Borg/McEnroe becomes first-ever Swedish film to open the Toronto International Film Festival

Swedish Film Institute's picture

Borg/McEnroe has been granted the prestigious Opening slot at the Toronto International Film Festival, as announced today. This is the first time a Swedish film has featured as the opening film in the festival's 41-year history.

The film will open the festival on the 7th of September, the day before it has its premiere in Swedish cinemas, and will then be screened in the festival's Gala Presentations section. The actors, director and producers will be on hand in Toronto.

Borg/McEnroe is the story of one of Sweden's and the world's most-renowned icons – Björn Borg. The leading role of Borg is played by Guldbagge award-winning actor Sverrir Gudnason, while Borg's rival, John McEnroe, is played by Hollywood's own Shia LaBeouf. In the role of Borg's trainer, Lennart Bergelin, we see Stellan Skarsgård, while Borg's wife, Mariana Simionescu, is played by Tuva Novotny. Other roles include Robert Emms as Vitas Gerulaitis and Ian Blackman as McEnroe's father, while Leo Borg (Björn Borg's son) portrays a younger version of his father. The film was directed by Janus Metz, who previously directed Cannes award-winning documentary Armadillo, in addition to an episode of the acclaimed TV series True Detective.

– Janus Metz's Armadillo is a gripping war documentary that took home the Critics Week Grand Prize at Cannes. Amazingly, Metz brings that same urgent tension to Borg/McEnroe. The on-court scenes have the dynamism of a street battle, and the drama peels back layers from what we know about both players. This was more than a simple conflict pitting an icy European against an impulsive American. Audiences are in for one hell of a showdown, says Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director of Toronto International Film Festival.

– It is truly an honour to be selected as the opening film at the Toronto International Film Festival, which provides solid recognition for the entire film team. We set our sights very high with Borg/McEnroe, and everyone involved has given their absolute all in order to reach our goal. Toronto is the largest film festival in North America, as well as one of the world's leading of its kind. It is utterly sensational that a Scandinavian film will be opening the festival and is featured alongside other top films in the Gala Presentations section. This will have a crucial impact on how the film is received internationally, stated Janus Metz.

Borg/McEnroe is a film on how legends were formed out of rivalry, friendship and glamour in a time when anything was possible. A tale of a Swedish icon's massive breakthrough, tracing Björn Borg's journey from Södertälje just south of Stockholm to the world's elite, on his greatest battle waged in 1980, when he faced the American super-talent John McEnroe, and how the rivalry between them captivated the world. The script was penned by Ronnie Sandahl, who previously directed and wrote the script for the critically acclaimed Underdog.

Borg/McEnroe is produced by SF Studios Production along with Film i Väst, Nordisk Film, SVT, Sirena Film, SF Studios Production ApS and Yellow Film & TV. Granted production support from Swedish Film Institute's feature film commissioner Yaba Holst, the film also received funding from the Nordisk Film & TV Fond, the Danish Film Institute, the Finnish Film Foundation, DR and YLE, and was co-financed by the EU programme, Creative Europe MEDIA. The film is distributed by Nordisk Film, and will be released in Swedish cinemas on the 8th of September. SF Studios is the international sales agent.

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