The Toronto International Film Festival presents this year’s In Conversation With... lineup: Hilary Swank, Mahershala Ali and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Through insightful, dynamic and intimate discussion, this program will provide an engaging experience for TIFF’s audience with artists who have commanded their distinct roles on screen. All discussions are moderated by a journalist or industry expert, along with clips of career highlights followed by a brief audience Q&A.
“Every year TIFF is honored to connect our audiences to true cinematic geniuses who embody a diverse range of experiences, interests, and skill sets that allow them to thrive in both the artistic and business sides of the movies,” said Theresa Scandiffio, In Conversation With... programmer and sr. director, TIFF Learning. “This year’s lineup is a dynamic roster of empowering and thoughtful leaders in their respective crafts. We are beyond thrilled to bring these award-winning artists and decision-makers to our stage for what we know will be a series of engaging sessions filled with illuminating lessons and inspiring stories for all film lovers alike.”
The 43rd Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 6-16.
The In Conversation With...program includes:
In Conversation With...Hilary Swank
Hilary Swank remains one of Hollywood’s most unpredictable and venturesome actors. Having got her start as a teenager in the early ’90s on television and in movies such as the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer (her big-screen debut), followed by a run of indie films and a season on Beverly Hills, 90210, she pivoted with her career-making lead role as Brandon Teena in Boys Don’t Cry, which played TIFF in 1999. That performance would earn her both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Actress, among many more accolades, and cement her reputation for striking transformations onscreen, transformations that are not merely skin deep but inhabit the essence of a character. She repeated that award success with 2004’s Million Dollar Baby, and continued to keep audiences guessing across a filmography that comprises titles and themes as varied as Brian De Palma’s neo-noir The Black Dahlia, Mira Nair’s Amelia, in which she played the title role of pioneering aviator Amelia Earhart, the TIFF selections Conviction and 55 Steps, and this year’s Gala Presentation What They Had, the directorial debut from screenwriter Elizabeth Chomko, on which she serves as an executive producer. Swank is renowned for immersing herself in her roles. She prepares rigorously, using careful precision in bringing these characters to life. Hilary Swank will discuss her methodology and responsibility as an artist, her chameleonic performances, her upcoming projects, and her work on What They Had.
In Conversation With...Mahershala Ali
Academy Award–winning actor Mahershala Ali is one of Hollywood’s brightest stars. Since skilfully honing his craft in theatre and NYU’s prestigious graduate acting program, Ali has captivated audiences worldwide with resonant, masterful performances that transformed this once-hidden gem into a household name. Ali found early success with a recurring role in the popular medical drama Crossing Jordan and as the venerable Richard Tyler in the sci-fi sleeper-hit series The 4400. Through his honest, naturalistic portrayals in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Place Beyond the Pines, Ali demonstrated an impressive versatility that accelerated his slow-burning rise to stardom and marked him as a powerful, creative force. A revelation on screen, Ali brings his fierce intellect and remarkable acting talents to projects as diverse as The Hunger Games franchise and Netflix’s award-winning series House of Cards, for which he received an Emmy nomination. From his riveting, empathetic work in the much-celebrated Moonlight — which debuted at TIFF ’16 and enjoyed a long theatrical run at TIFF Bell Lightbox — and Marvel’s first Black-led series, Luke Cage, to Hidden Figures and Roxanne Roxanne, Mahershala Ali brings an expansive point of view to his exploration of the human spirit. Ali will examine his fascinating career, his upcoming work in the critically acclaimed HBO series True Detective, and his newest film, the highly anticipated Green Book, which premieres at this year’s Festival.
In Conversation With...Maggie Gyllenhaal
Maggie Gyllenhaal has been an electrifying force in both indie and mainstream films since first emerging two decades ago and promptly establishing herself as one of the most artistically agile and adventurous actors of her generation. Her diverse and impressive filmography includes memorable performances in Donnie Darko, Happy Endings, and The Dark Knight. A luminous presence on screen and stage, she has never shied away from challenging roles, and is renowned for her portrayals of complicated figures in films such as Secretary and Sherrybaby, both of which earned her Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress, and Crazy Heart, for which she received an Academy Award nod. Gyllenhaal has made a similar impact on the small screen with the BBC political thriller The Honourable Woman, for which she won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Miniseries or Television Film and received an Emmy nomination, and for her Golden Globe–nominated lead performance on acclaimed HBO series The Deuce. Gyllenhaal is a devoted collaborator on female-led projects, channelling her passion for nuanced stories about women’s experiences into her work as a producer for film and television. At TIFF, she will discuss her career, creative process, the upcoming fall season, and The Kindergarten Teacher.