TORONTO, August 14, 2023 – TIFF has announced that its In Conversation With… (ICW) series at this year’s Festival, will feature talented and acclaimed artists in the world of cinema including Pedro Almodóvar, Lee Byung-hun and Park Seo-jun, and Andy Lau. An integral part of our year-round programming, this series connects audiences and film enthusiasts with artists through intimate, moderated discussions about their creative process and experiences. TIFF’s 2023 In Conversation With… is presented by Visa.
“TIFF’s 2023 In Conversation With… series exemplifies our belief that film can ignite perspectives and fuel transformation,” said Anita Lee, TIFF Chief Programming Officer. “We are delighted to welcome a powerhouse lineup of international iconoclasts from Spain, South Korea, and Hong Kong for film lovers of all genres.”
The 2023 lineup is a global and diverse gathering, weaving together unique perspectives that contribute to shaping the worldwide entertainment landscape. The myriad voices represented in these discussions not only celebrate the richness of human experience but also illuminate compelling emotional narratives and ideas that resonate deeply with audiences from all walks of life.
A giant of contemporary cinema and the recipient of this year’s Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media at the TIFF Tribute Awards, Pedro Almodóvar has delighted audiences with films that are vivid, urgent, and human. At this year’s Festival, the iconic Academy Award–winning writer-director of All About My Mother (1999), Talk to Her (2002), and Pain and Glory (2019) presents the North American premiere of his highly anticipated short film Strange Way of Life, a thoughtful meditation on the relationship between a sheriff (Ethan Hawke) and a rancher (Pedro Pascal) and their shared past. Presented by Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello and produced by Almodóvar’s production company El Deseo, Strange Way of Life is as stylish and layered as his award-winning feature films, and just as provocative. By interrogating and subverting the western, one of cinema’s foundational genres, Almodóvar has crafted yet another standout entry in the ever-evolving canon of queer cinema. Following a screening of the film, Almodóvar will join us for an extended onstage conversation about his desire to bring this singular project to the big screen, and how it fits within his vibrant oeuvre.
Lee Byung-hun and Park Seo-jun
As we showcase a remarkable selection of Korean films at this year’s Festival, we are proud to present an exclusive conversation with Korean superstars Lee Byung-hun and Park Seo-jun, who star in the disaster epic Concrete Utopia. Both Lee and Park began their careers in Korean television, with Lee appearing in such popular K-drama series as Tomorrow Love (1992–1994) and Beautiful My Lady (1997) before starring in Park Chan-wook’s international art-house hit Joint Security Area (2000) and Kim Jee-woon’s back-to-back megahits A Bittersweet Life (2005) and The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008). An agile performer who is equally at home in dramatic, comedic, and action roles, Lee has firmly established himself as a global sensation, who effortlessly alternates between Hollywood films such as G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013) and The Magnificent Seven (2016), Korean blockbusters like I Saw the Devil (2010) and Inside Men (2015), and hit television series including Mr. Sunshine (2018) and Squid Game (2021). Displaying a similarly impressive dramatic and comedic range as a performer, Park Seo-jun starred in several wildly popular K-dramas and sitcoms, including Fight for My Way (2017) and What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim (2018), and ran away with one of the lead roles in the action-comedy hit Midnight Runners (2017). Park has continued to balance his work between television and film, exemplified by his lead role in the Netflix breakout hit Itaewon Class (2020) and his memorable supporting role as Min-hyuk, who triggers the plot in Bong Joon-Ho’s Academy Award–winning class satire Parasite (2019). Before audiences around the world will see him in the highly anticipated The Marvels later this year, Park joins Lee to discuss their respective careers and their collaboration on Concrete Utopia.
The star of Ning Hao’s The Movie Emperor, Andy Lau has been a leading figure in Asian cinema for the past four decades. Like many of his contemporaries, Lau started out in the early 1980s as an actor for Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB), Hong Kong’s premier television network. He landed his first feature film role in Ann Hui’s Boat People (1982), a central work of the Hong Kong New Wave. In the late 1980s, Lau fully transitioned to working in film and enthralled audiences and critics alike in Wong Kar Wai’s As Tears Go By (1988) and Days of Being Wild (1990). Lau launched his own production company in the early 1990s and has starred in over 160 feature films, including Johnnie To’s relentless police thriller Running Out of Time (1999), Andrew Lau and Alan Mak’s twisty and unpredictable Infernal Affairs (2002) and Infernal Affairs III (2003), Zhang Yimou’s martial arts extravaganza House of Flying Daggers (2004), Tsui Hark’s delirious fantasy whodunit Detective Dee: The Mystery of the Phantom Flame (2010), Hui’s grounded drama A Simple Life (2011), and Frant Gwo’s mega-action blockbuster The Wandering Earth 2 (2023). A natural entertainer and multi-faceted artist, Lau has won three Hong Kong Film Awards for Best Actor, received the Asian Filmmaker of the Year Award at the 2006 Busan International Film Festival, and holds the Guinness World Record for “Most Awards Won by a Cantopop Male Artist.” He joins us for an in-depth conversation about his storied career as an actor, producer, and celebrated Cantopop singer-songwriter, as well as his new film The Movie Emperor, which is a Gala Presentation at this year’s Festival.
Once again, TIFF will be offering TIFF Under-25 Members and TIFF Under-25 Free Pass holders the opportunity to take advantage of the Under-25 Festival Rush Pass. Beginning August 25, for just $29.00 (taxes and fees included), Under-25 Festival Rush Pass holders will get unlimited access to Rush tickets for Festival screenings by joining the Rush lines at all TIFF venues for their chance to see this year’s most in-demand screenings, including In Conversation With… events.
The Under-25 Festival Rush Pass is non-transferable and only available to Under-25 Free Pass holders or TIFF Members under 25 years of age. For more information on how to become an Under-25 Free Pass holder and to purchase the Under-25 Festival Rush Pass, please visit tiff.net/under25.
On Monday, August 21, starting at 10am, Visa Infinite cardholders will be given early access to secure tickets to TIFF 2023. For more information visit tiff.net.
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The Toronto International Film Festival takes place September 7–17, 2023.
TIFF will respect SAG-AFTRA protocols regarding the participation of its members at the Festival.
TIFF is a not-for-profit cultural organization whose mission is to transform the way people see the world through film. An international leader in film culture, TIFF projects include the annual Toronto International Film Festival in September; TIFF Bell Lightbox, which features five cinemas, major exhibitions, and learning and entertainment facilities; and innovative national distribution program Film Circuit. The organization generates an annual economic impact of $200 million CAD. TIFF Bell Lightbox is generously supported by contributors including Founding Sponsor Bell, the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada, the City of Toronto, the Reitman family (Ivan Reitman, Agi Mandel, and Susan Michaels), The Daniels Corporation, and RBC. For more information, visit tiff.net.