The Toronto International Film Festival has revealed 46 breakout films from 50 international storytellers as part of its 2018 Discovery lineup, marking a record year for the programme. Hailing from 37 different countries, these promising new filmmakers present works that explore identity, complex portraits of women, and youth as they struggle to navigate a fragile world.
The 43rd Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 6 to 16, 2018.
Twenty-nine of the films will make their World Premieres at the Festival. The lineup stands out for the impressive number of Asian and Eastern European films — accounting for 26% of the Discovery programme — and the number of films directed by women.
“We are thrilled to present a lineup so rich in distinct new voices committed to great storytelling,” said Kerri Craddock, Director of Festival Programming.
“Audiences will embark on journeys with the strong characters in these films that will be sure to engage them from cultural, political, and formal perspectives. With 48% of the titles directed by women, the Festival’s Discovery section hopefully signals that change is on the horizon in the international film industry.”
Opening this year’s Discovery programme will be Bai Xue’s The Crossing, a captivating Chinese film following the journey of an ordinary teenage girl who becomes entangled in illicit activities.
“Bai Xue displays the rare talent of a young female filmmaker who has rewritten the coming-of-age genre, colouring it with thrilling action,” said Giovanna Fulvi, International Programmer at TIFF. “TIFF is proud to introduce to the world of movie making one of the strongest new voices from China.”
The programme’s highlights include: Adina Pintilie’s innovative Touch Me Not, winner of the Golden Bear and Best First Feature in Berlin; Syrian director Soudade Kaadan’s The Day I Lost My Shadow, a bewitching film on the Syrian conflict; Nino Zhvania’s Parade, the only Georgian feature in the selection; Lithuanian director Marija Kavtaradze’s touching Summer Survivors; Han Ka-ram’s charming Our Body; and renowned Nigerian actor Genevieve Nnaji’s exciting directorial debut, Lionheart.
This year’s lineup also stands out for the strong portrayals of sensitive and witty women within it. Among them are Arturo Infante’s sci-fi comedy The Extraordinary Journey of Celeste García , starring popular actor María Isabel Díaz; Mexican director Lila Avilés’ The Chambermaid; Arash Lahooti’s Orange Days; Nikos Labôt’s Her Job; and Woman at War by Icelandic director Benedikt Erlingsson, which has already earned critical praise.
Putting the struggles of young characters front and centre, the Discovery programme includes UK actor-director Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s Farming, which tells the story of a Nigerian immigrant facing a racist skinhead gang in 1980s England; Carmel Winters’ beautiful Float Like a Butterfly; Lukas Dhont’s Girl; Daniel Sawka’s Icebox; Rosanne Pel’s Light as Feathers; Darko Štante’s Consequences; Ash Mayfair’s The Third Wife; Imogen Thomas’ poetic Emu Runner; Ethiopian–Israeli filmmaker Aäläm-Wärqe Davidian’s Fig Tree; and Joël Karekezi’s The Mercy of the Jungle, showcasing the breakthrough performance of TIFF International Rising Star Stéphane Bak.
To close this bright selection, Palestinian director Bassam Jarbawi will introduce North American audiences to his exceptional first feature film, Screwdriver, a gripping drama that examines the psychological impact of the Palestinian–Israeli conflict. “Bassam Jarbawi’s remarkable feature debut is an important look at mental trauma in the context of the Occupation,” said International Programmer Kiva Reardon.