The Toronto International Film Festival welcomes filmmakers, stars, and industry representatives back to Toronto for a range of exciting film premieres and press conferences. After having an almost entirely online film festival last year, TIFF’s moderators found it possible to arrange a safe, in-person film festival experience for all those meeting the health requirements, including international visitors. Having reached a high level of vaccination for eligible Canadians, the country conditionally opened its borders to international travellers earlier this month, just before TIFF 2021 opened on September 9.
Particularly anticipated is the world premiere of a new feature film from award-winning director Steven Soderbergh (Side Effects, Erin Brokovich, Traffic, Che). The premiere has been treated as a carefully guarded secret, with details of the film itself, including the title, kept a mystery until the last moment. Director Soderbergh himself will be present at the festival, along with a vast array of directors, actors, and various celebrities, including Jessica Chastain, Keira Knightley, director Denis Villeneuve, and Andrew Garfield, to name just a few.
Joining the other celebrities, Benedict Cumberbatch, who has not one, but two feature films, Power of the Dog and The Electrical Life of Louis Wain, presented at this year’s TIFF, will be present; he will also be presented with the festival’s Tribute Actor Award. Kristen Stewart will hold an open press conference about the release of Chilean director Pablo Larrain’s new feature, Spencer, in which Stewart plays the late Princess Diana. Music legend Dionne Warwick is also present to receive a Special Tribute Award from TIFF. The usual acting and filmmaking awards will be presented again this year, as well as the People’s Choice Award, based entirely on audience votes, at the conclusion of the ten-day festival.
TIFF manages to keep the event safe through a combination of screening and public health precautions, along with presenting a number of feature films at outdoor and drive-in venues. Press and industry screenings have been made available online to reduce the number of live viewers.
The joint heads of TIFF, Joana Vicente and Cameron Bailey, commented, “We are inspired by the excitement and anticipation we can already feel in the city. It has been a challenging time for everyone, and it’s wonderful that we will be able to welcome back international, national, and local audiences. for an unforgettable TIFF 2021.”