TIFF adds Princess Diana biopic ‘Spencer’ to lineup

A biopic starring Kristen Stewart as Diana, the Princess of Wales, and more Cannes-winning titles are bound for the Toronto International Film Festival.

Organizers have added titles to several sections, including the competitive Platform program, where Oscar-nominated Sound of Metal star Riz Ahmed will head the jury.

Spencer by Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larrain, set during a tumultuous Christmas, will screen in TIFF’s Special Events program after premiering at the Venice Film Festival.

Oscar-nominated “Sound of Metal” star Riz Ahmed will head the jury for TIFF’s 2021 platform competition. (Richard Shotwell/The Associated Press)

Larrain is well established in depicting historical women onscreen, having also directed the Oscar-nominated 2016 biopic Jackie, starring Natalie Portman as Jacqueline Kennedy.

Also in the Special Events section is Memoria by acclaimed Thai auteur Apichatpong Weerasethakul, starring Tilda Swinton as an expatriate reeling from mysterious events in Colombia.

Memoria shared the Jury Prize with Ahed’s Knee by Nadav Lapid at last month’s Cannes Film Festival.

Other buzzy films added to TIFF, which runs online and in-person from Sept. 9 to 18, include the Iranian prisoner drama A Hero (Ghahreman) by Asghar Farhadi, which shared the Grand Prize at Cannes with Juho Kuosmanen’s Compartment No. 6. It will screen as a special event.

Last week TIFF added another Cannes sensation, the Palme d’Or prize-winning horror Titane, to the Midnight Madness section.

Films competing in the Platform program include the world premiere of Drunken Birds (Les oiseaux ivres) by Montreal’s Ivan Grbovic, about “a drug-cartel worker who runs afoul of his boss and migrates to Canada.”

On Wednesday, the festival also revealed it will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Inuk filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk’s
Inuktitut-language Canadian drama Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, which won the Camera d’Or award at Cannes in 2001. TIFF Cinematheque will hold a free screening of a digitally remastered version.

Kunuk will also have a film in the newly announced Shorts Cuts lineup: Angakusajaujuq — The Shaman’s Apprentice. Shorts Cuts will have a total 38 films, including the world premiere of the South Korean-set drama Together by Canadian filmmaker Albert Shin, director of acclaimed features In Her Place and Disappearance at Clifton Hill.

TIFF Cinematheque also announced details of its Alanis Obomsawin retrospective, Celebrating Alanis, which will have 19 films from the prolific Abenaki documentary maker. The films include the world premiere of her newest title, “Honour to Senator Murray Sinclair.”

The festival has also outlined the schedule for the IMAX screenings of Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic Dune, adding one at Cinema Banque Scotia Montreal on Sept. 12.

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