white colonist farmers and gave to the impoverished Indigenous poor.

Special Presentations Scotiabank 1

15:45 SEW THE WINTER TO MY SKIN See box, right


(US) 133mins. Universal Pictures. Dir: Damien Chazelle. Cast: Ciaran Hinds, Claire Foy, Kyle Chandler, Christopher Abbott, Corey Stoll, Jason Clarke, Ryan Gosling, Lukas Haas. La La Land’s Damien Chazelle and Ryan Gosling reunite for this biopic on the adventures and life of Neil Armstrong, from his entry into Nasa’s astronaut programme in 1961 to his worldchanging walk on the moon eight years later. Gala Presentations Elgin Theatre


(UK) 97mins. Dir: Andy Tohill, Ryan Tohill. Cast: Emily Taaffe, Francis Magee, Lorcan Cranitch, Moe Dunford. A paroled, amnesiac killer is confronted by his victim’s father, in this gripping debut feature. Discovery Scotiabank 11


(US) 83mins. Dir: Maxim Pozdorovkin. Robots are great... except when they kill people and steal jobs. That’s the conclusion of filmmaker Maxim Pozdorovkin’s eyeopening work of science non-fiction. TIFF Docs Scotiabank 4


(Canada) 93mins. Séville International. Dir: Jasmin Mozaffari. Cast: Karena Evans, Michaela Kurimsky. An intense drama about two young women

Contemporary World Cinema Scotiabank 10

desperate to escape their repressive small town. Discovery Scotiabank 14


(Iran) 102mins. Iranian Independents. Dir: Arash Lahooti. Cast: Akram Alamdar, Ali Mosaffa, Amin Golestaneh, Hadieh Tehrani, Leili Farhadpour, Sadaf Asgari, Zhila Shahi. A tough-as-nails farm contractor proves she can compete, against unfair odds, with male competitors and lead her crew of female workers on northern Tehran’s largest orange harvest. Discovery TIFF Bell Lightbox 4 — Paul & Leah Atkinson Family Cinema

17:30 22 JULY

(Norway-Iceland) 143mins. Netflix. Dir: Paul Greengrass. Cast: Anders Danielsen Lie, Isak Bakli Aglen, Jon Oigarden, Jonas Strand Gravli, Maria Bock, Ola G Furuseth, Seda Witt, Thorbjorn Harr. Paul Greengrass recounts the story of the aftermath of Norway’s deadliest terrorist attack, in 2011. Special Presentations Scotiabank 3


(Canada) 106mins. Distant Horizon.

20 Screen International at Toronto September 10, 2018

Dir: Akash Sherman. Cast: Ennis Esmer, Kristen Hager, Patrick J Adams, RH Thomson, Troian Bellisario. An obsessive astronomer and his unconventional research partner probe their difficult pasts while searching for proof of the existence of life on distant planets, in this emotive sci-fi drama. Discovery Ryerson Theatre


(Mexico) 135mins. Netflix. Dir: Alfonso Cuaron. Cast: Marina de Tavira, Yalitza Aparicio. Alfonso Cuaron’s cogent and nuanced semiautobiographical feature chronicles one year in the life of a middle-class family in 1970s Mexico City. Special Presentations Princess of Wales


(US) 133mins. Universal Pictures. Dir: Damien Chazelle. Cast: Christopher Abbott, Ciaran Hinds, Claire Foy, Corey Stoll, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Lukas Haas, Patrick Fugit, Ryan Gosling. La La Land’s Damien Chazelle and Ryan Gosling reunite for this biopic on the adventures and life of Neil Armstrong, from his entry into Nasa’s

astronaut programme in 1961 to his worldchanging walk on the moon eight years later. Gala Presentations Roy Thomson Hall


(Ireland) 98mins. Bankside Films. Dir: John Butler. Cast: Alejandro Patiño, Matt Bomer. In Irish writer/director John Butler’s film, a solitary and alienated television weatherman hires a middle-aged Latino migrant worker to be his friend, offering a darkly comic reflection on class, ethnicity, and companionship in contemporary Los Angeles. Special Presentations Scotiabank 2


(Argentina-Brazil-FranceNetherlands-Germany) 109mins. Luxbox. Dir: Benjamin Naishtat. Cast: Alfredo Castro, Andrea Frigerio, Dario Grandinetti, Diego Cremonesi. Set in Argentina during the mid-1970s, Benjamin Naishtat’s hypnotic drama follows a successful lawyer whose picture-perfect life begins to unravel when a private detective comes to his seemingly quiet small town and starts asking questions. Platform TIFF Bell Lightbox 1


(Canada) 127mins. Séville International. Dir: Xavier Dolan. Cast: Emily Hampshire, Jacob Tremblay, Jared Keeso, Kathy Bates, Kit Harington, Natalie Portman, Sarah Gadon, Susan Sarandon, Thandie Newton. Xavier Dolan’s highly anticipated drama about a young man’s calculated reassessment of his infamous, and ultimately disastrous, childhood correspondence with an American television star. Special Presentations Winter Garden Theatre


(Germany-France) 97mins. Beta Cinema. Dir: Sven Taddicken. Cast: Jasna Fritzi Bauer, Leonard Kunz, Luise Heyer, Maximilian Brückner. A couple grapples with the lingering trauma of a sexual assault and must work out how to live with that crime, themselves, and each other, in this intense and emotional dramatic thriller. Contemporary World Cinema Scotiabank 13

18:30 AD VITAM

(France) 104mins. Lagardere Studios

Distribution. Dir: Thomas Cailley. Cast: Anne Azoulay, Ariane Labed, Garance Marillier, Hanna Schygulla, Niels Schneider, Rod Paradot, Yvan Attal. A new regeneration process allows human beings to live forever, but when a number of teenage suicides rock the population, a detective must enlist the help of a rebellious 20-something to uncover the truth behind what happened. Primetime TIFF Bell Lightbox 3 — Piers Handling Cinema


(Iceland-France-Ukraine) 100mins. Beta Cinema. Dir: Benedikt Erlingsson. Cast: David Thor Jonsson, Halldora Geirhardsdottir, Magnus Trygvason Eliasen, Omar Gudjonsson. Halla is a committed eco-terrorist trying to save Iceland’s natural landscapes from industrialist destruction, but when a long-desired child becomes available for adoption, she must choose between the greater good and her own dreams. Discovery Scotiabank 1


(Norway) 98mins. TrustNordisk. Dir: Tuva Novotny. Cast: Anders

Baasmo Christiansen, Marianne Krogh, Oddgeir Thune, Per Frisch. An uncompromising tale of family tragedy and heartbreak, in which a mother struggles to understand her teenage daughter’s crisis. Discovery Scotiabank 10


(Canada) 93mins. Celluloid Dreams. Dir: Keith Behrman. Cast: Darren Mann, Josh Wiggins, Kyle MacLachlan, Maria Bello, Niamh Wilson, Peter Outerbridge, Taylor Hickson. The teenage son of divorced parents faces seismic personal upheaval after an unexpected incident at a party. Special Presentations Scotiabank 4


(France) 113mins. mk2 Films. Dir: Tom Volf. Cast: Joyce DiDonato. Director Tom Volf offers fresh insights into one of the great talents of the 20th century via recently rediscovered writings and interviews with the GreekAmerican soprano. TIFF Docs TIFF Bell Lightbox 2

Jessica Chastain, Jill Soloway, Judd Apatow, Maria Geise, Meryl Streep, Natalie Portman, Reese Witherspoon, Rosario Dawson, Rose McGowan, Sandra Oh, Shonda Rhimes. In this timely follow-up to his documentary Casting By, Tom Donahue explores the systemic sexism in Hollywood through the voices of marquee celebrities and many other ambassadors of the #TimesUp movement. TIFF Docs Scotiabank 11


(Canada) 88mins. Dir: Bruce Sweeney. Cast: Agam Darshi, Camille Sullivan, Colleen Rennison, Gabrielle Rose, Jeff Gladstone, Jennifer Mclean, Jillian Fargey, Kevin McNulty, Paul Skrudland. In Bruce Sweeney’s Vancouver-set dramedy, a single car mechanic’s suspicions that her sisterin-law is having an affair prompts their small circle of family and friends to confront their own stalled routes to romance. Contemporary World Cinema Jackman Hall



(Ireland) 101mins. WestEnd Films. Dir: Carmel Winters. Cast: Dara Devaney, Hazel Doupe, Hilda Fay, Johnny Collins, Lalor Roddy. In filmmaker Carmel Winters’ second feature, a young Irish Traveller has to contend with her recently released from prison father in order to pursue her dreams of being a boxer. Discovery Scotiabank 8


(US) 97mins. ICM Partners. Dir: Tom Donahue. Cast: Alan Alda, Amandla Stenberg, Anita Hill, Cate Blanchett, Chloë Grace Moretz, Geena Davis,

(Qatar-France-Tunisia) 96mins. MPM Premium.

Dir: Nejib Belkadhi. Cast: Idryss Kharroubi, Nidhal Saadi, Sawssen Maalej. Torn between the life he thought he could leave behind in Tunisia and the life he has created for himself in Marseille, a man finds himself at a crossroads. Contemporary World Cinema Scotiabank 14


(Thailand-France-China) 105mins. Jour2Fête. Dir: Phuttiphong Aroonpheng. Cast: Aphisit Hama, Rasmee Wayrana, Wanlop Rungkumjad. Phuttiphong Aroonpheng’s debut feature, about a Rohingya refugee and the Thai fisherman who rescues him, is a complex tale of friendship. Discovery TIFF Bell Lightbox 4 — Paul & Leah Atkinson Family Cinema


(US) 93mins. Rocket Science. Dir: David Lowery. Cast: Robert Redford, Casey Affleck, Danny Glover, Sissy Spacek, Tika Sumpter, Tom Waits. Academy Award winners Robert Redford and Sissy Spacek lead an all-star cast, in director David Lowery’s true-life dramedy

about an unrepentant bank robber and jailbreaker determined to live by his own rules. Special Presentations Elgin Theatre


(US) 113mins. Sierra/ Affinity. Dir: Sam TaylorJohnson. Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton, Charles Parnell, Dash Mihok, David Dastmalchian, Eugene Byrd, Giovanni Ribisi, Juliette Lewis, Odessa Young. Sam Taylor-Johnson (50 Shades Of Grey) brings to the screen James Frey’s controversial 2003 bestseller about an alcoholic crack addict who finds solace in the company of a past crime lord and a former sex worker, revealing a pathway to renewal and redemption. Special Presentations Ryerson Theatre


(UK-US-Germany) 90mins. A+E Networks. Dir: Andre Singer, Werner Herzog. Cast: George P.Shultz, Horst Teltschik, James A. Baker III, Lech Walesa, Mikhail Gorbachev, Miklos Németh. Prolific director Werner

Herzog’s candid conversations with the former Soviet head of state form the backbone of this illuminating documentary, co-directed by Andre Singer, on one of the 20th century’s defining politicians. TIFF Docs TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

border agent who uses her ability to sense or smell human emotions to catch smugglers, but when one man confounds her detection she is forced to confront a new reality. Contemporary World Cinema Scotiabank 1



(Canada) 94mins. Séville International. Dir: Maxime Giroux. Cast: Buddy Duress, Cody Fern, Luzer Twersky, Martin Dubreuil, Reda Kateb, Romain Duris, Sarah Gadon, Soko. Maxime Giroux’s fine absurdist allegory about a Quebecois would-be actor stuck in a wildly disordered society dominated by an unseen fascistic leader eerily conjures the idea of ‘the other’ currently playing out in the real world. Contemporary World Cinema Scotiabank 3

21:15 BORDER

(Sweden-Denmark) 110mins. Films Boutique. Dir: Ali Abbasi. Cast: Ann Petren, Eero Milonoff, Eva Melander, Jogen Thorsson, Sten Ljungren. Ali Abbasi’s Border follows the story of a

(US) 123mins. Rocket Science. Dir: Karyn Kusama. Cast: Bradley Whitford, Nicole Kidman, Sebastian Stan, Tatiana Maslany, Toby Kebbell. When a new case uncovers traumas from a past undercover operation, an LAPD detective (Nicole Kidman) is forced to face her demons, in this genredefining work. Platform Winter Garden Theatre


(Puerto Rico-UK-US) 113mins. Embankment Films. Dir: Nick Hamm. Cast: Corey Stoll, Isabel Arraiza, Jason Sudeikis, Judy Greer, Lee Pace. The outlandish crashand-burn story of the rise and fall of automotive maverick John DeLorean and his drug dealerturned-informant neighbour, who worked with the authorities to bring down the inventor. Special Presentations Princess of Wales


(Italy) 96mins. Fandango. Dir: Laura Luchetti. Cast: Alessandro Pani, Anastasyia Bogach, Aniello Arena, Giorgio Colangeli, Kalill Kone, Mauro Addis. In Laura Luchetti’s dark drama, two teenagers — one on the run from the immigrant trafficker her father used to work for, the other an illegal migrant from the Ivory Coast — form an unlikely but powerful bond as they travel across the harsh and beautiful Sardinian landscape. Discovery Scotiabank 9


September 10, 2018 Screen International at Toronto 21



(UK) 107mins. HanWay Films. Dir: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. Cast: Damson Idris, Genevieve Nnaji, Gugu MbathaRaw, Jaime Winstone, John Dagleish, Kate Beckinsale, Zephan Amissah. Actor Adewale AkinnuoyeAgbaje draws on his own life for his feature directorial debut, about a London-born Nigerian child voluntarily placed in a white workingclass home as part of a 1960s social experiment, stranding him between cultures and sending him through adolescence on a twisting journey from destructive self-loathing to perseverance. Discovery Scotiabank 10


(US) 97mins. Cinetic Media. Dir: E Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin. Cast: Alex Honnold. The documentarian duo behind 2015’s acclaimed Meru return to high altitudes, this time as renowned rock climber Alex Honnold attempts to do what no climber has done before: ascend free solo — without safety ropes — the 3,000-foot cliff of El Capitan in California’s Yosemite National Park. TIFF Docs Scotiabank 12


(Georgia-Russia) 87mins. Dir: Nino Zhvania. Cast: Archil Kikodze, Goga Pipinashvili, Guga Kotetishvili, Nikoloz Abramashvili. In this debut feature from Nino Zhvania, three downtrodden friends reunite by chance after years apart and strike out on one last adventure in an attempt to recreate the halcyon days of their youth. Discovery TIFF Bell Lightbox 3 — Piers Handling Cinema


Bejo, Edgar Ramirez, Graciela Borges, Joaquin Furriel, Martina Gusman. Against the backdrop of a military dictatorship, Eugenia is reunited with her estranged family following her father’s stroke and is forced to confront dark secrets, in Pablo Trapero’s highly anticipated follow-up to 2015’s The Clan. Special Presentations Scotiabank 2


(Colombia-DenmarkMexico-France) 125mins. Films Boutique. Dir: Ciro Guerra, Cristina Gallego. Cast: Carmiña Martinez, Greider Meza, Jhon Narvaez, Jose Acosta, Jose Vicente Cotes, Juan Bautista, Natalia Reyes. Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra (Embrace Of The Serpent) once again team up for this exquisitely detailed story of a Wayuu man’s downward spiral — and its effects on his community — as he becomes increasingly involved in northern Colombia’s drug trade. Contemporary World Cinema TIFF Bell Lightbox 2

FREAKS SHADOW See box, above


(Argentina) 120mins. Wild Bunch. Dir: Pablo Trapero. Cast: Bérénice

(Canada) 104mins. Creative Artists Agency (CAA), Gersh Agency. Dir: Adam Stein, Zach Lipovsky. Cast: Amanda Crew, Bruce Dern, Emile Hirsch, Grace Park.

22 Screen International at Toronto September 10, 2018

21:30 SHADOW

(China) 116mins. Bloom. Dir: Zhang Yimou. Cast: Chao Deng, Jingchun Wang, Jun Hu, Kai Zheng, Leo

In this claustrophobic genre-bending psychological sci-fi thriller, a bold girl discovers a bizarre, threatening and mysterious new world beyond her front door after she escapes her father’s protective and paranoid control. Discovery Scotiabank 4


(Denmark-NetherlandsSweden) 90mins. Autlook Filmsales. Dir: Janus Metz, Sine Plambech. Cast: Frank Andersen, Jarinya Andersen, John Nielsen, Kjeld B Andersen, Niels Jorgen Molbaek, Nuntawat Tantiang, Prasoet Navoram, Saengrawi Ainchan-Saa, Saowalak Nielsen, Sommai Molbæk, Titakorn Phoothanonnok. This dual effort from Janus Metz and Sine Plambech chronicles the lives of several women who leave their home countries in order to find husbands and provide for their families. TIFF Docs Scotiabank 14

Wu, Li Sun, Qianyuan Wang, Xiaotong Guan. Zhang Yimou brings a completely original cinematic style to an epic battle story, dazzlingly contrasting visuals

that draw on China’s centuries-old tradition of ink-wash painting against next-level fighting sequences. Gala Presentations Roy Thomson Hall



(Nigeria) 95mins. MPM Premium. Dir: Genevieve Nnaji. Cast: Genevieve Nnaji, Nkem Owoh, Onyeka Onwenu, Pete Edochie. In order to save her father’s ailing bus company, competent but perennially overlooked Adaeze must find a way to work alongside her feckless uncle Godswill, in the sharp and comically observed directorial debut from Nollywood star Genevieve Nnaji.

(Netherlands) 127mins. Atoms & Void. Dir: Sergei Loznitsa. Ukrainian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa (Donbass) returns with this archival chronicle of one of the infamous Moscow Trials — at the time, an operatic affair serving to legitimise Stalin’s government, now a timely reminder of the consequences of total authority.

Discovery Scotiabank 8


(Spain-France) 124mins. Film Factory. Dir: Carlos Vermut. Cast: Carmen Elias, Eva Llorach, Najwa Nimri, Natalia de Molina. When Lila, a celebrated but fame-weary and amnesiac singer forgets how to perform, superfan Violeta steps in to teach Lila how to be Lila once again, in a twisty, melodramatic film that has echoes of the work of Pedro Almodovar. Contemporary World Cinema Scotiabank 11

Wavelengths Jackman Hall


(Russia-France-Armenia) 109mins. Wild Bunch. Dir: Yury Bykov. Cast: Alexander Bukharov, Alexander Vorobiev, Alexey Komashko, Andrey Smolyakov, Denis Shvedov, Dmitry Kulichkov, Ivan Yankovsky, Kirill Polukhin, Petr Barancheev, Vladislav Abashin, Yury Tarasov. After a local oligarch purchases a factory in a small Russian town and announces its closure, the blue-collar workers decide to kidnap him in order to

get what’s theirs, in Yury Bykov’s damning social critique. Contemporary World Cinema Scotiabank 9

22:30 EL ANGEL

(Argentina-Spain) 114mins. Film Factory. Dir: Luis Ortega. Cast: Cécilia Roth, Chino Darin, Daniel Fanego, Lorenzo Ferro, Luis Gnecco, Mercedes Moran, Peter Lanzani. Loosely based on the infamous Argentinian serial killer dubbed Death Angel, this cautionary drama follows an innocuous-looking but deeply sinister thief whose lawlessness escalates exponentially when he takes up with a career criminal. Contemporary World Cinema TIFF Bell Lightbox 4 — Paul & Leah Atkinson Family Cinema


(US) 86mins. Dir: Emma Tammi. Cast: Ashley Zukerman, Caitlin Gerard, Dylan McTee, Julia Goldani Telles, Miles Anderson. When a woman moves to the American frontier to settle in with her husband, an evil presence soon makes itself known and infects her with paranoia, in Emma Tammi’s sinister western horror. Midnight Madness Ryerson Theatre

mother and son, helping them discover that love can be found in many forms.


Special Presentations Scotiabank 4




(Canada) 93mins. Celluloid Dreams. Dir: Keith Behrman. Cast: Darren Mann, Josh Wiggins, Kyle MacLachlan, Maria Bello, Niamh Wilson, Peter Outerbridge, Taylor Hickson. In the latest from Canadian director Keith Behrman, Kyle MacLachlan and Maria Bello star as divorced parents whose teenage son (Josh Wiggins) faces seismic personal upheaval after an unexpected incident at a party. Special Presentations Scotiabank 4

ICEBOX See box, right


(Canada) 111mins. Serendipity Point Films, Distant Horizon. Dir: Don McKellar. Cast: Brandon Oakes, Graham Greene, Kiowa Gordon, Tanaya Beatty, Tantoo Cardinal, Tina Keeper. Don McKellar and his cast explore the way a young Cree woman’s disappearance traumatises her family and triggers events in two worlds: in Moosonee, the remote Northern Ontario community she fled years ago, and Toronto, where she modelled before vanishing. Special Presentations Scotiabank 9




(US) 86mins. William Morris Endeavor Entertainment. Dir: Daniel Sawka. Cast: Anthony Gonzalez, Genesis Rodriguez, Jessica Juarez, Johnny Ortiz, Omar Leyva.

(Japan-France) 109mins. Elle Driver. Dir: Naomi Kawase. Cast: Juliette Binoche, Masatoshi Nagase. As Jeanne (Juliette Binoche) searches for a rare medicinal plant in Japan, she meets a forest ranger who assists her quest and also uncovers traces of her past, in Naomi Kawase’s latest film. Special Presentations Scotiabank 11


(Belgium) 106mins. The Match Factory. Dir: Lukas Dhont. Cast: Arieh Worthalter, Victor Polster. Lukas Dhont’s expressive first feature follows a young girl, assigned male at birth, as she struggles to realise her dreams of becoming a ballerina, all the while desperate for her body to reflect her true identity.

(US) 114mins. Amazon Studios. Dir: Sam Esmail. Cast: Alex Karpovsky, Bobby Cannavale, Dermot Mulroney, Hong Chau, Jeremy Allen White, Julia Roberts, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Shea Whigham, Sissy Spacek, Stephan James. A caseworker (Julia Roberts) who helps soldiers transition back to civilian life is interrogated by the Department of Defense after her former

A 12-year-old Honduran’s quest for a better life is interrupted when he is interned at a US immigration detention centre full of other kids, in this timely social drama. Discovery Scotiabank 10

Kendrick Lamar, Quincy Jones, Rashida Jones. A fascinating and intimate look at the life, labours and legacies of the legendary music producer, co-directed by daughter Rashida Jones and Alan Hicks. TIFF Docs Scotiabank 13

09:15 ANGEL



Discovery Scotiabank 14

(France) 96mins. Wild Bunch. Dir: Gaspar Noé. Cast: Claude Gajan Maull, Giselle Palmer, Kiddy Smile, Romain Guillermic, Sofia Boutella, Souheila Yacoub. Set in 1996, arthouse agitator Gaspar Noé’s latest depicts the malevolent madness that descends on a dance troupe’s post-rehearsal party after a communal punchbowl of sangria is spiked with LSD.

boss’s ambitious demands raise suspicion. Primetime Scotiabank 7


(US) 117mins. Annapurna International. Dir: Barry Jenkins. Cast: Aunjanue Ellis, Bryan Tyree Henry, Colman Domingo, Dave Franco, Diego Luna, Ed Skrein, Emily Rios, Finn Wittrock, KiKi Layne, Michael Beach, Pedro Pascal, Regina King, Stephan James, Teyonah Parris. Director Barry Jenkins’ ambitious follow-up to Moonlight adapts James Baldwin’s poignant novel about a woman fighting to free her falsely accused husband from prison before the birth of their child. Special Presentations Scotiabank 1 & 3


(US) 124mins. Netflix. Dir: Alan Hicks, Rashida Jones. Cast: Dr Dre, Herbie Hancock,

(Belgium-NetherlandsSenegal) 105mins. Oration Films. Dir: Koen Mortier. Cast: Fatou N’Diaye, Vincent Rottiers. A fateful encounter between a Senegalese sex worker and a worldfamous Belgian racing cyclist turns tragic, in an atmospheric and ephemeral film from director Koen Mortier (Ex Drummer). Contemporary World Cinema Scotiabank 6


(Israel) 91mins. Stray Dogs. Dir: Yona Rozenkier. Cast: Micha Rozenkier, Yoel Rozenkier, Yona Rozenkier. When a family patriarch dies, three brothers must put aside their differences to carry out their father’s last wishes, in Yona Rozenkier’s tender yet analytical debut examining what it means to be human. Contemporary World Cinema Scotiabank 8


Midnight Madness Scotiabank 11


(US-UK) 100mins. William Morris Endeavor Entertainment. Dir: Errol Morris. Cast: Stephen K Bannon. From groundbreaking documentarian Errol Morris comes a probing portrait of controversial Breitbart honcho and Donald Trump adviser Stephen K Bannon. TIFF Docs Scotiabank 2


(US) 97mins. Cinetic Media. Dir: E Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin. Cast: Alex Honnold. The documentarian duo behind 2015’s acclaimed Meru return to high altitudes, this time as renowned rock climber Alex Honnold attempts to do what no climber has done before: ascend free solo — without safety ropes — the 3,000-foot cliff of El Capitan in California’s Yosemite National Park.


(Mexico) 93mins. Cinépolis Distribucion. Dir: Alejandra Marquez Abella. Cast: Cassandra Ciangherotti, Flavio Medina, Ilse Salas, Paulina Gaitan. A well-to-do socialite and her husband must wrestle with the impact of Mexico’s 1982 economic crisis, in this meticulously crafted feature from Alejandra Marquez Abella (Semana Santa). Platform Scotiabank 9


TIFF Docs Scotiabank 10

(Canada) 88mins. Brian Stewart. Dir: Rob Stewart. Cast: Brock Cahill, Madison Stewart, Regi Domingo, Rob Stewart, Will Allen. Late filmmaker and conservationist Rob Stewart’s last documentary is a thrilling exposé on the illegal shark-fin industry and a rousing call to save an imperilled animal from the edge of extinction.


Special Event Scotiabank 7

(UK) 106mins. Film Constellation. Dir: Annabel Jankel. Cast: Anna Paquin, Holliday Grainger. A wrenching drama of a shunned small-town doctor and beekeeper in postwar Britain who befriends a struggling


(Chile-Brazil-ArgentinaNetherlands-Qatar) 110mins. Stray Dogs. Dir: Dominga Sotomayor. Cast: Antar Machado, Demian Hernandez, Magdalena Totoro. Three young people »

September 10, 2018 Screen International at Toronto 23


learn about love, life and growing up in isolation after their parents move from the city to the foot of the Andes, in writer/ director Dominga Sotomayor’s bittersweet story of the joys and heartaches of plunging into an unknown future.


(US) 111mins. Bloom Media. Dir: Jake Scott. Cast: Aaron Paul, Amy Madigan, Christina Hendricks, Sienna Miller, Will Sasso. Following the disappearance of her teenage daughter, a woman must raise her infant grandson and find some answers, in this decades-spanning drama.

Discovery Scotiabank 8


(US) 107mins. A+E Networks. Dir: Alexis Bloom. Alexis Bloom charts the rise and fall of the late Republican Party booster and controversial Fox News mogul, who went down in flames amid multiple sexual harassment allegations. TIFF Docs Scotiabank 14


(France) 90mins. Futurikon. Dir: Hélene Giraud, Thomas Szabo. When a young ladybug gets trapped in a cardboard box shipped to the Caribbean, his father sets off for Guadeloupe to rescue him and save others from a human construction site, in this charming animated series. Contemporary World Cinema Scotiabank 6


(US) 135mins. Voltage Pictures. Dir: Alex Ross Perry. Cast: Agyness Deyn, Amber Heard, Ashley Benson, Cara Delevingne, Dan Stevens, Dylan Gelula, Elisabeth Moss, Eric Stoltz, Gayle Rankin. Elisabeth Moss takes centre stage as Becky Something, a talented but self-destructive musician who seems determined to alienate everyone around her — even at the cost of her band’s success. Platform Scotiabank 13


(Canada-US-UK) 108mins. Fortitude International. Dir: Justin Kelly. Cast: Courtney

Special Presentations Scotiabank 12

16:15 FAUSTO


(Israel) 155mins. Keshet International. Dir: Daniel Syrkin. Cast: Dov Glickman, Gidi Gov, Leora Rivlin, Sasson Gabai, Tiki Dayan. Just days before the laureates are announced,

a leading contender for the Nobel Prize in Economics is found dead in his bed. His four closest friends decide to keep him alive a little bit longer for the one thing he wanted more than anything. Primetime Scotiabank 6

Love, Dave Brown, Diane Kruger, James Jagger, Jim Sturgess, Kelvin Harrison Jr, Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern. In this captivating true story, a young woman (Kristen Stewart) spends years playing the public role of Jeremiah ‘Terminator’ LeRoy, an enigmatic and celebrated literary persona created by her sister-in-law (Laura Dern).

(UK) 122mins. Protagonist Pictures. Dir: Amma Asante. Cast: Abbie Cornish, Amandla Stenberg, Christopher Eccleston, George MacKay, Tom Sweet. A disquieting coming-ofage romance about a black German teenager who falls in love with a member of the Hitler Youth.

Gala Presentations Scotiabank 12

Special Presentations Scotiabank 10






(US) 84mins. A24. Dir: Jonah Hill. Cast: Alexa Demie, Gio Galicia, Katherine Waterston, Lucas Hedges, Na-kel Smith, Olan Prenatt, Ryder McLaughlin, Sunny Suljic. Jonah Hill makes his directorial debut with this coming-of-age story about a teenage boy who falls in with an eclectic group of skateboarders.

(Belgium-France) 91mins. Urban Distribution International. Dir: Joël Karekezi. Cast: Marc Zinga, Stéphane Bak. Set in 1998 at the outset of the Second Congo War, Rwandan director Joël Karekezi’s feature follows a pair of soldiers navigating both wilderness and personal existential crises behind enemy lines.

Special Presentations Scotiabank 2

Discovery Scotiabank 5

24 Screen International at Toronto September 10, 2018

13:30 MAYA

(France) 107mins. Orange Studio. Dir: Mia Hansen-Love. Cast: Aarshi Banerjee, Roman Kolinka. A French war correspondent released from captivity in Syria is unable to rebuild a normal life until he returns to his childhood home and meets a teenage girl who guides him forward. Special Presentations Scotiabank 11


(Canada-Uruguay) 82mins. FiGa Films. Dir: Katherine Jerkovic. Cast: Arlen Aguayo Stewart, Gloria Demassi. In Katherine Jerkovic’s debut feature, a woman struggles to rekindle her relationship with her paternal grandmother and her home country while mourning the death of her father. Contemporary World Cinema Scotiabank 9


(India) 131mins. Dir: Vasan Bala. Cast: Abhimanyu Dassani, Gulshan Devaiah, Jimit Trivedi, Mahesh Manjrekar, Radhika Madan. In this Bollywood-infused action film from Vasan Bala (Peddlers), a young

man born without the ability to feel pain strikes out on a quest to vanquish 100 foes. Midnight Madness Scotiabank 7


(Canada-Mexico) 70mins. Dir: Andrea Bussmann. Cast: Alberto Nuñez, Fernando Renjifo, Gabino Rodriguez, Victor Pueyo, Ziad Chakaroun. A beautiful, cryptic take on shapeshifting, telepathy and dealings with the devil on the Mexican coast. Wavelengths Scotiabank 5



(UK) 118mins. Bankside Films. Dir: Peter Strickland. Cast: Gwendoline Christie, Hayley Squires, Julian Barrett, Leo Bill, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Steve Oram. This haunting phantasmagoria from Peter Strickland follows the surge of misfortunes afflicting customers who come into contact with a bewitched dress at an eerie department store.

(France) 97mins. mk2 Films. Dir: Caroline Poggi, Jonathan Vinel. Cast: Aomi Muyock, Lucas Ionesco, Paul Hamy, Sebastian Urzendowsky. Caroline Poggi and Jonathan Vinel’s visually striking debut feature presents a dystopian world where violent misfits reign supreme, counterbalanced by one woman and her makeshift family of rehabilitated marauders fighting for peace.

Midnight Madness Scotiabank 8

STOCKHOLM See box, above

Platform Scotiabank 9



(US) 109mins. Roadside Attractions, YouTube Premium. Dir: Maryam Keshavarz. Cast: Adepero Oduye, Edie Falco, Julian Morris, Lola Kirke, Matt Bomer, Sheila Vand, Susan Sarandon. A war correspondent is taken hostage while on assignment, prompting his mother — impatient with the government’s lack of concern — to take matters into her own hands. Special Presentations Scotiabank 14

(Iran) 102mins. Iranian Independents. Dir: Arash Lahooti. Cast: Akram Alamdar, Ali Mosaffa, Alireza OStadi, Amin Golestaneh, Hadieh Tehrani, Leili Farhadpour, Mehran Ahmadi, Roya Hosseni, Sadaf Asgari, Zhila Shahi. The fiction-feature debut from documentary director Arash Lahooti stars Hadieh Tehrani as a tough-as-nails farm contractor proving she can compete, against unfair odds, with male

competitors during northern Tehran’s largest orange harvest. Discovery Scotiabank 8

side of the refugee crisis we rarely get to see. Contemporary World Cinema Scotiabank 6





(US-Denmark-Norway) 117mins. ro*co films. Dir: James Longley. A compassionate group portrait of Afghan students and teachers weathering national turbulence. TIFF Docs Scotiabank 7


(India-US) 91mins. Dir: Ritu Sarin, Tenzing Sonam. Cast: Jampa Kalsang, Lhakpa Tsering, Rabyoung Thonden Gyalkhang, Shavo Dorjee, Tenzin Dolker. The story of a Tibetan woman grappling with living in exile, revealing a

(Turkey-GermanyRomania) 102mins. Dir: Ali Vatansever. Cast: Erol Afsin, Kida Ramadan, Onur Buldu, Saadet Isil Aksoy, Ummu Putgul. Turkish director Ali Vatansever weighs the human cost of politically motivated urban renewal in his resonant second feature, about a couple forced to compromise their ideals in order to keep up with the rent, and work for the very industry encroaching on their Istanbul neighbourhood. Discovery Scotiabank 5


(UK-Ireland) 110mins. Protagonist Pictures. Dir: Chanya Button.

Cast: Elizabeth Debicki, Gemma Arterton, Isabella Rossellini, Peter Ferdinando, Rupert Penry-Jones. Gemma Arterton and Elizabeth Debicki shine as Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf, respectively, in Chanya Button’s sumptuous double portrait of two uncompromising women and the unconventional affair behind one of Woolf ’s greatest novels. Special Presentations Scotiabank 12


(US) 120mins. Facebook Watch. Dir: Allison Anders, James Ponsoldt, Jessica Yu. Cast: Elizabeth Olsen, Janet McTeer, Jovan Adepo, Kelly Marie Tran, Mamoudou Athie. A young woman, shattered by the sudden death of her husband, falls into a

downward spiral, in this honest and devastating consideration of grief, mental illness and finding the courage to move on. Primetime Scotiabank 7


(Czech RepublicSlovenia-Poland-Slovakia) 85mins. Cercamon. Dir: Olmo Omerzu. Cast: Eliska Krenkova, Jan Frantisek Uher, Lenka Vlasakova, Martin Pechlat, Tomas Mrvik. Two mischievous adolescent boys embark on a journey of imaginative misadventure and comingof-age self-discovery. Contemporary World Cinema Scotiabank 6


(Germany-France-USUK-Poland) 110mins. Wild Bunch. Dir: Claire Denis. Cast: Agata Buzek,

Andre Benjamin, Claire Tran, Ewan Mitchell, Gloria Obianyo, Jessie Ross, Juliette Binoche, Lars Eidinger, Mia Goth, Robert Pattinson, Scarlett Lindsey, Victor Banerjee. French filmmaker Claire Denis’ long-anticipated English-language debut and sci-fi drama stars Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Mia Goth and André Benjamin as criminals sent into deep space. Gala Presentations Scotiabank 5

22:00 AD VITAM

(France) 104mins. Lagardere Studios Distribution. Dir: Thomas Cailley. Cast: Anne Azoulay, Ariane Labed, Garance Marillier, Hanna Schygulla, Niels Schneider, Rod Paradot, Yvan Attal. A new regeneration process allows human beings

to live forever, but when a number of teenage suicides rock the seemingly evergreen population, a hard-boiled detective must enlist the help of a rebellious 20-something to uncover the truth. Primetime Scotiabank 6


(Portugal-France-Brazil) 92mins. Charades. Dir: Daniel Schmidt, Gabriel Abrantes. Cast: Anabela Moreira, Carloto Cotta, Cleo Tavares, Margarida Moreira. When the world’s leading soccer star ends his career in disgrace, he goes on a delirious journey where he confronts neo-fascism, the refugee crisis and genetic modification, in this bonkers first feature from avant-garde iconoclasts Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt. Midnight Madness Scotiabank 7

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September 10, 2018 Screen International at Toronto 25






Le Film Français, France


Time Out New York, US


Boston Globe, US


NOW/CTV, Canada



Los Angeles Times, US




★★ Average ★ Poor

✖ Bad

Screen office Fourth floor, meeting room one, TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King Street West, Toronto, ON, M5V 3X5 Editorial Tel +1 310 922 5908

THE RIVER (Kaz-Pol-Nor) Emir Baigazin

★ ★★

★ ★★

★★ ★★



★★ ★★


Editor Matt Mueller,, +44 7880 526 547 Americas editor Jeremy Kay,, +1 310 922 5908

JESSICA FOREVER (Fr) Caroline Poggi, Jonathan Vinel

DESTROYER (US) Karyn Kusama




★ ★★

★★ ★★


★ ★★

★ ★★



Chief critic and reviews editor Finn Halligan,, +44 7798 571 270 Group head of production and art Mark Mowbray,, +44 7710 124 065 Features editor Charles Gant, Art director, MBI Peter Gingell,


★ ★★



OUT OF BLUE (UK) Carol Morley

★ ★★





★ ★★


★ ★★


★ ★★



★ ★★




Sid Adilman mentorship programme Karina Mohammed Advertising and publishing Publishing director Nadia Romdhani, nadia.romdhani@, +44 7540 100 315 Commercial director Scott Benfold, scott.benfold@ International account managers Hettie Halden, hettie.halden@ Ingrid Hammond, ingridhammond@ Gunter Zerbich, gunter.zerbich@

ANGELO (Aust-Lux) Markus Schleinzer

★ ★★

ROJO (Arg-Braz-Fr-Neth-Ger) Benjamin Naishtat

THE INNOCENT (Switz-Ger) Simon Jaquemet


★★ ★★

★ ★★

★ ★★

★ ★★


★★ ★★

★ ★★


★ ★★


Judith Hofmann stars as a woman who is a committed member of a free church movement. When her former ★★ ★★ ★★ ★★ ★★ ★★ lover, played by non-professional actor Thomas Schüpbach, is released from prison, she questions her family ★★ ★★ ★★ ★★ ★★ ★★ responsibilities and her faith.


President, North America Nigel Daly,, +1 213 447 5120 Business development executive, North America Danny De Lillo,, +1 917 818 8701 Business development executive, North America Nikki Tilmouth, +1 323 868 7633 Production manager Neil Sinclair, neil.sinclair@mb-insight. com, +44 7703 823 444 Marketing executive Charlotte Peers, charlotte.peers@mbi. london Managing director, publishing and events Alison Pitchford


Through a triptych in which the future, the present and the past are told in reverse chronology over several ★★ ★★ ★★ ★★ ★★ ★★ decades, Ho’s tale examines three significant moments in the life of an ordinary man and the circumstances that ★★ ★★ ★★ ★★ ★★ ★★ led to a life-altering decision. The cast includes Jack Kao, Ding Ning, Li Hong-Chi and Louise Grinberg.

HER SMELL (US) Alex Ross Perry

In Alex Ross Perry’s star-studded drama, Elisabeth Moss takes centre stage as Becky Something, a talented ★★ ★★ ★★ ★★ ★★ ★★ but self-destructive musician who seems determined to alienate everyone around her — even at the cost of her ★★ ★★ ★★ ★★ ★★ ★★ band’s success. Cara Delevingne and Amber Heard co-star.

THE GOOD GIRLS (Mex) Alejandra Marquez Abella



Chief executive, MBI Conor Dignam Printer Big Bark Graphics, S/B — 68 Healey Road, Units 1-3, Bolton, ON, L7E 5A4 Screen International, London MBI, Zetland House, 5-25 Scrutton Street, London EC2A 4HJ, United Kingdom Subscription enquiries +44 330 333 9414

The Good Girls tackles Mexico’s 1982 financial crash, and its impact on a well-to-do socialite and her husband ★★ ★★ ★★ ★★ ★★ ★★ as the social and economic order starts to shift around them. Ilse Salas and Flavio Medina star. Mexican director ★★ ★★ ★★ ★★ ★★ ★★ Alejandra Marquez Abella made a name for herself with Toronto 2015 and SXSW 2016 drama Semana Santa.

26 Screen International at Toronto September 10, 2018




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07-09-18 16:10


Screen Scotland is the new dedicated partnership for screen in Scotland, delivering enhanced support for all aspects of Scotland’s screen sector. Join us at Toronto International Film Festival at the UK Film Centre, 9th Floor, Hyatt Regency Hotel. | @screenscots E T +44 (0) 141 302 1724 The Clyde Arc, also known as the Squinty Bridge, is lit up as night falls with STV and BBC offices in the background and the lights reflecting on the River Clyde, Glasgow, Scotland. Photo: Tony Clerkson/ Scottish Viewpoint

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