Toronto Film Festival 2022 Lineup

New works by directors Sam Mendes, Sarah Polley, Tyler Perry, Darren Aronofsky and Reginald Hudlin will screen at the 2022 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival, an annual celebration of cinema that serves as one of the unofficial kickoffs to the film awards season.

After two years spent hosting largely virtual or dramatically pared-down events as a concession to COVID, Toronto, or TIFF as it is known around the entertainment business, is looking to offer up a full-fledged, week-and-a-half- long spotlight of the best of moviemaking.

“We’re going to have the fan excitement, the big audiences, the big movies launching and the red carpets,” TIFF’s CEO Cameron Bailey told variety. “If that sounds like a familiar Toronto Film Festival, that’s what we’re going to have this year.”

As Tinseltown decamps for Canada, it will once again be feted with glittering premieres, celebrity panels and packed auditoriums of crowds that studio executives say remain among the most enthusiastic and least jaded of any major festival. The boos, heckles and walkouts that occasionally mar a Cannes premiere just aren’t a thing at TIFF, where even the most lackluster movie is met with polite applause.

And that’s partly why the lineup for the festival’s gala and special presentations programs is — as it was before the pandemic scrambled everything — overflowing with splashy premieres. Mendes will be on hand with “Empire of Light,” a romance set in an English coastal cinema that stars Olivia Colman and Colin Firth. Polley will debut “Women Talking,” a searing look at a group of women in an isolated Mennonite religious colony in Bolivia grappling with a series of sexual assaults. Perry is presenting his coming-of-age period drama “A Jazzman’s Blues,” a deeply personal film that is said to mark a departure from the broader comedies and dramas that propelled him to the A-list. Aronofsky will look to cement “The Whale,” a drama about a 600-pound man trying to reconnect with his daughter, as an Oscar frontrunner following its premiere at the Venice Film Festival this month. And Hudlin is hitting Toronto with “Sidney,” a documentary about barrier-breaking actor Sidney Poitier that has been made with the participation of the screen legend’s family. To up the icon quota, it’s executive produced by Oprah Winfrey.

They join such previously announced world premieres as Gina Prince-Bythewood’s historical epic “The Woman King,” Rian Johnson’s star-studded whodunnit “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” and Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans,” a semi-autobiographical coming- of-age story. The festival will also screen two distinctive looks at the LGBTQ experience — “My Policeman,” a drama with Harry Styles as a closeted police officer in 1950s England, and “Bros,” a boisterous rom-com from Billy Eichner that is one of the first “meet cute” stories centered on gay men from a major studio. Both films were announced before TIFF released the bulk of its slate on Thursday.

Many of the movies tapped to screen at TIFF reflect the way that Hollywood’s efforts to become more inclusive are starting to re-shape the kinds of movies it produces. Bailey noted that movies like Lena Dunham’s medieval comedy “Catherine Called Birdyor Lila Neugebauer’s “Causeway,” a drama about a solider suffering from a traumatic brain injury that stars Jennifer Lawrence, are projects told from a female perspective.

“The film world and the films that go to festivals have been profoundly affected by a kind of reckoning and awakening in terms of gender,” says Bailey. “We’re seeing many more films by women and more stories that either weren’t told when men dominated the film world or were placed in the background of men’s stories. When you put women in the writer’s chair or behind the camera as directors or as main characters, you get different kinds of stories and ones that resonate with audiences in different ways.”

The widening of Hollywood’s aperture doesn’t just involve telling more female-focused tales. There are a number of films at TIFF, such as “The Woman King,” the story of an all-female military regiment of African warriors, or Stephen Williams’ “Chevalier,” a drama about a Black violinist and composer in the court of France’s Louis XVI, that shine a light on parts of history that have been largely ignored by studios.

“We’ve got a number of terrific films from Black filmmakers about the Black experience,” says Bailey. “There’s a fascinating expansion of stories that are being told and a growing recognition that these audiences have long been here, craving stories like these ones.”

Other notable additions to the festival include the world premieres of Stephen Frears’ “The Lost King,” the story of an amateur historian’s search for King Richard III’s remains; Shekhar Kapur’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It?,” a cross-cultural rom-com that toggles between London and South Asia; and Catherine Hardwicke’s “Prisoner’s Daughter,” a drama about an ex-convict trying to forge a bond with his family after he is released from prison. There’s also such offbeat entries as Mark Mylod’s “The Menu,” a darkly comic horror film with Ralph Fiennes as a sinister celebrity chef, and Ruben Östlund’s “Triangle of Sadness,” a deft mixture of class commentary and scatological humor that was the toast of Cannes

TIFF has an enviable track record when it comes to spotlighting movies that go on to dominate awards season. Recent festivals, even those that have unfurled under the specter of COVID, have included impactful premieres for such future Oscar winners as “The Power of the Dog,” “Belfast,” and “Nomadland” (2022’s best picture victor, “CODA,” was already streaming on Apple TV+ when TIFF rolled along). This year’s gathering will see the return of Peter Farrelly, whose most recent effort, “The Green Book,” nabbed an audience award when it screened at TIFF in 2018 before going on to be named best film at the Academy Awards. He’s back with “The Greatest Beer Run Ever,” a war drama with Zac Efron, Russell Crowe and Bill Murray. Will magic strike twice?

Other movies will arrive in Canada hoping to extend the momentum they’ve built up at earlier festivals. These include “Triangle of Sadness,” which won the Palme d’Or, as well as “Holy Spider,” the story of an Iranian serial killer that was another breakout from Cannes. Many filmmakers, such as Aronofsky and “The Son’s” Florian Zeller, will be nursing serious cases of jet lag as they shuttle from Venice, where their films are debuting, to TIFF, where their movies will also screen. And some films that will launch from the Lido, such as Alejandro J. Iñárritu’s “Bardo” and Luca Guadagnino’s “Bones and All,” are skipping TIFF, though Bailey was coy about whether or not they turned down invitations.

“I really don’t talk about movies that aren’t in the festival,” says Bailey. “I’ll just tell you that I’m incredibly excited by this lineup, and I think our audience will be too.”

The festival will take place from Sept. 8 to Sept. 18. TIFF will unveil its programming choices for its Midnight Madness, Discovery and other sections in the coming days. Festival organizers expect to host between 200 feature films and 40 short films across the various verticals.

Here’s the complete list of films announced Thursday:

GALA PRESENTATIONS 2022
*Previously announced
Alice, Darling
Mary Nighy | Canada, USA
World Premiere

Black Ice
Hubert Davis | Canada
World Premiere

The Greatest Beer Run Ever
Peter Farrelly | USA
World Premiere

Butcher’s Crossing
Gabe Polsky | USA
World Premiere

The Hummingbird
Francesca Archibugi | Italy
World Premiere

hunt
Lee Jung-jae | South Korea
North American Premiere

A Jazzman’s Blues
Tyler Perry | USA
World Premiere

Kacchey Limbu
Shubham Yogi | india
World Premiere

Moving On
Paul Weitz | USA
World Premiere

Paris Memories
Alice Winocour | France
North American Premiere

Prisoner’s Daughter
Catherine Hardwicke | USA
World Premiere

Raymond & Ray
Rodrigo Garcia | USA
World Premiere

roost
Amy Redford | USA
World Premiere

Sydney
Reginald Hudlin | USA
World Premiere

The Last
Florian Zeller | United Kingdom
North American Premiere

Opening Night Movie
*The Swimmers
Sally El Hosaini | United Kingdom
World Premiere

What’s Love Got to Do With It?
Shekhar Kapur | United Kingdom
World Premiere

*The Woman King
Gina Prince-Bythewood | USA
World Premiere

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS 2022
*Previously announced
allelujah
Sir Richard Eyre | United Kingdom
World Premiere

All Quiet on the Western Front
Edward Berger | Germany
World Premiere

The Banshees of Inisherin
Martin McDonagh | United Kingdom, Ireland, USA
North American Premiere

blueback
Robert Connolly | Australia
World Premiere

The Blue Caftan
Maryam Touzani | Morocco, France, Belgium, Denmark
North American Premiere

broker
Hirokazu Kore-eda | South Korea
Canadian Premiere

*brother
Clement Virgo | Canada
World Premiere

*Brooch
Nicholas Stoller | USA
World Premiere

*Catherine Called Birdy
Lena Dunham | United Kingdom
World Premiere

causeway
Lilac Neugebauer | USA
World Premiere

Chevalier
Stephen Williams | USA
World Premiere

corsage
Marie Kreutzer | Austria, France, Germany
North American Premiere

Decision to Leave
Park Chan-wook | South Korea
North American Premiere

devotion
JD Dillard | USA
World Premiere

driving
Madeleine Christian Carion | France
International Premiere

El Suplente
Diego Lerman | Argentina, Italy, Mexico, Spain, France
World Premiere

Empire of Light
Sam Mendes | United Kingdom, USA
Canadian Premiere

The Eternal Daughter
Joanna Hogg | United Kingdom
North American Premiere

*The Fabelmans
Steven Spielberg | USA
World Premiere

*Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Ryan Johnson | USA
World Premiere

Good Night Oppy
Ryan White | USA
International Premiere

The Good Nurse
Tobias Lindholm | USA
World Premiere

Holy Spider
Ali Abbasi | Denmark, Germany, Sweden, France
Canadian Premiere

Joyland
Saim Sadiq | Pakistan
North American Premiere

The King’s Horseman
Biyi Bandele | Nigeria
World Premiere

The Lost King
Stephen Frears | United Kingdom
World Premiere

A Man of Reason
Jung Woo-sung | South Korea
World Premiere

The Menu
Mark Mylod | USA
World Premiere

*On the Come Up
Sanaa Lathan | USA
World Premiere

One Fine Morning
Mia Hansen-Love | France
Canadian Premiere

Other People’s Children
Rebecca Zlotowski | France
North American Premiere

Moonage Daydream
Brett Morgan | USA
North American Premiere

*My Policeman
Michael Grandage | United Kingdom
World Premiere

nanny
Nikyatu Jusu | USA
International Premiere

No Bears
Jafar Panahi | Iranian
North American Premiere

The Return of Tanya Tucker: Featuring Brandi Carlile
Kathlyn Horan | USA
International Premiere

Saint Omer
Alice Diop | France
North American Premiere

sanctuary
Zachary Wigon | USA
World Premiere

Stories Not to Be Told
Cesc Gay | Spain
World Premiere

Triangle of Sadness
Ruben Ostlund | Sweden, United Kingdom, United States of America, France, Greece North American Premiere

Walk Up
Hong Sang-soo | South Korea
World Premiere

Wendell & Wild
Henry Selick | USA
World Premiere

Women Talking
Sarah Polley | USA
International Premiere

The Whale
Darren Aronofsky | USA
North American Premiere

The Wonder
Sebastian Lelio | United Kingdom, Ireland
Canadian Premiere

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