Organisers of the Toronto International Film Festival (Tiff) — the largest in North America — will focus this year on female directors, screenwriters and actresses, in response to criticism that such events are too male-dominated.
“Today’s announcement cements that the future is female (and so is Tiff’s programming),” the organisers said in a statement on Tuesday, promising a women-heavy line-up for the 400,000 visitors of the 10-day movie fest, which begins on September 7.
The event is scheduled to showcase Kings, the latest movie by Turkish-French director Deniz Gamze Erguven, whose 2015 Mustang was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
Her new work focuses on the 1992 race riots in Los Angeles and stars Oscar-winner Halle Berry and James Bond actor Daniel Craig.
Other highlights will be Mary Shelley by Saudi Arabia’s first female director Haifaa Al Mansour, which stars Elle Fanning as the English author of the Gothic horror tale Frankenstein, and Dee Rees’ Mudbound, a story of racial tensions in the segregated American South.
Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain will star in director Susanna White’s Woman Walks Ahead, about a Brooklyn painter who travels to Dakota in 1890 to do a portrait of Sitting Bull.
Emma Stone, who won an Oscar this year for musical La La Land, will also star in War of the Sexes, the story of tennis legend Billie Jean King’s showdown with Bobby Riggs.
In another retelling of sports history, Margot Robbie plays scandal-plagued US Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding in I, Tonya.
David Gordon Green’s Stronger starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany, which looks at the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, is also certain to create buzz in Toronto.
The Toronto film festival, which runs this year through September 17, has become a launch pad for Oscar-conscious studios and distributors, attracting hundreds of filmmakers and actors to the red carpet in Canada’s largest city.