The Toronto International Film Festival looked pretty different this year. And by different, I mean that not only did I not travel to Canada, I barely left my couch. On the one hand, that meant missing out on some of the most fun aspects of festival attendance: gossip, cocktail shrimp, and eavesdropping on conversations between very unlikely celebrities. On the other, I barely left my couch.
In all seriousness though, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend our lives, being able to enjoy not one, but a whole slate of diverse, innovative, and compelling films safely is a privilege in and of itself. TIFF delivered all that and more this year, with women of color taking the lead on some of the festival’s most acclaimed and buzzy films. In a time when the movie industry is in crisis, and questions about the future of cinema abound, filmmakers and programmers have found new and interesting ways to ensure that their work is seen.
At the top of the must-watch list? Regina King’s One Night In Miami… an imagined 1964 encounter between Malcolm X, Cassius Clay, Jim Brown, and Sam Cooke that feels both timely and timeless, and Nomadland, Chloe Zhao’s latest love letter to the American West, which sidelines your cliched cowboys in favor of those we rarely get to hear from.
Ahead, check out some of the best titles by and about women to come out of the festival — you’ll want to know these names come awards season.