TIFF Announces First Selections in Gala and Special Presentations Programs


by Sam Kolesnik

The 44th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has announced some first selections for its Gala and Special Presentations Programs. The selections include 29 World Premieres, six International Premieres, 13 North American premieres and eight Canadian premieres.

In a press release dated July 23rd, 2019, Joana Vicente, Co-Head and Executive Director of TIFF says, “Fast-paced, boundary pushing, satirical — this lineup has films representing every corner of the cinematic landscape on top of a strong number of World Premieres. It’s a pleasure to be able to share these films with audiences for the first time.”

The press release also notes that of the Gala films announced, 50% of the selections are directed or co-directed by women.

Joker  | Warner Bros.

Joker | Warner Bros.

These Gala selections include the World Premieres of Marielle Heller’s It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood starring Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers, as well as Harriet, directed by Kasi Lemmons and starring Cynthia Erivo as Harriet Tubman.

The Gala program will open with Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band directed by Daniel Roher. Executive produced by Martin Scorsese, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, Roher’s documentary follows Robbie Robertson from his early life in Toronto to his years as a member of the acclaimed rock group, The Band.

One of the buzzier selections in the Gala program is the North American Premiere of Todd Phillips’ Joker, which looks to be a promising new interpretation of the iconic villain starring Joaquin Phoenix.

Gala selections can be viewed on the TIFF website. The full festival schedule is slated to be announced August 20th. The 44th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 5 - 15, 2019.