TORONTO – Even as corona cases once again showed a spike in Canada's largest city, the 45th Toronto International Film Festival, one of the world's major movie shows, opened Sept. 11, with no red carpets, no celebrities and no crowds.
The 10-day festival kicked off with opening-night screening of David Byrne's "American Utopia,” which is directed by Spike Lee and documents the former Talking Heads frontman's 2019 Broadway show.
TIFF Bell Lightbox, the headquarters of the festival here, is usually jam-packed on the opening nights of the film festivals. But it wore a deserted look.
Mira Nair's BBC series "A Suitable Boy" will close the film festival on Sept. 19.
Priyanka Chopra, who is almost a regular at each TIFF, was seen in an Instagram conversation with festival artistic director Cameron Bailey Sept. 11.
TIFF usually marks the beginning of the Oscar buzz because the audiences in Toronto get to see many films which reach the rest of the world much later.
In normal times, the festival features over 300 full-length films, documentaries and shorts. But this year's line-up has been truncated to just 60 titles.
Among the major titles, Halle Berry's directorial debut "Bruised" – a sports film about a mixed martial fighter facing her opponents and trying to win custody of her six-year-old son – had its world premiere on Sept. 12.
With all Toronto theaters closed, in-person screenings are being held only at small theatres at TIFF Bell Lightbox and four drive-in locations across the city, with mandatory masking and social distancing. Ticket buyers can also watch films and live chats on a streaming platform.
Since TIFF pumps in about $200 million each year into Toronto's economy, the third largest city in North America this year faces a clean wipeout in terms of revenue from the event.
In related news, IANS adds from Mumbai: Actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas Sept. 12 shared a glimpse of her new haircut in her latest Instagram picture, experimenting with bangs this time.
"New hair, don't care," she captioned the post. Her new look has got a thumbs up from colleagues and fans.
The actress recently announced she has finished writing her memoir, "Unfinished,” and is all set to release the book. She is also all set to make her digital debut with "The White Tiger,” co-starring RajKummar Rao.