10 Films To Watch At TIFF 2023
The 2023 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is now underway!
With the opening film being the highly anticipated final feature from Hayao Miyazaki, The Boy and the Heron, and other potential award-season contenders like Dumb Money, The Zone of Interest and more screening at TIFF this year, we also have a few other films we’d like to shout out that everyone attending the festival should try to check out if they have the chance.
From your favourite directors, daring documentaries and first features, there is a little on this list for every film lover. Without further ado, check out the list below.
Check out our 10 films to watch at TIFF this year:
Ava DuVernay is back with her latest film, starring Aunjanue Ellis, Jon Bernthal, Nick Offerman, Victoria Pedretti and more. The film is an adaptation of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson’s life. After being asked by a colleague to write about Trayvon Martin’s death, Wilkerson (Ellis) begins to explore the core of where racial injustice comes from.
In Paul Middleditch and Hamish Bennett’s Uproar, Julian Dennison portrays Josh Waaka, a 17-year-old who is trying to figure out his place in the world amidst the protests happening around the country as the South African rugby team is allowed to tour New Zealand, despite their Apartheid laws. While thoughts of rugby consume everyone else, one of Josh’s teachers pushes him to audition for drama school. This opens Josh to new ways of seeing the world, and he begins to see the activism in his community in a different light.
Nikhil Nagesh Bhat directs a martial arts thriller on a passenger train en route to New Delhi. The train becomes a bloody combat zone after 40 bandits infiltrate the train. Having to save the love of his life, her family and the innocent passengers on the train, army commando Amrit (Lakshya) has to fight his way off the train before everything goes further off the rails. Bloody and brutal, KILL is a fantastic must-see actioner.
The world premiere of Cord Jefferson’s adaptation of Percival Everett’s Erasure will take place at TIFF this year. Starring Jeffrey Wright, Tracee Ellis Ross, Sterling K. Brown, Issa Rae, Erika Alexander, Keith David, Leslie Uggams and more, American Fiction is a satire on the commodification of marginalized voices.
Bye Bye Tiberias
Filmmaker Lina Soualem’s documentary focuses on her and her mother, Hiam Abbass’ return to Palestine. Decades ago, Abbass made the difficult decision to leave her mother, sisters and grandmother to pursue her career in acting. Years later, Abbass began making annual returns to her hometown with her daughter, Soualem, in tow. The pair would visit Lake Tiberias (also known as the Sea of Galilee) in Tiberias, where Abbass’ grandparents were expelled from in 1948. Blending old and new, Bye Bye Tiberias weaves together a story of four generations of women trying to recover from both chosen and forced separations.
Next Goal Wins
Taika Waititi’s next film focuses on the American Samoan soccer team’s quest to earn a spot in the World Cup over a decade after their infamous 31-0 loss in a past World Cup qualifier. Based on an incredible true story, Waititi uses his signature humour to bring an emotional and moving story to the big screen.
In Greg Kwedar’s film, a theatre troupe escapes their lives of incarceration through performing plays. Based on the real-life story of a rehabilitation program, Colman Domingo stars alongside formerly incarcerated actors to give audiences an unforgettable film.
Lil Nas X: Long Live Montero
After conquering pop music with his first single, which melded elements from the hip-hop and country music genres, Lil Nas X has been seemingly unstoppable. With moments that include Lil Nas X on tour, candid backstage moments and snippets into the rapper’s life before the same, Lil Nas X: Long Live Montero will have its world premiere at TIFF, giving audiences an insight into Lil Nas X’s vision as an artist.
Dicks: The Musical
It’s hard to pass up a good musical, and at TIFF, this comes in the form of Dicks: The Musical. From a story inspired by The Parent Trap, the musical comedy sees Craig and Trevor realize they’re identical twins raised apart since birth. The duo conspires to bring their estranged parents back together to hilarious results. Starring Aaron Jackson, Josh Sharp, Megan Mullaly, Nathan Lane, Bowen Yang as God, and Megan Thee Stallion, Dicks should be added to your watchlist.
Colman Domingo is clearly the MVP of this year’s TIFF, starring in another film as the lead at this year’s festival. Here, Domingo stars as the titular character in Rustin. Directed by Geoge C. Wolfe, the film follows Bayard Rustin, the activist who organized the 1963 March on Washington but was forced to the background because of his sexuality. Although the film will be released by Netflix later this year, if you can see it at TIFF, you shouldn’t let the opportunity pass you by.