The Toronto International Film Festival has today announced that its upcoming 2023 edition will conclude with the world premiere of Thom Zimny’s Sylvester Stallone documentary “Sly,” which will serve as the Closing Night Gala for the 48th edition of the festival. Billed by TIFF as “a vivid exploration of an illustrious life woven through the silver screen,” the film will have its world premiere on Saturday, September 16, at Roy Thomson Hall.
“Stallone’s story is one of perseverance, triumph, and his indelible mark left on the world of film, and we couldn’t be more honored to share it with our audiences as our Closing Night film,” said Cameron Bailey, TIFF CEO, in an official statement. “Celebrating the legacy of a true icon, ‘Sly’ takes audiences on an intimate journey through the life of Stallone, a cultural touchstone whose impact on cinema spans nearly half a century. ‘Sly’ offers an unexpected and heartfelt exploration of the man behind the action megastar.”
Directed by Thom Zimny (“Springsteen on Broadway,” “Elvis Presley: The Searcher”), the documentary is billed as “an intimate and unexpected look at the early life of the action megastar as well as a reflection on his career that spans nearly 50 years.” The doc was announced in June and will debut on the streaming platform in November. “Sly” comes on the heels of the Netflix three-part docuseries “Arnold” about Stallone’s competitor and acting counterpart, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Per TIFF, the doc “shows Stallone’s rough beginnings in New York City as a troubled kid who’d escape his angry household to watch movies all day and then come home to write scripts himself. Zimny leads Stallone through his rollercoaster career, which exploded when ‘Rocky’ — a role he had to fight to play, despite having written the now iconic movie — catapulted him to a level of stardom for which he was entirely unprepared.”
The festival’s official announcement also adds that “the documentary takes this storied filmography and juxtaposes it with Stallone’s personal journey, exploring how his inspirational underdog story informed both the indelible characters he has brought to life and the man he has become. There are highs and there are lows. There are regrets and there are triumphs. But Stallone has kept punching.”
The film is produced by Sean Stuart and executive produced by Braden Aftergood, Bill Zanker, Sam Delcanto, Jon Beyer, Tom Forman, Jenny Daly, and Stallone.
This year’s TIFF will open with Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Boy and the Heron,” and recently announced a star-filled Galas and Special Presentations slate that features new work from Michael Keaton, Anna Kendrick, Viggo Mortensen, and others. The festival also rolled out its documentary slate that includes mainstays like Alex Gibney and Frederick Wiseman, its forward-looking Platform section, and its always-wild Midnight Madness and Discovery slates.
TIFF 2023 runs September 7 through 17, 2023.