Thor director Taika Waititi to receive new TIFF director award

The Toronto International Film Festival is introducing a new director’s prize, and the first recipient will be New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi.

Festival co-heads Joana Vicente and Cameron Bailey say the TIFF Ebert Director Award will be handed out at the inaugural Tribute Gala, which will also bestow an acting award to Meryl Streep.

The Thor: Ragnarok director is among the A-listers premiering new projects at TIFF. His anti-hate satire Jojo Rabbit is about a young German boy who discovers a Jewish girl hiding in his home, with Waititi also co-starring as the boy’s imaginary best friend, Adolf Hitler.

Last month, organizers announced that its first-ever Tribute Actor Award would go to Streep, who stars in Steven Soderbergh’s TIFF title, The Laundromat, about a group of journalists probing the so-called Panama Papers money laundering scandal.

The gala is set for Sept. 9 and is an annual fundraiser to support TIFF’s year-round programming.

TIFF runs Sept. 5 to 15.

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