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Steven Spielberg at TIFF

Steven Spielberg puts his life on screen with new TIFF film The Fabelmans

Steven Spielberg has been one of the world's most successful film directors for over 40 years. But with his upcoming semi-autobiographical film The Fabelmans, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday, the 75-year-old maestro is trying something new.

"I always found ways of putting my personal life into everything I've done," the filmmaker told reporters on the TIFF red carpet.

"But this was a very focused, intentional story of coming-of-age. I've never made a coming-of-age story before, told one before, and I've never told one so close to my own experiences and so close to my own heart.

"The most challenging part was finding the cast that best represents my family," Spielberg added.

The director's latest effort tells the tale of Sammy Fabelman, a young aspiring filmmaker based on Spielberg's upbringing in 1950s postwar Arizona, weaving in the origins of his passion for filmmaking and the influence of his parents on his subsequent career.

Michelle Williams, playing the protagonist's mother, says Spielberg's family shared home movies, photos and documentation to help her capture the character. Dano, who plays a version of Spielberg's father in The Fabelmans, joked that he learned the director was a stubborn and strong-willed child.

The project is a personal one for Spielberg, who has taken some inspiration from his parents and family history in past works, such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Schindler's List.


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