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TIFF reveals Discovery, Midnight Madness lineups, including Al Yankovic biopic

A sign bearing the Toronto International Film Festival logo is carried on a forklift down street in Toronto as preparations are made for the festival's opening night on September 7, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

TORONTO — TIFF’s Midnight Madness lineup always leans into the weird, and this year, it’s even more explicit about it.

“Weird: The Al Yankovic Story,” a Roku Channel original that charts the comedic musician’s rise to fame and “depraved lifestyle,” is among 54 new titles the Toronto International Film Festival announced on Thursday, including those in its Discovery and Wavelength programs.

The Daniel Radcliffe-starring film, which pokes fun at the traditional rock star biopic in much the same way Yankovic parodies their songs, will open the Midnight Madness program.

Curator Peter Kuplowsky described the project as “made in the great Midnight movie tradition of challenging conventions and forging one’s own path.”

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The film also stars Evan Rachel Wood as Madonna and Quinta Brunson as Oprah Winfrey.

“This year, fans of the weird and the wicked will be spending most of their TIFF living in a Midnight Madness paradise,” Kuplowsky said in a press release.

Midnight Madness typically features unconventional genre films, and also includes “Pearl,” the prequel to the slasher flick “X” that debuted earlier this year.

“The People’s Joker,” a film that reimagines 2019’s “Joker” as a queer coming-of-age story about a trans woman working in comedy, will also debut as part of the lineup.

The 24-film Discovery program also features a bevy of LGBTQ stories.

It opens with “The Inspection,” about a gay, homeless youth who joins the marine corps in the era of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

It also includes the Canadian movies “Something You Said Last Night,” about an unemployed trans woman in her mid-twenties on a family vacation in Florida; “Pussy,” the story of three teens and the queer nightlife scene; and “Rosie,” about a found family raising a young orphan.

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The Wavelengths lineup of “non-commercial and non-conforming work” includes “Concrete Valley,” from Antoine Bourges.

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Portuguese writer-director’s “Will-o’-the-Wisp,” a homoerotic musical fantasy, will also screen as part of the Wavelengths program in its North American premiere. It debuted at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.

On Wednesday, TIFF also announced its Platform lineup, the festival’s competitive program that “champions bold directorial visions.”

All 10 films in the program will have their world premieres at TIFF.

They include the Canadian movies “Riceboy Sleeps,” from writer-director Anthony Shim and “Viking,” from Quebecois filmmaker Stephane Lafleur.

U.K. director Frances O’Connor’s “Emily,” which stars Emma Mackey as the middle Bronte sister, will open the lineup.

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