The Toronto International Film Festival® tunes in to Primetime for its second year, tapping five high-quality television premieres from countries including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Kenya, the United States, the Czech Republic, and Canada. The Primetime programme channels the best international television fit for the silver screen, focusing on powerful, small-screen storytelling that pushes the boundaries of original scripted series and episodic programming. The 2016 lineup showcases works created by Charlie Brooker, Jill Soloway, Jim Chuchu, Štěpán Hulík, and Matt Johnson and Jay McCarrol. The programme includes Q&A sessions with show creators following the screenings.

“This peak era for television has ushered in a gold mine of prime, movie-quality, small-screen projects from a growing spectrum of diverse voices and original content creators,” said Michael Lerman, Primetime Programmer and Acting Head of Programming for the Festival. “The new nimbleness of storytelling formats and multiple viewing platforms has sparked an unprecedented level of innovation and experimentation in the TV world, inspiring an explosion of narratives and new ways of connecting with global audiences.”

The 41st Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 8 to 18, 2016.

Black Mirror

Black Mirror created by Charlie Brooker, United Kingdom/South Africa, World Premiere
directed by Owen Harris and Joe Wright
Charlie Brooker’s anthology series continues to tap into the collective unease within the modern world, each stand-alone episode a sharp and suspenseful tale exploring themes of contemporary techno-paranoia. Without questioning it, technology has transformed all aspects of people’s lives; in every home, on every desk, in every palm there is a plasma screen, a monitor, a smartphone — a Black Mirror reflecting our 21st Century existence back at us. Starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mackenzie Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Alice Eve.
The Festival presents two Black Mirror episodes: San Junipero and Nosedive.

Transparent created by Jill Soloway, USA, World Premiere
directed by Jill Soloway and Silas Howard
The new season of Transparent sees its nuclear family splinter into disparate journeys on their continued path of self-discovery. After a jarring reality check, Maura, having found romantic partnership with Vicki and acceptance from her family, seeks to become the woman she envisions. Shelly relishes in her newfound love with Buzzy and finally discovers her voice. Meanwhile, Sarah and Ali embark on two different approaches to connecting to their spirituality; and Josh finds himself disengaged from work and love. Starring Anjelica Huston, Jeffrey Tambor, Gaby Hoffmann, Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass, Judith Light, Cherry Jones, Rob Hubel, Alexandra Billings, Trace Lysette, Alexandra Grey, and Kathryn Hahn.
The Festival presents Transparent season 3, episodes 1, 2 and 3.

Tuko Macho created and directed by Jim Chuchu, Kenya
This procedural crime thriller follows the kidnappings carried out by the titular terrorist cell, Tuko Macho. Run by a ruthless vigilante named Biko, the organization snatches up criminals from the streets of Nairobi and puts them on trial before the world’s most powerful public court — the internet, whose anonymous viewership decides whether the offender should live or die. In a truly interactive episodic experience, each week the viewing public votes alongside the fictional internet audience to determine each criminal’s fate in the next episode. Starring Tim King’oo, Njambi Koikai, and Ibrahim Muchemi. Festival audiences will be invited to participate in a live, in-cinema vote that chooses which cut of the subsequent episode will be shown.
The Festival presents two episodes of Tuko Macho.

Wasteland (Pustina) created by Štěpán Hulík, Czech Republic, World Premiere
directed by Ivan Zachariáš and Alice Nellis
This thrilling mystery miniseries tells the story of a coal-mining village on the verge of extinction, where companies threaten to displace the population by offering large sums in exchange for land. At the centre of it all is an ambitious mayor, Hana Sikorova, who seeks to hold true to the community’s way of life. But it isn’t long before strange events start occurring and Hana’s daughter goes missing. The town embarks on a search, but they’ll find something other than what they’re looking for: long-buried truths tucked away in the deepest, darkest parts of the woods. Stars Zuzana Stivínová, Jaroslav Dušek, Eliška Krenková, Leoš Noha, Jan Cina, Štěpán Benoni, Petra Špalková, Eva Holubová, Oskar Hes, and Miroslav Vladyka.
The Festival presents all eight episodes of the miniseries Wasteland.

Previously announced:
nirvanna the band the show created by Matt Johnson and Jay McCarrol, Canada
World Premiere
Matt Johnson (The Dirties, Operation Avalanche) directs this television adaptation of his cult-hit web series about a hapless two-piece Toronto band who will do anything to play a show at their favourite club, the Rivoli — apart from actually writing and rehearsing any actual songs.
The Festival presents three episodes from season 1 of nirvanna the band the show.

Purchase TIFF Choice ticket packages until August 24 while quantities last, online 24 hours a day at; by phone from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET daily at 416.599.TIFF or 1.888.599.843; or visit the Gupta Box Office in person from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET daily at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West.


  1. I thought it was strange last year when I first heard that TIFF was doing this but I can just imagine how hot those Transparent tickets will be.

    1. TIFF has actually played several televison series in their regular lineup in the past. I remember seeing the 4 hour Japanese miniseries Pennance at the festival a few years back. At the festival last year I took in one of the Primetime selections, Cosmos (where they showed episodes 1,2 & 8), and it actually felt at home on the big screen. I think, with the way televised storytelling is going, Primetime is a fitting addition to the festival.

Comments are closed.