Wednesday November 20, 2019
Home Entertainment Movies at Tor...

Movies at Toronto International Film Festival will increase audience’s excitement, raise debates on burning issues

Many of the films at Toronto International Film Festival will talk about relevant topics like equality in Hollywood, politics in Washington

0
//
Sally Hawkins, left, and Octavia Spencer in a scene from
Sally Hawkins, left, and Octavia Spencer in a scene from "The Shape of Water." The movie premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival. VOA
  • “The Battle of the sexes” starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell talks about issue of gender equality- in both pay disparity and directing opportunity
  • It’s a great thing for the filmmakers to have what is usually a pretty film-oriented, film-loving audience
  • The filmmakers say they are expecting a variety of opinions in any one audience at Toronto International Film Festival

New York, USA, September 7, 2017: Few institutions in cinema can match the teeming, overwhelming Toronto International Film Festival as a conversation-starting force. It simply has a lot of movies worth talking about.

And this year, many of the films that will parade down at Toronto International Film Festival’s red carpets will hope to shift the dialogue not just in terms of awards buzz, but in other directions, too: equality in Hollywood; politics in Washington; even about nature of the movies, themselves. At TIFF, expect debate.

That’s what the filmmakers behind “The Battle of the Sexes,” one of the anticipated films heading to Toronto International Film Festival in the coming days, are hoping for. After the festival opens today with another tennis movie, the rivalry drama “Borg/McEnroe,” at Toronto International Film Festival with Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (the directing duo who helmed 2006’s “Little Miss Sunshine”) will premiere their drama about the 1973 showdown between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.

The movie, starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell, holds obvious parallels for a movie industry with its own issues of gender equality, in both pay disparity and directing opportunity. For others, it will recall issues that dominated last year’s U.S. presidential campaign. But “Battle of the Sexes” may surprise moviegoers in its broad sympathies on both sides of the net.

“The one thing we didn’t want to have happened was this polarizing political document,” said Dayton. “Right now, there’s enough of that in the world. We wanted to tell a more personal story and keep it from becoming too binary.”

The filmmakers say they are expecting “a variety of opinions in any one audience” at Toronto International Film Festival.

“It’s really the best way to release a film, at a festival like Telluride or Toronto,” said Faris. “It’s a great way to get the word out about a film. It’s a great thing for the filmmakers to have what is usually a pretty film-oriented, film-loving audience. It gives you hope that they’re still out there.”

Actress Priyanka Chopra, left, chats with the director and CEO of TIFF Piers Handling at the TIFF Soiree, an annual fundraiser and celebratory kick-off for the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Sept. 6, 2017, in Toronto
Actress Priyanka Chopra, left, chats with the director and CEO of TIFF Piers Handling at the TIFF Soiree, an annual fundraiser and celebratory kick-off for the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Sept. 6, 2017, in Toronto. VOA

The Toronto International Film Festival comes right on the heels of the Venice and Telluride festivals, but the size and scope of Toronto have long made it the centerpiece of the fall movie season. It’s where much of the coming awards season gets handicapped, debated and solidified. It’s also a significant market for new films, and this year several intriguing films — “I, Tonya,” with Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding, and “Hostiles,” a brutal Western with Christian Bale — are on the block.

But most eyes will be on the gala premieres of the fall’s biggest films at Toronto International Film Festival, including Alexander Payne’s “Downsizing,” Guillermo Del Toro’s “The Shape of Water,” George Clooney’s “Suburbicon,” and maybe the most explosive movie of the season, Darren Aronofsky’s mystery-shrouded allegorical thriller “mother!”

It can be a competitive landscape, with dozens of daily movie premieres and their respective parties, all trying to stand out. But several first-time directors may end up stealing the spotlight at Toronto International Film Festival. Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird” will sail into Toronto on waves of rave reviews from Telluride. Aaron Sorkin, arguably the top screenwriter in Hollywood for two decades, will present his directorial debut, “Molly’s Game.”

Sorkin didn’t initially anticipate he’d direct his script. But he became, he says, obsessed with the story of Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain), the former elite skier who was indicted for running a high-stakes poker game in Los Angeles. It’s a potentially career-redefining movie for Sorkin — and he’s appropriately anxious.

“I’d feel the same way if we were launching it in Wyoming. I’m nervous because other than test audiences, this will be the first time people see it,” said Sorkin. “The Toronto Film Festival is a very prestigious place to debut a film, so I’m aware of the company I’m in and what’s expected in the movie. It will be up to others to decide if it delivered.”

“The Disaster Artist” poses a similar turning point for its star and director, James Franco. It’s about the making of what’s widely considered one of the worst movies ever made — the cult favorite “The Room,” by Tommy Wiseau. Franco, who plays Wiseau, considers it a new step for him as a filmmaker and says the film’s parody is laced with affection.

“The characters are outsiders. They are weirdos,” said Franco. “But everybody can relate to having a dream and trying to break into this incredibly hard business.”

The film will premiere to a surely raucous audience at a midnight screening. Franco, who first saw “The Room” with an especially excitable Vancouver audience, expects it to be the perfect debut for his film: “Canadians know how to do ‘The Room.”’

“The Disaster Artist,” which A24 will release in December, might give TIFF what “La La Land” did last year — a happily escapist movie about Hollywood. Other films will tackle less comic real-life tales, including Angelina Jolie’s searing Cambodia drama “First They Killed My Father,” the Winston Churchill biopic “Darkest Hour,” with Gary Oldman; and the documentary “The Final Year,” about the last year of Barack Obama’s administration.

Cameron Bailey, artistic director of the festival, said Trump’s presidency “was not a factor in the films we selected,” though he expects it to color the reception of many.

“Some of them will be received with the current political climate in mind,” said Bailey. “One of the things I think you learn from films like (the Watergate drama) ‘Mark Felt’ and (the Ted Kennedy drama) ‘Chappaquiddick’ and others that we have here is that the process of politics is not a pretty one. It involves a lot of conflicted motives, shall we say.”

And who better to make sense of the current political landscape than Armando Iannucci (“Veep,” “The Thick of It”), the master of rapid-fire political farce. In his second feature film, “The Death of Stalin,” he travels back to 1950s Russia only to find an expectedly timely tale of the madcap machinations of political power.

“It is bizarre, isn’t it? When I started showing it to people in January and February earlier this year, people said it resonated with Trump and Putin and fake news,” said Iannucci. “It is about autocracy. It is about what happens when democracy falls apart and one person decides everything. I’m kind of glad it does resonate now. But am I pleased?” (VOA)

Next Story

Short Films Find Increasing Space In India

Filmmakers believe that making short films is no longer a small deal

0
films, cinema
The importance of short films in India rises up. Pixabay

BY ARUNDHUTI BANERJEE

Short films currently find increasing space in India’s two biggest film festivals – the recent Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival and the upcoming International Film Festival of India (IFFI). Coupled by the growing presence of these films at festivals abroad, the importance of the genre has been on the rise, slowly but steadily.

A recent short film that has been creating buzz is “Letters”, which has been selected for the Non-Feature Film section of Indian Panorama at the forthcoming 50th IFFI. The film is based on the letter censorship that was practiced during World War II.

Nikhil Singal, director of “Letters”. feels the choice of the format while making a film should depend on its subject. “It depends on the nature of the story. Some stories require the small format and some are perfect for feature-length cinema. The budget is also an issue for budding filmmakers, and that is why we start with short films. Having said that, getting a producer for a short film is challenging because this format does not get theatrical release. Investment is much lesser than that of feature films,” Singal told IANS, outlining the pros and cons.

Jio MAMI this year saw four short films being screened – “Sepia”, “Sibling”, “Nawab” and “Adheen”.

films
The rise of the digital platform is the reason for the growing popularity of the short films. Pixabay

“A short film should be celebrated like feature films in main film festivals like these because people’s interest to watch films in this format is growing. It should not be treated as an alternative for budding filmmakers, or as a stepping stone to enter the business of entertainment,” said “Sepia” director Archit Kumar.

Bollywood actor Aparshakti Khurrana, who played the protagonist “Sepia” and “Nawab”, feels the rising popularity of short films is also because of the fact that the audience is growing used to other formats of cinematic storytelling beyond feature films.

“The whole approach of making video has changed. Look at the kind of music videos we are watching. The production quality is so good, so is the storytelling. In fact, so many music videos are almost like short films. In the nineties, all those videos of the band Euphoria were like short films,” said Aparshakti.

For the industry, the advent of the short film can only be an advantage, said Aparshakti. “For us actors, it really does not matter whether we work in a short or a feature. Keeping in sync with the audience, story matters,” he pointed out.

Bollywood filmmaker Imtiaz Ali, who has been mentoring filmmakers keen on making short films on the platform “Humaramovie”, said: “I find telling a story in the short format is tough. I tried many times and it is really not easy to encapsulate an idea in a limited time.”

Ali tried short filmmaking with ‘The Other Way’.

New-age filmmakers as Archit and Nikhil point at the rise of the digital platform as the reason for the growing popularity of the short film.

Films by Imtiaz Ali
Filmmaker Imtiaz Ali finds making shorts films difficult. Wikimedia Commons

“Producers have understood that a short film can be monetised, so there is a potential profit they can make from the investment, even though it is small. For instance, over the last few years, Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films has become a platform where the audience comes to watch short films. The platform is getting eyeballs and that spells potential business for the digital platform. Every view gets counted,” said Archit Kumar.

“In fact, I am planning to make another short film before I make my feature film. I believe that every film demands a certain length and not all stories have to be told in a feature format. Keeping the length aside, short films require equal efficiency and effort to make, it is not a small thing,” shared Archit.

Nitin Singal, whose feature film “Seven” has been premiered on the OTT platform ZEE5, concluded: “It is true that short films do not get a theatrical release and therefore business is tough. But there is the option of digital release now. My film ‘Letters’ will soon stream on an OTT platform, and my producer earns money from the digital release.”

Also Read- Bollywood Celebs Hail Verdict on Ayodhya Case

“Also, film critics are now paying equal attention to short films as they do to features at film festivals and award shows. The audience is also watching these films on digital platforms. I think that is how short films are becoming a big deal for all.” (IANS)