Not all festivals are shutting down this year as David Byrne’s American Utopia is heading to Canada.
The Spike Lee-directed movie documenting the Broadway production will premiere as the opening selection of the Toronto International Film Festival’s digital edition, TIFF announced Tuesday. TIFF’s artistic director, in a press statement, “Spike Lee has somehow always been exactly of his moment and ahead of his time,” said Cameron Bailey. With David Byrne’s American Utopia, he brings Byrne’s classic songs and joyous stagecraft to the screen just when we need it. Spike’s latest joint is a call to connect with one another, to protest injustice, and, above all, to celebrate life.”
Lee’s filmed version of the stage show chronicles the former Talking Heads frontman’s central performance alongside 11 musicians from around the world as they cover social and political issues while encouraging audience togetherness during dark times.
The show — which features Byrne’s solo songs, Talking Heads favorites, and a rendition of Janelle Monáe’s “Hell You Talmbout” — played at Broadway’s Hudson Theatre from October 2019 through February 2020, with an HBO premiere for Lee’s film set to premiere this fall.
The 45th Toronto International Film Festival runs Sept. 10-19.