TIFF unveils Discovery, Midnight Madness and Wavelengths sections

Basil Khalil’s A Gaza Weekend

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), running from 8-18 September has announced 54 new titles across three of its prime sections, of which 16 are fully or part European productions.

This is reportedly the festival’s second large batch of titles following the announcement of its first wave of selections and its more compact Platform section, all composed of world premieres this year. (read news), the Toronto International Film Festival The three strands will host 54 films, of which 16 are full European productions or co-productions. Particularly in Wavelengths, the festival’s left-field and experimental section, the majority are enjoying their first full North American showings after excelling at Cannes and Berlin.

Discovery, reserved for debuts or second features, has many notable Middle Eastern films amongst its European-financed contingent. Basil Khalil’s A Gaza Weekend, a UK-Palestine co-production, is a ‘hilariously irreverent satire’, following “a bumbling Englishman and an uptight Israeli who are desperate to get into the Gaza strip — ‘the safest place in the world’ — when a virus breaks out”. British TV regular Stephen Mangan and Mouna Hawa play the duo. The Taste of Apples is Red, an Israel and Germany-financed film by Syrian director Ehab Tarabieh, is a ‘gripping debut’, as per the TIFF programme notes, about a respected sheikh forced to choose between family and duty once his estranged brother returns to the Golan Heights.

Dorota Lech, TIFF’s Discovery lead and international programmer, said, “The programme is a showcase of cinema and talent from around the world — a place to unearth work that is bold, distinctive, and, above all, passionate. This year’s robust programme offers 24 films that shook us to the core, filled us with joy, broke our hearts, and, most importantly, reminded us that the future is bright.

Wavelengths, almost a festival-within-a festival with its off-site exhibition and shorts programmes, will allow Toronto audiences first looks at the likes of Albert Serra’s acclaimed Pacifiction and João Pedro Rodrigues’ delightful Will-o’-the-Wisp, a queer Portuguese musical that brought its audience to mid-film applause at its Cannes Quinzaine screening”. 


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