2019 Toronto International Film Festival: TIFF Tribute Gala honorees include Meryl Streep, Joaquin Phoenix, Taika Waititi, Roger Deakins

August 14, 2019

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Meryl Streep (Photo by Rick Rowell/ABC)

The following are press releases from the Toronto International Film Festival:

Joana Vicente and Cameron Bailey, Co-Heads of TIFF, announced that three-time Academy Award winner ​Meryl Streep​ will be honored with the ​TIFF Tribute Actor  Award​, Sponsored by RBC at this year’s new TIFF Tribute Gala awards event. Taking place on Monday, September 9 at Fairmont Royal York, during the 44th Toronto International Film  Festival, the Gala is an annual fundraiser to support TIFF’s year-round programmes and core  mission to transform the way people see the world through film, and to celebrate the film  industry’s outstanding contributors.

With an extensive film, television, and stage career spanning over 40 years, Streep has won  three Academy Awards — for her roles in ​”Kramer vs. Kramer​,” ​”Sophie’s Choice​,” and ​”The Iron Lady”  — and, in 2018, she set an unsurpassed record with her 21st Oscar nomination for her role in “The Post​.” She has been nominated for 31 Golden Globes, winning eight times, and in 2017 she  was the recipient of the Cecil B. deMille Award. Streep currently stars in the Emmy  Award–winning series ​”Big Little Lies​” and will star with Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas in  Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming film ​”The Laundromat​,” which will have its North American  Premiere at TIFF this September.

“Meryl Streep is undoubtedly one of the most talented and versatile actors of her generation,”  said Vicente. “Her tremendous contribution to cinema, television, and the stage spans five  decades; from her early roles in ‘​The Deer Hunter​,’ ​’Kramer vs. Kramer​,​’ ​and ​’Sophie’s Choice’​ to later  films including ​’The Devil Wears Prada​,​’ ‘The Iron Lady​,​’ ​and ​’The Post​,’ she has portrayed characters  that are as compelling as they are timeless. TIFF could not be more thrilled to honor such a  skilled and exemplary artist.”

Joaquin Phoenix (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Grey Goose Vodka)

Joana Vicente and Cameron Bailey, Co-Heads of TIFF, announced that three-time Academy  Award–nominated actor ​Joaquin Phoenix​ will be honored with one of two ​TIFF Tribute Actor Awards​ at this  year’s TIFF Tribute Gala awards event. Taking place on Monday, September 9 at Fairmont Royal York, during  the 44th Toronto International Film Festival, the Gala is an annual fundraiser to support TIFF’s year-round  programmes and core mission to transform the way people see the world through film, and to celebrate the  film industry’s outstanding contributors.

With a wide-ranging career spanning over 35 years, Phoenix has starred in such films as​ “The Master​,” “Inherent  Vice​,​” “Walk the Line​,” ​”Gladiator​,” “To Die For​,” and “​Her.” ​He has been nominated for three Academy Awards for his  roles as Commodus​ ​in ​”Gladiator​,” Freddie Quell in ​”The Master”​ and Johnny Cash in​ “Walk the Line​,” for which he  won a Golden Globe.​​ This fall, Phoenix portrays the title character in Todd Phillips’ ​”Joker​,” ​a standalone origin  story ​that will have its North American Premiere at TIFF.

“Displaying both raw instinct and consummate technical skill, Joaquin Phoenix is the complete actor, and one  of the finest in contemporary cinema,” said Bailey. “Over three decades, he has brought a piercing truth to each  groundbreaking role. TIFF is thrilled to be celebrating an artist of his caliber with this inaugural award. We can’t  wait for Festival audiences to experience his electric turn in ​Joker​.”

“We’re thrilled that the extraordinarily talented Joaquin Phoenix will be honored at the TIFF Tribute Gala this  September,” said Vicente. “His outstanding contribution to cinema acts as a testament to TIFF’s core mission  to transform the way people see the world through film.”

Director Todd Phillips’ “J​oker​” centers on the iconic arch-nemesis and is an original, fictional story not seen  before on the big screen. Phillips’ exploration of Arthur Fleck, who is indelibly portrayed by Phoenix, is of a man  struggling to find his way in Gotham’s fractured society.

Taika Waititi (Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios/Disney)

Joana Vicente and Cameron Bailey, Co-Heads of TIFF, announced that  Academy Award–nominated New Zealand filmmaker ​Taika Waititi​ will be honored with the  TIFF Ebert Director Award​ at this year’s new TIFF Tribute Gala awards event. The award  recognizes and honors a distinguished filmmaker for their outstanding contribution to cinema. Taking place on Monday, September 9 at Fairmont Royal York, during the 44th Toronto  International Film Festival, the Gala is an annual fundraiser to support TIFF’s year-round  programmes and core mission to transform the way people see the world through film, and to  celebrate the film industry’s outstanding contributors.

“Taika Waititi is one of the most innovative, bold, and exciting filmmakers working in the  industry right now,” said Vicente. “TIFF is thrilled to honor his extraordinary talent with the  inaugural TIFF Ebert Director Award.”

“Taika Waititi is the rock star cinema needs right now,” said Bailey. “His films are full of  razor-sharp humor, faultless style, and boundless generosity. Somehow he manages to stuff  both indie hits and massive crowd-pleasers with big, radical ideas. We’re thrilled to be  premiering his latest, “​Jojo Rabbit​,” at the Festival and to hand over the inaugural TIFF Tribute  Award for direction to this 21st-century master.”

Waititi directed the superhero film ​”Thor: Ragnarok,​” which made over $850 million at the box  office worldwide, and will write and direct the upcoming ​”Thor: Love and Thunder.​” His films as  writer-director also include ​”Boy​” and ​”Hunt for the Wilderpeople​,” and he co-wrote, co-directed, and  co-starred in ​”What We Do in the Shadows​” with Jemaine Clement. He was nominated for an  Academy Award for his short ​”Two Cars, One Night​.” Waititi’s upcoming anti-hate satire “Jojo  Rabbit​,” starring Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant, Alfie  Allen, Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, and Waititi himself, will have its world premiere at TIFF  and will be released by Fox Searchlight on October 18, 2019.

The ​TIFF Ebert Director Award ​is an evolution of the organization’s former Roger Ebert Golden  Thumb Award, which celebrated a remarkable filmmaker who reflected renowned film critic  Roger Ebert’s passion for cinema. Past recipients include Claire Denis, Martin Scorsese, Ava  DuVernay, Agnès Varda, and Wim Wenders.

Roger Deakins (Photo by Rick Rowell/ABC)

Joana Vicente and Cameron Bailey, Co-Heads of TIFF, announced that Academy  Award-winning cinematographer Roger Deakins will be honored with the ​Variety​ Artisan Award​ at this year’s  TIFF Tribute Gala awards event. The award recognizes a distinguished filmmaker who has excelled at their  craft and made an outstanding contribution to cinema. Taking place on Monday, September 9, at the Fairmont  Royal York, during the 44th Toronto International Film Festival, the Gala is an annual fundraiser to support  TIFF’s year-round programmes and core mission to transform the way people see the world through film, and  to celebrate the film industry’s outstanding contributors. ​Variety​ is proud to be the exclusive trade media  partner on the event.

Deakins won an Academy Award for ​Blade Runner 2049​, and was nominated for an additional 13 Oscars for his  work on films including ​”The Shawshank Redemption”; “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”; “No Country for Old Men”; “Skyfall​” and ​”Sicario​.” His illustrious career, spanning more than 40 years, also includes four ASC Award wins for  Outstanding Cinematography, four BAFTA Awards, and collaborations with directors such as the Coen  brothers, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, Angelina Jolie, Sam Mendes and Denis Villeneuve, making him one of  the most sought-after cinematographers in the industry. Deakins’ latest work will be featured in the upcoming  film ​”The Goldfinch.” Directed by John Crowley and starring Ansel Elgort, Oakes Fegley, Aneurin Barnard, Finn  Wolfhard, Sarah Paulson, Luke Wilson, Jeffrey Wright and Nicole Kidman, ​”The Goldfinch”​ will have its World  Premiere at TIFF and will be released by Warner Bros. Pictures on September 13, 2019.

“For nearly half a century, the name Roger Deakins has exemplified both breathtaking cinematic beauty and  fearless cinematic risk-taking,” said Steven Gaydos, EVP of Content at ​Variety​. “From his early-career work on  music docs and small British features through his decades of stellar work for the world’s greatest filmmakers,  Deakins has carved out a unique place in the history of cinematography. Capable of exquisite painterly  flourishes as well as groundbreaking technological advances in the cinematographic arts, his Oscar win for ‘Blade Runner 2049​’ capped a run of nominations that included everything from blockbusters like ​’Skyfall​’ to Best  Picture winners like ​’No Country for Old Men​.’This year, with both ​’The​ ​Goldfinch’​ and ​’1917′ on the horizon,  Deakins continues to dazzle and inspire as he pushes the boundaries of his craft and helps make masterpieces  with equally fearless auteurs.”

TIFF previously announced that ​Participant  Media​ will receive the ​TIFF Impact Award​, accepted by Founder and Chairman Jeff Skoll and CEO David Linde.  The recipient of the inaugural ​Mary Pickford Award​ supported by MGM, honoring a female emerging talent in  the industry in celebration of United Artists’ 100th anniversary, will be announced in the coming days.*

Mati Diop (Photo by Huma Rosentalski)

*August 20, 2019 UPDATE:  Joana Vicente and Cameron Bailey, Co-Heads of TIFF, today announced director ​Mati Diop​ as the  inaugural recipient of the ​Mary Pickford Award​ supported by MGM, to be presented at the TIFF Tribute Gala on  Monday, September 9. The award, named in honor of Toronto native Mary Pickford, recognizes an emerging  female talent who is making groundbreaking strides in the industry. Pickford was the pioneering actor,  producer, and Co-Founder of United Artists, and the award is being launched in conjunction with United Artists’  centennial this year. The creation of the award follows TIFF’s continued commitment to championing women  and diverse voices in front of and behind the camera.

“We’re thrilled to honor the incredible Mati Diop as our inaugural Mary Pickford Award recipient, as United  Artists marks its centennial year,” said Vicente, Executive Director and Co-Head of TIFF. “She is a vibrant and  important new voice within the industry and one to watch closely.”
“Mati Diop’s film ‘Atlantics’ is a profound and unsettling work of art,” said Bailey, Artistic Director and Co-Head  of TIFF. “We know this is just the start for such an original and authentic voice, and we’re delighted to celebrate  her success at this year’s TIFF Tribute Gala.”
“Like Mary Pickford, Mati Diop has demonstrated her trial-blazing influence both in front of and behind the  camera, making her the ideal inaugural awardee.  We look forward to partnering with TIFF to honor Pickford’s  legacy and United Artists in celebration of their 100th year,” said Jonathan Glickman, President of MGM  Studios’ Motion Picture Group.
She has directed the short films ​”Atlantiques​,” “Big in Vietnam​,” and the documentary ​”A Thousand Suns”​ — all of  which played the Festival — as well as ​Snow Canon​ and ​Liberian Boy​. ​”A Thousand Suns”​ was presented by Claire  Denis in 2013 as part of TIFF’s year-round Cinematheque programme. In 2019, Diop became the first Black  female director to screen a film in competition at the Cannes Film Festival with her debut feature ​”Atlantics​,” which was based on the short ​”Atlantiques​” and went on to win the prestigious Grand Prix at the festival. The  film, written by Diop and Olivier Demangel, stars Mama Sané, Amadou Mbow, Ibrahima Traoré, Nicole Sougou,  Amina Kane, Mariama Gassama, Coumba Dieng, Ibrahima Mbaye, and Diankou Sembene. ​”Atlantic”s​ will have its  North American Premiere at TIFF and will be released by Netflix later this year. The film is produced by Les  Films du Bal, Cinekap and FraKas.
Of all Festival titles in this year’s lineup, 36% are directed, co-directed, or created by women, and women  comprise half the Festival’s programming team. Following the organization’s signing of the 50/50×2020 pledge  at last year’s Festival, TIFF has steadfastly worked to integrate responsible data management and practices to  understand the diversity and inclusion of its film programming. TIFF gave filmmakers the opportunity to  self-identify to inform gender representation in the Official Selection. As part of TIFF’s Share Her Journey  campaign, the organization will continue to provide over 120 female creators free access to TIFF’s Industry  Conference and year-round programming. The overall number of speakers at this year’s Conference represents  a 50/50 gender split, as do TIFF Talent Development initiatives such as TIFF Studio, Filmmaker Lab, and TIFF  Rising Stars.
Mary Pickford was the highest-paid actor — male or female — during the late 1910s and was a savvy  businesswoman who helped shape the industry as we know it today. In 1919, she revolutionized film  distribution by partnering with Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith to form United Artists.  Pickford, who also went on to co-found what is today the Motion Picture & Television Fund and the Academy of  Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, continued to be a part of United Artists through the early 1950s. The award  will be supported by MGM Studios, whose retains the United Artist library as part of its global film and  television library of content.

The 44th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 5–15, 2019.

For information on purchasing a table for the TIFF Tribute Gala, please contact ​development@tiff.net​.

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About TIFF 

TIFF is a not-for-profit cultural organization whose mission is to transform the way people see the world  through film. An international leader in film culture, TIFF projects include the annual Toronto International Film  Festival in September; TIFF Bell Lightbox, which features five cinemas, major exhibitions, and learning and  entertainment facilities; and innovative national distribution program Film Circuit. The organization generates  an annual economic impact of $189 million CAD. TIFF Bell Lightbox is generously supported by contributors  including Founding Sponsor Bell, the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada, the City of Toronto, the  Reitman family (Ivan Reitman, Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels), The Daniels Corporation and RBC. For more  information, visit tiff.net.    About ​Variety  Variety​ has been the seminal voice of the entertainment industry for 114 years and counting. Featuring  award-winning breaking-news reporting, insightful award-season coverage, must-read feature spotlights, and  intelligent analysis of the industry’s most prominent players, ​Variety​ is the trusted source for the business of  global entertainment. Read by a highly engaged audience of industry insiders, ​Variety’s​ multi-platform content  coverage expands across digital, mobile, social, print and branded content, events, and summits.    Follow Variety on Facebook at facebook.com/variety, Twitter @variety, and Instagram @Variety. The Variety  Group — Variety, Variety.com, Variety Insight, and Indiewire — is owned by Variety Media, LLC, a division of  Penske Media Corporation.