In a beautiful full-circle moment, Shamier Anderson was named one of the Toronto International Film Festival’s 2019 Rising Stars—an honour awarded to his own younger brother in 2015. It was at TIFF four years ago when Stephan James turned heads with his performances in Ava DuVernay’s Selma, The Book of Negroes, Race and a splashy role alongside Julia Roberts in Homecoming and Regina King in If Beale Street Could Talk, earning him a 2019 Golden Globe nomination and a trip to the Oscars (with his whole fam, of course).
Anderson—who stars alongside Shailene Woodley and Sebastian Stan in TIFF selection Endings, Beginnings—is joined on the Rising Stars roster by fellow Canadians making their mark on the film industry: Vancouver-born Kacey Rohl and French-Canadian actors Nahéma Ricci and Mikhaïl Ahooja.
Announcing our #TIFF19 Canadian Rising Stars, the next generation of talent:
— TIFF (@TIFF_NET) July 31, 2019
The TIFF Rising Stars are identified as the “next generation” of talent that will take the world by storm and are granted special access to events and meetings during the festival to help make that happen. While Rising Stars are often actors making their TIFF debuts, Shamier is no stranger to the event and even co-founded (along with Stephan) the annual B.L.A.C.K. Ball that goes on in Toronto during the festival.
Along with its Rising Stars, TIFF announced its slate of Canadian films—50 per cent of which are directed by women.
Ellen Page—yes, as in Juno—is one of those female directors and is set to premiere her documentary There’s Something in the Water where she spotlights Indigenous and African Nova Scotian women fighting to protect their communities. Other just-announced docs to look for include Coppers, directed by TIFF vet Alan Zweig, Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger from world-renowned Indigenous director Alanis Obomsawin and This is Not a Movie profiling legendary foreign correspondent Robert Fisk.
These docs join the previously-announced musical documentaries David Foster: Off the Record and Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band. Looks like we’ll be getting the perfect balance of hard truth and rip-roaring tunes.
The festival’s Canadian drama offerings are looking just as sensational with Heather Graham leading the female-directed family drama The Rest of Us and Felicity Huffman (!) starring alongside Canadian Anastasia Phillips in Tammy’s Always Dying. Clive Owen and Tim Roth also star in the previously-announced WWII mystery The Song of Names. We’re getting a good sense of the big Hollywood names and homegrown talent we can expect to see descending upon TO come September.
All the Rising Stars (save for Anderson) feature in Canadian dramas as well. Rohl stars in the timely White Lie, about a fictitious cancer diagnosis (which recalls this similar real-life story); Ricci leads the modernization of the Greek tragedy Antigone and Ahooja features in the William Lyon Mackenzie King biopic The Twentieth Century, which depicts the PM’s early life as “a series of abject humiliations, both professional and sexual.”
How are your TIFF Bingo cards looking? A little crowded? Well, this isn’t even the end of announcements. The final schedule will be released August 20th ahead of the festival’s start in September. Better get streaming those trailers ASAP.
The 44th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 5-15, 2019.