Toronto Film Festival 2017 Unveils Strong Slate

Toronto Film Festival

UPDATED with full slate so far: Living up to its stature as the premier international awards-season launch pad, The Toronto Film Festival today unveiled the first part of its slate that is strong, adventurous and chock-full of depictions of adversity and human struggle. TIFF chief Cameron Bailey said the festival is tighter this year, with fewer films than in the past. But they seem to have secured many of the films most often mentioned as Oscar bait. The fest runs September 7-17.

There is the acquisition title I, Tonya that has Margot Robbie as Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding’s desperate attempt to overtake glamour girl rival Nancy Kerrigan; Darkest Hour‘s Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill, faced with the choice of capitulating with or defying the Nazis in his first days as British Prime Minister; Idris Elba and Kate Winslet struggling to survive a plane crash in The Mountain Between Us; Stronger, with Jake Gyllenhaal playing Jeff Bauman, the Boston Marathon bombing victim who despite losing his lower legs, helped identify the terrorists and made an inspiring recovery (the trailer shown during the TIFF presentation was the most emotional of all of them); Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon bringing to life the bitter battle between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse to sell electricity to the masses in The Current War; Annette Bening as waning screen queen Gloria Grahame in Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool; and Bryan Cranston as a paraplegic trying to find the will to live, with the help of a charismatic caretaker (Kevin Hart) in the Intouchables remake Untouchable.


There is Frances McDormand, defying Woody Harrelson’s local sheriff by hanging billboards about lack of attention paid to her missing daughter in Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards In Ebbing, Missouri; Emma Stone as Billie Jean King striking a gender blow by challenging hustler Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) in Battle Of The Sexes; Jessica Chastain as a widowed artist who paints a portrait of Sitting Bull in Woman Walks Ahead; and Christian Bale as an Army captain who escorts a Cheyenne chief and his family across hostile terrain in Hostiles.

There will be new films by directors from Guillermo del Toro (The Shape Of Water), George Clooney (the Matt Damon- and Oscar Issac-starrer Suburbicon), Terrence Malick (Radegund), Angelina Jolie (First They Killed My Father), Darren Aronofsky ( Jennifer Lawrence-starrer Mother!) Alexander Payne (Damon-starrer Downsizing) to Dee Rees (Mudbound), Haifaa Al-Mansour (Mary Shelley), Andy Serkis (Andrew Garfield-starrer Breathe) and first-timer Greta Gerwig (Saoirse Ronan-starrer Lady Bird). The Closing Night Gala on September 16 will be the world premiere of C’est La Vie!, the Olivier Nakache- and Eric Toledano-scripted and -directed film that stars Gilles Lellouche, Suzanne Clément, Eye Haïdara, and Jean-Pierre Bacri.

Roadside Attractions

Some of the titles I’ve mentioned will be unveiled as the festival announcements continue over the coming weeks. I expect the Anthony Mandler-directed Monster and Joseph Kahn-directed Bodied to be part of the slate as well, as Bailey said they’ve covered only about one-quarter of the Toronto festival roster today.

Here is the full slate so far:

GALAS 2017

Andy Serkis, United Kingdom (World Premiere)

The Catcher Was A Spy
Ben Lewin, USA (World Premiere)

Closing Night Film
C’est la vie!
Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano, France (World Premiere)

Darkest Hour
Joe Wright, United Kingdom (Canadian Premiere)


Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
Paul McGuigan, United Kingdom (Canadian Premiere)

Deniz Gamze Ergüven, France/Belgium (World Premiere)

Long Time Running
Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier, Canada (World Premiere)

Mary Shelley
Haifaa Al Mansour, Ireland/United Kingdom/Luxembourg/USA (World Premiere)

The Mountain Between Us
Hany Abu-Assad, USA (World Premiere)

Dee Rees, USA (International Premiere)

David Gordon Green, USA (World Premiere)

Untitled Bryan Cranston/Kevin Hart Film
Neil Burger, USA (World Premiere)

The Wife
Björn Runge, United Kingdom/Sweden (World Premiere)

Woman Walks Ahead
Susanna White, USA (World Premiere)



Battle Of The Sexes
Valerie Faris, Jonathan Dayton, USA (International Premiere)

BPM (Beats Per Minute)
Robin Campillo, France (North American Premiere)

The Brawler
Anurag Kashyap, India (World Premiere)

The Breadwinner
Nora Twomey, Canada/Ireland/Luxembourg (World Premiere)

Call Me By Your Name
Luca Guadagnino, Italy/France (Canadian Premiere)

Catch The Wind
Gaël Morel, France (International Premiere)

The Children Act
Richard Eyre, United Kingdom (World Premiere)

The Current War
Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, USA (World Premiere)

Sebastián Lelio, United Kingdom (World Premiere)

Alexander Payne, USA (Canadian Premiere)


A Fantastic Woman
Sebastián Lelio, Chile (Canadian Premiere)

First They Killed My Father
Angelina Jolie, Cambodia (Canadian Premiere)

The Guardians
Xavier Beauvois, France (World Premiere)

Scott Cooper, USA (International Premiere)

The Hungry
Bornila Chatterjee, India (World Premiere)

I, Tonya
Craig Gillespie, USA (World Premiere)
Special Presentations Opening Film

Lady Bird
Greta Gerwig, USA (International Premiere)
Opening Film For Special Presentations

Darren Aronofsky, USA (North American Premiere)

Maggie Betts, USA (International Premiere)


Hansal Mehta, India (World Premiere)

Mélanie Laurent, France (World Premiere)

The Price Of Success
Teddy Lussi-Modeste, France (International Premiere)

Professor Marston & the Wonder Women
Angela Robinson, USA (World Premiere)

The Rider
Chloé Zhao, USA (Canadian Premiere)

A Season In France
Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, France (World Premiere)

The Shape Of Water
Guillermo del Toro, USA (Canadian Premiere)

Sheikh Jackson
Amr Salama, Egypt (World Premiere)
Special Presentations Closing Film


The Square
Ruben Östlund, Sweden North American (Premiere)

Wim Wenders, France/Germany/Spain (World Premiere)

George Clooney, USA (North American Premiere)


Thelma Joachim Trier, Norway/Sweden/France/Denmark (International Premiere)

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Martin McDonagh, USA (North American Premiere)

Victoria And Abdul
Stephen Frears, United Kingdom (North American Premiere)

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