TIFF directors honored at female filmmakers dinner

IndieWire Female Filmmakers Dinner (Credit: Michelle Quance for IndieWire)

Women filmmakers were celebrated at IndieWire Female Filmmakers Dinner at Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday, September 8 at The Purman (presented by Canada Goose). This year, TIFF (which runs through September 15) is presenting more than 330 films: 36 percent are directed, co-directed, and/or created by women; a slight increase from last year’s representation of 35 percent.

With nearly half of the festival’s feature presentations made up of women filmmakers, the IndieWire gathering honored directors including Marielle Heller, who’s gotten considerable buzz for her Fred Rogers-centered film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, as well as Haifaa Al-Mansour for The Perfect Candidate, Shonali Bose for The Sky Is Pink and Marjane Satrapi for Radioactive

Read the full list of the women honored at Indiewire Female Filmmakers Dinner, along with the synopsis of their films featured in TIFF’s line-up below (and make your list of must-sees for the 55th Chicago International Film Festival): 

Aisling Chin-Yee, The Rest of Us

A single-mother welcomes her ex-partner’s wife and daughter into her life, leading to a new, sometimes tense, family dynamic and an unlikely female friendship, in Aisling Chin-Yee’s humorous and heartbreaking debut.

Jill Culton, Abominable

Featuring the voices of Eddie Izzard, Sarah Paulson, and Chloe Bennet, this spectacular animated adventure follows a clever teen girl and a Yeti as they rove the Himalayas in the hopes of reuniting the charismatic creature with his family.

Alma Har’el, Honey Boy

Actor and screenwriter Shia LaBeouf mines his own life in this confessional collaboration with director Alma Har’el, about the stormy childhood and early adult years of an actor struggling to reconcile with his abusive father (played by LaBeouf himself).

Malgorzata Szumowska, The Other Lamb

A girl (Raffey Cassidy) born into an all-female cult led by a man in their compound (Michiel Huisman) begins to question his teachings and her own reality, in this haunting, English-language debut from acclaimed Polish director Malgorzata Szumowska (The Body, Mug).

Sarah Gavron, Rocks

British director Sarah Gavron (Brick Lane, Suffragette) returns with this intimate, honest portrait of a teenage girl who suddenly finds herself struggling to take care of herself and her younger brother.

Julie Delpy, My Zoe

A recently divorced mother is driven to extremes in this seventh film by writer-director-actor Julie Delpy — a suspense drama unlike anything she has done before.

Haifaa Al-Mansour, The Perfect Candidate

Frustrated with the limits placed upon her because of her gender, a small-town Saudi doctor takes matters into her own hands and runs for local council, in this family drama from Haifaa al-Mansour (Wadjda, Mary Shelley).

Marielle Heller, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

A jaded journalist (Matthew Rhys) reluctantly accepts an Esquire assignment to profile the children’s television host Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks), and encounters a profoundly empathetic world view that changes his life forever.

Semi Chellas, American Woman

A political activist (Hong Chau) helps take care of a group of America’s most wanted fugitives — including a well-known, recently radicalized heiress — in this fictionalized reimagining of the Patty Hearst affair.

Shonali Bose, The Sky Is Pink

Twenty-five years in the relationship of a mother (Priyanka Chopra) and father (Farhan Akhtar) is told from the perspective of their recently deceased teenage daughter, in this poignant, affecting, and unexpectedly humorous love story from director Shonali Bose.

Lisa Barros D’sa, Ordinary Love

Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville star as a long-standing couple facing a potentially life-changing cancer diagnosis, in this drama scripted by Northern Irish playwright Owen McCafferty.

Unjoo Moon, I Am Woman

This uplifting biopic tells the story of Helen Reddy, the fiercely ambitious Australian singer behind the 1971 megahit anthem that became the rallying cry of the women’s liberation movement.

Kasi Lemmons, Harriet

Tony-winning Broadway actor Cynthia Erivo stars in Kasi Lemmons’ inspiring biopic about renowned abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery and risked her life to lead others to freedom through the network of safehouses known as the Underground Railroad.

Gabriela Cowperthwaite, The Friend

Based on the award-winning Esquire article of the same name, a man (Jason Segel) puts his own life on hold to move into the family home of his best friends (Dakota Johnson and Casey Affleck) and support them through a terminal cancer diagnosis.

Katrin Gebbe, Pelican Blood

A mother’s idyllic country life is threatened when her newly adopted second daughter turns from shy and charming to menacing and dangerous, in Katrin Gebbe’s dramatic thriller.

Lauren Greenfield, The Kingmaker

Acclaimed documentarian Lauren Greenfield (The Queen of Versailles) aims her lens at Filipino politician and former First Lady Imelda Marcos, who, despite disgrace, remains unbowed and enmeshed in her nation’s politics.

© Brigid K. Presecky (9/11/19) FF2 Media

Featured photo: Shonali Bose’s The Sky is Pink

Photo credits: Toronto International Film Festival

Tags: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Abominable, TIFF, Toronto International Film Festival

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Brigid Presecky began her career in journalism at Chicago's Goodman Theatre. In 2008, she joined FF2 Media as a part-time film critic and multimedia editor. Receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Bradley University, she moved to Los Angeles where she worked in development, production and publicity for Berlanti Productions, Entertainment Tonight and Warner Bros. Studios, respectively. Returning to her journalistic roots in Chicago, she is now a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and certified Rotten Tomatoes Film Critic.
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