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Chastain, Cumberbatch to attend TIFF; Soderbergh to premiere a 'mystery screening'


TORONTO — The pandemic isn't keeping the stars away from next week's Toronto International Film Festival.

Organizers have announced a long list of talent slated to attend in person for this year's hybrid movie marathon, which will screen films at indoor and outdoor cinemas and online.

Dozens of names on the guest list include Oscar-nominated actors Jessica Chastain and Benedict Cumberbatch, as well as filmmaker Steven Soderbergh, who will be in town for what TIFF calls a "mystery screening."

TIFF calls it a world premiere and "special surprise screening of a never-before-seen film" from Soderbergh, who won an Oscar for directing the 2000 drama "Traffic."

Organizers say they programmed the film "in top-secret collaboration with Soderbergh" and will announce more details at a later date.

The festival runs Sept. 9 to 18 with a list of attendees that also includes writer-director Stephen Chbosky, actor Ben Platt and other talent from the musical feature "Dear Evan Hansen," the opening-night film.

Cumberbatch stars in two TIFF films this year: Jane Campion's "The Power of the Dog" and Will Sharpe's "The Electrical Life of Louis Wain."

Chastain also headlines two festival films: Michael Showalter's "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" and "The Forgiven" by John Michael McDonagh.

The guest list, which the festival says is not complete and subject to change, also includes Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, whose sci-fi epic "Dune" will make its IMAX premiere at TIFF.

Other international stars slated to appear in person include Keira Knightley, Dionne Warwick, Sigourney Weaver, Andrew Garfield, Kenny G, Justine Bateman, Vincent D’Onofrio and Lily-Rose Depp.

Homegrown talent on the list includes Danis Goulet, Michael Greyeyes, Alanis Obomsawin, Alison Pill, Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Miriam Toews.

U.S. citizens and permanent residents have been allowed to make non-essential trips to Canada since Aug. 9.

The Canadian government is set to further open the country's borders Tuesday to fully vaccinated citizens of any country, with no quarantine restrictions.

TIFF says festival staff, audience members and visitors entering its venues from Sept. 9 to 18 will be required to show either proof they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or proof they have tested negative for the disease within 48 hours prior to entering any TIFF venue. 

The protocol does not extend to the drive-in venues.

TIFF's other COVID-19 protocols include mask rules at all festival venues, no printed tickets or passes, no rush ticketing and no concession-stand sales indoors.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 2, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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