TIFF ’17: Borg/McEnroe to open the festival

The Sweden/Denmark/Finland copro about one of the most intense rivalries in the history of tennis is the opening night gala film.
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The 42nd edition of TIFF will open with the world premiere of Sweden/Denmark/Finland coproduction Borg/McEnroe, the festival announced Monday.

The opening night gala film, directed by Danish filmmaker Janus Metz and penned by Swedish writer/director Ronnie Sandahl, will screen at Roy Thomson Hall on Sept. 7.

The English-language feature tells of one of the greatest rivalries in the history of tennis – Björn Borg versus John McEnroe –which culminated in their classic match in the final of Wimbledon in 1980. Shia LaBeouf plays McEnroe while Swedish actor Sverrir Gudnason plays Borg.

TIFF got the ball rolling with its programming lineup announcements last week, revealing world premieres for the Canada/Ireland/Luxembourg copro The Breadwinner and Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier’s Tragically Hip doc Long Time Running. At the time, the festival also announced gala world premieres for Andy Serkis’ Breathe (U.K), Ben Lewin’s The Catcher Was a Spy (U.S.), Haifaa Al Mansour’s Mary Shelley (Ireland/U.K., Luxembourg/U.S.), Hany Abu-Assad’s The Mountain Between Us (U.S.), David Gordon Green’s Stronger (U.S.), Björn Runge’s The Wife (U.K./Sweden), Neil Burger’s as yet untitled Bryan Cranston/Kevin Hart film (U.S.) and Susanna White’s Woman Walks Ahead (U.S).

Previous opening night gala films include Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven (2016), Jean-Marc Vallée’s Demolition (2015), Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall-starrer The Judge (2014) and Michael McGowan’s Score: A Hockey Musical (2010).

Borg/McEnroe is produced by Jon Nohrstedt and Fredrik Wikström Nicastro of Swedish prodco SF Studios. The companies coproducing the film are Film I Väst, SVT, Nordisk Film, Sirena Film, SF Studios Production APS and Yellow Film & TV.

The film is funded by the Swedish Film Institute, Nordisk Film & TV Fund, the Danish Film Institute, the Finnish Film Foundation, DR and YLE and co-funded by the European Union Creative Europe Media.

New York-based distributor Neon is handling the release of the film in North America.

TIFF ’17 runs from Sept. 7 to 17.