TIFF ’18: Gala lineup revealed, but no Canadian titles included

Kim Nguyen's The Hummingbird Project and Patricia Rozema's Mouthpiece are among the Canadian projects selected for special presentations.

Canada’s largest and most prestigious film festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, unveiled its gala lineup today, with many boldface directorial names in the mix.

However, of the 17 films selected for a gala screening at the Toronto International Film Festival, not one is Canadian so far. (Gala titles can be, and often are, added after the main announcement – and the festival’s opening night film has also yet to be announced.)

Today’s Special Presentations lineup announcement, however, is stacked with big-name Canadian directors, including Kim Nguyen, Patricia Rozema, Don McKellar and the fast-rising young director Stella Meghie.

TIFF’s first programming announcement highlights the big, buzzy films that get fans and critics excited for the September fest, which is often regarded as the kickoff to a film’s Oscar campaign. TIFF cancelled its press conference this year, however, out of respect to the victims of a July 22 shooting in Toronto’s Danforth community that left two dead and 12 injured.

With many big-name Canadian films being readied for a fall festival run, it was thought several had gala potential. Those include Kim Nguyen’s Jesse Eisenberg-starring The Hummingbird Project (pictured), produced by Item7 and Belgium’s Belga Productions, and Don McKellar’s Through Black Spruce (produced by Serendipity Point Pictures, Kistikan Pictures and Buffalo Gal Pictures). While there were no Canadian galas revealed, TIFF announced the Special Presentations section will open with the world premiere of Patricia Rozema’s Mouthpieceproduced by Crucial Things and First Generation Films.

Keith Behrman’s Giant Little Ones, produced by Euclid431 Pictures, will also screen in the section, and while not a Canadian film, Toronto filmmaker Stella Meghie returns to the fest with The Weekend. 

Last year, two Canadian films had gala presentations, though only Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier’s Tragically Hip doc Long Time Running was announced at TIFF’s opening press conference. The festival added Canada’s eventual Oscar pick Hochelaga: Terre des Âmes in August.

Canadian films have traditionally received the gala treatment at TIFF. In 2016, Mark Williams’ The Headhunter’s Calling had a gala premiere, while 2015 saw Paul Gross’ Hyena Road, Deepa Mehta’s Beeba Boys and Jon Cassar’s Forsaken included in the program.

Among those selected for a gala screening at the fest this year are the world premieres of Steve McQueen’s Widows (U.K./U.S.), Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk (U.S.), George Tillman Jr.’s The Hate U Give (U.S.), Claire Denis’ High Life (Germany/France/Poland/U.K.), and Dan Fogelman’s Life Itself. 

The full list of films announced today are:


Beautiful Boy, Felix van Groeningen (U.S.)
Galveston, Mélanie Laurent (U.S.)
Everybody Knows, Asghar Farhadi (Spain/France/Italy)
First Man, Damien Chazelle (U.S.)
The Hate U Give, George Tillman, Jr. (U.S.)
Hidden Man, Jiang Wen (China)
High Life, Claire Denis (Germany/France/Poland/U.K.)
Husband Material, Anurag Kashyap (India)
The Kindergarten Teacher, Sara Colangelo (U.S.)
The Land of Steady Habits, Nicole Holofcener (U.S.)
Life Itself, Dan Fogelman (U.S.)
The Public, Emilio Estevez (U.S.)
Red Joan, Sir Trevor Nunn, (U.K.)
A Star is Born, Bradley Cooper (U.S.)
Shadow, Zhang Yimou (China)
What They Had, Elizabeth Chomko (U.S.)
Widows, Steve McQueen (U.K./U.S.)

Special Presentations
Ben is Back, Peter Hedges (U.S.)
Burning, Lee Chang-dong (South Korea)
Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Marielle Heller (U.S.)
Capernaum, Nadine Labaki (Lebanon)
Cold War, Paweł Pawlikowski (Poland/U.K./France)
Colette, Wash Westmoreland (U.K.)
Dogman, Matteo Garrone (Italy/France)
The Front Runner, Jason Reitman (U.S., produced by Bron Studios’ Aaron L. Gilbert)
Giant Little Ones, Keith Behrman (Canada)
Girls of the Sun (Les filles du soleil), Eva Husson (France)
Hotel Mumbai, Anthony Maras (Australia)
The Hummingbird Project, Kim Nguyen (Canada)
If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins (U.S.)
Maya, Mia Hansen-Løve (France)
Manto, Nandita Das (India)
Monsters and Men, Reinaldo Marcus Green (U.S.)
Mouthpiece, Patricia Rozema (Canada)
Non-Fiction, Olivier Assayas (France)
Old Man & the Gun, David Lowery (U.S.)
Papi Chulo, John Butler (Ireland)
Roma, Alfonso Cuarón (Mexico/U.S.)
Shoplifters, Hirokazu Kore-eda (Japan)
The Sisters Brothers, Jacques Audiard (U.S./France/Romania/Spain)
Sunset, László Nemes (Hungary/France)
Through Black Spruce, Don McKellar(Canada)
The Wedding Guest, Michael Winterbottom (U.K).
The Weekend, Stella Meghie (U.S.)
Where Hands Touch, Amma Asante (U.K.)
White Boy Rick, Yann Demange (U.S.)
Wildlife, Paul Dano (U.S.)