TIFF 2020: 30 Films We’re Already Excited to See

TIFF 2020

The Toronto International FIlm Festival (TIFF) announced their full 2020 feature film slate on Thursday, including many Canadian offerings, like Michelle Latimer's "Inconvenient Indian," pictured above. All photos courtesy of the Toronto International Film Festival

The Toronto International Film Festival announced their feature film lineup today, one that TIFF Artistic Director and Co-Head Cameron Bailey said “reflects the tumult” of the pandemic-affected year.

“The names you already know are doing brand new things this year, and there’s a whole crop of exciting new names to discover. We’re thankful to every filmmaker and company that joined us on this adventure, and we can’t wait to share these brilliant films with our audiences.”

In a statement, the festival’s intention is said to highlight, “the strong representation of women, Black people, Indigenous people, and people of colour among TIFF’s selection” — a slate that “reflects the organization’s continuing commitment to normalizing gender parity and racial equality for future generations.”

That includes the Canadian film Inconvenient Indian, director Michelle Latimer’s adaptation of Thomas King’s celebrated 2013 book, which, TIFF notes, delves into “the cultural colonization of Indigenous peoples in North America”; Beans, from director Tracey Deer, another Canuck film based on the 1990 Quebec standoff between Mohawk communities and the government; No Ordinary Man, a Canadian documentary about famed American jazz musician Billy Tipton, who was only revealed as trans after his death; Summer of 85, a French film about a love affair between two young men in 1980s Normandy; and One Night In Miami, the directorial debut from actress Regina King that’s based on the play by Kemp Powers about a fictionalized meeting between Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown in 1964.

King, 49, isn’t the only Hollywood heavyweight making her directorial debut at TIFF. Viggo Mortensen, 61, takes his first stab at directing in the Canadian/U.K. co-production Falling in which he plays a gay man tasked with serving as a caregiver for his conservative father. And Halle Berry, 53, finds herself behind the camera for the first time in Bruised in which she also stars as an aging MMA fighter who comes out of retirement.

Meanwhile, famed filmmaker Frederick Wiseman, 90, delves into everything from climate change to racial justice in Boston for his documentary City Hall, while 77-year-old Werner Herzog co-directs Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds, an exploration of meteors that have fallen to Earth. 

“TIFF 2020 is a special edition and symbolizes what is possible when collaboration, ingenuity, and passion take centre stage,” Joana Vicente, Executive Director and Co-Head of TIFF, said about this year’s TIFF offerings. “It’s also a time for us to celebrate and affirm some of the founding values of TIFF, including the power film has to propel us forward as a society and present a diversity of voices.”

With a reduced feature film slate of 50 selections this year, read on for the TIFF 2020 movies that we’re already excited about.

Ammonite (Gala Presentation)

TIFF 2020

Country: United Kingdom

Director: Francis Lee

TIFF Synopsis: “Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan star in this raw love story between a solitary palaeontologist and a wealthy, grieving wife in 19th-century Dorset.”


Another Round (Special Presentations)

TIFF 2020

Country: Denmark

Director: Thomas Vinterberg

TIFF Synopsis: “Director Thomas Vinterberg and actor Mads Mikkelsen reunite for Another Round, a sobering comedy about aging, alcoholism, and friendship between men.”

Bandar Band (Contemporary World Cinema)

TIFF 2020

Country: Iran/Germany

Director: Manijeh Hekmat

TIFF Synopsis: “Manijeh Hekmat’s music-infused twist on a road movie follows a band’s day-long journey across a flooded landscape to Tehran.”

Beans (Discovery/TIFF Next Wave)

TIFF 2020

Country: Canada

Director: Tracey Deer

TIFF Synopsis: “Based on true events, Tracey Deer’s debut feature chronicles the 78-day standoff between two Mohawk communities and government forces in 1990 in Quebec.”


Beginning (Discovery)

TIFF 2020

Country: Georgia/France

Director: Dea Kulumbegashvili

TIFF Synopsis: “Dea Kulumbegashvili’s harrowing, sensorial debut feature centres on a Jehovah’s Witness missionary seeking justice in a remote Georgian village.”


Bruised (Gala Presentations)

TIFF 2020

Country: United States

Director: Halle Berry

TIFF Synopsis: “Halle Berry’s directorial debut follows a former MMA fighter struggling to regain custody of her son and restart her athletic career.”


City Hall (TIFF Docs)

TIFF 2020

Country: United States

Director: Frederick Wiseman

TIFF Synopsis: “Master documentarian Frederick Wiseman delivers an epic look at Boston’s city government, covering racial justice, housing, climate action, and more.”


Concrete Cowboy (Gala Presentations/TIFF Next Wave)

TIFF 2020

Country: United States

Director: Ricky Staub

TIFF Synopsis: “While spending the summer in North Philadelphia, a troubled teen is caught between a life of crime and his estranged father’s vibrant urban-cowboy subculture.”

David Byrne’s Ameircan Utopia (Opening Night Gala Presentation)


Country: United States

Director: Spike Lee

TIFF Synopsis: “Spike Lee documents the former Talking Heads frontman’s brilliant, timely 2019 Broadway show, based on his recent album and tour of the same name.”

Falling (Special Presentations)

TIFF 2020

Country: Canada/United Kingdom

Director: Viggo Mortensen

TIFF Synopsis: “In his feature directorial debut, Viggo Mortensen stars as a gay man on a patience-testing mission to care for his ailing, solitary, and conservative father (Lance Henriksen).”


Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds (TIFF Docs)

TIFF 2020

Country: United Kingdom/United States

Director: Werner Herzog, Clive Oppenheimer

TIFF Synopsis: “Werner Herzog and Clive Oppenheimer (Into the Inferno) undertake a globe-trotting exploration of meteors that fell to Earth, both ancient and recent.”


Gaza mon amour (Discovery)

TIFF 2020

Country: Palestine/France/Germany/Portugal/Qatar

Director: Tarzan Nasser, Arab Nasser

TIFF Synopsis: “The latest from the Nasser brothers (Dégradé) is a satire on love and desire, and an affirmation that life continues amidst the absurdity of living.”


Get The Hell Out (Midnight Madness)

TIFF 2020

Country: Taiwan

Director: I-Fan Wang

TIFF Synopsis: “In this gonzo, martial arts–infused horror-comedy, Taiwan’s parliament turns deadly when a virus transforms politicians into ravenous zombie mutants.”


Good Joe Bell (Gala Presentations)

TIFF 2020

Country: United States

Director: Reinaldo Marcus Green

TIFF Synopsis: “The Oscar-winning writers of Brokeback Mountain tell the true story of a father’s walk across the US to raise awareness about the harms of bullying.”

I Care A Lot (Gala Presentations)


Country: United Kingdom

Director: J Blakeson

TIFF Synopsis: “A legal conservator (Rosamund Pike) who defrauds elderly clients runs afoul of a gangster (Peter Dinklage), in this droll thriller from J Blakeson.”


Inconvenient Indian (TIFF Docs/TIFF Next Wave)

TIFF 2020

Country: Canada

Director: Michelle Latimer

TIFF Synopsis: “Michelle Latimer’s affecting adaptation of Thomas King’s award-winning book explores the cultural colonization of Indigenous peoples in North America.”



TIFF 2020

Country: United States

Director: Sam Pollard

TIFF Synopsis: “Based on newly declassified files, Sam Pollard’s resonant film explores the US government’s surveillance and harassment of Martin Luther King, Jr.”


No Ordinary Man (TIFF Docs)

TIFF 2020

Country: Canada

Director: Aisling Chin-Yee, Chase Joynt

TIFF Synopsis: “The legacy of Billy Tipton, a 20th-century American jazz musician and trans icon, is brought to life by a diverse group of contemporary trans artists.”

Nomadland (Gala Presentations)

TIFF 2020

Country: United States

Director: Chloé Zhao

TIFF Synopsis: “Frances McDormand explores the vast landscape of the American West, in Chloé Zhao’s wise and intimate portrayal of life as a modern-day nomad.”


One Night in Miami (Gala Presentations)

TIFF 2020

Country: United States

Director: Regina King

TIFF Synopsis: “Actor-director Regina King’s feature directorial debut, based on Kemp Powers’ play, is a fictionalized account of a 1964 meeting between Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown.”


Preparations to Be Together for An Unknown Period of Time (Contemporary World Cinema)

TIFF 2020

Country: Hungary

Director: Lili Horvát

TIFF Synopsis: “In Lili Horvát’s second feature, a brilliant neurosurgeon returns to Budapest to reunite with the love of her life: a man who says they’ve never met.”

Shiva Baby (Discovery/TIFF Next Wave)

TIFF 2020

Country: United States/Canada

Director: Emma Seligman

TIFF Synopsis: “A young Jewish woman’s steamy secrets are unearthed during one emotionally frantic shiva, in Emma Seligman’s comedy of discomfort.”

Summer of 85 (Special Presentations)

TIFF 2020

Country: France

Director: François Ozon

TIFF Synopsis: “This gorgeous 1980s period piece from François Ozon looks at the fateful friendship and love affair between two teenage boys on the Normandy coast.”

The Disciple (Special Presentations)

TIFF 2020

Country: India

Director: Chaitanya Tamhane

TIFF Synopsis: “Chaitanya Tamhane’s masterfully composed second feature examines a lifetime journey devoted to the art of Indian classical music.”


The Father (Special Presentations)

TIFF 2020

Country: United Kingdom/France

Director: Florian Zeller

TIFF Synopsis: “Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman star in Florian Zeller’s ingenious, subtly hallucinatory chamber drama about a man’s slide into dementia.”


The Inheritance (Wavelengths)

TIFF 2020

Country: United States

Director: Ephraim Asili

TIFF Synopsis: “Ephraim Asili’s debut weaves together the histories of the MOVE Organization, the Black Arts Movement, and Asili’s time in a Black Marxist collective.”

The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel (TIFF Docs)

TIFF 2020

Country: Canada

Director: Joel Bakan, Jennifer Abbott

TIFF Synopsis: “The sequel to The Corporation exposes how companies are desperately rebranding as socially responsible — and how that threatens democratic freedoms.”

Trickster (Primetime)

TIFF 2020

Country: Canada

Director: Michelle Latimer

TIFF Synopsis: “Based on Eden Robinson’s bestselling novels, this series follows an Indigenous teen struggling to support his dysfunctional family as myth, magic, and monsters slowly infiltrate his life.”


Under the Open Sky (Contemporary World Cinema)

TIFF 2020

Country: Japan

Director: Miwa Nishikawa

TIFF Synopsis: “Miwa Nishikawa’s touching, poignant redemption drama follows a middle-aged ex-yakuza (Koji Yakusho) as he adjusts to life outside of prison.”


Violation (Midnight Madness)

TIFF 2020

Country: Canada

Director: Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Dusty Mancinelli

TIFF Synopsis: “In Madeleine Sims-Fewer and Dusty Mancinelli’s deeply disturbing debut feature, a traumatic betrayal drives a woman towards a vengeful extremity.”

The 45th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 10–19, 2020.


Halle Berry, 53, to Make Directorial Debut at 2020 Toronto International Film Festival