(TORONTO) — New Zealand-born director Taika Waititi will be honored with the inaugural Ebert Director Award at this year’s inaugural Toronto Film Festival, named after late, legendary movie critic Roger Ebert.
Organizers of the event, which runs from September 5 to September 15, have previously honored filmmakers — including Martin Scorsese and Ava DuVernay — under the prize’s former name: The Roger Ebert Golden Thumb Award. Waititi shook up the Marvel Cinematic Universe with his blockbuster Thor: Ragnarok, and will work on a follow-up, Thor: Love and Thunder, which opens in 2021.
Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit, a satire that has him playing Adolf Hitler, who in the film is the imaginary friend of a boy in Nazi Germany, will have its world premiere at the festival. Oscar-winner Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, and Scarlett Johansson also star.
“Taika Waititi is the rock star cinema needs right now,” festival co-head Cameron Bailey said in a statement. “His films are full of razor-sharp humor, faultless style, and boundless generosity.”
Taika’s prize will be handed out to him on September 9, during the inaugural Tribute Gala, a fundraiser for the organization that will also bestow the first Tribute Actor award on Oscar-winner Meryl Streep.
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