TIFF 2015

The 40th anniversary of the Toronto International Film Festival is in full swing and is bringing with it a voracious line up of cinematic experiences for audiences to enjoy. The festival celebrates its anniversary with films that bring into light many of today’s issues, including feminism and LGBT perspectives.

“The festival is geared up to not only be exciting and fun and a true celebration of cinema,” explains Michelle Brykman, a communications assistant at TIFF. “But there are so many films that truly explore and express the dialogue of a lot of the current events and issues the world has.”

Female directors are being featured more then ever in this year’s lineup, placing an emphasis not only on the dialogue surrounding women’s equality but simply on the work that women produce and their perspectives on the world and on art.

“We have made the effort to feature our female directors with the hashtag #femaledirectors and by showcasing these films in collections on our website,” adds Brykman. “There are some really amazing films about the female experience this year, from all over the world. One great film is Mustang, it explores the idea of a woman coming of age and all the expectations and traditional thought around it, but its set in Turkey.”

Mustang directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven, follows the story of five young sisters living in a costal Turkish town, and dealing with their guardians intensely conservative and traditional regime. Its a story that with nuance, and an air similar to the classic Virgin Suicides, explores the ideas of budding sexuality and freedom.

“There are films that explore LGBT issues that are front and centre. The media has a lot of coverage on transgender issues with Caitlyn Jenner, and a lot of the films on the roster deal with these very issues ,” continues Brykman. “It brings them to life and humanizes them. And that’s really important.”

The Danish Girl is a film by Tom Hooper, about the first woman to have sex reassignment surgery. The Danish artist, named Lili Elbe, who transitioned into a woman in 1930, is played by Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne  “I think this film in particular is really fascinating because it really puts a lot of the current issues in the media into perspective, and shows that this has been an ongoing struggle for people in the trans community. Its another way the TIFF is adding the the greater dialogue this year.”

Eddie Redmayne as Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl.

In addition to the socially charged and profound stories to be found at TIFF this year, the glamour and excitement are back in full blast as well. Action and comedy and sci-fi are all in store, with major celebrities like Johnny Depp, Matt Damon, and Natalie Portman, flocking to Toronto for premieres of their current films.

Jake Gyllenhall and Naomi Watts at TIFF’s opening night.

To learn more about  this year’s festival, and to purchase tickets, please visit the TIFF website.

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