Women pull no punches in TIFF's new marquee series kicking off this summer

programming release

May 8, 2024

Women pull no punches in TIFF's new marquee series kicking off this summer

An action-packed lineup of films and special events coming to TIFF Lightbox June 7 – July 31

Women in Action banner featuring Viola Davis in The Woman King (2022), Michelle Yeoh in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
TORONTO — TIFF is excited to announce Women in Action, a new marquee series helmed by women, celebrating the trailblazing actors and stunt performers who have advanced the action genre both on and off screen. Spanning 70 years with a focus on American and Asian cinema, this 24-film series explores various themes and sub-genres, shining a light on today’s actions stars and the women who paved their way. The incomparable Michelle Yeoh bookends Women in Action with two standout performances in the Oscar-winning films Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Everything Everywhere All at Once, and stars alongside famed stunt actor Cynthia Rothruck in the buddy-cop action-comedy Yes, Madam!. The series also traces defining performances and the films they influenced, such as Meiko Kaji in the 1973 manga-inspired cult classic Lady Snowblood, a film which heavily inspired Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Volume 1 and Kill Bill: Volume 2. Women in Action runs from June 7 to July 31. Tickets will be available to Members on Wednesday, May 15 at 10am, and to the public on Friday, May 17 at 10am. Select second screenings will be scheduled throughout July and will go on sale to Members on June 12, and to the public on June 14.

“Michelle Yeoh’s Oscar recognition, an overdue honour for one of cinema’s biggest international action stars, was an inspiration for our Women in Action summer series, which celebrates the icons who have commanded the screen through strength, strategy, and stunts, paving the way for future generations of women warriors,” said Anita Lee, Chief Programming Officer, TIFF.

An extensive lineup of complementary special events and talks will be offered throughout the run of this series, including a Silver Screening presentation of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon followed by a free martial arts workshop; a themed TIFF Member trivia night; a Polite Society virtual Q&A with filmmaker Nida Manzoor and star Priya Kansara; and a screening of documentary Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story followed by a panel discussion moderated by barrier-breaking stunt performer and coordinator Angelica Lisk-Hann, co-presented with ACTRA Toronto. More information and the complete list of programming and events can be found here.

Women in Action spotlights a wide range of influential films and iconic action stars, from Jacques Tourneur’s semi-historical swashbuckler Anne of the Indies starring Jean Peters as pirate captain Anne Providence to Cheng Pei-pei as Golden Swallow in King Hu’s 1966 Come Drink with Me, which is largely recognized as one of the first martial arts films to feature a female lead; Cheng and also stars in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The series features seminal Hollywood action characters, including Ripley as brought to life by Sigourney Weaver in Ridley Scott’s Alien, Linda Hamilton as the all-muscle Sarah Connor in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and Uma Thurman as Beatrix Kiddo in Kill Bill, all of which helped redefine the woman action star. The series also spotlights landmark films which increased diverse representation on screen, such as Pam Grier as a nurse vigilante in Jack Hill’s Coffy, who takes matters into her own hands to fight systemic injustices; and 2021 TIFF Rising Star Amber Midthunder, who stars as a young Comanche warrior in the Predator prequel, Prey.

Women in Action has been co-curated by Anita Lee, TIFF’s Chief Programming Officer; Robyn Citizen, TIFF’s Director of Programming, Festival and Cinematheque; and Jessica Smith, TIFF Lightbox’s Programming and Projects Producer.

Also in June, TIFF Cinematheque is launching the summer with the ultimate road trip series in Vanishing Point: Stories from the Road. Pondering the joys, boredom, and frustrations of being on the road, these elliptical stories reflect on the rebel without a map, and include Chantal Akerman’s poignant travelogue D’Est and Donald Shebib’s tale of two maritimers in Goin’ Down the Road. Other films of note include Lana and Lilly Wachowski’s neo-noir and erotic thriller Bound in 35mm, screening as part Cameron Bailey’s From the Collection in celebration of Pride Month; the TIFF ’19 award-winning film The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, written and directed by Kathleen Hepburn and Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, screening in honour of National Indigenous History Month; and the 50th-anniversary screening of John Cassavetes’ A Woman Under the Influence, starring Gena Rowlands in one of the greatest performances of all times.

Tickets to Cinematheque series and Women in Action are free to TIFF Members. To learn more, visit tiff.net/join.

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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.

Silver Screenings is supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Government of Canada.

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