TIFF announces first selections in the Gala and Special Presentation programs and announces Stephen Chbosky’s Dear Evan Hansen to open the Toronto International Film Festival, and to close with Zhang Yimou’s One Second.
“As TIFF resumed this year in the wake of a pandemic that marked and changed all of our lives, we felt it was important to open this year’s Festival with a film that connects to our shared humanity and that reminds us how deeply we need one another, need to be seen by one another, especially in times of loneliness and despair,” –Joana Vicente, Executive Director and Co-Head, TIFF.
Directed by Stephen Chbosky, Dear Evan Hansen is the story of a high-school senior with a debilitating anxiety disorder whose private letter to himself as part of a therapy exercise lands in the hands of a fellow classmate, with tragic consequences. The incident propels Evan on a journey of self-discovery that leads him toward belonging and acceptance, not only among the people who love him, but also by Evan himself. Starring Tony winner Ben Platt as Evan, along with Amy Adams, Julianne Moore, Kaitlyn Dever, Amandla Stenberg, and Nik Dodani, Dear Evan Hansen features songs from the original Broadway sensation.
The Closing Night Gala of TIFF 2021, One Second, is the newest offering from the acclaimed Chinese director of Raise the Red Lantern and Hero, Zhang Yimou. The film tells the story of a traveling film projectionist and an escaped prisoner connected through cinema. One Second is a love letter to movies and a reminder of how they can unite people, regardless of our differences. “Every September we invite the whole film world to Toronto, one of the most diverse, movie-mad cities in the world,” said Bailey. “And to have Zhang Yimou’s film here, now, is a true joy.”