Toronto 2019: First Wave of Galas and Special Presentations

First still from the set of WW2 satire, JOJO RABBIT. (From L-R): Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) has dinner with his imaginary friend Adolf (Writer/Director Taika Waititi), and his mother, Rosie (Scarlet Johansson). Photo by Kimberley French. Courtesy of Fox.

The Toronto International Film Festival announced the first wave of films playing in the Gala and Special Presentations program in September.  The announcement was made by Cameron Bailey and Joana Vicente.

“Some of the year’s biggest films will land in Toronto this September,” said Bailey, Co-Head and Artistic Director of TIFF. “We’re thrilled to unveil Galas and Special Presentations that bring the brightest lights in film to our Festival audience. Our new programming team has been hard at work for months to deliver the compelling stories, acclaimed filmmakers, and top onscreen talent that mark our two highest-profile sections.”

“I’m delighted to step into my first Festival as TIFF Co-Head to such a powerful slate of films,” said Vicente, Co-Head and Executive Director of TIFF. “Fast-paced, boundary-pushing, satirical — this lineup has films representing every corner of the cinematic landscape on top of a strong number of World Premieres. It’s a pleasure to be able to share these films with audiences for the first time.”

The first wave of titles include 18 Galas and 38 Special Presentations.  They are broken down into 29 World Premieres, six International Premieres, 13 North American Premieres, and eight Canadian Premieres.  With Venice announcing their lineup on July 25, we’ll have an idea of what’s playing in Telluride based on the premiere status.  Moreover, 50% of the Gala selections are directed or co-directed by women.  This marks a new record for Toronto.

Previously announced, Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band will open the 44th Toronto installment.  Radioactive will close out the festival.

GALAS 2019

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Marielle Heller | USA, World Premiere
Abominable, Jill Culton | USA, World Premiere
American Woman, Semi Chellas | Canada, Canadian Premiere
Blackbird, Roger Michell | United Kingdom, World Premiere
Clemency, Chinonye Chukwu | USA, International Premiere

Ford V Ferrari
Ford V Ferrari. Courtesy of TIFF

Ford v Ferrari, James Mangold | USA, Canadian Premiere
The Goldfinch, John Crowley | USA, World Premiere
Harriet, Kasi Lemmons | USA, World Premiere
Hustlers, Lorene Scafaria | USA, World Premiere
Joker, Todd Phillips | USA, North American Premiere
Just Mercy, Destin Daniel Cretton | USA, World Premiere
Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band, Daniel Roher | Canada, World Premiere (Opening Night Film)
Ordinary Love, Lisa Barros D’Sa, Glenn Leyburn | United Kingdom, World Premiere
Radioactive, Marjane Satrapi | United Kingdom, World Premiere (Closing Night Film)
The Sky Is Pink, Shonali Bose | India, World Premiere
The Song of Names, François Girard | Canada, World Premiere
True History of the Kelly Gang, Justin Kurzel | Australia, World Premiere
Western Stars, Thom Zimny, Bruce Springsteen | USA, World Premiere


A Herdade, Tiago Guedes | Portugal, North American Premiere
Bad Education, Cory Finley | USA, World Premiere
Coming Home Again, Wayne Wang | USA/South Korea, World Premiere
Dolemite Is My Name, Craig Brewer | USA, World Premiere
Ema, Pablo Larraín | Chile, North American Premiere
Endings, Beginnings; Drake Doremus | USA, World Premiere
Frankie, Ira Sachs | France/Portugal, North American Premiere
The Friend, Gabriela Cowperthwaite | USA, World Premiere
Greed, Michael Winterbottom | United Kingdom, World Premiere
Guest of Honour, Atom Egoyan | Canada, North American Premiere
Heroic Losers (La odisea de los giles), Sebastian Borensztein | Argentina/Spain, International Premiere
Honey Boy, Alma Har’el | USA, International Premiere
Hope Gap, William Nicholson | United Kingdom, World Premiere
How to Build a Girl, Coky Giedroyc | United Kingdom, World Premiere
I Am Woman, Unjoo Moon | Australia, World Premiere (Opening Special Presentations Film)
Jojo Rabbit, Taika Waititi | USA, World Premiere
Judy, Rupert Goold | United Kingdom, Canadian Premiere

Knives Out
Knives Out. Courtesy of TIFF.

Knives Out, Rian Johnson | USA, World Premiere
La Belle Époque, Nicolas Bedos | France, North American Premiere
The Laundromat, Steven Soderbergh | USA, North American Premiere
The Lighthouse, Robert Eggers | USA, North American Premiere
Marriage Story, Noah Baumbach | USA, Canadian Premiere
Military Wives, Peter Cattaneo | United Kingdom, World Premiere
Motherless Brooklyn, Edward Norton | USA, International Premiere
No.7 Cherry Lane, Yonfan | Hong Kong, North American Premiere
The Other Lamb, Malgorzata Szumowska | Belgium/Ireland/USA, World Premiere
Pain and Glory, Pedro Almodóvar | Spain, Canadian Premiere
The Painted Bird, Václav Marhoul | Czech Republic/Ukraine/Slovakia, North American Premiere
Parasite (Gisaengchung), Bong Joon-ho | South Korea, Canadian Premiere
Pelican Blood (Pelikanblut), Katrin Gebbe | Germany/Bulgaria, North American Premiere
The Personal History of David Copperfield, Armando Iannucci | United Kingdom, World Premiere
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Portrait de la jeune fille en feu), Céline Sciamma | France, Canadian Premiere
The Report,  Scott Z. Burns | USA, International Premiere
Saturday Fiction (Lan Xin Da Ju Yuan), Lou Ye | China, North American Premiere
The Two Popes, Fernando Meirelles | USA/United Kingdom/Italy/Argentina, Canadian Premiere
Uncut Gems, Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie | USA, International Premiere
Weathering With You, Makoto Shinkai | Japan, North American Premiere
While at War (Mientras Dure La Guerra), Alejandro Amenábar | Spain/Argentina, World Premiere

The 44th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) runs September 5–15, 2019.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.