Taika Waititi’s soccer pic ‘Next Goal Wins’ set for Toronto Film Festival premiere

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This image released by Searchlight Pictures shows Michael Fassbender, center, in a scene from "Next Goal Wins," which will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival this fall. (Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/Searchlight Pictures via AP)

Taika Waititi’s soccer comedy “ Next Goal Wins ” will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival this fall, organizers said Wednesday.

The Searchlight Pictures film is based on a true story and stars Michael Fassbender as a Dutch-American soccer coach assigned to help the struggling American Samoa national team in its quest to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The team at that point was best known for suffering the worst loss in international football history — a 31 to 0 game against Australia in 2001.

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Waititi and co-writer Iain Morris based the film off of a 2014 British documentary of the same name, from Mike Brett and Steve Jamison, which chronicled the comeback attempt. The new film also stars Oscar Kightley, Kaimana, Will Arnett and Elisabeth Moss.

“Next Goal Wins” is the first major Hollywood film this year to stake its claim on the busy fall film festival season, where many studios debut awards hopefuls. Waititi’s last film to premiere at Toronto, “Jojo Rabbit,” went on to win the best adapted screenplay award at the Oscars. TIFF's 48th edition runs from Sept. 7 to Sept. 17.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Taika back to the festival and share his audacious take on the most popular sport in the world,” said TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey in a statement. “’Next Goal Wins’ is perfect for TIFF fans of the beautiful game looking for their football fix until the 2024 World Cup arrives.”

Searchlight Pictures will release “Next Goal Wins” in theaters on Nov. 17.