Toronto film festival announces line-up with Mark Wahlberg drama premiering

Halle Berry’s directorial debut also on programme but whether physical screenings will take place remains up in the air

The Toronto film festival has announced its main line-up for this year, although it still uncertain whether physical screenings will take place.

As with the Venice and Cannes film festivals, the selection appears to have been significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused production shutdowns and release delays across the industry. Arguably the most high-profile inclusion is the Mark Wahlberg drama Good Joe Bell, directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green (Monsters and Men), based on the real-life story of a father whose son killed himself after being bullied.

Also receiving world premieres are Concrete Cowboy, starring Idris Elba and Stranger Things’ Caleb McLaughlin, about the “urban cowboy” subculture in Philadelphia, and the Spike Lee-directed David Byrne’s American Utopia, a filmed version of the Broadway show.

Toronto will also host premieres of two notable directorial debuts: Halle Berry’s Bruised, in which Berry plays a mixed martial arts fighter attempting a comeback, and Regina King’s One Night in Miami, in which Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Jim Brown and Sam Cooke meet on the night of Ali’s victory over Sonny Liston.

Toronto’s closing presentation will be the BBC series A Suitable Boy, adapted from Vikram Seth’s celebrated novel and directed by Mira Nair.

Other highlights of the programme include the Kate Winslet/Saoirse Ronan romantic drama Ammonite, inspired by the life of 19th-century paleontologist Mary Anning and which was included in Cannes “branded” selection earlier this year, and Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland, starring Frances McDormand as a retiree forced to go on the road, in a premiere shared with the Venice film festival.

Toronto previously announced it will stage a “hybrid” festival, with all industry events taking place online and with a group of “ambassadors”, including Barry Jenkins, Natalie Portman and Taika Waititi, hosting digital sessions. The festival will require permits from local authorities to put on physical screenings, but the city has recently allowed cinemas to reopen under social distancing conditions.

The Toronto film festival is due to run 10-20 September.


Andrew Pulver

The GuardianTramp

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