We’re thrilled to hear that the highly-anticipated cheerleading drama Backspot will have its world premiere at TIFF this September. Backspot is the feature film debut from Toronto-based filmmaker D.W. Waterson, creator of the award-winning web series That’s My DJ, and is executive produced by Elliot Page. So much Canadian star power!

The film stars Reservations Dogs’ Devery Jacobs as Riley, a young, ambitious, queer cheerleader with crippling anxiety. When her coach gives her an opportunity to join the Thunderhawks, a high-performance All-Star team, she must decipher her own voice from the women around her, and form a healthier relationship to the sport that she loves.

We can’t wait to see Jacobs in this role—from the first film still released today (pictured above), we can already tell she will bring plenty of intensity to her character.

Backspot also stars Evan Rachel Wood as Eileen McNamara, Riley’s professional coach, as well as Shannyn Sossamon, Kudakwashe Rutendo, Thomas Antony Olajide, Olunike Adeliyi, and Canadian icon Wendy Crewson.

Last year, Waterson participated in the TIFF Filmmaker Lab. They are excited to return and premiere Backspot in their hometown.

“As a Toronto-based creator, it has long been my dream to premiere my first feature film at TIFF, a festival that I have wholly participated in over years,” said Waterson. “The heart, dedication and grit that has been put into the creation of Backspot, from pre-production to today’s announcement is a testament to the countless queer creatives on this project, and the impressive female and queer athletes breaking their bodies to perform, in a sport that’s undervalued.”

Joining the 60+ films announced last week, the titles premiering in TIFF’s Midnight Madness and Discovery programmes were also announced today—including the Discovery Opening Night film Gonzo Girl, starring Willem Dafoe and based on Cheryl Della Pietra’s semi-autobiographical novel chronicling her time as Hunter S. Thompson’s assistant. Molly Manning Walker’s How to Have Sex and Fawzia Mirza’s The Queen of My Dreams will also premiere as part of the Discovery programme.