Dear Evan Hansen set to open Toronto International Film Festival

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The feature-film adaptation of the Tony Award–winning musical Dear Evan Hansen will kick off the 46th annual Toronto International Film Festival.


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TIFF co-heads Cameron Bailey and Joana Vicente announced Tuesday that the anticipated adaptation of the Broadway sensation starring Ben Platt will open the fest with in-person screenings taking place at Roy Thomson Hall, the Visa Screening Room at the Princess of Wales Theatre and the RBC Lakeside Drive-In at Ontario Place. Audiences at home will also be able to screen the film digitally on the TIFF Bell Lightbox platform.

“There was no question that Dear Evan Hansen was the ideal film to launch the Festival this year,” Bailey said in a statement. “This film is ultimately about healing, forgiveness, and reaffirms how connected and essential we all are to one another.”

Vicente added, “As TIFF resumed this year in the wake of a pandemic that marked and changed all of our lives, we felt it was important to open this year’s Festival with a film that connects to our shared humanity and that reminds us how deeply we need one another.”


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Last year’s edition was mostly virtual with some drive-in screenings near the city’s lakefront.

The Festival also newly announced several other titles, including Jessica Chastain’s The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Clifford The Big Red Dog and Barry Levinson’s The Survivor. Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast, HBO’s Alanis Morissette documentary Jagged, Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho, Melanie Laurent’s The Mad Women’s Ball and Night Raiders from Danis Goulet will also screen as part of the Festival’s Gala selections.

Zhang Yimou’s One Second will be the closing night film.

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TIFF will also hold a special IMAX presentation of Dune, Quebec director Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s celebrated sci-fi novel that stars Timothee Chalamet.


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Like last year, film screenings will also be available digitally across Canada during the festival, which runs Sept. 9-18. Elsewhere, the In Conversation With… talks and interactive Q&A sessions with actors and creators will be available to watch worldwide.

Local audiences have a solid track record of getting behind films that go on to awards recognition. Last year’s People’s Choice winner, Nomadland, took home six Oscars, including best picture, actress and director.

“The reason we’ve become such a big festival is because the audience really matters here. It’s not just for people who are in the know or for insiders,” Bailey told the Sun in 2019.

The Toronto International Film Festival runs Sept. 9-18. For more info, visit

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