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 Toronto International Film Festival infographic
Graphic highlights movies selected for Gala and Special Presentations – all vying for the coveted People’s Choice Award.


Two frontrunners at 44th TIFF promise thrills and chills

By Ninian Carter

September 5, 2019 - September 15, 2019 - The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is one of the largest publicly attended film festivals in the world, attracting almost 500,000 people annually. It is regarded as second only to Cannes, and the starting gun for Oscar awards season.

The 44th Toronto Film Festival (TIFF) will reveal whether the appetite of the 2019 audiences runs to frightfests. The Lighthouse and The Joker, both frontrunners, own the category. The Grolsch People’s Choice Award goes to the film rated as the year’s most popular with festival audiences.

Shot on 35 mm black and white film from The Witch director Robert Eggers, The Lighthouse looks on as two 19th Century lighthouse keepers in New England slowly go mad. It stars Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, whose performance was critically acclaimed in IndieWire when the film made its premiere at Cannes 2019.

The Joker, from director Todd Phillips, takes the Batman franchise in a new and dark direction, tracing the descent into madness of the superhero’s arch nemesis. It stars Joaquin Phoenix. The enduring appeal of the Batman franchise gives it an edge at TIFF 2019.

The other prizes are the International Jury Awards, Short Film Jury Awards and Canadian Film Jury Awards.

The People’s Choice award often predicts Oscar nominees and winners. The King’s Speech, Slumdog Millionaire and 12 Years A Slave were among films screened at TIFF that went on to win Oscars. Visitors who come to see the biggest stars are unlikely to be disappointed: actors with Oscar hopes and with films screened at TIFF usually find it useful to be seen in person at the event.

TIFF ranks as one of the world’s biggest film festivals with some 480,000 attendees.

Note: Movie listings correct as of August 28, subject to change.

PUBLISHED:28/08/2019; STORY: Graphic News