The annual Toronto International Film Festival is proud of its efforts to include a wider diversity of directors and themes. This includes a remarkably high showing this year from women in film.
A popular part of the festival is their selection of documentaries. At the 2018 festival, one-third of the documentaries screening is made by female directors, and several others have women as their theme in one form or another. The subject matter varies widely, from Margarethe Von Trotta’s Searching for Ingmar Bergman, a study of the great director’s life and work; a documentary about a Libyan women’s football team; the story of the first all-female sailing crew in an annual ocean race; and a biography of Maria Callas. The festival will also see the premiere of Divide and Conquer: The Roger Ailes Story, a controversial account of the notorious founder of Fox News and his downfall over multiple charges of sexual harassment, produced and directed by documentary filmmaker Alexis Bloom.
Two films cover the actual topic of women in film. This Changes Everything deals with gender dynamics in Hollywood and is directed by Tom Donahue. Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema, a study of international cinema by women directors, directed by Mark Cousins, features great women filmmakers such as Agnes Varda and Jane Campion. Women Make Film is certainly a thorough investigation of the subject: it has a running time of sixteen hours, divided into four parts; there is no indication of how this behemoth will be screened, or whether it will be shown in its entirety at Toronto; the Venice Film Festival showed only the first four hours, which were narrated by the film’s executive directed, actress Tilda Swinton. Cousins has described it as “a film school where all the teachers are female.”
This year’s Toronto Film Festival will run September 6 – 16