TIFF announces its opening film for the 2021 festival

Jul 20 2021, 3:41 pm

In a few weeks, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) will kick off its annual event for the first time in person in over a year.

TIFF has announced the film screening at this year’s opening gala.

The World Premiere of Tony Award–winning musical Dear Evan Hansen will be the Opening Night Gala Presentation on Thursday, September 9, at Roy Thomson Hall.

According to TIFF, the film, directed by Stephen Chbosky, tells the story of a high-school senior with a debilitating anxiety disorder. A private letter to himself as part of a therapy exercise lands in the hands of a fellow classmate and a trail of tragic consequences ensues.

The story dives into a journey of self-discovery that leads him toward the beauty of belonging and acceptance, not only with the people who love him but also by himself.

The movie stars Tony winner Ben Platt as Evan, along side Amy Adams, Julianne Moore, Kaitlyn Dever, Amandla Stenberg, and Nik Dodani.

“There was no question that Dear Evan Hansen was the ideal film to launch the Festival this year,” said Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director and Co-Head, TIFF.

“This film is ultimately about healing, forgiveness, and reaffirms how connected and essential we all are to one another. We couldn’t think of a more important idea to celebrate this year as we come together once again to share the power and joy of cinema in theatres together.”

Executive Director and Co-Head at TIFF, Joana Vicente, says that in the wake of a pandemic, it is important that the festival opens this year with a film that connects on a level of humanity and how “deeply we need one another, need to be seen by one another, especially in times of loneliness and despair.”

Other opening night films include The Electrical Life of Louis Wain by Will Sharpe, Jagged by Alison Klayman, Last Night in Soho by Edgar Wright, The Mad Women’s Ball (Le Bal des folles) by Mélanie Laurent, Night Raiders by Danis Goulet.

TIFF also announced the Closing Night Gala of 2021, One Second, the newest offering from the acclaimed Chinese director of Raise the Red Lantern and Hero, Zhang Yimou.

The 46th Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 9 to 18, 2021.


Karen DoradeaKaren Doradea

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