It's TIFF time again. But this is a very different Toronto Film Festival from previous years.
This could be called the Year of the Women.
The first Toronto festival to unfold in the wake of the Time's Up movement, it --along with the movie industry in general--- is enduring a period of intense soul-searching about the ways it has fallen short of its ideals.
Last year Harvey Weinstein was still one of the leading
filmmakers at the festival but after dozens of women accused him of harassment and assault he has become a pariah.
In response Toronto has created a hotline where festivalgoers can report instances of harassment, and signs around the festival stress its 'zero tolerance" for any kind of sexual abuse or misconduct; and on the opening weekend a women's rally was held outside TIFF's headquarter to draw attention to gender inequality and sexual harassment in t
|Female festivalgoers line up for free makeup on Festival Street|
The festival is also championing films with strong female protagonists: Widows, with Viola Davis as the head of a gang of female robbers; Destroyer with Nicole Kidman as a psychically damaged detective and A Star is Born with Lady Gaga as a singer on the verge of a breakdown are just a few of the movies that rise or fall on the strength of their lead actresses.
"There are a variety of very complex women characters b,eing portrayed on screen," says Piers Handling, director and CEO of TIFF. "They're not typical heroines. They're conflicted, they're fallible and they're struggling to navigate the troubled waters of life."