The first edition of the event with the Portuguese Joana Vicente as executive director will feature Pedro Costa's award-winning “Vitalina Varela”, Tiago Guedes's “A Herdade”, Maureen Fazendeiro's “Sol Negro” and the short film “The Bite”, by Pedro Neves Marques.
In addition, the festival also features Portuguese co-productions “Frankie” by Ira Sachs, “Liberté” by Albert Serra, and “Made in Bangladesh” by Rubaiyat Hossain. Also in the festival's program is Richard Stanley's “Color out of space” with Nicolas Cage, filmed in Portugal.
Tiago Guedes's “A Herdade” is in competition at the Venice Film Festival, becoming the first Portuguese film to be included in that range in several years. The film is co-produced by Leopard Films and Alfama Films, and tells of the “saga of a family that owns one of the largest estates in Europe, on the south bank of the Tagus River, […] portraying the historical, political, social and financial life of Portugal from the 1940s through the revolution of 25 April to the present day ”.
With the argument of Rui Cardoso Martins and Tiago Guedes, with the collaboration of Gilles Taurand, the cast is composed by Albano Jerónimo, Sandra Faleiro, Miguel Borges, João Vicente, Ana Bustorff, Beatriz Brás, among others.
Pedro Costa's most recent film has recently won the top prize at the Locarno Film Festival, where the protagonist who gives title to the work was also awarded best actress.
As for “Sol Negro”, a film produced by O Som ea Fúria (Portugal) and Norte Productions (France), confronts a day of solar eclipse in Lisbon, and excerpts from a poem by Henri Michaux, read by French actress Delphine Seyrig.
It is the first Maureen Farmer film ever made in Portugal, and had a world premiere in the Curtas Vila do Conde competition last July.
In the Wavelengths section, devoted exclusively to avant-garde films, highlighting formal innovation and original cinematic expressions, Pedro Neves Marques's short film “The Bite” will be presented in a world premiere.
This co-production with Brazil is based on research in a genetically modified mosquito laboratory in Sao Paulo to create a fiction somewhere between the current political moment and an imagined future, explains the director, quoted by distributor Portugal Film.
In an interview with Lusa in July, Portuguese producer Joana Vicente said she agreed to be executive director of the Toronto International Film Festival because it was an "extraordinary opportunity" in a time of change in the film industry.
"Everything happened very fast and I thought it was an extraordinary opportunity to be able to bring a little of all the experiences and things I have been working on in my professional life," she told Lusa Joana Vicente, who was appointed in 2018 TIFF Executive Director, when she presented in Toronto, the festival schedule.
At the age of 56, and for several decades living in the United States, Joana Vicente is a well-known American independent film producer, having worked with names such as Brian de Palma, Alex Gibney, Steven Soderbergh and Jim Jarmusch.
In New York, she founded with Jason Kliot, husband and producer, Open City Films and HDnet Films, and for a decade served as executive director of the Independent Filmmaker Project, the oldest nonprofit independent filmmakers organization.
Alongside Canadian Cameron Bailey, as TIFF Artistic Director, Joana Vicentecomanda founded the festival in 1976, which has become one of the stops on the independent film premiere calendar in North America, and one of the stages for the Oscars.
The festival will be held in Toronto until September 15th.