Dear Gossips,

It’s TIFF Day 1! Sarah’s arriving in Toronto today and her TIFF reviews will be posted over the next week or so as she scrambles from screening to screening in between rush-writing. Joanna will also be on the ground at TIFF covering premieres and red carpets and we’ll be getting her updates over the course of the festival as well. Kathleen is on the schedule too for a couple of documentaries being highlighted at TIFF that may not be getting the widespread media attention that the marquee projects are receiving. And I’ll be reporting for etalk at the galas and the junkets through the weekend and into next week.

You know who’s been a TIFF regular the last few years? Jake Gyllenhaal. I didn’t actually realise this until I read the new article on his production company, Nine Stories, in Variety yesterday. The world premiere of Stronger is happening on Friday night. He produced and stars as Jeff Bauman, one of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. He also produced Nightcrawler (for which he should have been Oscar-nominated), End Of Watch (one of the best films of 2012), and Sunday In The Park With George which was sold out on Broadway for the duration of its 10 week run. Jake is a great actor. He’s becoming an excellent producer. And he’s finding a way to do both, successfully. The Variety piece is about how Jake has focused his career, alongside his producing partner, Riva Marker, with whom he didn’t have any kind of relationship before they were set up by a mutual friend – not romantically but as potential business partners, like a blind date, not for love but for work. It was Riva who introduced Jake to Cary Fukunaga who shot that video of Jake performing a scene from Sunday In The Park With George that ended up going viral and giving the musical an extra level of hype. Riva worked with Cary on Beasts Of No Nation. So she’s obviously bringing experience and connections of her own to their collaboration. And both are prioritising stories that might not otherwise get any attention through the studio system. In particular, stories about women, told by women:

Gyllenhaal says one of his missions as a producer is to elevate projects with female leads and directors. “My sister happens to be an actor,” he says of Maggie. “She’s the person I always looked up to since I was little. And my mother” — Naomi Foner — “is a very strong, powerful, talented writer. I’ve been raised by these incredible female storytellers, so it’s natural for me to say, ‘Where are those stories?’”

I believe him. I believe that he’s not just saying it because that’s what people want to hear, because that’s what’s expected. I believe that he believes a better story is a more representative story. And that’s certainly the case with Stronger. I screened Stronger a couple of weeks ago and the embargo is still in place  so I can’t say much, yet, except to confirm that in front of the camera and behind the camera Jake Gyllenhaal is showing his work.

Click here to read the Variety article on Jake, Riva, and Nine Stories.

Yours in gossip,