This year’s edition of the Toronto International Film Festival will look quite different as organizers have already laid out, but one tradition that won’t be going away is an Opening Night selection. They’ve announced today that Spike Lee’s second film of the year, his filmed version of David Byrne’s hit Broadway show American Utopia, will open the 45th edition of the festival on Thursday, September 10.  See their official synopsis below:

The film documents musical innovator and former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne’s powerful Broadway show, where he performs songs on stage and shares the spotlight with 11 musicians from around the world, including Toronto’s own Jacquelene Acevedo. Lee masterfully directs a transformative experience, as the show raises social and political issues, revealing how audiences can come together during challenging times through the power of entertainment.

“Spike Lee has somehow always been exactly of his moment and ahead of his time,” said Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director and Co-Head, TIFF. “With David Byrne’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.”

“This joyful film takes audiences on a musical journey about openness, optimism, and faith in humanity,” said Joana Vicente, Executive Director and Co-Head, TIFF. “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.”

Having had the chance to see the Broadway performance before the world was struck by the pandemic, it’s a euphoric, joyous experience that I imagine Spike Lee will capture with much fervor and passion. Following its TIFF premiere, American Utopia will premiere on HBO in the U.S. and on Crave in Canada later this fall. Even though Byrne and team announced a second run of the Broadway show, now that the timing is up in the air, this is the perfect opportunity to view the stellar production.

Watch Byrne discuss the Broadway show below.

The 45th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 10–19, 2020.

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