Tiff: celebrities attend Toronto International Film Festival opening weekend

Jessica Chastain, Julianne Moore and Benedict Cumberbatch among stars in attendance at the Canadian festival's opening screenings

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The Toronto International Film Festival has kicked off, with a host of global celebrities flocking to the city in Ontario, Canada for its opening weekend.

Jessica Chastain was in town for the premiere of The Forgiven, a dark comic thriller on Saturday, and Julianne Moore attended the opening night premiere of Dear Evan Hansen, along with co-stars Amandla Stenberg, Danny Pino, Nik Dodani and Ben Platt.

American singer Dionne Warwick walked the red carpet for the premiere of Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over, a documentary about her life, directed by Dave Wooley and David Heilbroner.

From across the pond, British stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Josh O'Connor and Edgar Wright represented their projects, The Electrical Life Of Louis Wain, Mothering Sunday and Last Night in Soho, respectively.

British actor Josh O'Connor at the premiere of the period drama 'Mothering Sunday' at the Toronto International Film Festival (Tiff) in Toronto, Canada on September 9, 2021. Reuters

Tiff 2021 is due to run until Saturday, having kicked off last Thursday. The festival may not be back to its full pre-pandemic proportions, but organisers promise a "significantly bigger" schedule with 100-plus films, following its 2020 hybrid event which showed only 50.

Dear Evan Hansen, starring Platt and Moore and directed by Stephen Chbosky, opened the event on Thursday.

“There was no question that Dear Evan Hansen was the ideal film to launch the festival this year,” says Cameron Bailey, artistic director and co-head of Tiff. “This film is ultimately about healing, forgiveness and reaffirms how connected and essential we all are to one another.

"We couldn’t think of a more important idea to celebrate this year as we come together once again to share the power and joy of cinema in theatres together. We could not have asked for a more ideal festival, or audience, or moment to premiere our film.”

There will be seven Arab films screened at the festival this year: Huda’s Salon, Trumpets in the Sky, Farha, Beity, The Devil's Drivers, The Gravedigger’s Wife and Costa Brava, Lebanon.

Updated: September 12, 2021, 1:41 PM