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Sylvester Stallone’s extraordinary journey unveiled in Sly, the Closing Night Gala of TIFF 2023

The Netflix documentary captures the life and career of Sylvester Stallone, whose television and film credits span almost half a century

 TIFF is delighted to announce Sly as the Closing Night Gala for the 48th edition of the Festival. A vivid exploration of an illustrious life woven through the silver screen, this remarkable documentary about actor, writer, director, and producer Sylvester Stallone 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 honoured to share it with our audiences as our Closing Night film,” said Cameron Bailey, TIFF CEO. “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 BroadwayElvis Presley: The Searcher), Sly is 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.

Sly 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 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.

Lovingly deemed a legend of the action genre, Sylvester Stallone gained international acclaim with his portrayal of Rocky and Rambo, with both projects becoming highly successful franchises over multiple decades. Other
film credits include Demolition Man, Cliffhanger, Cop Land, Escape Plan, and more recently The Expendables and Creed, which earned Stallone an Academy Award nomination in 2016. Stallone currently stars in the hit series Tulsa King, which has been renewed for a second season.

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.

Sly will officially close the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival on September 16, 2023.

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