TIFF Curtain Raiser
Would you like to know what BGN’s most anticipated films are for TIFF 2017? The Toronto International Film Festival aka TIFF is the largest film festival in the world that showcases hundreds of films in all genres, from documentary, horror, independent short to full-length feature films. Many of filmmakers and actors go on to receive awards not only at TIFF but also internationally, including the most lauded of them all, The Oscars, as evidenced by this year’s winner for best film Moonlight.
This year will be the first time Black Girl Nerds will be attending as a fully accredited press outlet and we couldn’t be more excited. Below is a list of our most (not only) anticipated films.
Jamie Broadnax: Editor-In Chief
Boom For Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat
Sara Driver explores the pre-fame years of the celebrated American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, and how New York City, its people, and tectonically shifting arts culture of the late 1970s and ’80s shaped his vision
Jamie says: “ I’ve always been a fan of Basquiat. Since Jeffrey Wright brought life to his story in the 1986 film, I’m so interested and inspired by his story. Now there is a documentary focusing on his late teenage years which hopefully will tell us more about Basquiat the person as opposed to just Basquiat the artist.”
A Black police officer (Ronnie Rowe Jr.) seeks revenge after being egregiously profiled and assaulted by his colleagues, in this searing political satire by actor-director Cory Bowles (Trailer Park Boys).
Jamie says: “This film where a Black cop decides to turn the tables and racially profile white people caught my eye among TIFF’s selection this year. In the wake of Black Lives Matter and social justice movements; a film that scrutinizes state sanctioned police violence is important right now.”
Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami
Directed by Sophie Fiennes Filmed over the course of a decade, the new documentary from director Sophie Fiennes (The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology) offers a stylish and unconventional look at the Jamaican-born model, singer, and New Wave icon.
Jamie says: “Grace Jones is a legendary icon in every sense of the term. Her fashion, her work as an actress, and her idiosyncratic personality is unmatched. I’m a fan of documentaries because they always tell a story in a way that provides so much insight into a person’s life.”
Charlie Hunnam (The Lost City of Z) and Rami Malek (Mr. Robot) take on the roles previously played by Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, in this new screen adaptation of Henri Charrière’s memoir of his imprisonment and repeated escapes from the notorious penal colony of Devil’s Island.
Jamie says: “I’m not gonna lie, I fell hard for Rami Malek based on his stunning performance on the TV series Mr. Robot. I look forward to seeing more he has to bring to the table in this feature film.”
Jamie says: The Cohen brothers never disappoint, from films like Raising Arizona, Fargo, and their work with Clooney Intolerable Cruelty and O‘ Brother Where Art Thou, I expect nothing less than excellent from this dynamic team.
Kay-B Giddens: Journalist, Writer & Podcaster
Directed by Dee Rees, Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Mary J. Blige, and Garrett Hedlund star in this ensemble drama from director Dee Rees, an adaptation of Hillary Jordan’s prize-winning novel about simmering racial tensions in the Jim Crow South of the 1940s.
Kay-B says: “A gripping film tackling the very racial struggles that my grandparents and great-grandparents lived through during this decade in the Jim Crow South, while examining two men’s assimilation back into society post-war, makes for a compelling drama that I am sure will bring heart and more.”
Directed by Hany Abu-Assad, A surgeon (Idris Elba) and a journalist (Kate Winslet) must rely on each other for survival when the small plane they share crashes in the wilderness.
Kay-B says: ”A pair of strangers meet unexpectedly, come up with an off the rails plan, and end up in a catastrophic event that forces them to rely on each other’s unique skills and the nature surrounding them. How will their spirits be tested? What lengths will they go to avoid death? What will become of their friendship forged in the fire? I cannot wait to see the resilience and bond that I know Kate and Idris will deliver onscreen, sign me up!”
Brie Larson stars in her directorial debut about a dreamer reluctant to abandon her childish wonder who is offered the most magical gift she can imagine, with Samuel L. Jackson, Joan Cusack, and Bradley Whitford.
Kay-B says: “I am almost positive that this film will unlock more magic in all of us adults who watch. In a likely ode to those who intentionally maintain childlike enthusiasm and intrigue, I am ready to watch Brie Larson tap into her childlike wonder, while navigating adulthood in the form of managing what I can only assume is, her own store.”
Shot on 35mm in black and white, Louis C.K.’s I Love You, Daddy was filmed entirely in secret.
Kay-B says: “A secret project from Louis C.K. that explores what are sure to be the beauty and complexities of a father/daughter relationship from the guy that brought me one of the most outlandish and still one of my fave comedies, Pootie Tang, I cannot wait.”
The Gospel according to André
From the segregated American South to the fashion capitals of the world, operatic fashion editor André Leon Talley’s life and career are on full display, in a poignant portrait that includes appearances by Anna Wintour, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Bethann Hardison, Valentino, and Manolo Blahnik.
Kyndal says: “André Leon Talley is the most important and influential voice in the fashion industry–more so than Anna Wintour. Don’t come for me.”
Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me
Directed by Sam Pollard. A star-studded roster of interviewees (including Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg, and Billy Crystal) pay tribute to the legendary, multi-talented song-and-dance man, in this exhilarating addition to the American Masters docu-series.
Kyndal says: “Rat Pack stories have always fascinated me, but Sammy’s story as the ‘greatest living entertainer in the world’ during a time of racial segregation makes this a must-see for me.”
Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) directs Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult, Tom Holland, and Katherine Waterston in this account of the race for marketable electricity in the United States between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse.
Kyndal says: “Benedict Cumberbatch. Nicholas Hoult. Tom Holland. Matthew Macfadyen (who will always be Mr. Darcy to me). I mean, please.”
Directed by Andy Serkis. Actor Andy Serkis makes his directorial debut with the inspiring true love story of Robin and Diana Cavendish (Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy), an adventurous couple who refuse to give up in the face of a devastating disease.
Kyndal says: “I’m here for anything Andy Serkis has his hand in, so for his directorial debut, it’s a no-brainer. And after watching and loving The Crown, I’m interested to see what Claire Foy brings to the table.”
Joi Childs: Writer, Critic
Directed by Angela Robinson. Luke Evans (High-Rise, Beauty and the Beast), Rebecca Hall (Christine), and Bella Heathcote (Fifty Shades Darker) star in this biopic of William Moulton Marston, the American psychologist who put his progressive ideas about female liberation into practice by creating the DC superhero Wonder Woman and living in an “extended relationship” with his wife and another woman.
Joi says: “It’s no secret that I enjoyed Wonder Woman. To see the origin behind Marston’s work on the iconic superhero is a new take I’m looking forward to see. Additionally, like Dee Rees we are getting another Black female director in Angela Robinson. More of that please!”
Directed by Craig Gillespie Margot Robbie stars as controversial Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding in this alternately tragic, hilarious and absurd look at one of the biggest scandals in US sports history.
Joi says: “Margot Robbie is a great actress and seeing photos of her transformation for this role, I was intrigued. Also Sebastian Stan co-stars. It will be interesting to see him in a role without a robotic arm.”
In his latest documentary, Sean Menard gives viewers an unprecedented look at Vince Carter: the six-foot-six, eight-time NBA All-Star from Daytona Beach who made waves in the Canadian basketball scene when he joined the Raptors in 1998.
Joi says: “I know nothing about sports, but I do know the importance of Vince Carter to basketball and the Raptors. Also Drake is featured in this, so that increases the chances of him showing up to the screening by 40%.”
Lauren Warren: Screenwriter & Podcaster
Action maestro John Woo returns to the mold of his classic The Killer with this remake of a classic 1970s Japanese thriller, about an innocent man who sets out to clear his name after his is framed for robbery and rape.
Lauren says: “John Woo is back in the action game with a tale of redemption and I’m there. When I was in film school, I did countless papers on he and his earlier action films. “The Killer” and “Hard Boiled” are forever faves. You had me at John Woo. Didn’t even need to know anything else about the film, to be honest.”
Stranded at the side of the road after a tire blowout, a group of friends becomes targets for an enigmatic sniper, in this wickedly entertaining bloodbath from Midnight Madness regular Ryuhei Kitamura (Versus)
Lauren says: “I have a feeling that this film will have me looking over my shoulder and side-eyeing friends when the next road trip rolls around. Also, suspect I’ll watch most of this film through my fingers in fear.”
Directed by Guillermo del Toro At the height of the Cold War, circa 1962, two workers in a high-tech US government laboratory (Sally Hawkins and Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer) discover a terrifying secret experiment, in this otherworldly fairy tale from Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth).
Lauren says: “It’s del Toro. It’ll be dark. It’ll be beautiful. It will be a masterclass in filmmaking like everything else he’s done. It will be a visual and emotional ride like all his other masterpieces.”
Carolyn Hinds: Correspondent and Writer
Emma Stone and Steve Carell star in this recreation of the legendary 1973 tennis match that pitted Billie Jean King against Bobby Riggs.
Carolyn says: “This film will give an insight into beginnings of women being recognized as true athletic champions, and I want to see Billie Jean give Bobbie a sound trouncing.”
The true story of the relationship between a blind 18th-century Viennese pianist and the controversial physician who worked to restore her sight: Dr. Franz Mesmer.
Carolyn says: “Classical music, period fashion, medicine, angst and stunning cinematography, that’s all I needed to know.”
Victoria & Abdul
Acclaimed British auteur Stephen Frears reunites with his Philomenastar, Academy Award winner Judi Dench, in this charming dramedy chronicling the friendship between Queen Victoria and a decades-younger Indian clerk named Abdul Karim(Michael Gambon).
Carolyn Says: “Dame Judi Dench as Queen Victoria, SOLD!”
Jacqueline Coley: Supervising Producer
Call Me By Your Name
The latest from Italian auteur Luca Guadagnino ( I Am Love, A Bigger Splash) explores the tender, tentative relationship that blooms over the course of one summer between a 17-year-old boy on the cusp of adulthood (Timothée Chalamet) and his father’s research assistant (Armie Hammer).
Jacqueline says: “Since Sundance, critics have been calling this the Spanish Moonlight and Armie Hammer is fine AF, so I am beyond ready to see it.”
Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer star in Darren Aronofsky’s highly anticipated psychological thriller about a couple threatened by the arrival of uninvited guests to their tranquil home.
Jacqueline says – “I am gonna try to not hold the fact that he’s dating Jennifer Lawrence against Darren Aronofsky. The man has been my kind of weird for years though, and him going full on horror is a must stop down moment for me.”
An idealistic lawyer (Denzel Washington) teams up with a ruthless attorney (Colin Farrell) for a nerve-wracking court case, in the highly anticipated second feature from Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler).
Jacqueline says: “You had me at Denzel. But Dan Gilroy gave us Riz Ahmed and Jake Gyllenhaal in the criminally underrated Nightcrawler so yeah this last-minute surprise addition has me totally intrigued”.
What's Your Reaction?
Carolyn is an aspiring film critic, Bajan nerd living in Toronto and an avid Jane Austen fan. I enjoy speculating on plot theories for my favorite TV shows, such as The Walking Dead, The Expanse, and black-ish. Oh, I will do karaoke anytime, anywhere. Follow on Twitter @Carriecnh12