Queen’s death darkens opening day of Toronto International Film Festival | Entertainment

TORONTO – The death of Canada’s longest-serving head of state cast a shadow over the opening day of the Toronto International Film Festival.

TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey said in a series of tweets that the festival understands many attendees will be “deeply affected” by the Queen’s death.

He says TIFF is working with film partners who might be affected.

It’s unclear if or how the festival will alter its plans to respond to the Queen’s death, but two of its venues – the Royal Alexandra Theater and the Princess of Wales Theater – have announced they will dim the lights in their marquee on Thursday evening.

TIFF organizers had promised this year’s festival would be a return to form after two years of events disrupted by the pandemic and serve as a celebration of being together.

The festivities kick off tonight at the Slaight Music Stage on King Street West – also known as festival street – where Buffy Sainte-Marie is due to perform.

The opening night film is Netflix’s “The Swimmers,” based on the true story of two sisters’ escape from war-torn Syria, directed by Sally El Hosaini.

The Gallo-Egyptian director has been shortlisted for the TIFF Emerging Talent Award, one of the pre-announced prizes given out at the festival.

Brendan Fraser, the Canadian-American lead actor of Darren Aronofsky’s “The Whale,” and the cast of “My Policeman,” which includes pop star Harry Styles, also receive Tribute Awards. Both films are screened at the festival.

Among the celebrities slated for this year are Oprah Winfrey – who produced ‘Sidney’, the documentary about Sidney Poitier – and Taylor Swift, who is presenting a screening of her short film ‘All Too Well’.

In an interview ahead of the festival, Bailey said the opportunity to spot stars would be one of the ways this year’s festival would get back to normal.

“We expect almost everyone involved in the films we’ve invited here to the festival to be here to launch their films,” he said.

“I expect people to look amazing and audiences to just be thrilled when they’re in the same room with some of their favorite actors and directors.”

Daniel Craig will be joined by his ‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’ co-stars, including Kate Hudson and Janelle Monáe.

Al Yankovic, the parody musician, and Daniel Radcliffe, the actor who portrays him in ‘Weird: The Al Yankovic Story,’ are both on deck, as is Jennifer Lawrence, who plays a soldier sent home from war. from Afghanistan in “Causeway”.

Meanwhile, legendary director Steven Spielberg is set to make his TIFF debut this year with the premiere of “The Fabelmans,” a semi-autobiographical film about a teenager who uncovers a heartbreaking family secret just as he discovers the power of movie theater.

The star-studded schedule marks a change from last year’s festival, which featured about half as many films and operated with a hybrid model.

Crowds weren’t allowed to gather around red carpets, screenings took place outdoors and in drive-ins, and many films were available to stream online across Canada.

This year, movie theaters are back at full capacity and only a few dozen films are available virtually.

But reminders of COVID-19 won’t be entirely absent from the festival, with Toronto Public Health hosting vaccination clinics at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Vaccines will be offered in the theater between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. until September 13, and between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. from September 14 to 18.

Meanwhile, TIFF said it expects attendance to return to pre-pandemic levels, with around 1,400 members of the media and 3,500 industry attendees registered for the event taking place. runs until September 18.

But those who can’t attend in person will be able to follow some of the festivities online, said Shay Thiyagarajah, head of partnerships at Twitter Canada.

The Roy Thomson Hall red carpets will be streamed live on the platform, as will the “In Conversation With…” series and industry panels.

“Our role is to spark conversation about the festival, enabling Canadians to engage beyond what they see on Festival Street,” she said.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on September 8, 2022.

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