‘Dear Evan Hansen’ to open Toronto film festival

In this undated photo provided by Dear Evan Hansen, the national touring cast of “Dear Evan Hansen‚” performs. Stephen Chbosky’s “Dear Evan Hansen,” based on the smash stage musical, will be the opening night gala presentation at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Matthew Murphy/Dear Evan Hansen vi AP

TORONTO – Stephen Chbosky’s “Dear Evan Hansen,” based on the smash stage musical, will open this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

Organizers have announced the first selections of galas and special presentations for the 46th edition, which runs Sept. 9 to 18 with a bigger theatrical experience than last year’s pandemic-tailored showcase.

More than 100 films will screen digitally and in-person at downtown drive-in and open-air cinemas, as well as some in-person venues, including TIFF Bell Lightbox and Roy Thomson Hall.

TIFF says it has added Scotiabank Theatre Toronto to its screening venues for the first five days of the festival, and will also show films at the Princess of Wales Theatre and the Cinesphere Theatre at Ontario Place.

Steven Levenson adapted “Dear Evan Hansen” from his Tony Award-winning stage show, and it features Ben Platt reprising his acclaimed leading role as a teenager with social anxiety disorder.

Amy Adams and Julianne Moore are among the other cast members in the story directed by Chbosky, who’s known for his film and novel “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”

The feature will have its world premiere with a gala presentation at Roy Thomson Hall.

Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s “One Second,” about the connection between a travelling film projectionist and an escaped prisoner, will close the fest.

TIFF announced 10 galas and 22 special presentations Tuesday, including the world premiere of Michael McGowan’s Canadian drama “All My Puny Sorrows,” based on the Miriam Toews book. Alison Pill and Sarah Gadon star in the adaptation of a tale inspired by the Manitoba author’s relationship with her older sister and father.

Other newly announced world premieres include “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” by Michael Showalter, starring Jessica Chastain as televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker, and Walt Becker’s “Clifford the Big Red Dog,” a Canada/United States/United Kingdom co-production based on the children’s book series about a giant red pooch.

Previously announced titles getting world premiere gala presentations include U.S. filmmaker Alison Klayman’s documentary “Jagged,” about Ottawa-raised singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 20, 2021.

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