There’s always a lot to keep up with at the Toronto International Film Festival, and this year was no exception. If you tally up all the in-person and virtual screenings that occurred between Sept. 9 and 18, you’ll find that TIFF 2021 offered up more than 100 movies.
Jointly with ones in Venice and Telluride in the weeks prior, the Toronto festival is considered a key part of the fall movie season kickoff. Some films really take advantage of the movie marathon, choosing to play in more than one locale.
That happened again this year, so if you’ve been following movie news recently, you might notice some familiar titles in the TIFF lineup: Films like The Power of the Dog, Spencer, Dune and Last Night in Soho all made Canada an additional stop on their festival tour.
A festival wouldn’t be a festival without some awards, would it? Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical drama Belfast took what’s considered TIFF’s highest honor—the democratic People’s Choice Award. It’s a meaningful distinction, especially if you’re superstitious: The winner has gone on to a Best Picture nomination (if not a win) at the Oscars for the past nine years.
Jessica Chastain and Benedict Cumberbatch grabbed the TIFF Tribute Awards for acting, while Denis Villeneuve received the directing award.
The Variety Artisan Award recognizes achievements by movie craftspeople, and the recipient this year was someone whose name you might not know but whose work you’ve definitely seen—and likely adored: cinematographer Ari Wegner.
She’s been the director of photography for some very pretty movies from the past few years, like 2016’s chilling retelling of Lady Macbeth, which brought us Florence Pugh’s breakout performance, or 2018’s surreal horror-comedy In Fabric, which follows an anthropomorphized red dress as it terrorizes its owners.
The Australian filmmaker clearly has some fans in Canada: Before she won this year’s special award, both of those movies were selected for and premiered at TIFF. (We like her a lot, too: She became a member of the Academy’s Cinematographers branch in 2019.)
Florida never looked better than it did this summer in Janicza Bravo’s Zola, and that, too, is thanks to Wegner. For an unforgettable aesthetic, she framed the grimy motels and dicey hijinks from A’Ziah “Zola” King’s viral tweet thread as fine art.
Remembering all of this gets us very excited for her work in Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog. Cinematographers can really pop off when it comes to shooting a Western, and from the looks of the trailer, it seems like she’s done just that.
The Power of the Dog will be released in select theaters on Nov. 17 before coming to Netflix on Dec. 1.