Cate Blanchett to receive TIFF Share Her Journey Groundbreaker Award

Cate Blanchett will be returning to Toronto as she is set to receive Toronto International Film Festival Share Her Journey Groundbreaker Award. TIFF Tribute Awards will take place on 8 September. Cate will also be participating in an In Conversation with… event that is yet to be announced when. The festival runs from 5-15 September 2024.

Steven Soderbergh shared some details on Black Bag which wrapped filming last month. Cate is featured in the upcoming issue of Empire ahead of Borderlands movie release on 9 August.

RUMOURS directed by Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson and Galen Johnson will screen at mBank New Horizons International Film Festival in Wroclaw, Poland on 21, 26 and 27 July. Tickets will go on sale on 6 July, more info here.

Cameron Bailey, CEO, TIFF is thrilled to announce that the renowned Australian actor and producer Cate Blanchett will be honoured at the 2024 TIFF Tribute Awards as the recipient of the TIFF Share Her Journey Groundbreaker Award. Blanchett will also participate in an In Conversation With… event, offering audiences an intimate look into the two-time Academy Award winner’s illustrious career.

A trailblazer in advocating for greater representation and equality in the film industry and one of the most revered performers in modern cinema, the TIFF Share Her Journey Groundbreaker Award winner is a leading woman in the film industry who has championed the careers of others and paved the way for the next generation. Honouring the film industry’s outstanding contributors and their achievements, the TIFF Tribute Awards is a fundraising event that takes place on Sunday, September 8 at Fairmont Royal York Hotel, with proceeds going towards TIFF’s Every Story Fund, which champions diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in film.

“Cate Blanchett is a marvel,” said Bailey. “One of the finest actors in film history, she has consistently shown range, depth and audacity on screen. Off screen, she has been a tireless champion of increased equity and justice in many sectors. Cate’s passion for the transformative power of storytelling, and her commitment to breaking down barriers for women, align with the goals of our Share Her Journey initiative. We’re honoured to present Cate Blanchett with this year’s Share Her Journey Groundbreaker Award, and can’t wait to welcome her back to Toronto.”

The TIFF Share Her Journey Groundbreaker Award is inspired by TIFF’s Share Her Journey initiative, created to address gender parity in the film industry, to champion women at every stage of their creative journey, and to shine a spotlight on women creators making a significant difference in the industry.

An integral part of TIFF’s year-round and Festival programming, In Conversation With… connects audiences with leading film artists through intimate, moderated discussions about their creative process. Packed with emotion and cultural significance, this series offers audiences a wide range of experiences.

Black Bag

Steven Soderbergh’s back on a big-scale movie with stars, this time David Koepp’s “Black Bag” with Cate Blanchett, Michael Fassbender, Regé-Jean Page, Marisa Abela, Naomie Harris, Pierce Brosnan and Tom Burke. But the budget isn’t anywhere near $65 million, he said. “It’s a spy movie, but it’s also a love story. It’s about a marriage at its core, and there are no chase sequences or anything like that. It’s an intimate relationship film about people who work in the intelligence service. But super-entertaining, and fun. There’s a 12-page dinner scene that scared me. But one of the things that kept me calm was the six people sitting at that table.”

Soderbergh is finishing things up in the editing room before he hands it over to Focus Features, who will finalize distribution plans.


What can you tell us about your upcoming spy thriller Black Bag, directed by you, written by David Koepp, and starring Cate Blanchett and Michael Fassbender?

It’s about two people in the intelligence community. So it’s very intimate. When David Koepp and I were working on Presence, we were just thinking of general ideas. And I said it might be interesting to make Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? but George and Martha are in the intelligence community. What would that be like? And he said, “Oh, that’s interesting.” And then months later, he’s like, “I have a draft of the script.” And it was great. So it’s a very, very specific take on people who are in the intelligence business but also have complex personal, emotional lives. It’s the kind of thing that I like a lot.

It was terrifying because there’s a 12-page dinner sequence, in which nobody even moves from their seat. And that kept me up. Because how do you do that? It’s a director’s nightmare. How do I keep this thing interesting for 12 minutes, and nobody’s moving? The good news is the scene as a piece of writing is spectacular. And what happens at the end of it, you don’t see coming. But the challenge of creating a visual scheme that evolves, as the scene is evolving, identifying where the gear shifts are, and making sure visually, where is the camera. The camera has been outside the table. Now, the camera is inside the table looking out, because of this thing that somebody said and the tenor of the room has shifted.

I had to keep coming up with [set-ups] and moves but keep it invisible. The audience just has to be locked into the characters. There’s this new app called – there was a discussion about how to pronounce this – C-A-D-R-A-G-E. It’s a sort of app in which you tell it, “I’m shooting on this camera. I’m using these lenses, and this is the shape of the frame.” And then you can see an exact replication of that. With your phone, you can either shoot video or take a still. So I brought in the cast and spent several hours. The first thing I did was think of every angle I can think of that is good, that feels appropriate for a film like this. So that turned out to be 82 separate compositions. I printed them all out, sat down with the scene and started building it. “Okay, for the first three pages, this is the plan. Next three pages, this, then we move to this.” Because there’s no universe in which I’m going to shoot 12 pages of 82 setups. That’s not fair to the actors. I should know where the cuts are coming.

You mentioned Black Bag is a love story. People still talk about Out of Sight as an example of this perfect chemistry and how that just makes sex scenes so believable, but this doesn’t happen very often.

Well, I think they confuse physical sexuality with love and romance. And they think, “Oh, if you’re making a sexy movie, there has to be sex in it.” I’m like, “No.” We all know how that part works, what’s different in every case is everything that led up to that and everything that comes after that. That’s where your individual experience and issues come out. Part of the point could be you have two people that while they’re engaged in sex, are able to escape their lives in a way that they find very intoxicating. And it turns out the problem is what’s happening when they’re not having sex. That’s an interesting approach to something. So I think it’s just a very superficial take on what love is, what a relationship is.


For all that Cate Blanchett has done through her career – playing Elves, nefarious psychologists, maniacal music conductors and more – she’s rarely had the chance to go in all-guns-blazing. But that changes with Borderlands. Blanchett leads the cast of Eli Roth’s long-awaited video game adaptation, playing gun-toting space-outlaw Lilith – the leader of a ragtag crew on a deadly mission, heading to her home planet of Pandora. And as it turned out, it was something she enjoyed immensely. “The gun-slinging stuff was so much fun,” Blanchett tells Empire.

It might not be the sort of role you expect Blanchett to play. But that, she says, was part of the appeal. “The crazy asks are usually the things I gravitate towards; the things I could never conceive of,” she explains. “I think there also may have been a little Covid madness — I was spending a lot of time in the garden, using the chainsaw a little too freely. My husband said, ‘This film could save your life.’” To get prepared, she delved head-first into the Borderlands games. “My thumbs can barely control a phone, but I bought a PS5 and we played each other,” she says. “I wanted to know the limits of the game and what fans loved about the character. I got really absorbed in that whole world. The cosplayers. The YouTube make-up tutorials.”

Sources: TIFF, THR, Indiewire, Empire