TIFF unveils July – August programming

programming release

July 7, 2023

TIFF unveils July – August programming

Retrospectives on the Safdie brothers and Korean cinema

Special guests Antoine Bourges, Julia Fox, Sarah Gadon, Adam Nayman, and Carly Stone touch down at TIFF Bell Lightbox

New 4K restorations of Thelma & Louise, Chocolat, The Conformist, and more!

A still from Poetry

Poetry (2010)

TORONTO — TIFF’s summer programming lineup features some of the most anticipated New Releases and restorations, along with notable special guests; the Midnight Madness screening of Top of the Heap; the MDFF Selects screening of both parts of Trenque Lauquen, the latest film from Argentine director Laura Citarella; the Toronto premiere of the recent restoration of Oleksandr Dovzhenko’s Ukrainian masterpiece Earth, programmed by TIFF International Programmer Dorota Lech; and Rian Johnson’s debut feature Brick as part of TIFF Next Wave Presents, curated by a committee of young film programmers.

Films making their theatrical premieres at TIFF Bell Lightbox in the coming weeks include Franco-Canadian filmmaker Antoine Bourges’ Concrete Valley on July 21, a follow-up to his much-admired and singular 2017 feature Fail to Appear; Carly Stone’s North of Normal, an adaptation of Cea Sunrise Person’s 2014 memoir, with a Q&A with the filmmaker and actor Sarah Gadon on July 27; and Charlotte Regan’s Scrapper, which screened at the TIFF Next Wave Festival earlier this year and will be making its theatrical debut on August 25.

From July 28 to August 25, TIFF Cinematheque is presenting Power and Poetry: A Showcase of South Korean Cinema, a 10-film survey showcasing the breadth of the region’s greatest achievements in film and contributions to international cinema in celebration of the 60-year anniversary of diplomatic relations between South Korea and Canada. On Friday, July 28, audiences are invited to attend a free opening-night reception from 6:30pm to 8pm, featuring food, beverages, and a performance by Navillera Korean Dance Company, plus an art activation by Kseniya Tsoy in the TIFF Bell Lightbox atrium, generously supported by the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Toronto. The public event will be followed by a ticketed screening of Han Hyeong-mo’s Madame Freedom. All attendees are welcome. This showcase is curated in consultation with Seoul Cinematheque and the Korean Film Council (KOFIC).

TIFF Cinematheque is showing a full retrospective on Josh and Benny Safdie, the brothers whose meteoric rise in American independent cinema reached its zenith with 2019’s cultural sensation Uncut Gems. Screening from August 10 to September 1, Uncut Gems: Films by the Safdie Brothers will feature 35mm prints of Daddy Longlegs, Heaven Knows What, The Pleasure of Being Robbed, Uncut Gems, and Good Time — all courtesy of Elara Pictures and the personal collection of Josh and Benny Safdie. Fans of Uncut Gems can also catch Julia Fox, the breakout star of the 2019 film, on July 7 and 8 at a moderated chat with filmmaker Luis De Filippis for Something You Said Last Night, a film for which she has signed on as executive producer.

TIFF Cinematheque New and Restored series is featuring anniversary screenings and stunning new 4K restorations of Thelma & Louise, still considered one of the most iconic odes to female friendship 40 years after its release (the Canadian premiere of this format); Chocolat, released more than 30 years ago, marking the emergence of one of the most singular directorial voices in contemporary world cinema; Cauleen Smith’s tender and confident debut feature Drylongso, marking its 25th anniversary; Nina Menkes’ previously hard-to-find 1991 film Queen of Diamonds, which she wrote, directed, produced, shot, and co-edited; and Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist, an anti-fascist head-trip with innovative cinematography, which went on to influence works from The Godfather series to The Sopranos.

Tickets for this season’s programming will go on sale July 12 at 10am for TIFF Members and Under-25 Pass holders and July 14 at 10am for the public.

TIFF’s subscription series for the fall season will also be going on sale on July 12. Reel Talk is now International Cinema Cafe and will continue to provide a snapshot of the best cinema from around the world, with a focus on films submitted for Best International Picture at the Academy Awards and hidden gems that may not see wide release. This season’s hosts are Nataleah Hunter-Young, International Programmer at TIFF, and Christoph Straub, Director of Public Programming. Screenings will take place in person at TIFF Bell Lightbox, as well as online on digital TIFF Bell Lightbox. Secret Movie Club returns on Tuesday evenings, with new host Jane Schoettle, TIFF International Programmer, and returning host Norm Wilner, Acting Lead Programmer, Canada and Industry Selects at TIFF. Showcasing the best of cinema — from highly anticipated festival favourites, to small-budget indies, to the year’s most buzzworthy films. International Cinema Cafe and Secret Movie Club are generously supported by Lavazza, TIFF’s Official Coffee Partner.


July 26, 28, 29
Concrete Valley – Theatrical debut screening and Q&A with director Antoine Bourges

Rashid (Hussam Douhna), a former physician from Syria, has settled in the area of Thorncliffe Park with his wife, Fahra (Amani Ibrahim), a former actor, and their young son. Struggling with his current position in life and seemingly eager to escape his marriage — while still guided by a sense of social solidarity for those around him — he proves himself a man capable of bitter derision and gaslighting as often as generosity and support. Scripted in collaboration with writer Teyama Alkamli and featuring mostly non-actors from the community it portrays, this TIFF 2022 Official Selection avoids narrative clichés around the immigrant and refugee experience

July 27
North of Normal – Theatrical debut screening and Q&A with director Carly Stone and actor Sarah Gadon

Based on Cea Sunrise Person’s memoir, Carly Stone’s accomplished North of Normal recounts the author’s tumultuous, unconventional childhood. In the 1970s, Cea’s hippie grandparents, Grandpa Dick (Robert Carlyle) and Grandma Jeanne (Janet Porter), flee the repressive climes of the United States for the untrammelled wilds of Alberta and British Columbia with Cea and her teenage mother, Michelle (Sarah Gadon), in tow. But when Michelle tires of her father’s criticisms, mother and daughter find themselves living nomadically on the margins of society.


July 28 – August 25
Power and Poetry: A Showcase of South Korean Cinema

The films featured in this series range from the Golden Age of Korean cinema in the 1950s, beginning with Madame Freedom — a melodrama (scandalous in its day) about the effect of changing post-war social morés and economic growth — and culminating in Lee Chang-dong’s (Burning) award-winning Poetry in 2010. Other highlights include the sepia-toned and elliptical exploration of grief in Lee Jang-ho’s The Man with Three Coffins; Yim Soon-rye’s acclaimed indie Waikiki Brothers, following a cover band struggling to bridge the gap between their dreams and reality; the influential and strikingly kinetic Nowhere to Hide, an action/thriller/comedy defined by its hyper-stylized visuals and effects; and a snapshot of 1970s authoritarian era from a youth perspective, the coming-of-age classic The March of Fools.

The Power and Poetry: A Showcase of South Korean Cinema series and opening reception is supported by the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Toronto. Organized by TIFF Cinematheque and the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) with contributions from Cinematheque Seoul Art Cinema. Prints courtesy of the Korean Film Archive.

August 6, 1pm
TIFF Family Films – The NeverEnding Story

Hiding from bullies in a school attic, book-loving young Bastian (Barret Oliver) becomes engrossed in the pages of a mysterious volume called The NeverEnding Story, which describes the magical adventures of boy warrior Atreyu (Noah Hathaway) as he attempts to rescue a young empress and the entire kingdom of Fantasia, from an all-consuming void called “The Nothing.” Following Atreyu’s exploits as he befriends a flying luckdragon and tries to stay one step ahead of The Nothing’s monstrous minions, Bastian begins to notice that his own presence seems to be affecting the characters in the story ― and that he might be the hero that Fantasia is waiting for.

August 10 – September 1
Uncut Gems: Films by the Safdie Brothers

Josh and Benny Safdie first began their careers when both were independently invited to attend Cannes: Benny with his short film Acquaintances of a Lonely John, and Josh with his feature debut The Pleasure of Being Robbed. Since then, the pair have worked together on five features, often crewing their own films in multiple roles (acting, writing, editing, and more). The Safdies’ penchant for magnetizing A-listers reached a peak in Uncut Gems, when they landed both Adam Sandler as the lead and Martin Scorsese as an executive producer, and along the way amassing a top-tier list of collaborators, including titans of contemporary cinematography Sean Price Williams and Darius Khondji; and perhaps most influentially, Ronald Bronstein (Frownland), who has co-written and edited all of their narrative features since 2009’s Daddy Longlegs. Film critic, lecturer, and author Adam Nayman will join TIFF for the screening of Good Time.

Uncut Gems: Films by the Safdie Brothers is presented by ISTIC ILLIC Pictures.
Prints courtesy of Elara Pictures and the personal collection of Josh and Benny Safdie.

August 19, 6:30pm
TIFF Next Wave Presents – Brick

Introduction by TIFF Next Wave Alumni Committee Member Arjun Persaud.
Rian Johnson’s (Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery) debut film Brick unravels in a dark and mesmerizing web of intrigue. High school student Brendan Frye (Joseph Gorden-Levitt) receives a cryptic and distressing call from his ex-girlfriend begging him for help. Compelled to investigate her subsequent disappearance, Brendan is pulled into the shadowy underworld of a high school crime ring.

August 24, 6:15pm
TIFF Special Screenings – Earth

In celebration of Ukrainian Independence Day, with a recorded introduction by TIFF International Programmer Dorota Lech.
Screening in 2K for the first time in Toronto, Earth is a cinematic monument to resistance and a staunch reminder that hope cannot be defeated. Depicting the onset of the USSR’s era of collectivization and pre-dating the Holodomor ― a man-made famine that killed millions of Ukrainians from 1932 to 1933 ― the richly symbolistic film was banned by Soviet authorities nine days after its release. Embraced internationally after glasnost, the version that circulated globally remained a censored one until 2012, when Dovzhenko’s original script and typeface were used to restore the inscriptions.

August 26, 6:30pm
Midnight Madness Presents – Top of the Heap

Introduction by Midnight Madness Presents programmers Peter Kuplowsky and Liane Cunje.
Remarkably produced, written, directed, and starring Christopher St. John, Top of the Heap exhibits the rooted themes and assured stylings of avant-garde cinema, Blaxploitation, and Afrofuturism far ahead of its time. Featuring the first score by J. J. Johnson after the iconic Shaft, this meditation on a frustrated Black man’s attempt to grab the reins of authority in the Nixon era will surely impress.

August 31, 6:15pm
MDFF Selects – Trenque Lauquen

Introduction by MDFF’s Kazik Radwanski. Screening will include an intermission.
MDFF Selects is presenting its first screening with an intermission for the monumental yet playful Trenque Lauquen by Laura Citarella, which consists of two feature films and a 4-hour-and-20-minute runtime. A woman named Laura (Laura Paredes) is missing, and two men set out on the road to find her. Soon we become lost in a journey of love letters, unclassifiable flower species, and flashbacks within flashbacks in and around the Argentinean city of Trenque Lauquen.


Playing at TIFF Bell Lightbox

Opens August 11
Passages, Mongrel Media
A 15-year relationship between two men is thrown into turmoil when one of them begins an affair with a woman, in this emotional drama from writer-director Ira Sachs (Little Men). Starring Franz Rogowski, Ben Whishaw (Women Talking), and Adèle Exarchopoulos.

✅ Berlin International Film Festival - Nominee, Panorama Audience Award Feature Film and Teddy Best Feature Film
✅ Inside Out - Opening Night Film

Opens August 18 – Limited Screenings
The Eternal Memory, The Impact Series
What happens to the collective memory of an oppressed country if the ones who report on the oppression fail to remember? This is the question Oscar-nominated Chilean director Maite Alberdi’s (The Mole Agent) documentary asks of its main subjects: renowned journalist Augusto Góngora, who is in late-stage dementia; and Paulina Urrutia, a culture minister and Góngora’s life partner of 25 years.

✅ Sundance - Winner, Grand Jury Prize World Cinema - Documentary
✅ Berlin International Film Festival - Nominee, Panorama Audience Award Documentary Film
✅ Hot Docs - Official Selection

Opens August 25
Scrapper, Kino Lorber
In Charlotte Regan’s debut feature Scrapper, newcomer Lola Campbell and Harris Dickinson (Triangle of Sadness, The King’s Man) unfold the hilarious story of an overly independent daughter and goofy unreliable father who struggle with connection. Set in London, the 12-year-old protagonist, Georgie, makes a living off a lucrative bike-theft business to pay the rent while living on her own. When Georgie’s absentee father suddenly reappears due to the untimely death of her mother, she must learn to confront reality and open up again. Also starring Alin Uzun and Cary Crankson.

✅ Sundance Film Festival - Winner, Grand Jury Prize World Cinema - Dramatic
✅ TIFF Next Wave - Official Selection

Rent on digital TIFF Bell Lightbox

Available July 11
Joyland, Oscilloscope
Beau Is Afraid, Sphère Films

Available July 18
Last Film Show, Sherry Media
Bones of Crows, Elevation Pictures
What’s Love Got To Do With It?, Mongrel Media

Available July 25
Blue Jean, Mongrel Media

Available August 1
Other People’s Children, Sphère Films

TIFF Members and TIFF Under-25 Free Pass Holders receive access to year-round TIFF benefits, including free access to more than 300 Cinematheque screenings. To learn more and join as a TIFF Member, visit tiff.net/membership.

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TIFF 2024 takes place September 5–15, 2024.

About TIFF
TIFF is a not-for-profit cultural organization with a mission to transform the way people see the world through film. An international leader in film culture, TIFF projects include the annual Toronto International Film Festival®in September; TIFF Lightbox, which features five cinemas, learning and entertainment facilities; and the innovative national distribution program Film Circuit. The organization generates an annual economic impact of $200 million CAD. TIFF Lightbox is generously supported by contributors including the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada, the City of Toronto, the Reitman family (Ivan Reitman, Agi Mandel, and Susan Michaels), The Daniels Corporation, and RBC. For more information, visit tiff.net.

TIFF is generously supported by Major Sponsors RBC and Visa, and Major Supporters: the Government of Canada, Government of Ontario, and City of Toronto.

TIFF Cinematheque is supported by Ontario Creates and Canada Council for the Arts.

International Cinema Cafe and Secret Movie Club are generously supported by Lavazza, TIFF’s Official Coffee Partner.

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