More details on what the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) will look like have been unveiled and the festival will include both in-person and virtual experiences from September 10 to 19.
This year's programming will feature a mix of physical and virtual events for screenings (some at drive-in theatres), red carpets, press conferences and industry talks, film cast reunions and Q&As.
Physically distanced screenings and streaming of over 50 new feature films and special programming will be at the heart of the festival while it looks to return to its roots of curating and presenting the best cinema from around the world.
Award ceremonies, red carpet events and conferences will all be held virtually with the biggest names in the film industry taking part in the festivities.
For these events, this year's festival has enlisted 50 filmmakers and actors to service as TIFF Ambassadors "invited to help TIFF deliver a strong festival this year for the film industry." Ambassadors include Ava DuVernay, Taika Waititi, Anurag Kashyap, Nicole Kidman and Martin Scorsese, to name a few.
"The worldwide health crisis has affected everyone working in the cultural industries, and TIFF has been severely impacted," reads a press release.
"Its role in the ecosystem of the film industry was the impetus to move forward, to deliver a film festival that inspires and engages audiences, and to serve as a beacon of hope for Toronto, for filmmakers and for the international film industry," it continues.
"As the 2020 festival lineup comes together, the programming teams are working to curate the most memorable experience possible for its audiences through a diverse selection of the highest quality films from around the globe."
Some of the films set to premiere include Halle Berry's directorial debut Bruised, Idris Elba in Concrete Cowboy and Spring Blossom by newcomer director Suzanne Lindon. Many more films are expected to be announced throughout the summer.
TIFF will be getting into the drive-in trend that's been revived in the midst of the pandemic, as well as holding outdoor experiences meant to take festival-goers "beyond the theatre."
It's also teamed up with Shift72 to develop an online streaming platform where audiences can watch films from home, in addition to its already popular Stay-at-Home Cinema series launched back in March.
The festival also aims to respond to the social issues that have arisen about representation in the film industry and beyond.
"We have listened to this year's urgent calls for greater representation of underrepresented voices," said Artistic Director and Co-Head Cameron Bailey. "You'll see that this year at the festival."
Through the ongoing Media Inclusion Initiative, TIFF aims to "accredit eligible Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, LGBTQ+ and female emerging film critics who are working toward amplifying their voices in the press corps" and gift access to 250 underrepresented emerging filmmakers from around the world.
The statement notes that the pandemic has hit TIFF and the film industry hard. The Hollywood Reporter said yesterday that TIFF has had to cut 31 jobs ahead of the festival while executives have taken reduced salaries.
TIFF has since launched the For the Love of Film fund to help its recovery while the TIFF Bell Lightbox remains closed until at least July 1.