The organisers of the Toronto International Film Festival have announced that a film adaptation of the Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen will open the event.
TIFF made the announcement on Tuesday morning, with the Stephen Chbosky-directed adaptation among several villed premieres. It showcases at the Roy Thomson Hall on 9 September.
“It’s a film about allowing ourselves to be found and giving ourselves permission to be our true, authentic selves,” Chbosky said. “After a year and a half of isolation, so many of us are finding our way back to each other.”
The list, made up of 11 Galas and 21 Presentations, also features the world premieres of Clifford the Big Red Dog, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, and Ali & Ava. The festival will announce more films at a later date.
“There was no question that Dear Evan Hansen was the ideal film to launch the festival this year,” co-head and artistic director Cameron Bailey told Deadline. “This film is ultimately about healing, forgiveness, and reaffirms how connected and essential we all are to one another.
“We couldn’t think of a more important idea to celebrate this year as we come together once again to share the power and joy of cinema in theatres.”
Dear Evan Hansen is the story of an anxious high school senior whose letter to himself lands in the wrong hands. The adaptation stars Ben Platt as Evan. The cast also includes Amy Adams, Julianne Moore, and Nik Dodani.
Festival co-heads also unveiled Zhang Yimou’s One Second as the events closing premiere. The film was originally set to debut in 2019 at the Berlin International Film Festival, but was pulled four days before its scheduled screening date.
One Second shows the tale of how a film projectionist and an escaped prisoner connect through cinema.
Discussing Yimou’s film, Bailey added “every September we invite the whole film world to Toronto, one of the most diverse, movie-mad cities in the world. To have Zhang Yimou’s film here, now, is a true joy.”
The festival will run from 9-18 of September and will allow in-person audiences.
Words by Amelia Hansford
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