The Toronto International Film Festival 2021 edition kicks off three weeks from this Thursday and the lineup this year looks amazing. Everyone has their own list of which movies they’re most excited about. There are those who are jacked about the opening night film, Dear Evan Hansen. For sci-fi cinephiles, Hellbound is probably marked on the calendar. It’s the first Korean drama series to be invited to TIFF – and this is no surprise, considering that the story comes from the mind of Yeon Sang-ho who directed the cult classic Train to Busan.
In this World Premiere, Korean visionary Yeon Sang-ho taps into the worldâ€™s collective anxiety in HELLBOUND, a wildly original take on the procedural drama. #TIFF21 https://t.co/ydxVW81NFV pic.twitter.com/j5e4I1gDHD— TIFF (@TIFF_NET) August 13, 2021
Hellbound is a Netflix title, another example of their ongoing investment in Korean content on the platform. At this point, considering I’m a K-drama addict, if you don’t have Korean shows in your queue, you’re really missing out. That said, I’m also a baby when it comes to scary movies and shows, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to handle Hellbound. I will, however, be all over Spencer, Pablo Larraín’s highly anticipated Princess Diana biopic starring Kristen Stewart which was just added to the lineup a few days ago. I haven’t seen the schedule yet but it’s probably only fitting that Spencer screens at the Princess of Wales theatre, right?
But let’s go back to TIFF 2020. Last year, one of the best festival films I saw was Tracey Deer’s Beans which just won the Audience Award at the Black Star Film Festival. The star of Beans is now 15-year-old Kiawentiio and as I wrote at the time of her performance, it’s “so f-cking good, the industry should be lining up to cast her in whatever they can”.
Well. Big news:
It’s been over a decade since M Night Shyamalan’s film was criticised for whitewashing its cast. This is not what’s happening now. In a statement released with Netflix’s announcement that Avatar: The Last Airbender is going into production, showrunner Albert Kim wrote that it was his daughter who brought him into the Avatar world, sharing that it “wasn’t lost on me that this was a world that drew from Asian cultures and legend, which is a rarity to this day and something I appreciated as an Asian-American father. That my daughter was able to see characters who looked like her on screen was more than just entertaining. It was a gift.” Albert hopes that “a live-action version would establish a new benchmark in representation and bring in a whole new generation of fans. This was a chance to showcase Asian and Indigenous characters as living, breathing people. Not just in a cartoon, but in a world that truly exists, very similar to the one we live in.”
Kiawentiio will be a major part of this story. And, given the hype and excitement around this project, quite likely, a major star.
Yours in gossip,