The 40th Toronto International Film Festival begins on September 10, featuring a strong lineup of films from the US, Canada, and across the globe. This year's festival will see a number of science and technology films across all program sections, including documentaries, gala presentations, and even the world premiere of a Sloan-funded film.
Matthew Brown's The Man Who Knew Infinity will make its long-awaited world premiere in a gala presentation at the festival on September 17. Starring Dev Patel as Srinivasa Ramanujan, the Indian mathematician whose contributions to number theory, continued fractions, and infinite series revolutionized the field, the film was first recognized by Sloan in 2008 with a Film Independent Producer's Grant before receiving a post-production award from the 2015 Sloan TFI Filmmaker Fund.
Also making its world premiere is The Martian, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon as an astronaut struggling to survive on the red planet while his ground crew races to mount a rescue mission. The film is based on the novel by Andy Weir and features a star-studded cast including Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, and Kristen Wiig. With star power from Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult, TIFF-alum Drake Doremus returns to the festival with Equals, a science-fiction departure from his 2011 film Like Crazy. Set in a utopian future society where crime and violence have been eradicated through the genetic elimination of human emotion, those afflicted by a sudden breakout of the emotional "disease" are forced to go on the run. Blending neuroscience, Khmer animism, and meditations on war and death, Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Cemetery of Splendour will make its North American premiere as part of the Masters program; those who can't make it to Toronto will have another chance to catch the film at NYFF later this fall.
In the TIFF Docs program, Return of the Atom and This Changes Everything are the science and technology standouts. Mika Taanila and Jussi Eerola's Return of the Atom is an incisive and darkly funny look at the now-notorious construction of a nuclear power plant on the remote Finnish island of Olkiluoto — the first nuclear facility to be approved for construction in a Western country following the Chernobyl tragedy in 1986. This Changes Everything, directed by Avi Lewis in conjunction with Naomi Klein's bestselling book, is an urgent dispatch on climate change, exploring how humanity's violent disregard for the planet has endangered both it and ourselves.
In the festival's Primetime section, serial storytelling is celebrated in TIFF's first-ever showcase of television's artistic renaissance. Tim Kring's Heroes Reborn, a reboot of the 2006 series, brings together characters from the original show with a new group of superhumans, setting them on a new, epic adventure to unmask a conspiracy. Cromo, an Argentinian eco-thriller series from creators Lucía Puenzo and Nicolás Puenzo, follows a team of scientists on a mission to expose environmental crimes in the dangerous wetlands of northern Argentina. TIFF will premiere the first two episodes of Heroes Reborn and three episodes of Cromo.
The 2015 Toronto International Film Festival will take place from September 10-20, 2015.