Taika Waititi’s true-life football underdog comedy Next Goal Wins will receive its world premiere at the 48th edition of Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF, September 7-17).
Michael Fassbender leads Searchlight Pictures’ ensemble in the story of a down-on-his-luck maverick coach hired to reverse the fortunes of the world’s worst football team before the World Cup qualifiers.
The cast includes Oscar Kightley, Kaimana, David Fane, Rachel House, Beulah Koale, Uli Latukefu, Semu Filipo, Lehi Falepapalangi, with Will Arnett and Elisabeth Moss.
Next Goal Wins is based on the 2014 documentary of the same name about the American Samoa football team, who lost 31-0 to Australia in 2001 in a qualifying match for the 2002 World Cup.
The film is one of many that are expected to launch or play at TIFF and compete in the awards season. Last year’s TIFF world premieres included Oscar nominees The Fabelmans, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, and The Woman King.
TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey, programming director Anita Lee and the team are understood to have been courting a new raft of major titles.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Taika back to the festival and share his audacious take on the most popular sport in the world,” said TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey. “Next Goal Wins is perfect for TIFF fans of the beautiful game looking for their football fix until the 2024 World Cup arrives.”
Waititi screened Jojo Rabbit in Toronto in 2019. This film won the TIFF People’s Choice Award, and went on to win the Oscar for best adapted screenplay in 2020. This year’s edition is only available in person after Bailey and his team made the decision to end the geoblocked online portal that was created during the pandemic. Last year’s event saw 275,000 people watch films, a return to the larger attendance figures of pre-pandemic period. Some 275,000 people watched films at last year’s event, marking a return to the larger attendance figures of the pre-pandemic period.
Festival hub TIFF Bell Lightbox has undergone a third floor renovation to accentuate the venue’s role as a place to gather and socialise when not watching films at its multiple cinemas and is expected to be ready in time for the festival.
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