The 48th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) kicked off on September 7th, featuring an array of Chinese-language films among its lineup. Over the course of 11 days, more than 300 films from around the world will be screened, while industry professionals gather to communicate and trade.
With the ongoing strike of actors and screenwriters in Hollywood, the red carpet at TIFF may have been slightly dimmed. Nevertheless, this has provided an opportunity for films and filmmakers from outside North America to gain more attention at the festival.
Several Chinese-language films made their debut at this year’s TIFF, including the Kung Fu film “The Treasure in Front of the Gate” directed by Xu Haofeng and Xu Junfeng, “Burning Winter” directed by Chen Zheyi and starring Zhou Dongyu and Liu Haoran, and the posthumous work of late Tibetan director Wanma Caidan, “Snow Leopard”. Additionally, the documentary “Youth” directed by Wang Bing and the 4K restored version of Chen Kaige’s “Farewell My Concubine” were screened as well.
Among the Chinese-speaking filmmakers attending the festival, renowned Hong Kong movie star Andy Lau took center stage. Lau was honored with the “Special Contribution Award” by TIFF and is expected to appear in Toronto for the world premiere of the film “Mr. Red Carpet”, directed by Ning Hao, and engage in discussions with fans.
Surprisingly, Japanese animation master Hayao Miyazaki’s latest work, “The Boy and the Heron”, was chosen as this year’s opening film, marking the first time that the Toronto Film Festival opened with a Japanese film or animation.
The closing film for this year’s festival was the documentary “The Stallone Story” (Sly), with the iconic American action star Stallone in attendance to engage in dialogue with fans. The festival also arranged fan dialogues with Korean stars Lee Byung-hun, Park Seo-joon, and renowned Spanish director Almodóvar.
In conjunction with the festival, the 5th “China Film Exhibition” was launched to promote exchange and collaboration within the industry. The exhibition showcased 35 Chinese films, including “Fengshen Part I: Song of Songs”, “The Wandering Earth”, “Megalodon 2”, “Changjin Lake”, “In the Octagonal Cage”, and “No Name”. This increase in the number of Chinese films participating reflects the diversity of film types, aiming to promote China’s excellent domestic productions.
Established in 1976, the Toronto International Film Festival has become a well-known brand event in the Canadian film industry and is recognized as one of the world‘s major film festivals. The films that win the festival’s “People’s Choice Award” often go on to be shortlisted or even win at the Oscars the following year, making TIFF an industry “Oscar Barometer”.