Festival season is officially here and that can only mean one thing: the streets of Toronto are buzzing with excitement as the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival approaches. On from September 7 to 17, the fest is back in full force with star-studded events and screenings of almost 200 movies—with over 60 films that are either directed, co-directed or led by women. To help you narrow down your to-watch list slightly, we’ve rounded up some of the buzziest, women-led films playing at this year’s festival that are sure to get people talking.

Lee (Ellen Kuras)


Photo courtesy of TIFF


Oscar nominee Ellen Kuras makes her narrative feature directorial debut with Lee about the great American photojournalist, Lee Miller. Oscar winner Kate Winslet plays the model-turned-war photographer who covered World War II for Vogue Magazine.

Fair Play (Chloe Domont)

Writer-director Chloe Domont’s debut feature is described by TIFF as a “Wall Street for the #MeToo era.” This finance drama is set in the world of hedge fund managers, where a couple (Phoebe Dynevor, Alden Ehrenreich) has a secret romance, which is tested by workplace competition where success is a zero-sum game.

I Am Sirat (Deepa Mehta, Sirat Taneja)

Oscar-nominated filmmaker Deepa Mehta and first-time documentarian Sirat Taneja deliver a phone-shot documentary taking an unprecedented look at trans life in Delhi — through the eyes of Sirat, a trans woman forced to go back into the closet when living with, and caring for, her traditional mother.

Fitting In (Molly McGlynn)

fitting in

Photo courtesy of TIFF


Molly McGlynn’s second feature is a semi-autobiographical tale starring Maddie Ziegler as a teenage girl grappling with a rare reproductive abnormality and she has to learn to grapple with her new reality. TIFF shares the film is “a story about bodily autonomy with laughter, angst, and authenticity.”

Backspot (D.W. Waterson)


Photo courtesy of TIFF


Non-binary Toronto DJ and filmmaker D.W. Waterson’s feature directorial debut follows a driven cheerleader (Devery Jacobs) who struggles to handle the pressure when she and her girlfriend Amanda (Kudakwashe Rutendo) are both selected for an elite cheer squad.

NYAD (Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin)

Co-directed by Oscar winners Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin (Free Solo),Annette Bening and Jodie Foster star in NYAD, a film detailing the incredibly true story of Diana Nyad’s attempt to become the first person to swim from Cuba to the United States without a shark cage.

Gonzo Girl (Patricia Arquette)

gonzo girl

Photo courtesy of TIFF


Patricia Arquette makes her directorial debut based on Cheryl Della Pietra’s semi-autobiographical novel chronicling her time as Hunter S. Thompson’s personal assistant (played by Willem Dafoe and Camila Morrone, respectively.) She survived a “three-day trial period involving a .44 magnum, purple-pyramid acid, violent verbal outbursts, brushes with fame and the law, a bevy of peacocks, and a whole lot of cocaine,” while she worked for Thompson.

Quiz Lady (Jessica Yu)


 Photo courtesy of TIFF


Oscar winner Jessica Yu delivers a comedy starring Awkwafina and Sandra Oh who play two very different sisters who are forced to pay off their mother’s gambling debts. They go on a cross-country road trip where they hatch a scheme to go on a quiz show.

Woman of the Hour (Anna Kendrick)

woman of the hour

 Photo courtesy of TIFF


Anna Kendrick makes her directorial debut in a film that follows Rodney Alcala’s infamous appearance on The Dating Game in the middle of his 1970s murder spree. Kendrick also plays Cheryl Bradshaw, a struggling actor who booked an appearance on the show.

Anatomy of a Fall (Justine Triet)

Winner of the Palme d’Or, this film is Justine Triet’s fourth feature, which follows a writer whose husband is found dead in the snow and she’s soon indicted and put on trial. It’s her blind son who is the sole witness to the crime.