The award recognizes and honors a filmmaker for their outstanding contribution to cinema. Taking place on Monday, September 9 at Fairmont Royal York, during the festival, the Gala is an annual fundraiser to support TIFF’s year-round programs.
The award is an evolution of the organization’s former Roger Ebert Golden Thumb Award, which celebrated a filmmaker who reflected renowned film critic Roger Ebert’s passion for cinema. Past recipients include Claire Denis, Martin Scorsese, Ava DuVernay, Agnès Varda, and Wim Wenders.
Waititi is known for directing Thor: Ragnarok, which made more than $850M at the box office worldwide, and will write and direct the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder. His films as writer-director also include Boy and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, and he co-wrote, co-directed, and co-starred in What We Do in the Shadows with Jemaine Clement.
Waititi’s upcoming satire Jojo Rabbit, starring Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant, Alfie Allen, Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, and Waititi himself, will have its world premiere at TIFF and will be released by Fox Searchlight on October 18, 2019.
“Taika Waititi is one of the most innovative, bold, and exciting filmmakers working in the industry right now,” said Joana Vicente, TIFF Co-Head. “TIFF is thrilled to honour his extraordinary talent with the inaugural TIFF Ebert Director Award.”
“Taika Waititi is the rock star cinema needs right now,” added fellow Co-Head Cameron Bailey. “His films are full of razor-sharp humour, faultless style, and boundless generosity. Somehow he manages to stuff both indie hits and massive crowd-pleasers with big, radical ideas. We’re thrilled to be premiering his latest, Jojo Rabbit, at the festival and to hand over the inaugural TIFF Tribute Award for direction to this 21st-century master.”
TIFF previously announced that Meryl Streep will receive the TIFF Tribute Actor Award, and that Participant Media will receive the TIFF Impact Award at the Gala. One other recipient of the TIFF Tribute Actor Award will be announced in the coming weeks, in addition to the recipient of the inaugural Mary Pickford Award, honoring a female emerging talent in the industry in celebration of United Artists’ 100th anniversary.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.