TIFF has never been as much of a marketplace as Sundance or Cannes — though distributors have been known to swoop in and pick up a “Still Alice” or “I, Tonya” for a last-minute Oscar run — but even by the festival’s usual standards, things were all quiet on the Western front this year.
In large part, that’s because most of the splashier titles arrived in Toronto with distribution already in place (including Edward Berger’s “All Quiet on the Western Front,” which Netflix will release in October), which made it extremely difficult for acquisition titles to enjoy any time in the spotlight; even the buzziest of them all, Vera Drew’s beloved “The People’s Joker,” didn’t really make waves until the filmmaker pulled it from the fest in response to petty and wrong-headed legal pressure from Warner Bros.
While Daniel Goldhaber’s nail-biting eco-thriller “How to Blow Up a Pipeline” found a high-profile forever home with NEON, that deal was something of an anomaly for a fest at which most of the hidden gems were left unclaimed.
In that light, we’ve highlighted 10 diamonds in the rough that are still waiting for the right distributor to help them shine. Some will be easier sells than others, but all of them are worthy of being seen by audiences far beyond the festival circuit.
Jude Dry, Steph Green, Sophie Monks Kaufman, Leila Latif, and Rafael Motamayor also contributed to this article.