The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) — which screens more than 300 films from over 60 countries, and draws in an estimated 400,000 attendees annually — is widely regarded as one of the most influential film festivals in the world.
Screening movies that often go on to win Oscars, it is no surprise that Chinonye Chukwu‘s acclaimed drama, Clemency has been selected as part of TIFF’s ‘Gala Presentations’ this year — a category for movies that have amassed major audience interest.
Clemency is a hard-hitting drama that follows a prison warden, Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodard), who confronts her own psychological demons, as she develops an emotional connection to the death row inmate she is scheduled to execute.
Chukuw’s sophomore feature, Clemency had its premiere at the Sundance International Film Festival, where it won the ‘US Dramatic Grand Jury Prize’, making the Nigerian-American filmmaker the first black woman to earn Sundance’s highest honour.
A month after Sundance, the film, which also stars Aldis Hodge and Daniel Brooks, was picked up by US distribution giant, Neon (the same distributor as 2018 Oscar darling, I, Tonya), nabbing an awards-friendly December release date.
With a perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes, the Sundance prize and its inclusion at TIFF, Clemency‘s chances of getting some serious Oscar love — becoming the first Nigerian-directed film to do so — are looking more and more likely.
This year’s edition of TIFF will run from September 5 to September 15.
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