The 2021 Toronto International Film Festival returns with a wave of announcements

Kenneth Branagh, Edgar Wright, Mélanie Laurent, Zhang Yimou, Terence Davies, and many more!


Charles Bramesco


Just yesterday, the Canadian government announced that fully vaccinated Americans would be allowed passage through the international border again in early August, an encouraging sign in the global battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. More importantly, as all movie matters are, this means things are looking up for the Toronto International Film Festival, now just a couple months out from its start date on 9 September.

This morning, TIFF affirmed its comeback after the all-online intermission of 2020 with a tidal wave of programming announcements, featuring the big names and glitzy premieres we’ve come to expect from the festival. To start, the coordinators have pulled back the curtain on both the Opening and Closing Night selections, the suicidal-depression musical Dear Evan Hansen and Zhang Yimou‘s valentine to cinema One Second, respectively.

Other significant titles in the Gala Presentations section include Kenneth Branagh‘s coming-of-age picture Belfast, the televangelism biopic The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Alison Klayman’s Alanis Morissette documentary Jagged, the North American premiere of Edgar Wright‘s Last Night in Soho, and Mélanie Laurent‘s period piece The Mad Women’s Ball. Most curiously, the festival will also be graced by the presence of elephantine canine Clifford the Big Red Dog in his latest movie vehicle.

The Special Presentations section also contains a number of heavy hitters from Hollywood and around the world. Some are coming in from Cannes, a mass exodus that covers Bergman Island, The Worst Person in the World, Drive My Car, Three Floors, The Story of My Wife, Clio Barnard‘s Ali and Ava, and Paris, 13th District. (Céline Sciamma‘s latest film Petite Maman will get a Canadian premiere after opening at the Berlinale.) Other key cuts include Terence Davies‘ Siegfried Sassoon biopic Benediction, Antoine Fuqua‘s English-language remake of Danish thriller The Guilty, and Theodore Melfi’s The Starling (in which Melissa McCarthy becomes obsessed with murdering a bird in her back yard).

If the numbers are expected to match those of the pre-viral 2019 festival, we can expect some heavy-duty beefing-up of these two sections in the coming weeks, as well as the rounding-out of the Contemporary World Cinema, Masters, and Documentaries sections as well. If the fates be kind, maybe an early look at Steven Spielberg‘s West Side Story?

Published 20 Jul 2021

Tags: Toronto Film Festival

Suggested For You

How I broke into the film industry: Five women share their stories

By Hannah Strong

Indispensable first-hand advice for International Women’s Day 2019.

Six of the best Edgar Wright scenes

By Chris Edwards

From Shaun of the Dead to Scott Pilgrim, we run through some of the British director’s finest moments.

Hey Hollywood, let’s make more musicals!

By Jordan Brooks

Given La La Land’s runaway success, isn’t it time for a proper revival of this beloved genre?

Little White Lies Logo

About Little White Lies

Little White Lies was established in 2005 as a bi-monthly print magazine committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them. Combining cutting-edge design, illustration and journalism, we’ve been described as being “at the vanguard of the independent publishing movement.” Our reviews feature a unique tripartite ranking system that captures the different aspects of the movie-going experience. We believe in Truth & Movies.