spike lee american utopia film directed broadway toronto film festival David Byrne

The 45th annual Toronto Film Festival will open with the Spike Lee film American Utopia, Lee’s filmed version of the David Byrne Broadway show.

The film, which will premiere on September 10th, contains performances of songs from both David Byrne’s 2018 album American Utopia and his band Talking Heads. Festival organizers said it remains to be seen whether the screening will be in-person or online, The Associated Press reported.

“This joyful film takes audiences on a musical journey about openness, optimism, and faith in humanity. This is especially poignant at a time of great uncertainty around the world. We’re eager to share the excitement of Opening Night with audiences,” the executive director and co-head of TIFF, Joana Vicente, said in a statement. 

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“Spike Lee has somehow always been exactly of his moment and ahead of his time. With David Bryne’s American Utopia, he brings Byrne’s classic songs and joyous stagecraft to the screen just when we need it,” said artistic director and co-head of TIFF, Cameron Bailey. “Spike’s latest joint is a call to connect with one another, to protest injustice, and, above all, to celebrate life.”

Due to COVID-19, the Toronto Film Festival had already replaced many in-person showings with virtual screenings. which will be shown on a digital platform. The physical screenings, which will be shown during the first five days of the festival, will be socially distanced.

Films that will screen at TIFF this year include Ammonite, directed by Francis Lee; Another Round, from director Thomas Vinterberg; Bruised, the debut film from director Halle Berry; Concrete Cowboy by filmmaker Ricky Staub; Fauna, from director Nicolás Pereda; Good Joe Bell by director Reinaldo Marcus Green; Spring Blossom, the debut film by director Suzanne Lindon; and True Mothers by director Naomi Kawase.