Dear Evan Hansen Is Opening the Toronto International Film Festival

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Cannes may be over, but film-festival season has only just begun. Stephen Chbosky’s feature film adaptation of the Tony-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen will open the 46th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on Thursday, September 9, as the festival announced Tuesday. The highly anticipated awards hopeful will see Ben Platt reprise his Tony-winning title role alongside Julianne Moore, Amy Adams, Kaitlyn Dever, and Amandla Stenberg.

“There was no question that Dear Evan Hansen was the ideal film to launch the festival this year,” said Cameron Bailey, the artistic director and cohead of TIFF. “This film is ultimately about healing, forgiveness, and reaffirms how connected and essential we all are to one another. We couldn’t think of a more important idea to celebrate this year as we come together once again to share the power and joy of cinema in theaters together.”

Dear Evan Hansen is joined by a bevy of other films from a wide array of genres. The family movie (featuring a title character that is far too large) Clifford the Big Red Dog will also throw its gigantic paw in the ring, making its world premiere at TIFF. Awards bait like Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho, starring Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy, Jessie Mei Li, and Matt Smith, will screen at TIFF too, as will Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast, featuring Judi Dench, Caitriona Balfe, Jamie Dornan, and Jude Hill. Recent Cannes jury member Mélanie Laurent’s film The Mad Women’s Ball (Le Bal des folles) will also make its world premiere at the festival, as will Oscar-winning filmmaker Barry Levinson’s latest film, The Survivor. The closing-night film will be Zhang Yimou’s One Second, making its North American debut. 

The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Michael Showalter’s take on disgraced televangelists, played by Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield, will grace TIFF with its presence, as will the much-buzzed-about The Worst Person in the World (Verdens Verste Menneske), from Joachim Trier and starring Cannes breakout Renate Reinsve. Portrait of a Lady on Fire helmer Céline Sciamma will be back with her next film, Petite Maman, as will Training Day director Antoine Fuqua with The Guilty. The life and times of music legend and hilarious Twitter presence Dionne Warwick are getting the documentary treatment with Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over, which will have its world premiere at TIFF too. 

TIFF is back in person this year after going virtual in 2020 due to the global pandemic. As of August 9, the Canadian border will reportedly open to fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents. “TIFF continues to work closely with the province of Ontario, the city of Toronto, and public health officials on the safe execution of the festival, with its number one priority being the health and well-being of both festival filmgoers and residents of the community,” reads a statement from the press release. 

The 46th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 9–18, 2021.