Toronto: 'Outlaw King' Producer Lauds Netflix as Festival Opens

Courtesy of TIFF

David Mackenzie and his cast also greeted fans on the red carpet while heading into Roy Thomson Hall for a second opening night screening.

The Toronto Film Festival kicked off Thursday night with Netflix's Outlaw King, the Robert the Bruce epic starring Chris Pine.

Gillian Berrie, who produced the Scotland-shot period epic, lauded the U.S. streamer on a glitzy opening night for nabbing the movie for its worldwide subscribers. "Thank you to Netflix, who have supported us and been wonderful partners," Berrie told the Princess of Wales Theatre audience before bringing the director and cast on stage.

The world premiere for Outlaw King marked the first time a major film festival has ever opened with a movie that is not slated for a major theatrical release. Mackenzie paid tribute to his cast for braving the Scottish weather, which entailed constant rain and stormy seas, to bring Outlaw King to life on the screen, and to Toronto's 43rd edition.

"We wanted to make the recreation of that world as authentic as possible," the director said. That meant his cast wearing heavy chain mail armor and often riding horses into battle. "I thank them for the suffering that went into their performances," Mackenzie said.

Toronto disregarded the controversy in Cannes that saw the French festival refuse to show Netflix movies in competition that will not have a local theatrical release, as the streaming service received gala treatment Thursday night at the Princess of Wales Theatre, and the Roy Thomson Hall for a second screening.

Toronto's opening night was also marked by a protest in front of Bell Lightbox, on King Street, by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. They had shown up to protest Canada Goose as a sponsor of the film festival.

"For us, that they are affiliated to the Toronto festival is enough," Ashley Byrne, associate director of PETA, told THR. PETA protesters called attention to the Canadian fashion label allowing the trapping of coyotes to give Canada Goose jackets a fur-trimmed hood.

"We hope this protest makes other festivals think twice about accepting Canada Goose as a sponsor," she added.

TIFF is set to close Sept. 16 with a first look at Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy, starring Kristen Stewart and Laura Dern, from director Justin Kelly.

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