10 films will compete for the 2023 TIFF Platform prize. Toronto International Film Festival unveiled the line-up today. The competition once again offers a little bit of everything (except documentaries) and represents a range of auteur-driven stories from around the world. On the Canadian front, the competition includes The King Tide, the latest film from director Christian Sparkes. Like Sparkes’ Canadian Screen Award nominee Cast No Shadow, The King Tide is a tale of magical realism set on the East Coast.
TIFF Platform competition kicks off with a bit of star power, as it opens with Dream Scenario starring Toronto’s favourite crazyman Nicolas Cage. Directed by Kristoffer Borgli (Sick of Myself), the film stars Cage as an academic who infiltrates people’s dreams. “This surrealist satire-comedy has sharp, timely observations about social media culture — especially ‘going viral’ — and its impact on the way that we interact with others in our day-to-day life. Cage delivers some of his finest work,” said Robyn Citizen, Director, Programming & Platform Lead, in a statement from the Festival.
Other notable names appear in Ginevra Elkann’s second feature I Told You So. The Italian film includes Danny Huston, Greta Scacchi, Alba Rohrwacher, and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi among its cast. Festival favourite Bérénice Bejo stars in HLM Pussy, the feature debut by Nora El Hourch. The drama starring follows three teens who post a video that outs their assailant. Meanwhile, Dear Jassi is the latest drama from veteran director Tarsem Singh (The Fall, Mirror Mirror) and features Gourav Singh and Balinder Johal among its cast.
Up-and-coming auteurs in the competition include Japanese director Kei Chika-ura (Complicity). He returns to TIFF with The Great Absence. The drama offers a father-son tale of a family confronting loss. Also telling a family tale is Hanna Slak’s Not a Word about a mother and son confronting years of silence. The film is a German-Slovenian-French co-production. Other questions of motherhood fuel Jaione Camborda’s second feature Rye Horn. The film is a Spanish-Belgian-Portuguese co-production. Rounding out the Euro-heavy line-up are the Swedish drama Shame on Dry Land, directed by Axel Petersén, and the French drama Spirit of Ecstasy, directed by Héléna Klotz. Notably, all films in competition this year are world premieres.
The biggest news of the announcement, though, is the trio of names in the TIFF Platform Jury. Academy Award winner Barry Jenkins returns to Platform as a juror after his breakout hit Moonlight played the competition in 2016. Joining Jenkins is Canadian director Anthony Shim, whose drama Riceboy Sleeps won the Platform competition last year. The film went on to score numerous accolades including the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award from the Toronto Film Critics Association. Rounding out the jury is director Nadine Labaki, whose Where Do We Go Now? proved the last true surprise among the TIFF People’s Choice Award winners when it was declared the audience favourite in 2011. Labaki’s Capernum won the Jury Prize at Cannes and was nominated for an Oscar. The jurors will award a $20,000 cash prize to the winner.
The full list of 2023 TIFF Platform titles is as follows:
Tarsem Singh Dhandwar | India
Platform Programme – Opening Night Film
Kristoffer Borgli | USA
Kei Chika-ura | Japan
I Told You So (Te l’avevo detto)
Ginevra Elkann | Italy
The King Tide
Christian Sparkes | Canada
Not a Word (Kein Wort)
Hanna Slak | Germany/Slovenia/France
The Rye Horn (O Corno)
Jaione Camborda | Spain/Belgium/Portugal
Sisterhood (HLM Pussy)
Nora El Hourch | France
Shame on Dry Land (Syndabocken)
Axel Petersén | Sweden
Spirit of Ecstasy (La Vénus d’argent)
Héléna Klotz | France