tiff WOMEN

TIFF 2020 devotes nearly half of its programming to women filmmakers

Scaled down, gender equity up.

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is going ahead this week with a radically different program and dramatically reduced scale. The influx of celebrities and fans will be absent, and while some films will be screened with physical distancing at Toronto theatres and drive-ins, the vast majority of screenings are happening online. There are only 50 feature films at TIFF this year, down from the usual 250 or so features, but this year the festival has come closer than ever to gender equity. Nearly half of the films in the TIFF 2020 program were made by women filmmakers; 45 per cent, to be exact, up from 36 per cent from last year.

“Even though TIFF 2020 is a smaller festival, adapted to the moment we’re all in, women are still centre stage,” festival organizers announced last week.

TIFF 2020 is mounting gala screenings for Halle Berry’s directorial debut, Bruised, Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland (starring Frances McDormand) and Regina King’s One Night in Miami. The festival will also feature Michelle Latimer’s documentary Inconvenient Indian, Emma Seligman’s family drama Shiva Baby, Naomi Kawase’s True Mothers and Suzanne Lindon’s debut feature Spring Blossom.

In an interview with CTV News Network, TIFF artistic director and festival co-head Cameron Bailey spoke about the impact of a scaled down festival:

“The filmmakers who’ve spent years sometimes making their films, they want to encounter their audience in person. They want to feel, hear and see that reaction, and I think that will come back. But until it does, thanks to technology and great ideas, we’ve got other ways to bring filmmakers together with audiences.”

—Cameron Bailey

For more about TIFF 2020, please visit the festival’s website.

For more film and TV coverage, please visit our Film & TV section.