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Toronto, Jul 24 (Canadian-Media): 45th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)'s opening night presentation will be with a filmed-version of David Byrne’s hit Broadway show, “American Utopia,” TIFF reports said.
Image: American Utopia. Image credit: Twitter handle
The selection of "American Utopia" was announced on Tuesday (July 21) by Co-heads Cameron Bailey and Joanna Vicente, weeks after they unveiled plans for a hybrid physical-online festival, set to run from September 10-19.
Due to coronavirus, Canadian gatherings for film lovers in this year's edition of the TIFF will be be a mixture of physical and virtual events, unlike any of the previous 44 iterations.
Many studios have also privately said they don’t expect to have as big a presence because of the difficulty of traveling during the pandemic.
“American Utopia” hit Broadway in the fall of 2019 and played to sold-out crowds through February of 2020.
The production of the film was shot by Spike Lee during its Hudson Theatre run and the concert film will air on HBO this fall.
On Sept. 10 “American Utopia” will be premiered in Canada on Bell Media’s Crave day-and-date with the US broadcast on HBO this autumn.
“This joyful film takes audiences on a musical journey about openness, optimism, and faith in humanity,” said Joana Vicente, executive director and co-head of TIFF, in a statement. “This is especially poignant at a time of great uncertainty around the world. We’re eager to share the excitement of Opening Night with audiences.”
Lee released the acclaimed Netflix drama “Da 5 Bloods” over the summer and recently won an Oscar for co-writing 2018’s “BlacKkKlansman.”
The concert consists of performances of songs from Byrne’s 2018 solo album of the same name as well as works from his Talking Heads years such as “Once in a Lifetime” and “Burning Down the House.”
68-year old Byrne also covered a protest song about police brutality that could not feel more timely in Janelle Monáe’s “Hell You Talmbout,” in which Byrne sings, plays instruments, and dances along with an 11-person troupe, all while performing high-energy choreography by Annie-B Parson.
“Spike Lee has somehow always been exactly of his moment and ahead of his time,” said Cameron Bailey, artistic director and co-head of TIFF, in a statement. “With David Bryne’s ‘American Utopia,’ he brings Byrne’s classic songs and joyous stagecraft to the screen just when we need it. Spike’s latest joint is a call to connect with one another, to protest injustice, and, above all, to celebrate life.”
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)