Description: A defiant rebel swears to wreak vengeance and havoc on the British Empire.
“Saint Maud”
Part of that is that their films get made, and that they get launched at important film festivals.” Linking the question on domestic competition with the raft TIFF launches, he adds: “We have a pretty good track record of fulfilling the ambitions of the filmmakers who come to work with us. On home turf there is also renewed competition with BBC Films. “We’re very competitive with the BBC – and everybody else,” Battsek says.
Film4 Movies at Toronto
“Dirt Music”
Director: Coky Giedroyc
Description: A British-Nigerian girl abandons her home and hides around her London neighborhood to keep her and her brother from being taken into care.
Key cast: Kelly Macdonald, Garrett Hedlund, David Wenham
“What we are trying to do all the time is support diverse filmmakers, women filmmakers, and to encourage debut filmmakers,” Battsek says. “At the same time we need to have the economic environment where we are taking some bigger risks with bigger rewards on some other movies so the whole financial equation makes sense as a whole.”
“Three of the films are directed by women. And then there is some really good BAME [black, Asian, minority ethnic] representation in ‘Copperfield’ and ‘Rocks.’” For Madden, the TIFF roster represents the balance of what Film4 is trying to achieve. “You’ve got two bigger-budget studio co-financed pics in ‘The Personal History of David Copperfield’ [with Filmnation] and ‘Greed’ [with Sony], and two exciting debuts in ‘Saint Maud’ and ‘Calm With Horses,’” he says.
“It feels very much of its time.” “It doesn’t feel like in any way shape or form like a traditional adaptation of a classic,” he says of the “Veep” creator’s Dickens adaptation. “There are filmmakers that are not on our books – and Armando was one of them – that we are desperate to work with,” Battsek says.
Producers: Damian Jones, Melissa Parmenter
Director: Justin Kurzel
“Calm With Horses”
Description: A woman living in a remote Australian town, who has lost her way in life, has an intense affair with an enigmatic loner.
“Copperfield,” which will open the London Film Festival, comes from “The Death of Stalin” co-writer and director Armando Iannucci, marking his first project with Film4.
Section: Special Presentation
“We can make their case more effectively and support their creative vision more forcefully when we have a bigger seat at the table.” Being a more sizable partner changes the conversation with producers, according to Ollie Madden, head of creative at Film4. “It’s appealing for producers knowing that we can put more money in,” he says.
Producers: Hal Vogel, Liz Watts, Paul Ranford, Justin Kurzel
Director: Armando Iannucci
Director: Rose Glass
Key cast: Cosmo Jarvis, Barry Keoghan, Niamh Algar
Producers: Kevin Loader, Armando Iannucci
Producer: Daniel Emmerson
Key cast: Beanie Feldstein, Alfie Allen, Paddy Considine, Chris O'Dowd, Emma Thompson
“How to Build a Girl”
“Toronto was elevated for me during my American experience; it was only once I was living there and working at Miramax that for me it became this legendary launching pad,” he says. That’s fine by Film4 boss Daniel Battsek.
Key cast: George MacKay, Essie Davis, Nicholas Hoult, Charlie Hunnam, Russell Crowe
Section: Special Presentation
Section: Special Presentation
“The Favourite,” like “Three Billboards” backed by Film4 with Fox Searchlight, raked in $96 million. “Three Billboards” had a box-office haul of $159 million.
Description: A retail billionaire prepares for a lavish birthday party in Mykonos, Greece.
Key cast: Steve Coogan, David Mitchell, Isla Fisher
Producers: Faye Ward, Ameenah Ayub Allen
Description: A fresh take on Charles Dickens’ semi-autobiographical masterpiece.
Director: Sarah Gavron
Producers: Alison Owen, Debra Hayward
Producers: Andrea Cornwell, Oliver Kassman
Cast: Bukky Bakray, Kosar Ali, D'angelou Osei Kissiedu
“True History of the Kelly Gang”
Section: Special Presentation
Section: Platform
Section: Discovery
“It’s an extraordinary piece of filmmaking,” Battsek says of “Rocks,” helmed by Sarah Gavron and written by Theresa Ikoko and Claire Wilson. “It doesn’t feel in any way conditioned on a particular format, but like it has grown from within the lives and experiences of the characters that are then playing themselves. It has a realness and a spontaneity to it.”
Description: When a father and enforcer for a crime family is asked to kill for the first time his attempt to do the right thing endangers everyone he holds dear.
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” had its world premiere at Toronto and that picture marked a change of tack by Film4, the film arm of British pubcaster Channel 4, whereby it took a larger stake in a select number of bigger-budget movies. These sit along more modestly-budgeted fare and films from first-timers, which Film4 is also mandated to support.
Section: Midnight Madness
Producers: Finola Dwyer, Amanda Posey, Angie Fielder, Polly Staniford
Much of its operations are moving outside of London, but Battsek and his team will remain in the U.K. The Film4 chief cites “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” shooting in the northern cities of Sheffield and Doncaster, “Dream Horse,” which lensed in Wales, and films going back to Scotland-set “Trainspotting,” as examples of Film4’s out-of-London credentials. capital. Channel 4, Film4’s parent, is undergoing huge change.
Key cast: Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle
It reunites regular collaborators Steve Coogan and Michael Winterbottom. “They have a special chemistry as creative partners that is very much in evidence in the film,” Madden says. “Greed,” meanwhile, strikes a topical note. “It is about the inequality of wealth and fast fashion – something people the world over are aware of and thinking about.”
Director: Nick Rowland
Film Festival see the curtain raised on a hefty chunk of its slate. The U.K.’s Film4 backs 10 to 12 features a year, meaning that its eight-strong lineup of world premieres at Toronto Intl.
“Greed”
Description: A working-class teenager moves to London and reinvents herself as swashbuckling rock journalist.
“The Personal History of David Copperfield”
Section: Gala Presentation” />
Director: Gregor Jordan
Description: A religious young carer becomes fixated with saving the soul of her glamorous patient.
is outperforming in terms of female-led projects, which land well at Toronto. Another is “Rocks,” created from workshops with non-actors, and about a group of multicultural London schoolgirls. “How to Build a Girl,” about an aspiring female rock writer and starring Beanie Feldstein, soon to be seen as Monica Lewinsky in FX’s “American Crime Story,” is a standout example. The U.K.
“Rocks”
Director: Michael Winterbottom
Cast: Dev Patel, Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Peter Capaldi, Ben Whishaw

Director and producer U-ki Yamato is a woman, as are the 14 young directors contributing to the project. Yatabe points to “21st Century Girls,” an omnibus film screening in this year's Japanese Cinema Splash section, as an example of TIFF’s support. “I was greatly moved by (Yamato’s) stance and selected ‘21st Century Girl’ as a special screening,” he said.
Another female staffer explained that “TIFF tries to find talented filmmakers. They don’t apply the filter of gender. All that matters is the quality of the finished film and the talent of its creator.”
The Tokyo International Film Festival claims to be listening. Calls for greater female representation and advancement are being made loudly in the West, and latterly in Japan.
“It’s an issue of deep concern to me and I am trying to find answers for what we can do as an international film festival.” “I have been seeking out the views of both my female staff and industry professionals,” he says. TIFF director Takeo Hisamatsu voices his support for women’s participation in both the festival but the industry as a whole.
“I don’t respect their opinions just because of their sex.” Currently, the head programmers of all TIFF’s main sections are male, but Yatabe notes that his two predecessors were women, as are many of the programmers working with him. “They are programmers I trust, who happen to be women,” he says.
But he acknowledges that: “When women directors are in an environment that hinders their filmmaking, that is definitely a problem we have to address.” TIFF programming director Yoshi Yatabe insists that there are “no gender borders” in the selection process.
Tokyo is no exception: All of its directors as well as nearly all of its head programmers have been men since its start in 1985. Women filmmakers have appeared in its competition and other major sections, but the gender balance on this year's program still skews heavily male.
But she also noted that many of the female staffers at TIFF are working under “unstable conditions” – meaning temporary contracts rather than full-time employment.
A woman on the TIFF staff who asked to remain anonymous commented that “There is no gender gap between the men and women programming for TIFF – there may in fact be more women.” “By extension, I believe there is no need for special treatment of women,” she added.
Major film festivals have long been male-dominated, with relatively few women among the top ranks of festival directors, programmers and, in the competition sections, filmmakers.
But the problem goes deeper. Another private sector executive, who previously had a long association with TIFF, points to the historical paucity of women in the festival's top programming ranks. “TIFF never thought of nurturing or focusing on women's power," she told Variety. And provide better workplaces for working women, with a job, family and kids.”” /> “The Japanese industry as a whole, should hire more women in executive positions, under fair conditions.

Hulu as well is a regular presence at TIFF, where this year it will be represented by two film-acquisition execs and documentaries head Belisa Balaban.” /> Netflix has long been a player at festivals such as TIFF, establishing the precedent of direct-to-consumer services shaking up the traditional festival marketplace.
Apple, however, is a wholly new potential player, with Van Amburg or Erlicht entering the fray in Toronto on behalf of the company for the first time. Apple has since aggressively pursued high-profile series projects, such as a comedic drama starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon and a revival of Steven Spielberg's "Amazing Stories." The company has, however, been less aggressive on the film front thus far, and has yet to reveal plants for the platform on which it will mount all the content it is developing. They joined Apple last year, ending long tenures as presidents of Sony Pictures Television.
Apple is going shopping in Canada.
Apple leaders won't be the only deep-pocketed digital executives in Toronto. Salke is expected to arrive in Toronto today. Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke, who joined the company earlier this year, will make her first trip to the festival as a potential buyer.
Variety has learned that at least one of the digital giant's top entertainment-programming executives, Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, will head to the Toronto International Film Festival this week. Execs for the streaming giant will arrive with checkbooks in hand as they look to make potential acquisitions that could fill out the content pipeline for the company's still-under-wraps entertainment service.
But with Amazon Studios in transition earlier this year following Price's ouster in the wake of sexual-harassment allegations and amid a lengthy search for a replacement, the company was not active at either festival this year. Amazon has in recent years been a presence at festivals. "“I think you’ll be seeing expansion over there,” Salke told Variety in June of her film plans. Under previous entertainment head Roy Price, the company was an aggressive buyer at Sundance and SXSW last year. “I think we might not necessarily be making a ton more movies, but I think the way we make movies might evolve a little bit.” Salke, a television veteran who previously served as NBC entertainment president, is a new presence on the film side, where she is a looking for a new top deputy to replace departed Amazon film chief Jason Ropell.