Toronto International Film Festival Reveals Films for 2016 Fest

Hollywood heavyweights, Canuck stars and slate of highly-anticipated big screen offerings highlight the first round of films announced for the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. Festival director and CEO Piers Handling and Artistic Director Cameron Bailey made the announcement this morning at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in downtown Toronto.

Director Antoine Fuqua, whose previous films The Equalizer and Training Day screened at TIFF, earned the prestigious opening night slot with the world premiere of his remake of The Magnificent Seven, starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke (who both starred in Training Day, which nabbed Washington his first Oscar, for Best Actor) alongside Chris Pratt, Vincent D’Onofrio, Haley Bennett, Peter Sarsgaard and Byung-hun Lee among others.

Other films making their world premieres at TIFF include Canuck Mark Williams’ corporate drama The Headhunter’s Calling, starring Gerard Butler; Rob Reiner’s presidential biopic LBJ, starring Woody Harrelson and Jennifer Jason Leigh; the South Africa/Uganda Disney co-production Queen of Katwe, about the real-life Ugandan girl who attempted to become an international chess champion, starring David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o and Madina Nalwanga; Snowden, Oliver Stone’s film about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the titular role; Paul Dugdale’s U.K. documentary The Rolling Stones Olé Olé Olé!: A Trip Across Latin America; Jim Sheridan’s Irish drama The Secret Scripture, starring 79-year-old Vanessa Redgrave as a woman confined for decades in a mental hospital; Ewan McGregor’s directorial debut American Pastoral, in which he also stars alongside Jennifer Connelly, Dakota Fanning and Uzo Aduba in a film about the political upheaval of the 1960s based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Philip Roth; Eleanor Coppola’s Paris Can Wait, starring Diane Lane, Alec Baldwin and Arnaud Viard in the story of a woman fed up with her marriage who hits the road with a new French beau; the Canada/Ireland co-production Unless, adapted from Canuck writer Carol Shields’ last novel by director Alan Gilsenan and starring Catherine Keener; the school reunion comedy Catfight, starring Sandra Oh, Anne Heche and Alicia Silverstone; the Christopher Guest film Mascot, about sports mascots vying for their profession’s top prize, starring Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Lynch, Fred Willard, Parker Posey, Harry Shearer among others; and the Kelly Fremon Craig coming of age tale, The Edge of Seventeen, which she wrote and directed (her debut for the latter) starring Hailee Steinfeld, Woody Harrelson and Kyra Sedgwick that closes the festival.

A number of films will make either their Canadian or International premieres at TIFF as well, including filmmaker Nate Parker’s highly-anticipated The Birth of a Nation, about a slave who leads an uprising, in which Parker also stars; Canadian Denis Villeneuve’s alien tale Arrival, starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker; Loving, the 1960s-era true story of the interracial couple that fought for their right to marry starring Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga; Kim Jee woon’s South Korean film about the 1920s Japanese occupation of Korea, The Age of Shadows; François Ozon’s France/Germany co-produced Frantz, the story of a love that blooms among the ashes of the First World War; Damien Chazelle’s musical La La Land, about two people trying to make it in show business starring Canuck hunk Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and J.K. Simmons, who won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in Chazelle’s last film, the Oscar-winning Whiplash; the romance/thriller Nocturnal Animals, with a star-studded cast including Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Isla Fisher, Armie Hammer, Laura Linney and Michael Sheen among others, directed by 54-year-old filmmaker and fashion designer Tom Ford; and legendary German director Werner Herzog’s latest Salt and Fire about a hostage taking that involves a very strange set of circumstances.

Announcements of more TIFF films, as well as more featured Canadian content, will be made in the coming weeks. The 2016 Toronto International Film Festival runs from Sept. 8-18. For the full list of films and synopses announced so far, visit