Ron Howard, Brian Grazer Set to Keynote Toronto Film Fest

Ron Howard and Brian Grazer - H Getty 2019
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Panels on gender equality, green film sets and new technologies will also be part of the TIFF industry program.

The 2019 Toronto Film Festival on Thursday unveiled its industry conference lineup, including a keynote conversation with Imagine Entertainment's Ron Howard and Brian Grazer and panels on gender equality and sustainable film and TV sets.

The Sept. 6-10 conference will kick off with a Moguls conversation with Grazer and Howard, who are executive producing TIFF's opening night film, Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band. Howard directed 1995's Apollo 13 and won an Oscar for helming 2002's A Beautiful Mind.

Imagine Entertainment, founded in 1986 with the goal of creating independently produced features, TV series and other content, more recently expanded into new vertical units including documentary, kids and family, brands, live theater, international and TV studios. 

There are also master classes with Oscar-nominated director Fernando Meirelles (City of God) and The Farewell director Lulu Wang, a panel on gender equality with Alex Schmider, associate director of transgender representation at GLAAD and indie producer Cassian Elwes, and another on making film and TV sets environmentally sustainable.

Other industry panels set for TIFF's Industry Conference include a talk about storytelling led by Aron Phillips, director of development at LeBron James' Uninterrupted, and another on evolving film festivals with programmers from Toronto, Sundance, Cannes and Berlin on stage.

Elsewhere, the TIFF Doc Conference, which focuses on documentaries, will hear from filmmakers like Barbara Kopple, Alan Berliner and Yung Chang. “As the film and television landscapes shift due to political, cultural and technological developments, the conference reminds professionals that with change comes the opportunity for new stories and voices to be heard," Geoff Macnaughton, TIFF director of industry, said in a statement.

On Thursday, Toronto programmers also named six TV series set to receive first looks as part of the festival's Primetime showcase. There are world premieres for three episodes of the HBO limited series Mrs Fletcher, starring Kathryn Hahn; and two episodes each of USA Network's Briarpatch, which sees Rosario Dawson playing a political fixer, and Facebook Watch's Limetown, toplined by Jessica Biel and Stanley Tucci.

Also getting a world premiere of two episodes is the Australian political drama Black Bitch, starring Rachel Griffiths and Deborah Mailman; the French drama Savages, another political thriller from co-creator and director Rebecca Zlotowski; and The Sleepers, a Czech Republic drama about a woman, played by Tana Pauhofova, and her political dissident husband fleeing communist Czechoslovakia in 1977.

The Toronto Film Festival is set to run Sept. 5-15.