Festival season is officially here and that can only mean one thing: the streets of Toronto are buzzing with excitement as the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival approaches. On from September 8 to 18, the fest is back in full force with star-studded events and screenings of almost 200 movies (Harry Styles in My Policeman! The Knives Out sequel! Steven Spielberg’s first-ever TIFF premiere with The Fabelmans!) To help you narrow down your to-watch list slightly, I’ve rounded up some of the buzziest, women-directed films playing at this year’s festival that are sure to get people talking.

The Woman King (Gina Prince-Bythewood)

Gina Prince-Bythewood’s The Old Guard is arguably one of Netflix’s best original action movies (I said what I said), which makes the fact that the renowned filmmaker is sticking to the genre for her follow up very exciting. Starring Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim and John Boyega, The Woman King is an historical epic that tells the inspired-by-real-events story of the Agojie, an all-women group of warriors who were the fierce protectors of the African Kingdom of Dahomey.

Women Talking (Sarah Polley)


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Canadian film darling Sarah Polley takes on CanLit powerhouse Miriam Toews in this adaptation of the 2018 novel Women Talking. The intense drama unfolds over one evening, during which a group of Mennonite women hold a secret women to discuss the endemic of rape and abuse that they—and many, many others—have faced at the hands of the men in their colony. As if the behind-the-scenes talent wasn’t enough of a draw, the all-star cast is just as impressive, and includes Frances McDormand, Claire Foy, Rooney Mara and Jessie Buckley.

Saint Omer (Alice Diop)

Tread carefully when it comes to Saint Omer, the narrative debut from acclaimed documentarian Alice Diop, because the subject matter is quite dark, to say the least. The French-language tale follows pregnant novelist Rama (Kayije Kagame), who is attending the trial of a woman (Guslagie Malanda) accused of killing her 15-month-daughter for research for her next book. Rama, however, gets more than she bargained for, and finds herself forced to confront the traumas of her past in the process.

Catherine Called Birdy (Lena Dunham)

Lena Dunham is back. Catherine Called Birdy is the multi-hyphenate’s second film of the year and tells the story of the titular Lady Catherine (Game of Thrones’ Bella Ramsey), the charming youngest child of a Medieval English family who rebels against her father (Hot Priest himself Andrew Scott) when he tries to marry her off to a wealthy man. Billie Piper and Joe Alwyn also star in the movie, which is adapted from Karen Cushman’s bestselling novel of the same name.

The Eternal Daughter (Joanna Hogg)


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Sorry, but I’m going to give you a little homework: If you haven’t already, I’m going to need you to check out Joanna Hogg’s critically beloved but super underrated films The Souvenir and The Souvenir Part II in preparation for her latest drama. The Eternal Daughter reunites Hogg with Tilda Swinton, who stars as a woman faced with past memories and secrets while in a mysterious, empty manor.  The movie was reportedly filmed in secret during a pandemic lockdown in Wales—talk about spooky.

This Place (V.T. Nayani)

Make note of V.T. Nayani—you’re going to want to keep an eye out for the Canadian director’s name after watching her debut feature film. This Place stars Devery Jacobs and Priya Guns in a queer love story between an Iranian-Mohawk woman and a Tamil woman in Toronto whose romance unfolds as they try to untalk their complex family legacies, colonial histories and identities.

When Morning Comes (Kelly Fyffe-Marshall)

Back in 2020, Canadian filmmaker Kelly Fyffe-Marshall won TIFF’s very-first Shawn Mendes Foundation Changemaker Award. Now she’s back at the fest with When Morning Comes—a moving feature-length debut about a young Jamaican boy (Djamari Roberts) struggling to come to terms with his widowed mother’s (Shaquana Wilson) decision to relocate to Canada—proving that she’s only just getting started.

Prisoner’s Daughter (Catherine Hardwicke)


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When Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke has a new film coming out, I can’t help but pay attention—and if you are invested enough to be on either Team Edward or Team Jacob, you probably feel the same. You won’t find sparkly vampires in Prisoner’s Daughter, however. Starring Kate Beckinsale and Brian Cox (hello, Succession hive), the drama follows a dying convict who is granted a compassionate release as he attempts to reconnect with his daughter and the grandson he’s never met before his past comes back to haunt all of them.

Causeway (Lila Neugebauer)


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Wondering what Jennifer Lawrence has been up to? Well, in part, it’s doing what she does best on screen in Lila Neugebauer’s feature-length directorial debut Causeway, which is about a soldier struggling to readjust to “normal” life when she returns home to New Orleans.

On the Come Up (Sanaa Lathan)


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You’ve loved her on screen for roles in The Best Man and Love & Basketball. Now Sanaa Lathan is taking her many talents behind the camera. Her directorial debut, On the Come Up, is based on Angie Thomas’ bestselling novel and follows a teen girl (Jamila Gray) who strives to be one of the GOATs of rapping. That’s a goal I can get behind.

Alice, Darling (Mary Nighy)


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At this point, not a ton is known about Alice, Darling, the directorial debut from Mary Nighy, but the info that is available is more than enough to pique my interest: It’s an American-Canadian thriller that explores the psychology of an anxious woman stuck in an abusive relationship as she tries to reconnect with her friends during a trip to the cottage, and stars Anna Kendrick, Loki’s Wunmi Mosaku and award-winning Indigenous-Canadian actress Kaniehtiio Horn. See you on opening day.