News ID: 272272
Published: 0227 GMT July 31, 2020

Two Iranian films to compete at Toronto festival

Two Iranian films to compete at Toronto festival

Two Iranian films, ‘180 Degree Rule,’ directed by Farnoosh Samadi, and ‘Bandar Band,’ by Manijeh Hekmat, will participate in the Discovery section of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

Hekmat’s 75-minute film is set in southern Iran where a flood occurs.

Hekmat’s road movie, ‘Bandar Band,’ was described by the head of TIFF Cameron Bailey, as “an almost Jarmusch-esque road movie.”

Samadi’s film depicts the story of a female teacher in Iran’s capital Tehran. She intends to go to a wedding ceremony in northern Iran but her husband does not allow her.

The festival announced its main line-up for this year, although it still uncertain whether physical screenings will take place.

According to the Guardian, as with the Venice and Cannes film festivals, the selection appears to have been significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused production shutdowns and release delays across the industry. Arguably the most high-profile inclusion is the Mark Wahlberg drama, ‘Good Joe Bell,’ directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green (Monsters and Men), based on the real-life story of a father whose son killed himself after being bullied.

Also receiving world premieres are ‘Concrete Cowboy,’ starring Idris Elba, and ‘Stranger Things,’ by Caleb McLaughlin, about the “urban cowboy” subculture in Philadelphia, and the Spike Lee-directed David Byrne’s ‘American Utopia,’ a filmed version of the Broadway show.

Toronto will also host premieres of two notable directorial debuts: Halle Berry’s ‘Bruised,’ in which Berry plays a mixed martial arts fighter attempting a comeback, and Regina King’s ‘One Night in Miami,’ in which Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Jim Brown and Sam Cooke meet on the night of Ali’s victory over Sonny Liston.

Toronto previously announced it will stage a “hybrid” festival, with all industry events taking place online and with a group of “ambassadors,” including Barry Jenkins, Natalie Portman and Taika Waititi, hosting digital sessions. The festival will require permits from local authorities to put on physical screenings, but the city has recently allowed cinemas to reopen under social distancing rules.

According to Variety, female filmmakers are behind nearly half of the films that will screen at this year’s Toronto festival, representing a high-water mark for the annual celebration of the best in movies and pushing the gathering tantalizingly close to achieving gender parity.

The lineup includes new works by Roseanne Liang ​(‘Shadow in the Cloud​’), Tracey Deer​ (‘Beans’), Sonia Kennebeck​ (‘Enemies of the State’), Chloé Zhao​ (‘Nomadland’), as well as the feature directorial debuts of Oscar-winning actresses Regina King (‘One Night in Miami’) and Halle Berry (‘Bruised’). Mira Nair’s ‘A Suitable Boy,’ a BBC drama series about a university student’s coming-of-age, will be the closing night film, a sign of the continued blurring of the lines between film and television. All told, 46 percent of the films were directed or co-directed by women, an improvement on last year, when 36 percent of entries were from female filmmakers.

Spike Lee’s filmed version of David Byrne’s hit Broadway show ‘American Utopia’ will open this year’s festival. The 45th Toronto International Film Festival runs from Sept. 10 to 19, 2020.



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