I’m covering the Toronto International Film Festival

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I’m beyond excited that I am able to cover the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival because of the Media Inclusion Initiative. TIFF has always been on my bucket list and because of Covid19 will be able to cover virtually. If you’ve always wanted to visit Toronto and attend the festival you have two options. You can attend in Live-in-Person or virtually and purchase tickets or festival pass.

“TIFF has a proud history of programming award-winning films, expanding the conversation to include a multitude of voices, and in creating boundary-pushing initiatives for the industry. And this year we’ve added new innovations and ways to give back to the community. In doing so, we’re aiming to advance what a film festival is capable of delivering — for audiences and the film industry. We could never have anticipated the global seismic changes we would be facing in 2020. We tapped into the original spirit of the Festival from when it began in 1976 as our guiding light. The distilled edition of TIFF 2020 reflects a deep love of film, passion for our loyal audiences, commitment to the industry, and a whole lot of heart.”

Joana Vicente, Executive Director and Co-Head, TIFF

The 45th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival is September 10–19 with physical screenings and drive-ins, digital screenings, virtual red carpets, press conferences, and industry talks. This year’s selection comprises a lineup of 50 new feature films, five programs of short films, as well as interactive talks, film cast reunions, and Q&As with cast and filmmakers.

“The pandemic has hit TIFF hard, but we’ve responded by going back to our original inspiration — to bring the very best in the film to the broadest possible audience. Our teams have had to rethink everything and open our minds to new ideas. In countless video calls over the past three months, we have rebuilt our Festival for 2020 drawing on our five decades of commitment to strong curation, support for filmmakers, and engagement with audiences. We have listened to this year’s urgent calls for greater representation of under-represented voices. You’ll see that this year at the Festival. And we have watched as audiences have embraced cinema’s ability to transport them through screens of all sizes. You’ll see that too. We’re excited to present thoughtful, high-impact programming this September that reflects our belief that there’s no stopping great storytelling.”

Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director and Co-Head, TIFF

My must watch/attend virtually list

Halle Berry joins TIFF for a conversation about her career, the challenges she faced even after her historic Academy Award win, and her directorial debut and starring role in ‘Bruised’. The Oscar-winning actor, producer, and now director discusses her groundbreaking work, which spans 30 years in both television and film. She continues to break down barriers acting in a multitude of acclaimed, diverse roles loved by critics and audiences alike and most recently added the title of director to her already impressive filmography. After her early breakout role in Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever (1991), she took the world by storm as part of the popular X-Men franchise launch in 2000. The next year, she delivered her Oscar-winning performance in Monster’s Ball (2001). Since then she has produced television series and feature films and has also starred in numerous blockbusters such as the X-Men sequels, a James Bond franchise hit, and the action epic John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019). This fall, Berry returns to TIFF for her exciting directorial debut film, Bruised set in the world of MMA fighting. Next up, Berry will begin production on the Roland Emmerich–helmed sci-fi epic Moonfall, for Lionsgate.

Halle Berry makes her directorial debut while starring as a washed-up MMA fighter struggling for redemption as both an athlete and a mother. Jackie “Justice” (Berry) has been working multiple jobs and barely scraping by ever since losing an important match years ago. When her boyfriend, Desi (Adan Canto), manages to trick her into going to an underground fight, her passion for the sport is reignited. As Jackie prepares to go back to “the only thing she is good at,” the son she once abandoned is dropped off at her doorstep. Confronted by her past choices and traumas, Jackie will have to fight to reclaim the two most meaningful things she has walked away from: six-year-old Manny and an MMA title.

Filmmaker Tommy Oliver documents activist Mike Africa Jr.’s fight to exonerate his parents, who were among nine members of the revolutionary group MOVE imprisoned after a violent police raid on their Philadelphia commune in 1978.

All of the short cuts look great but am excited for ‘Black Bodies’, ‘Pilar’, and ‘Mountain Cat’

Concrete Cowboy stars Idris Elba as a rough-hewn Philadelphia cowboy and Stranger Things’ Caleb McLaughlin as his estranged son. Concrete Cowboy is the story of a troubled teen caught between a life of crime and his estranged father’s vibrant urban-cowboy subculture in North Philadelphia over the summer.

A legal conservator (Rosamund Pike) who defrauds elderly clients runs afoul of a gangster (Peter Dinklage), in this droll thriller from J Blakeson. With his sardonic thriller I Care A Lot, writer-director J Blakeson (The Disappearance of Alice Creed) lays out the duplicitous means by which these guardians can overmedicate, gaslight, swindle, and even kidnap their elderly wards, all within the bounds of the law.

David Oyelowo makes his feature directorial debut with this mystical adventure that recalls the beloved family-friendly films of the 1980s. he Water Man follows a sensitive young boy as he embarks on a mission to help his gravely ill mother by locating the mythic Water Man, who may carry the secret to everlasting life.

This isn’t everything I plan to attend and watch but just a select few that I’m excited about at the 2020 TIFF. What do you plan to attend/watch and do you have any recommendations for me? Leave a comment and we can be TIFF Virtual Buddies. I’ll hold a seat for you and promise to bring snacks!

Let me know what you think!

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