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TIFF TV Preview: ‘Homecoming,’ ‘Sorry For Your Loss,’ and More Are Making the Small Screen a Big Deal in Toronto

Oscar hopes live and die during TIFF screenings, but the TV premieres carry equally high ambitions.

Homecoming Season 1 Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts in “Homecoming.”

Tod Campbell

Television is taking over film festivals, and TIFF has been part of the trend since 2015. That’s when the Toronto International Film Festival first launched its Primetime program, and since then attendees have been treated to premieres like “Black Mirror,” “Casual,” “The Girlfriend Experience,” “The Deuce,” “Transparent,” and more.

In 2018, the TV slate includes big brand names and movie stars — including Julia Roberts and Elizabeth Olsen — as well as a number of lesser known series looking to make their mark. TIFF has seen similar names in the past, but not all of the TV shows debuting at the festival made the impression their distributors, producers, and stars hoped when they landed on TV. Just like the buzziest films may not break the box office, the festival may not elevate TV enough in this peak TV era.

Still, it’s a publicity boon and a helpful prestige play. Amazon, for instance, which is pushing the new Roberts-starring series, “Homecoming,” could see added eyeballs from the international press at Toronto, and screening next to Oscar hopefuls may help push the drama into awards conversations. (The Golden Globes and SAG Awards are already on the horizon.)

And then there’s “Sorry For Your Loss”; Facebook Watch’s half-hour drama — the same uncharacteristic length as “Homecoming” — is one of the social media giant’s first series meant to compete with the big boys of broadcast, pay cable, and streaming. Can a premiere at TIFF help push a show directed by James Ponsoldt (“The Spectacular Now”) and starring an Avenger into the realm of prestige TV?

As for the rest of the TV slate, they can gain similar good-standing from premiering at TIFF. All three remaining series are looking for distribution, and, much like many of the films premiering, their reps hope someone in the herd of agents, distributors, and more will be the right person to help get their work out to the world. Much like the indie episodics at Sundance and SXSW, the exposure is key for more than the show, but the talent, too, to make it work in Hollywood.

Below is the full lineup of Primetime programming at TIFF 2018, complete with showtimes and key information about each entry. For more coverage of the festival, make IndieWire your homepage from now through September 16, when the fest wraps.

Sorry For Your Loss - Facebook Elizabeth Olsen

Elizabeth Olsen in “Sorry For Your Loss”


“Sorry For Your Loss”

Stars: Elizabeth Olsen, Kelly Marie Tran, Jovan Adepo, Mamoudou Athie, Janet McTeer
Producers: Elizabeth Olsen, James Ponsoldt, Kit Steinkellner, Lizzy Weiss, Robin Schwartz, Marc Turtletaub, Peter Saraf, Jon Liebman, Cynthia Pett, and Brad Petrigala
TIFF Premiere: Saturday, September 8 at 12:30 p.m.
Where Can I Watch It? Facebook Watch
Premiere Date: September 18

  • A young woman (Elizabeth Olsen) shattered by the sudden death of her husband (Mamoudou Athie) falls into a downward social spiral with the rest of her family, in this honest and devastating consideration at grief, mental illness, and the courage to move on.


Stars: Julia Roberts, Bobby Cannavale, Stephan James, Shea Whigham, Jeremy Allen White, Alex Karpovsky, Sissy Spacek, Dermot Mulroney, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, and Hong Chau
Producers: Chad Hamilton, Eli Horowitz, Micah Bloomberg, Sam Esmail, Julia Roberts, Chris Giliberti, Matt Lieber, Alex Blumberg, Lisa Gillan, Marisa, Yeres Gill
TIFF Premiere: Friday, September 7 at 5:30 p.m.
Where Can I Watch It? Amazon Prime
Premiere Date: November 2

  • A caseworker (Julia Roberts) who helps soldiers transition back to civilian life is interrogated by the Department of Defense after her former boss’s (Bobby Cannavale) ambitious demands raise suspicion.

“Ad Vitam”

Stars: Yvan Attal, Garance Marillier, Niels Schneider, Rod Paradot, Anne Azoulay, Hanna Schygulla, and Ariane Labed
Producer: Katia Raïs
TIFF Premiere: Monday, September 10 at 6:30 p.m.
Where Can I Watch It? Distribution rights to-be-determined
Sales Contact: Lagardère Studios Distribution

  • A new regeneration process allows human beings to live forever, but when a number of teenage suicides rock the seemingly evergreen population, a hard-boiled detective must enlist the help of a rebellious 20-something to uncover the truth behind what happened.

“Folklore: A Mother’s Love” & “Folklore: Pob”

Stars: Marissa Anita, Muzakki Ramdhan, Max Yanto, Arswendy Bening, Swara Nuttapon, Sawasdee Parama, Wutthikornditsakul Thomas, and Burton Van Blarcom
Producer: Jonathan Spink, Jessica Kam, Eric Khoo, and Garon De Silva
TIFF Premiere: Friday, September 14 at 9 p.m.
Where Can I Watch It? Domestic distribution to-be-determined
Sales Contact: Home Box Office (Singapore) Pte Ltd

  • Singaporean director Eric Khoo transforms the concept of “folklore” by culling together some of Asia’s best genre directors to tell horror tales that speak to their respective cultures.


Stars: Sasson Gabai, Tiki Dayan, Gidi Gov, Dov Glickman, Leora Rivlin
Producer: Dafna Prenner, Shai Eines
TIFF Premiere: Friday, September 7 at 12:15 p.m.
Where Can I Watch It? Distribution rights to-be-determined
Sales Contact: Keshet International

  • Just days before the laureates are announced, a leading contender for the Nobel Prize in Economics is found dead in his bed. His four closest friends decide to keep him “alive” a little bit longer for the one thing he wanted more than anything.

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