Julio César Rivas
Toronto, Canada, Sept 7 (EFE).- The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) begins its 48th edition on Thursday, marked by the Hollywood actors’ and screenwriters’ strike and the tribute the Canadian festival will pay to Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar.
The competition officially begins with the screening of the Japanese animated film “The Boy and the Heron” by director Hayao Miyazaki, author of films such as “My Neighbor Totoro” (1988) and “Spirited Away” (2001), which won the Oscar for best animated film.
The choice of Miyazaki’s film, the 82-year-old Japanese director’s first in a decade, to inagurate the festival is unusual, as it is the first time in the 48-year history of TIFF that it has opened with an animated film.
The screening will not be the world premiere of “The Boy and the Heron,” which debuted in Japan in early July to great box office success.
The festival will also honor Almodovar, 73, whose films “All About My Mother” and “Talk to Her” both won Oscars, with the presentation of one of the festival’s Tribute Awards on September 10.
TIFF said the award is in recognition of the “profound impact” his filmography has had thanks to “his artistic vision, daring storytelling and unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of cinema.”
Almodóvar will be joined at the ceremony by other prominent names in world cinema who have also been honored by TIFF this year: directors Spike Lee (USA), Carolina Markowicz (Brazil), Lukasz Zal (Poland) and Shawn Levy (Canada), as well as actors Patricia Arquette, Colman Domingo, Vicky Krieps and Andy Lau.
The presence of names like Almodóvar, Lee or Arquette at the 48th edition of the Toronto festival, considered one of the most important in the world, is a relief for the show, which this year takes place amidst the strikes of actors and screenwriters that have paralyzed Hollywood.
If in previous editions the streets of Toronto were filled with Hollywood stars, especially during the first four days, this year’s strikes have robbed TIFF of much of its glamour.
American directors, or those based in the U.S., will flock to TIFF thanks to their union, the Directors Guild of America (DGA), which reached a labor agreement with production companies earlier this summer.
Filmmakers and actors from outside the United States will also be there, as they are not subject to the rules of American unions.
But with few exceptions, Hollywood actors will be absent, leaving the festival’s traditional red carpets more bare than ever.
Names like Michael Fassbender, Emily Blunt, Jodie Foster, Sylvester Stallone, Annette Bening, Vincent D’Onofrio, America Ferrera, Seth Rogen or Tommy Lee Jones will not be able to attend the premiere of their films.
In fact, this year the festival organization has not published its traditional list of dozens of names of Hollywood stars attending.
All is not lost, however, for the thousands of people who flock to the entrances of theaters showing TIFF films each year to try to catch a glimpse of some of Hollywood’s biggest names.
This year, the Canadian festival hosts a large number of films directed by actors: Michael Keaton with “Knox Goes Away”, Viggo Mortensen with “The Dead Don’t Hurt”, Anna Kendrick with “Woman of the Hour”, Chris Pine with “Poolman” and Ethan Hawke with “Wildcat”. EFE