By The SATimes News Service
Covid has scaled down another global event. The 45th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), one of the world’s major movie platforms, opened September 11 with no red carpets, no celebs and no crowds.
The 10-day festival kicked off with opening-night screening of David Byrne’s “American Utopia,” which is directed by Spike Lee and documents the former Talking Heads frontman’s 2019 Broadway show.
Mira Nair’s BBC series “A Suitable Boy” will close the film festival on Sept. 19.
‘The Disciple’ is the only Indian film to make it to TIFF this year. Director Chaitanya Tamhane’s latest has already won the International Critics’ Prize at the Venice International Film Festival earlier this year. This Marathi film is about a classical musician’s struggle to balance his career dreams and life in contemporary Mumbai.
Priyanka Chopra, who is almost a regular at each TIFF, was seen in an Instagram conversation with festival artistic director Cameron Bailey Sept. 11, reported IANS. The actress recently announced she has finished writing her memoir, “Unfinished,” and all set to make her digital debut with “The White Tiger,” co-starring RajKummar Rao.
TIFF usually marks the beginning of the Oscar buzz because the audiences in Toronto get to see many films which reach the rest of the world much later. In normal times, the festival features over 300 full-length films, documentaries and shorts. But this year’s line-up has been truncated to just 60 titles.
Among the major titles, Halle Berry’s directorial debut “Bruised” – a sports film about a mixed martial fighter facing her opponents and trying to win custody of her six-year-old son – had its world premiere on Sept. 12.
With all Toronto theaters closed, in-person screenings are being held only at small theatres at TIFF Bell Lightbox and four drive-in locations across the city, with mandatory masking and social distancing. Ticket buyers can also watch films and live chats on a streaming platform.
Since TIFF pumps in about $200 million each year into Toronto’s economy, the third largest city in North America this year faces a clean wipeout in terms of revenue from the event.