Spike Lee was expected to be a big player in this year’s Cannes Film Festival. He was selected to lead the competition jury and it was assumed that he’d premiere “Da 5 Bloods” at the French event. But COVID-19 had other plans and that festival was canceled. However, thanks to the Toronto International Film Festival, Lee is getting a chance to shine at a film festival in 2020 by premiering his upcoming film, “David Byrne’s American Utopia.”
According to TIFF, Lee’s upcoming filmed version of the Broadway hit, “David Byrne’s American Utopia,” will debut as the Opening Night film at this year’s event. As mentioned, Lee’s film is much like the “Hamilton” release from earlier this month and is a filmed version of Byrne’s award-winning stage show. The Talking Heads frontman’s show is a musical where he plays a variety of his own solo songs as well as Talking Heads classics.
“This joyful film takes audiences on a musical journey about openness, optimism, and faith in humanity,” said Joana Vicente, Executive Director and Co-Head, TIFF. “This is especially poignant at a time of great uncertainty around the world. We’re eager to share the excitement of Opening Night with audiences.”
“Spike Lee has somehow always been exactly of his moment and ahead of his time,” said Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director and Co-Head, TIFF. “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.”
“David Byrne’s American Utopia” is set to arrive on HBO later this year and will mark the filmmaker’s second directorial effort of the year, after the previously mentioned “Da 5 Bloods,” which arrived on Netflix in June. This year’s TIFF is expected to kick off on September 10, but it’s still unclear what the festival’s final form will look like considering the pandemic is still a major part of our daily lives.
Here’s a clip of Byrne performing a bit of “American Utopia”: