By John H. Foote
As the announcements for films screening at TIFF this year continue, the busy staff in this first year without Piers Handling have broken through with some new events tied to the past.
Back in the seventies and eighties, the programmers of The Festival Of Festivals organized career tributes to such major talents as Robert Duvall and Warren Beatty. In the majestic University Theatre, these tributes were carried out, as scenes from their films were shown along with stories from family and friends. Somewhere along the way, this idea was dropped only to return this year.
Meryl Streep and Joaquin Phoenix will be honoured with Gala Tributes at the Royal Fairmount during the festival. Each has a film here, Streep in The Laundromat, while Phoenix is here in Joker.
Both actors have been formidable talents through their impressive careers.
Streep has been nominated for the Academy Award an extraordinary twenty-one times, winning three times. She is widely believed to be the greatest actor in the history of the cinema.
Phoenix has been nominated three times, his greatest work being in The Master (2012) an acclaimed performance that remains the most daring work by an actor I have seen in the last fifteen years.
The events will be fundraisers for TIFF and will take place during this year’s festival.
One of Canada’s best-known film critics, he spent 10 years on TV as co-host of Reel to Real, and another 10 in education (still writing as a critic) as Director of the Toronto Film School, where he created the curriculum for three programs and taught film history. Film has always been his passion. He has written for magazines such as Toronto Life, Fashion and Hollywood North, been quoted in the Los Angeles and New York Times, as well as the major Toronto dailies. Online he has written for such sites as The Wrap, In Contention, Awards Circuit and The Cinemaholic. His first book Clint Eastwood – Evolution of a Filmmaker, was published in 2010. His second Steven Spielberg: American Film Visionary, a massive volume, has just found a publisher and he’s working on American Film Renaissance – 1967-2018 with Nick Maylor. As a critic, he has had the good fortune to interview directors and stars such as Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Robert Duvall, Emma Stone, Jane Fonda, and countless others. As he quips, “Everyone but Jack Nicholson!”